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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Rafah’

Gaza Businessmen to Meet with Egyptians on Improving Economic Situation

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

A delegation of Gaza businessmen and civil society professionals will travel to Egypt on Sunday for a conference on the current economic situation in the impoverished Gaza Strip, Ma’an reported Saturday.

Osama Kheil, a spokesman for the union of contractors in Gaza, told Ma’an that the 38 businessmen from Gaza had been invited to the “Ain Sokhna 2” conference, organized by the National Center for Middle East Studies.

Ain Sokhna (Arabic: the Hot Spring) is a resort town on the western shore of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Eilat, some 75 miles east of Cairo.

The conference will discuss the economic situation in Gaza and strategies for improving the dire living conditions of the civilian population. The Gazan delegation will emphasize the need for coordination with Egyptian authorities in regards to the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which serves as a lifeline for Gazans, in the hope of “keeping the border open as long as possible.”

In October 2014 Egypt announced plans to expand the buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, following a terrorist attack from Gaza that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers. The buffer was “a move meant to halt the passage of weapons and militants through cross-border smuggling tunnels but which also puts more pressure on the Palestinian militant Hamas group.” Egyptian authorities ordered residents living along the eastern border to evacuate their homes prior to their demolishing. The new 1,000 yard wide buffer zone includes water-filled trenches that block tunnel diggers along the 8 mile.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian authorities demolished between July 2013 and August 2015 at least 3,255 residential, commercial, administrative, and community buildings along the border, forcibly evicting thousands of people.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed with the Egyptian operation, saying the smuggling tunnels under the border had produced 1,800 millionaires, and were used for smuggling weapons, drugs, cash and forgery equipment. The total cost to the Gazan economy was estimated at $70 million. On September 11, 2015, the Egyptian army began to pump water from the Mediterranean Sea into the tunnels, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas condemned the flooding saying it posed a serious threat to Gaza’s environment and ground water. In November 2015, large areas of soil collapsed as a result of the flooding, threatening homes in Rafah. Salt water came out of the ground, contaminating the soil, making it unusable for agriculture.

Or, as the Ma’an report put it on Saturday: The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade.

JNi.Media

Egypt’s Tunnel Destroying Officer Assassinated

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

The head of the Egyptian army’s Ninth Armored Division Major Adel Ragaai was assassinated on Saturday morning, the army media office told Daily News Egypt on Saturday. Based in Dahshur, Giza, on the west bank of the Nile, the Ninth Armored Division was assigned the mission of destroying tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip by filling them with water.

Major Ragaai was attacked by heavy shooting from anonymous militants in front of his residence in Al-Obour City near Cairo, according to army sources.

Ragaai’s wife, Samia Zein Al-Abdeen, a defense correspondent for the state-owned daily Al-Gomouria, told her newspaper she hurried outside when she heard a burst of gunfire from a private vehicle as it sped down their suburban street.

The group Lewaa Al-Thawra, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, is blamed for the attack. Ragaai’s death is the first political assassination of a military figure since the ousting of Mohamed Morsi from office in 2013.

Over the past three years, the Egyptian military has destroyed more than one thousand smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza strip with the Sinai peninsula. The tunnels serve both for cross-border commerce and arms smuggling for Hamas.

According to The Medialine, Ragaai oversaw a massive operation to dig a canal parallel to the Rafah border, flooding the frontier with sea water which seeps into the tunnels, preventing their use. Hamas officials in the town of Rafah have complained that Gaza’s limited fresh water aquifer is being rendered undrinkable as a result.

David Israel

IDF Bulldozers Level Land Along Southern Gaza Strip Border in Search of Tunnels

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

A team of IDF bulldozers entered inside the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning and proceeded to raze the lands past the border fence, Arab media reported. The Ma’an news agency cited local witnesses who said that five Israeli military bulldozers came through the Sufa crossing and entered about 50 yards into the strip, east of the city of Rafah.

They reported that the bulldozers were leveling the lands along the border fence.

The IDF has been crossing the Gaza Strip buffer zone frequently, with heavy machinery, since the 2014 war, in search of newly dug terror tunnels that lead underground into Israeli territory.

Arabs who work near the buffer zone on occasion attempt to attack, even fire on the machinery and are repelled with fire.

Ma’an complained that the practice has “destroyed much of the agricultural sector of the blockaded coastal enclave,” a loss that could be prevented by not digging any more tunnels into Israel.

And while Israel’s buffer zone defending its civilians against Gazan terrorists is quite narrow, Egypt has demolished more than 3,255 homes and other buildings on Gaza’s Egyptian border, to create its own buffer zone and eliminate smuggling tunnels, after a surge in attacks by Islamist terrorists. The Egyptian military destroyed nearly all buildings and farmland within about half a mile from the Gaza border, using uncontrolled explosives and earth-moving equipment.

In comparison, the incursions of IDF D9 bulldozers into Gaza are described even by local media as “limited.”

JNi.Media

Egyptian Soldier Shot Dead by Sniper in Rafah

Monday, September 5th, 2016

An Egyptian soldier was killed Sunday afternoon by snipers in an ambush attack near a military base at the entrance to the Egyptian part of the city of Rafah.

When Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1982, Rafah was split into a Gazan part and an Egyptian part, separated by barbed-wire barriers. The middle of the city was razed to create a large buffer zone.

Egyptian security sources said Sunday the attack killed a soldier named Mustafa Badr Hashim, 19, years of Assiut, from a gunshot wound. His body was flown to the military hospital in El-Arish.

Meanwhile, according to the Hamas government, the Egyptians have kept the Rafah border crossings open all day Sunday and will keep it open Monday, to allow passage from the Gaza Strip into Egypt and on to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim pilgrimage. So far a reported 1,243 have been allowed through, while 51 were rejected. Thousands more are expected to request passage should the Egyptian government decide to keep the crossing open.

David Israel

Egypt Opens Rafah-Gaza Crossing for Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Cairo has opened the sole land crossing between Egypt and Gaza on its border in the town of Rafah in order to allow Palestinian Authority Arabs to make their way to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The border crossing will be open this week from Tuesday through Thursday to facilitate the holy Islamic pilgrimage, Egyptian officials said, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

Some 2,008 Gaza residents obtained visas to fly to Mecca from the Cairo airport for the ritual.

The crossing was last opened in early July, when 3,099 residents entered Egypt via the Rafah crossing during a five-day open period for “humanitarian purposes.”

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, and a religious obligation for all adult Muslims that must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey without causing undue hardship to their families during the process.

Muslims from around the world will be traveling on pilgrimage to Mecca for the Hajj, and millions had already arrived at the Grand Mosque by early Monday morning, with many have slept outside on the smooth white marble paving outside the massive house of worship in their simple white garments as prescribed for hajj.

Saudi authorities have warned they will forcefully stop any disruptions among the faithful that might erupt over the civil war raging in Syria, according to The Telegraph.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Attacks Northern Sinai, 15 Egyptian Police Dead

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Da’esh (ISIS) operatives from the local Sinai Province terrorist group carried out a massive attack Friday in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

At least 15 Egyptian police officers were killed in one of the terror attacks on a checkpoint in El Arish.

Terrorists attacked the checkpoint using a car bomb and followed up with mortar fire against government troops at the site, according to a translation of the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper report, cited by Egypt Independent.

The Sinai Province group officially claimed responsibility for the attack a few hours later.

Also on Friday the Masa’ed Sheikh Zuwayed power line in northern Sinai came under attack by terrorists. The attack led to power blackouts in Sheikh Zuwayed and in Rafah, located on Egypt’s border with Gaza.

Such incidents are common, according to the Electricity Ministry, which said security forces provide protection for technicians tasked with repairing the lines. The forces are also tasked with hunting for the terrorists responsible for the attacks that cause the blackouts.

Egypt and Israel have been quietly working together to fight against the attempt by Da’esh to increase its forces in the area.

The Islamist terror group has also forged a bond with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, further complicating the already complex security situation along Israel’s southern border.

Since the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iranian proxy Hezbollah terror group both also have operatives moving in and out of Sinai and Gaza, one wonders how long it will take before Da’esh and Iran sit down to discuss an alliance, with the Muslim Brotherhood (which gave birth to Hamas) as the broker.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Preparing for Conflicts Along Southern, Northern Borders

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Israel’s defense establishment appears to be preparing military forces and civilians for a possible outbreak of hostilities either in the north or the south sometime soon.

A major civil defense drill – the largest since the 2014 war with Hamas – was held this past Thursday in southern Israel at Kibbutz Erez, barely a mile from Gaza.

Civilian response teams, IDF soldiers, Magen David Adom emergency medical teams, police officers, firefighters and others participated in the drill, Channel 2 reported Friday.

The exercise simulated an attack by Hamas terrorists on an Israeli kibbutz which included abduction of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers overpowering the terrorists in the kibbutz dining hall.

According to the report, recent IDF preparations to meet a possible conflict have included the infusion of additional forces along the Gaza border. In addition, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported Thursday that four IDF bulldozers leveled ground along the security fence a few meters inside Gaza, east of the city of Rafah, which straddles the enclave’s border with Egypt.

Nevertheless, defense officials continue to say that although Hamas is gathering its forces within Gaza, the terrorist group does not appear to be preparing for a direct war with Israel in the near future.

While the IDF is preparing to meet whatever threat may present itself in the south, forces are also making preparations in the north for much the same reason.

The IDF has beefed up its forces in northern Israel along the border with Lebanon and in the Golan Heights, near Syria. A major military drill began in the north on Wednesday and continued through the end of the week.

IDF Northern Command alerted civilians from the western Galilee all the way east to the Golan Heights not to be alarmed at the sounds of artillery and other ordnance.

The latest round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government started Wednesday (April 13) in Geneva but by the weekend had achieved nothing.

The Syrian regime has escalated the fighting near Aleppo, and local residents who had not yet fled are now making an effort to flee while they can. Opposition forces are accusing Syrian government chief mediator Bashar Ja’afari of not being serious about seeking a solution to the five-year civil war.

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura is trying to keep the talks focused on political transition but with intensified battles continuing, the opposition is losing its resolve.

In addition, Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam and Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) radical Islamist terror organizations are not at the table. Since they control at least half of the territory in Syria, even if negotiations succeed in resolving the issue of who governs Syria, the question still remains whether there is anything geographically, territorially left to govern.

Al Nusra controls the territory closest to the sole border crossing between Israel and Syria, at Quneitra. Last Tuesday (April 12) Syrian sources told international media that Da’esh (ISIS) now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus. The community is home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority and is also a stronghold for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

So far, the capital, Damascus is still in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-preparing-for-conflicts-along-southern-northern-borders/2016/04/16/

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