The Israel Defense Ministry says its inspectors blocked 1,226 attempts to bring forbidden materials into Gaza in 2016.
The ministry’s Crossing Authority released its statistics Sunday on operations carried out against smuggling attempts to bring contraband into Gaza.
There was a 165 percent increase in smuggling attempts at the Gaza border crossings in 2016, as compared with 2015, with much of the goods believed to have been intended for delivery to the Hamas terrorist organization and other terror groups in Gaza.
Goods seized by Crossing Authority inspectors included drones, model airplanes, communications equipment, dis-assembled pickup trucks, engines, spiral welding equipment, anti-freeze, security cameras, water pumps, lasers, iron pipes, aluminum, steel columns, abseiling equipment, metal cells, adhesives, diving suits and scuba diving gear.
An Israeli police officer was wounded late Thursday night in a stoning attack on Israeli security forces by Negev Bedouin in their 20s and 30s who were trying to cover for a suspicious-looking vehicle that fled into a neighborhood in the southern Israeli city of Rahat.
Three security patrol vehicles were also damaged in the attack.
At least 12 of the attackers were arrested and on Sunday their remand was extended, according to the Hebrew-language 0404 website. The incident occurred during routine operations by Israel Police and Border Guard Police officers.
The car they were investigating was traveling without lights and without any identifying license plates.
Two suspects got out of the vehicle after it stopped inside the city, and then they fled on foot, escaping into the neighborhood, according to police. The security officers were pelted with stones by the Bedouin residents when they began to chase the suspects.
A 3,000-year-old military complex has been unearthed in the Negev Dessert by archaeologists from Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology.
Erez Ben-Yosef, one of the leaders of the excavation, told Fox News this weekend that a recent analysis of finds from a gatehouse complex uncovered in 2014 reveal the remains of the stables and other artifacts actually date back to the time of Kings David and Solomon.
In an article slated to appear in the February 2017 issue (Vol. 11, pp 411-426) of the Journal of Archaeological Science, Ben-Yosef and his colleagues, Dafna Langgut and Lidar Sapir-Hen describe the site as an “Iron Age gatehouse and associated livestock pens in one of the largest copper smelting camps in Timna Valley – Site 34 (“Slaves’ Hill”).”
In an exciting yet wordless Hollywood-style trailer produced for his “Central Timna Valley Project (CTV) in 2014 to recruit student volunteers, Ben-Yosef manages to convey all the excitement, determination and anticipation associated with archaeology — and still show the thankless hard work that can also go along with it — in less than sixty seconds.
“Join us in the field to excavate ancient mines and discover if those were really the legendary ‘King Solomon’s Mines.’ The excavations are taken place in the Iron Age smelting and mining sites of southern Israel (Timna Valley),” reads the text below the trailer on YouTube. “This is a Tel Aviv University project that include a field school with academic credit.”
Two years later, a second YouTube video shows how far strong muscles and cheerful team work will get you.
Now, two years later, he and his colleagues report the extraordinary state of preservation of organic materials allowed the archaeologists to investigate animal bones as well as seeds and pollen found in dung piles.
The scientists concluded the gatehouse was used for keeping donkeys or mules and probably goats, which were fed with “grape pomace and hay (rather than straw) that originated from the Mediterranean regions… This food reflects special treatment and care, in accordance with the key role of the donkeys in the success of copper production and trade in a logistically challenging region…. The gatehouse and walls also indicate substantial investment in deterrence and defense, reflecting a period of instability and military threat in 1 0th c. BCE Timna.”
“When we uncovered the stables, the material was so well preserved and ‘fresh’ that we could not believe it [was] 3,000 years old,” Ben-Yosef told Fox News. “Only when the dates came back from the lab were we reassured that indeed these were the remains… from the time of David and Solomon.”
The multi-year project continues, with the field work team to continue working in the February 2017 season, carrying out probes at several sites and surveys of manganese mines.
Israeli intelligence agents last month arrested high-ranking Hamas tunnels engineer Bilal Razaineh, a 24-year-old resident of Gaza who was captured as he crossed the border fence into Israel, the Shin Bet revealed Wednesday after an indictment was filed in Be’er Sheva District Court for the terrorist activities in which he was involved. The charges included membership and activity in a banned organization and weapons offenses.
In the framework of a combined ISA and Israel Police operation, considerable information about Hamas’s tunneling operations has been obtained while questioning Razaineh, who has been a member of the Izz a-Din al Qassam military wing of Hamas for the past 10 years.
Razaineh, who was arrested on November 27, is the brother of Mustafa Razaineh, the head of internal security for Hamas in northern Gaza.
According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA / Shin Bet), most of Bilal Razaineh’s activity in Hamas in recent years has been in the field of tunneling and in the company of his brother. He provided considerable information on the outlines of tunnels in northern Gaza to his interrogators, as well as on Hamas’s tunneling operations in general. In this context, it was learned that a tunnel was dug from his family home, which branched into many other tunnels and serves – inter alia – as a storage area for war materiel.
Bilal also provided information about various Hamas positions, about his role as a Hamas sniper and on other Hamas – and Islamic Jihad – terrorist activities.
It was also learned that during Operation Protective Edge, his brother and other senior Hamas operatives hid in the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza and from there – and civilian residences as well – directed the fighting. During Operation Protective Edge, Bilal acted – inter alia – as a courier and passed messages between his brother and senior Hamas operatives.
“It should be noted that the information gained about Hamas’s use of civilian structures in order to advance terrorist operations is an additional example of the repeated violation of international law by Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations,” the Shin Bet said in its statement.
“The information obtained during the investigation of Bilal, and other Hamas terrorists who have been arrested recently, underscores the great efforts that Hamas invests in preparing for a military clash with Israel.”
A winter storm on Tuesday brought snow to to the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon, a veritable boon for the skiers and eventually, a rush of water into Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) when the white stuff eventually melts.
The storm also brought rain to Jerusalem and to the rest of the northern and central regions, and where the coastal highway was closed for hours due to flooding.
Walking in the rain in downtown Jerusalem.
Sadly, part of a 3,000-year-old wall at the Tel Dan archaeological site in the north, which has survived since the time of the First Holy Temple, collapsed on Tuesday due to the downpour.
Throughout the day it was unseasonably cold, and temperatures continued to drop even into the southern region, towards the northern Negev desert. Scattered showers and thunderstorms were in the forecast in the Negev as well, but expected to fade out in the evening.
Flash flood warnings were in effect along the coast and in the Judean desert, where tourists and hikers are often caught unawares. The warnings are also in effect for the northern Negev desert and along the Dead Sea area, where hikers and unwary drivers may suddenly encounter flooding on the road along the Dead Sea coast.
City police in Sderot visited seniors in the community on Monday to bring them a bit of holiday joy.
The officers lit Chanukah candles with the seniors, sang holiday songs and ate sufganiot (special Israeli holiday jelly doughnuts).
“Israel Police are continuing to carry on operational activities to keep the public safe, prevent terrorism and capture offenders to bring them to justice,” said a national police spokesperson.
“But the aim of this program is the strengthen the connection between Sderot’s seniors and the rest of the community, and that of the city police department, which is there to ensure the personal safety of the citizens of the community.
“Some of the elderly residents in Sderot are truly alone, with families who have moved away and now live elsewhere. There is no feeling more heartwarming than to help and care for this population,” the spokesperson said.
“The main thing that their light will continue to shine for many more years to come, in good health, safety and happiness.”
IMI Systems (Israel Military Industries) last week presented a live fire demonstration of its Magic Spear – a precise 155-mm rocket with a 40-km range – in a show it dubbed “Artillery Systems – The Next Generation,” Defence Alert reported.
Established in 1933 and fully owned by the Israeli government, IMI is a defense systems house specializing in the development, integration, manufacturing and life cycle support of modern land, air and naval combat systems and HLS solutions. IMI’s products have been qualified with the IDF, US Military (Air Force, Army and Navy) and NATO nations.
IMI Systems employs 2,900 personnel in three divisions. In addition to the modern design and development shops, IMI operates production facilities, supported by advanced laboratories and test facilities accounting for 30% of the company’s infrastructure.
The live fire show was held at a test site in southern Israel and was attended by senior officials and industrialists from 17 countries. It also included demonstration of a 120-kg exploding warhead installed on an extra long-range missile designed for attacking high-quality targets at a range of 80 miles, as well as an advanced warhead.
The demonstration was designed to highlight IMI Systems’ capabilities, establishing it as the world’s leading producer of advanced artillery systems.