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April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Southern Israel’

IDF Blows Up Gaza Terror Tunnel — Only On Israel Side of Border

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The IDF has destroyed “the remains” of a terrorist tunnel that led from Gaza into southern Israel, apparently discovered during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

The tunnel “penetrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF Spokesperson revealed this morning, Feb. 9 in a statement sent by SMS to media. “During the activity, forces discovered a cache of weapons and explosives,” the statement continued.

This indicates — at least to this writer — that either the tunnel was not completely destroyed at the time it was discovered last summer, or more likely, it has since been rebuilt and re-activated by its terrorist builders. That is a very ominous sign.

However, the IDF remained on Israel’s side of the Gaza border, according to the statement. “The tunnel, which was exposed during Operation Protective Edge, was demolished in order to prevent its rehabilitation in order to safeguard the security of the civilians of southern Israel,” the IDF Spokesman added.

Clearly that was done last summer as well; upon their departure from Gaza, IDF commanders stated clearly that all tunnels had been completely disabled before leaving.

Are we feeling safe yet? Wait — we’re not finished.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, head of the Independent Media Review and Analysis watchdog group, had similar questions about the curt statement issued by the IDF – and the information obviously left out.

Lerner sent back a question asking whether the terror tunnel “may remain intact one meter within Gaza beyond the Israeli side?”

In reply, the IDF Spokesperson clarified: “We are only reporting about the tunnel on the Israeli side. If you want to know about tunnels on the Gaza side, ask in Gaza.”

So there you have it. Israel no longer sees to it that terror tunnels in Gaza are completely destroyed when they are discovered. Hamas has received the message that it is free to build whatever underground terrorist network that it likes, as long as it does not cross the border into Israel, even beneath the boundary.

Perhaps that’s got to do with the international community shaking its virtual finger at the Israeli government, with its “Nu Nu Nu.” All those warnings about how it is “absolutely essential” to move forward immediately with the “economic rehabilitation” of Gaza.

How lovely; more money for tunnels and better photo ops for Hamas with the “poor, forgotten refugees from the Gaza war.”

Um … Are southern Israelis still feeling safe?

Israel Warns Hamas: ‘We Will Respond to Attacks — Forcefully”

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorists received a blizzard of grim warnings Wednesday after a sniper attack launched a major battle with IDF soldiers guarding those working on the security fence near Kibbutz Nirim and Nir Oz.

Despite a blustery response, the terror group was also not entirely stupid: its commanders have once again begun to head underground into hiding, anticipating Israeli retaliation for their actions and forcing Gaza’s civilian human shields to live with the consequences.

Speaking at the Calcalist Conference, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said Israeli forces “responded appropriately and we will act in an appropriate and powerful manner as any incident demands.”

Gantz added there is a possibility “events will deteriorate and develop into a significant incident.”

Referencing links between Iranian-backed Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda-linked Salafi Army of Islam in Gaza and the Jabhat al Nusra terror group in Syria, and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization, Gantz also noted a “strong possibility of a connection between fronts – that an incident in the north will influence an incident in the south.”

“We will respond with force every time there is an attempt to disturb the quiet that was attained in the south after Operation Protective Edge,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement following the battle.

His statement was backed up by a similar warning from Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz. “Hamas needs to understand that if it continues to undermine the security situation on the Gaza border, it risks a harsh Israeli response, which could turn into a comprehensive military campaign to demolish its government and military infrastructure,” Steinitz said.

The Hamas Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing later issued its own statement from Gaza, accusing Israel of a “dangerous violation and a crossing of all red lines, as well as playing with fire… The enemy alone bears the responsibility of the repercussions of its uncalculated actions.

“It seems that this murderous enemy has not learned the hard lessons it was dealt by the resistance in the past. The enemy thinks that our people and the resistance are tired or exhausted after the last war,” the terror group added.

An allied terrorist organization, the Popular Resistance Movement, warned Israel would pay a ‘heavy price’ for killing one of its top commanders.

The clash began with a Hamas sniper’s bullet fired into the chest of an Israeli soldier on patrol. It led to an intense battle that included shelling from IDF tanks and Israeli air strikes as well.

Taysir al-Samiri 33, commander of the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades surveillance unit was killed in the battle, the terror group confirmed. Two other Gazans were also wounded, according to local medics.

But, “As a result of the attack, an IDF combat soldier from the Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion suffered a severe chest injury,” the IDF said in a statement. The soldier was airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva and his family was notified. He is listed in critical condition.

United Nations deputy Mideast envoy James Rawley has meanwhile expressed “concern” over the deteriorating situation on the Gaza border.

Carefully walking a tightrope of “neutrality” Rawley’s statement urged all parties to maintain and reinforce the August 26 “cease-fire” that ended Operation Protective Edge – but has already been broken by Hamas numerous times since then.

Rawley said in his statement that he is “deeply concerned by reports of exchange of fire between Palestinian militants and the IDF in the southern Gaza Strip today, which resulted in casualties on both sides.

“This follows a series of armed incidents since the end of November,” he noted – without pointing out that the “armed incidents” were actually unprovoked attacks launched solely by Gaza terrorists at Israelis.

Rocket Fire Returns to Southern Israel – Again!

Friday, December 19th, 2014

NYC, NY – Rocket fire returned to southern Israel on Friday, disrupting the Sabbath preparations of local residents again, despite initial attempts by government officials to keep the news from leaking out.

The IDF announced in the morning hours it was checking reports to see whether the activation of the Red Alert system had been a “false alarm.”

It was the third such event to occur in southern Israel in recent weeks. It follows by a few days the European Parliament’s decision to remove Hamas from the European Union’s list of foreign terror groups.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization has been test firing its rapidly improving arsenal of mortar shells, rockets and missiles into the Mediterranean for months.

By early afternoon, Israeli military officials announced that this time Gaza terrorists had, in fact, aimed their weapons directly at southern Israeli civilians. It was the first time since the end of the summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge the IDF had admitted a rocket landed within Israeli territory.

This is also the third time a rocket has been fired at southern Israel, and has exploded on the Israeli side of the border, since the end of this summer’s 50-day war.

The Red Alert siren was heard blaring through communities in the Eshkol Regional Council district, located less than 15 seconds away by rocket fire from the Gaza border.

The Qassam rocket itself exploded in an open area, where it caused no property damage and no physical injuries to local residents.

An Eshkol resident commented that people living in the area have been holding their breath for months, waiting for the “other shoe to drop,” so to speak.

“The war ended… but nothing was done to change the reality,” Anat Hefetz told Ynet. “For four months already nothing has been done to prevent this… No initiatve was taken. We left the area on the other side to be controlled by Hamas… There are always infiltrations, attempts to shoot rockets and ‘false alarms.’ It does not surprise us,” she said.

Weeks ago, it became clear that Hamas has also resumed its terrorist tunnel building activity as well. The organization was able to pull materials for the construction from the limited goods allowed into Gaza by Israel due to pressure from the international community.

(Ed. Note: Story filed from New York before the start of the Sabbath.)
—-

For readers familiar with our wartime coverage, Friday’s rocket report log looked like this:

12:36 PM – Army admits that a rocket actually landed in Israel in an open area. This is the first time since Operation Protective Edge that the IDF admits that a rocket landed within Israel’s territory.

No injuries or damage reported.

11:46 AM A rocket alert was heard in the Eshkol region.

The IDF is checking if this is a false alarm or if there was a rocket launch, and if so, where did the rocket fall.

Road Terror Attack on Southern Israeli Bus

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Arabs attacked a southern Israeli bus traveling Thursday night from Arad to Be’er Sheva along Highway 31.

The unidentified attackers hurled rocks at the bus, breaking the windshield and injuring a 60-year-old man.

Israel Police launched a search to hunt for the terrorists. Numerous “unrecognized” Bedouin encampments and small villages are located among the hills that run alongside Highway 31 between Arad and Be’er Sheva, as well as three “recognized” Bedouin towns.

No arrests have yet been made.

Jewish Diaspora Donors Infuse NIS 50M Into Southern Israel

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Jewish donors have injected an infusion of some NIS 50 million ($13.22 million) into rocket-battered communities in southern Israel.

The package was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, whose Board of Governors is meeting this week in the coastal city of Ashkelon and surrounds.

Ashkelon was one of the primary targets of rocket and missile attacks launched by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization before and during the IDF’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer.

The funds are being used to help the south recover from the damage inflicted by Gaza terrorists during the 50-day war, which ended on the eve of Tisha B’Av.

Comprised of donations from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren HaYesod-UIA and others, some of the money is aimed at programs to expand the population of communities closest to the border with Gaza.

Approximately 1,300 scholarships of more than NIS 5,700 each ($1,500) will be offered to students living within four kilometers of Gaza (2.5 miles) for help with rent, in a move designed to draw young adults to the area.

In addition, there will be funding for special loans to local businesses located within the “40-kilometer (25 miles) zone” whose operations was affected by the war. There will also be grants for victims of rocket attacks, financing to pay for refurbishing private bomb shelters via the Amigur housing subsidiary, coordinated between the Jewish Agency, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Defense. In addition, the Jewish Agency will provide support for new immigrants in local absorption centers in southern Israel and IDF lone soldiers wounded during the war.

The Jewish Agency Fund for Victims of Terror also provides a grant of NIS 4,000 ($1,060) to famkilies immediately after an attack if they have experienced an injury or loss or their homes were damaged by rocket fire during a war. Subsequently, if the government of Israel recognizes a family as a “victim of terror” the Fund provides additional aid of up to NIS 25,000 ($6,600) to the family as well.

Yet, world Jewry has responded magnificently with compassion and grace to help provide the massive amount of money required to address the needs of Israel’s war-torn southern population, so badly traumatized following the summer’s events.

Opening this week’s gathering, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Scharansky thanked the agency’s partners in the Jewish world.

“This is a continuation of the Jewish world’s massive outpouring of solidarity with the people of Israel and the residents of the South over the course of the summer,” Scharansky noted. “During the war, we stood with the residents and channeled the solidarity and support of world Jewry. Today, we are partnering with the government of Israel to ensure that [their] pioneering spirit endures well into the future, drawing ever more people to this area and keeping it strong and vibrant for many years to come.

“This is the Zionist response to this summer’s events, and it is an expression of our commitment to the residents of southern Israel.”

The agency’s Board of Governors also toured Kibbutz Nahal Oz, one of the Gaza Belt communities that was held under siege with rocket and mortar fire by Hamas and allied terrorists prior to and during the war.

IDF Southern Command GOC Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman told the governors, “We are fighting for our homes here. Your decision to hold the Jewish Agency Board of Governors’ meetings in southern Israel after Operation Protective Edge is a massive source of strength for me personally, and for the soldiers under my command.”

Unprecedented NIS 2b Development Plan for Southern Israel Gets Green Light

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Israel’s Cabinet today approved a proposal by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to invest NIS 2 billion in a long-term socioeconomic development plan in southern Israel.

The proposal is intended to upgrade civilian infrastructure in the fields of energy, industry, employment, health, agriculture, transportation, housing, social welfare, education, environmental protection, the economy and tourism, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

The proposal comes in addition to one already approved Sunday by the Cabinet that included a detailed development plan for Sderot and communities along the Gaza border.

At the start of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that this plan “includes building an additional hospital in Be’er Sheva, paving roads, assisting small and intermediate businesses, and developing tourism enterprises in the south and around the country in the wake of Operation Protective Edge.”

The prime minister underlined the fact that the proposal came in addition to “the decision we made on Sunday to add over NIS 1 billion for Sderot” and communities in the Gaza Belt area.

“I told the mayors and local council heads that I met with yesterday at the Eshkol Regional Council that the State of Israel was not making these unprecedented investments just for show,” Netanyahu continued.

“We are doing so with a two-fold goal – investing in and deepening our hold on all parts of the country but also as a message to those who seek to uproot us, that they will never succeed in doing so. We are all responsible for this.

“I would like to wish all citizens of Israel a good and happy New Year. I would also like to wish ministers a good and happy year. We are working together in order to ensure the future of the State of Israel and the people of Israel. May we all have a good, prosperous, safe and quiet year.”

Govt Approves Massive Upgrade of Southern Israeli Infrastructure

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

The Cabinet on Sunday approved a proposal by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to upgrade the southern Israeli city of Sderot and its surrounds, and to build a new hospital in Be’er Sheva.

The NIS 1.3 billion five-year plan was created by a team of ministry director-generals led by PMO director Harel Locker. It is the largest and most comprehensive economic development plan ever made for the area, according to a release from the prime minister’s office.

The plan supplements the government’s July 13 decision to allocate NIS 417 million in economic benefits to the area adjacent to Gaza in 2015-2016. Approximately half of that sum is dedicated to Sderot.

“This is the largest investment that the State of Israel has ever made in this area,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “This is in addition to the NIS 417 million that we transferred during Operation Protective Edge. We are developing a new industrial zone in Sderot, transportation infrastructure in the area and are encouraging young people and students to move to the area adjacent to Gaza.

“We came to this country to build and to be built. We came to this part of our land in order to build and be built in it, and no one will uproot us. We will strengthen our hold and our development of this area just as in other areas,” the prime minister said.

“On Tuesday we will submit for Cabinet approval a supplement regarding an approximately NIS 2 billion in additional funds for the communities and cities of the south,” Netanyahu continued.

“In the framework of this decision, we will build a new hospital in Be’er Sheva, in addition to the hundreds of additional beds for the existing Soroka Medical Center.

“We will connect new natural gas infrastructures for the benefit of factories in the south. We will invest in initiatives to connect the Negev in the framework of the Digital Israel program.

“We will encourage small and mid-size businesses. We will develop tourism and all aspects of life, including the important ‘cyber’ aspect for all residents of the Negev, including Bedouin.

“This is a deep commitment on our part. I think that it has found expression.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/govt-approves-massive-upgrade-of-southern-israeli-infrastruction/2014/09/21/

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