IDF says it leveled Hamas training facility sitting on tunnel network
The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday released detailed information on a five-story building it destroyed in one of its retaliatory airstrikes in the Gaza Strip the previous day, in response to repeated mortar and rocket attacks from the coastal enclave that have pummeled southern Israel.
According to the army, the building was being used as a training facility by Hamas and sat atop a tunnel that fed into a “massive” underground network.
On Saturday afternoon, following dozens of attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, Israeli Air Force jets dropped a number of bombs on a five-story building in the Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
The initial bombs were meant to scare away those in the area, before the subsequent projectiles razed the building to the ground, the army said.
In addition, the IDF distributed “before and after” aerial photographs of another target, a Hamas battalion headquarters in the city of Beit Lahiya, also in northern Gaza, which was hit earlier in the day.
The photographs show that the facility’s buildings were reduced to rubble in the airstrike. The military said the compound was made up of: a training ground, a weapons manunfacturing and storage facility, two commanders’ offices and a logistics shed.
IAF Strike on Hamas Terror Tunnel
The military on Sunday announced that it will be deploying additional Iron Dome missile defense batteries in southern Israel and in the greater Tel Aviv area, following large-scale clashes with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip over the weekend.
Reservists from air defense units were also called up to provide additional manpower for these batteries, the Israel Defense Forces said.
“The IDF is determined to continue to defend citizens of Israel and is prepared for a variety of scenarios that may intensify,” the army said.
The air defense reinforcements were a precautionary measure, as the potential remained for renewed violence despite a ceasefire reached on Saturday night that largely appeared to be holding.
The Israeli military said it would take harsh action in response to any attack from the coastal enclave, including in the form of incendiary kites and balloons, and was bracing for possible retaliation by Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, the security cabinet ordered the IDF to respond forcefully to any case of Palestinians flying incendiary kites and balloons into southern Israel.
As of 5:45 p.m. Sunday, the military said its aircraft had fired shots at three such cells. Injuries were reported in at least two cases.
Despite the more aggressive stance by the IDF, multiple fires were reported in southern Israel on Sunday due to incendiary devices flown over the fence, with firefighters and local security officers working to contain them.
Over the course of approximately 24 hours on Saturday and into Sunday, southern Israel and the Gaza Strip saw one of the largest exchanges of fire since the 2014 Gaza war.
I watched it, saw it live. The young girls who went scrambling for the ‘free Palestine’ stickers’. “I have to get one dad”, one of them squealed, as she dragged her father over towards a table that she believed was giving these stickers away. That was my welcome to the ‘anti-Trump demonstration’, London, 13 July 2018. She wasn’t disappointed. There were people manning several such stalls, all eager to hand these badges of identification over to whomever asked for them.
I write about this often, because the message is so important to get across. I cannot be sure what exactly drew that particular family to the anti-Trump demonstration. The girl’s background, politics and religion are unknown to me. I am sure however, that there is no reason for that girl to treat the only democracy in the Middle East as if it is a pariah state. Yet she, like many of the young people attending this demonstration are being introduced to the idea that it is ‘cool’, the ‘in-thing’ to ‘hate Israel’.
This poison is dripping into the veins of our society. What was most depressing about the anti-Trump rally was that it was so blatant, and I got to witness it all happening in real time.
Spreading anti-Israel propaganda
This isn’t an accident, it is all by design. With tens of thousands of ‘sheep’ who had come to express their dismay because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that Trump is a danger to world peace, organisations like Friends of Al Aqsa have an unmissable chance to ‘normalise’ an extremist message.
At every opportunity, anti-Israel propaganda was injected into the demonstrators veins. Listen to this chant:
It is so easy to do and notice how the anti-Israel message has been pushed onto demonstrators who turned up to oppose Trump. Build the association. Simply get them to sing ‘from Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go‘. In their minds they will begin to associate ‘Israel’ with everything they oppose. These people now know the ‘wall has to go’, oblivious to the fact it went up to save Jewish lives.
The girl leading that chant, standing at the front of that section of the crowd, was wearing a ‘Free Gaza’ t-shirt:
This wasn’t the Palestine ‘block’ in the march. It was part of the strategy of the organisers in almost every block of the demonstration. The next video is another section of the demonstration. Here the person leading the chant was male. He worked the same chant with slightly different words: ‘from Palestine to Mexico, the racist walls have got to go‘:
The anti-Israel message was everywhere. On the Socialist Worker stall, there were papers, leaflets and a petition. Only one dealt with an international issue – ‘Palestine’. Of all the problems in the world, only ‘Palestine’ was important enough to make it onto the table:
As we closed in on Piccadilly Circus, we came to a halt. The police were controlling the crowds and perhaps there were too many people between us and Trafalgar Square. More chants started. It was here that I heard ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free’. Another chant sung was ‘We are all Palestinians’:
I also heard a new one. ‘From London to Gaza, International Intifada’, which is a particularly worrying chant to hear. British people in the heart of London, calling for an ‘international intifada’. Do they not know that 7/7, 9/11, Westminster Bridge, Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Nice, Manchester is the ‘international intifada’ they are calling for? Of course not. More brainwashing.
Situated near Nasser Street and the “Sheikh Zeid” mosque, the large abandoned building that was targeted by the IDF, once served as the “Palestinian National Library” pic.twitter.com/LCm9jctfSJ
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 15, 2018
Major Keren Hajioff reporting from a synagogue hit by a Hamas rocket.
Yes, you read that correctly. pic.twitter.com/GcUuLSeIGs
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 15, 2018
Day in Review: Shabbat of Hamas Rocket fire
The Israel Defense Forces launched a series of exercises throughout the country on Sunday, including one in southern Israel that will reportedly simulate the conquering of Gaza City, following a daylong flareup with the Hamas terror group over the weekend in which some 200 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel.
“Beginning in the morning, a number of military exercises will begin throughout the country, which are expected to finish up toward the end of the week,” the military said.
The IDF said Israelis can expect to see “increased movement by security forces, vehicles and aircraft” while the drills are taking place.
The Walla news site reported that one such exercise, led by the 162nd Armored Division, would focus on the capture of Gaza City in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military would not fully confirm the report, but said that the 162nd Division would be taking part in an exercise “that would simulate a southern layout, which will of course include ‘conquering’ drills.”
Israel’s chief military liaison to the Palestinians released an Arabic-language Facebook video Sunday accusing the Hamas terror of spreading “fake news” and challenging reports that Israel had hit a playground in Gaza in its airstrikes Saturday.
“In the video before you, you can clearly see members of Hamas’s military wing carrying out an exercise in the building that was struck. Yesterday, it was claimed that this was an innocent civilian building and a children’s playground,” said Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, known formally as the coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT).
“The truth is before you — combat training in a built-up area and an exercise simulating the abduction of an IDF soldier and bringing him underground into a terror tunnel. These are the goals for which this building was used!” Abu Rokon said.
He added that Hamas had intentionally located the military training building next to a mosque, “a holy place, used for prayer.”
In the Arabic-language video, Hamas terrorists in full combat gear and semi-automatic weapons are seen carrying out an assault in the building, firing into the rooms, rappelling down walls and grabbing someone dressed as an Israel soldier from a mock tank.
“People of Gaza, understand!” Abu Rokon added, “He who carries out terrorist training activities next to a park for children does not care about your children.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to the terrorist organization Hamas firing rockets and mortars into Israel:
“The Palestinian terror group Hamas fired over 100 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians today, sending tens of thousands of men, women, and children running into bomb shelters. These are the latest in what have become near-daily attacks by Iran-backed terrorists and forces on Israel’s northern and southern borders. Iran and its terrorist proxies seek the destruction of Israel. The United States will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Israeli allies and ensure they have what they need to defend themselves, including critical technologies like Iron Dome, to defeat these threats.”
Over 180 rockets have been fired at Israel since Friday. At least 20 of them were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, and at least 73 others fell in open fields.
Four Israelis were injured when a rocket hit their home.
The IDF on Sunday said it fired at a group of Palestinians flying incendiary balloons into southern Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.
Reports in Palestinian media said one person was injured by the Israeli drone strike in the Beit Hanoun area.
In a statement, the army said the Palestinians were members of the Hamas terrorist organization that rules the Strip.
The strike came hours after a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, following the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war.
Over the weekend, Palestinian terrorists fired some 200 rockets and missiles at Israeli communities near the Gaza border. In response, the IDF struck dozens of Hamas targets in the Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated that Israel would not tolerate the continued kite and balloon arson attacks that have burned thousands of dunams of forests and agricultural land adjacent to the Gaza border in recent months, including fresh fires started on Sunday.
He said Hamas was hit “substantially and hard” in the overnight Israeli strikes.
“Our policy is clear: Whoever hurts us, we will hit them with great strength. This is what we did yesterday,” he said. “I hope that they got the message; if not, they will get it later.”
Netanyahu denied reports that said the ceasefire brokered by Egypt did not include the cessation of the arson attacks.
“This is incorrect. We are not prepared to accept any attacks against us and we will respond appropriately,” he added.
Islamic Jihad sources say that the ceasefire between Gaza leadership and Israel does not include the launching of incendiary kites, the journalist Suleiman A-Shafi told Avri Gilad and Hila Korach this morning, Sunday, on Channel 2.
A-Shafi’s remarks were made as the security establishment remains alert ahead of the afternoon hours, when the young people of the Gaza Strip routinely use the wind to launch mortars and helium balloons into the fields of nearby Jewish communities.
A-Shafi said that Islamic Jihad elements with whom he is in contact claim that launching the kites and balloons is a “popular activity” that is not included in the ceasefire.
A-Shafi also noted that, in the eyes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, launching kites is part of the “freedom of expression” that jihadists seek for themselves.
5 headlines failed to mention Gaza rocket attacks.
6 featured a photo of damage in Gaza from IAF strikes.
0 used images, anywhere in the article, of damage done by Hamas rockets.
6 failed to note it was the largest volley of Hamas rockets since 2014.
One final note about the headline choices. Editors focused on the fact that the Israeli attack on military targets Saturday was the “heaviest barrage” by the IDF since the 2014 war. However, it’s quite telling that they decided not to focus on the fact that the nearly 200 rockets fired at Israel on Saturday represents the single largest volley of Gaza rockets launched on any single day since the 2014 war.
So, headlines which read “Israel pummels Gaza with heaviest bombardment since 2014” could just as easily have read: “Gaza pummels Israel with heaviest bombardment since 2014”.
The broader dynamic at play is the consistent failure of journalists and their editors to frame articles in a manner which focuses primarily on terrorist violence and evokes sympathy for Israeli terror victims and the southern communities on the receiving end of such attacks. The story they wish to tell demands that the words and images be molded to conform to the desired ‘David vs Goliath’ narrative. It also operates from an assumption that Palestinians lack agency and that the only party in the conflict that matters is Israel.
The facts may change, but the story remains the same.
Some nineteen hours after terror factions in the Gaza Strip had begun launching a barrage of mortars and rockets at Israeli civilians living in nearby communities in the early hours of July 14th, visitors to the BBC News website were informed that: “Israel deals hardest blow to Hamas”.
That report – headlined “Israel deals ‘hardest blow’ to Hamas since 2014 Gaza war” – appeared on the website’s main homepage as well as its ‘World’ and ‘Middle East’ pages and it was amended several times throughout the night with the later version opening:
“Israel has carried out its biggest attack against Hamas militant targets in Gaza since the war in 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says.
The raids were a response to rockets fired into Israel, he said. Hamas said a truce had been agreed, but there have been reports of further exchanges.”
BBC audiences were not informed that events spiraled following violent incidents on July 13th during what the report later describes as “mass demonstrations along the border”. The report’s only reference to those incidents is as follows:
Two Palestinians were killed and one was wounded in an explosion on Sunday in a building in Gaza, health officials said.
The cause of the blast, hours after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the enclave was announced, was not immediately known. Health officials said the two people killed were a father and his son.
The explosion came hours after a ceasefire ended a fierce flare-up in fighting between Israel and Gaza militants, but police did not suggest Israel was responsible.
“An explosion took place this morning in a house west of Gaza City,” police spokesman Ayman al-Batnijiy said. He gave their ages as 35 and 13.
“The police launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion.”
Israeli media identified the victims as Ahmad Mansour Hassan, a commander of an Al-Aqsa Marty’r Brigade missile unit. He was apparently killed while preparing a rocket. The explosion also killed his son, and a third individual was critically injured.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is facing domestic criticism for his decision to attend Sunday’s World Cup final in Moscow amid ongoing unrest in Gaza, where Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups have exchanged fire resulting in casualties on both sides of the tense border.
Palestinian soccer chief Jibril Rjoub announced last month that Abbas would travel to Russia for the game and would meet with President Vladimir Putin to discuss “bilateral relations and the latest political developments.”
During their meeting on Saturday, Putin said he was pleased to be able to discuss the problems facing the Palestinians.
“I’m glad of the opportunity to tell you about the contact we have had with your neighbors, and leaders of various countries,” Putin said, in quotes carried by Russian agencies.
“I know that the situation in the region is difficult and we are grateful that you have used the World Cup as a reason to come to Moscow,” the Russian president added.
The International Criminal Court in the Hague has initiated a significant and unprecedented step towards an investigation against Israel, calling on the “victims of the situation in Palestine” to approach the court with reports about crimes committed against them, Kan 11, Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation reported Saturday night.
This is a precedent-setting step, according to Kan 11, since the claims made by the Palestinian Authority against Israel are only at the preliminary stage of examination. The court initiated the appeal and called on the victims to share the crimes that have harmed them. Ostensibly, Israelis can also apply to the court, but this does not appear to be the intention of the court, seeing as it is seeking reports of violations in “Palestinians.”
The ICC website lists 10 countries where it is investigating violations of international law, one of which is “Palestine,” where the court’s focus is described as “Alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014.”
The same website describes the preliminary examinations conducted by the ICC, saying, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is responsible for determining whether a situation meets the legal criteria established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in force since July 1, 2002, to warrant investigation by the Office. To this end, the ICC prosecutor conducts a preliminary examination of all communications and situations that come to its attention based on the statutory criteria and the information available.
Once a situation is identified as meriting the court’s involvement, the prosecutor considers whether the ICC has jurisdiction over the case, the case’s admissibility, and what the website calls “the interests of justice.”
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 13, 2018
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett reached an agreement Sunday on a key change to the nation-state bill that will remove a controversial clause sanctioning housing discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and replace it with a new one celebrating “Jewish settlement” in general terms.
Clause 7B of the Likud-sponsored legislation, which the government hopes to have approved by the end of the month, previously would have allowed the state to “authorize a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community.”
Politicians, legal advisers and others have warned that that version of the so-called Jewish State bill is discriminatory and could cast a dark shadow over Israel in the international arena.
In a bid to gain wider support for the bill and quiet its vociferous critics, Bennett had proposed language removing the clause and replace it with a call for strengthening the Jewish presence in predominantly Arab Israeli areas.
The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office today filed an indictment against leftist operative Ezra Nawi in the city’s Magistrate’s Court.
Nawi is accused of providing Palestinian Authority Preventive Security forces information about ownership and sale of land in the southern Hevron hills.
This is an offense under section 7a(b) of the Implementation of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Restriction of Activity) Law.
The law prohibits an Israeli citizen or resident from joining or acting in the service of the intelligence and security forces of the Palestinian Authority.
The Ad Kan organization that exposed Nawi’s activity, objected to the indictment being filed for such a minor offense, and demanded that he be tried for offenses of contact with a foreign agent and accessory to murder.
Nawi’s activity in assisting the PA security forces in locating and capturing Arab land sellers to Jews was revealed in an investigation broadcast on Channel 2’s Uvda program.
Six young Jews from the US associated with the left-wing IfNotNow organization have again gatecrashed a Birthright trip in Israel, participated in part of the 10 day tour and then demonstratively left in protest at what they said is a lack of perspective provided during the visit on the Palestinian narrative of the conflict with Israel.
The group of participants associated with IfNotNow live-streamed their protest on Facebook.
It appears that only the six participants in the group associated with IfNotNow left the tour to visit east Jerusalem, but not any one else on this Birthright trip.
Another two Birthright participants from a different group joined the original group of six on the tour in east Jerusalem, which was guided by Hagit Ofran from Peace Now’s Settlement Watch division.
This is the latest incident is the second in what is a coordinated campaign by IfNotNow group to have youth associated with the organization sign up for the free Birthright trips, and then publicly protest Israeli rule in the West Bank.
IfNotNow, which says it seeks to “end American Jewish support for the occupation,” launched a new campaign in June called Not Just A Free Trip, in which it says it is using “a diversity of methods” to teach Birthright participants about “the daily nightmare of Occupation.”
The chairman of a Dutch Jewish group said that he had been assaulted by a prominent ally of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour party, during the UK politician’s visit to the Netherlands.
Hidde J. van Koningsveld, chairman of the CiJo student group, complained to police about the alleged altercation with writer Paul Mason on Tuesday, at an event hosted by the Dutch Labor party, PvdA. Mason denied the allegations.
Van Koningsveld told police on July 10 that five days earlier, three people he did not know shouted at him and shoved him around at the Paard nightclub in the Hague. The three men approached him and two of his friends because they unfurled during Corbyn’s speech there a banner reading: “Labour — for the many, not the Jew” to protest the British party’s anti-Semitism problem. Many British Jews blame Corbyn for it.
One of the three men “deliberately, clearly and forcefully hit me on the back of my neck,” van Koningsveld told police. “It hurt,” he added, but he did not seek medical attention.
The Episcopal Church’s 2018 General Convention in Austin, Texas. Photo: Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
Amid a slew of anti-Israel resolutions at the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church this week, a proposal to divest from Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem was roundly rejected by the church’s governing House of Bishops.
Wednesday’s vote at the Convention in Austin, Tx., put “to rest for at least another three years one of the church’s most divisive issues,” the Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported.
The proposal to divest from Israel was initially adopted by a hefty 74 percent vote in the church’s House of Deputies – in effect, a lower chamber whose resolutions are then considered by the House of Bishops. Among the 300 Episcopal bishops, however, the response was far less enthused, with 62 percent of members rejecting the divestment call.
Significantly, some pro-Palestinian bishops admitted to having second thoughts about divestment as a strategy.
Speaking to the ENS, Bishop J. Scott Barker of Nebraska acknowledged “the unendurable weight shouldered by the Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation” but also warned against the “widespread” insistence among Palestinians that Israel has no right to exist.
Algerian Minister Mohamed Issa Supports Toulouse Imam Tatai, Accused of Antisemitism: We Hope the Extremist Media Will Cease Affronting Islam pic.twitter.com/gnq3gv1sok
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 15, 2018
Grand Mosque of Paris Denounces Toulouse Imam Tatai for Antisemitic Rhetoric pic.twitter.com/AngVO2bGY9
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 15, 2018
Palestinian Sheikh Khaled Al-Maghrabi at Al-Aqsa Mosque: Why Did the Jews Invent the First Fire Engine? pic.twitter.com/QBhmE7wVbL
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 15, 2018
A Miami Beach man was arrested Thursday after he tried to burn down his condominium building in the city and “kill all the Jews,” police said.
Walter Stolper, 72, faces charges of attempted arson and attempted murder.
Miami Beach police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said investigators received a credible tip that Stolper was planning to burn down The Pavilion residences on Collins Avenue.
Rodriguez said Stolper was angry after having recently been served with eviction papers.
Another resident of the condo told police that Stolper told him he was going to pour gasoline down the drain line of the building, ignite it and then padlock the building’s fire hoses to prevent firefighters from extinguishing the flames.
Walter Stopler, 72, faces a charge of first-degree attempted arson after police say he tried to burn down his own condominium building to “kill all the Jews.”
Investigators later found Stolper in the parking garage of the building, pushing two plastic containers in a shopping cart. The containers were filled with gas. Investigators said they found eight more plastic containers filled with gas in a garbage chute dumpster.
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