Posts tagged IDF
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is deploying all of its missile defenses as a precaution against possible Syrian retaliatory attacks should Western powers carry out threatened strikes on Syria, Israeli Army Radio said on Wednesday.
It did not say how many interceptor batteries were mobilized by Israel’s air defense corps. The missile defenses include the short-range Iron Dome, the mid-range Patriot and the long-range Arrow II.
Facing potentially imminent attack by the United States and other Western powers over its alleged use of chemical weapons, Damascus has hinted it could shoot back at the Jewish state, its old foe. Israel is also braced for rocket salvoes from Hezbollah, Syria’s Lebanese militia ally.
Asked about the Army Radio report, an Israeli military spokesman said: “In light of the recent occurrences in the region, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is taking the necessary defense measures to safeguard the State of Israel.”
He declined to elaborate on the military deployments.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel sought to stay out of the Syrian crisis but would respond forcefully to any attempt to attack it.
He struck a more calming tone on Wednesday, as Israelis stood in long lines at gas mask distribution centers in shopping malls. Israel has provided its citizens with equipment to cope with possible chemical or biological attacks since the 1991 Gulf War, when U.S.-led troops drove Iraq out of Kuwait.
“Following a security assessment held today, there is no reason for a change to normal routines,” Netanyahu said in a statement after he met with his security cabinet. “We are, in parallel, preparing for any scenario.”
The security cabinet approved a small-scale mobilization of military reservists, according to an Israeli official briefed on the meeting. source – Yahoo News
Major threat to Israel
For the first time in many years, voices in the US administration were criticizing the Israeli defense forces for under-reacting and, in this case, also underestimating the chemical weapons threat emanating from Syria and neglecting to pursue counter-measures. This is what visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak heard when he met US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 5, as the new defense secretary’s first foreign visitor.
Debkafile’s military and Washington sources disclose that Barak was berated for “inadequate and cursory” military preparations which failed to take into account that a chemical attack on Israel would make it necessary for the IDF to enter Syria – most likely for an offensive operation coordinated against the common threat with the Turkish and Jordanian armies.
Present at the meeting between Hagel and Barak were also Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. Our sources add that the conversation ranged over the Syrian crisis with no reference to a nuclear Iran.
From the defense secretary, Barak heard intelligence estimates confirmed for the first time by an American official that Hizballah has been able to procure a quantity of chemical weapons from Syria – a development which Israel’s leaders have vowed to prevent.
The proliferation of chemical weapons to HIzballah and other armed bands on Israel’s borders was apparently in the mind of Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, UN Security Council president for March, when he cautioned Monday that trouble was building up between Israel and Syria. source – DEBKA
No ceasefire as battle to stop Gaza missile strikes continues
Israeli air and naval forces launched heavy assaults in Gaza before dawn Sunday, Nov. 18 – Day 5 of the IDF’s Gaza operation – after daylong bargaining Saturday among Washington, Jerusalem, Cairo and Gaza, failed to produce an Israel-Hamas truce accord.
When Egyptian and Turkish middlemen suggested a ceasefire was close, Israel accused them of pushing Hamas’s terms which were fashioned to present the Palestinian radicals as the victor in the contest. The trio leading the Israeli war, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, countered by intensifying the IDF’s Gaza offensive – though not as yet sending ground troops in.
A Western source said it would take some days to determine if a ceasefire was feasible. Egyptian intelligence meanwhile smuggled Hamas Prime Minister Islmail Haniyeh out of Gaza and over to El Arish in northern Sinai in the convoy of visiting Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafiq Abdessalem when he departed Gaza Saturday, DEBKAfile reports.
Friday night, Israel bombers struck government headquarters in Gaza City.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi decided that Haniyeh must be continuously available at the end of a phone to lead the Hamas side in the ceasefire negotiations. This was not possible so long as the Hamas prime minister remained in Gaza. All of Hamas leaders have gone to ground for fear of targeted assassination by Israel. They have switched off their phones and electronic communications to avoid giving away their locations to Israeli surveillance. Haniyeh was even afraid to communicate with Cairo through the Egyptian military mission in Gaza.
In these circumstances, Morsi and Erdogan’s were prevented from get their ceasefire mediation bid off the ground. Moving Haniyeh to El Arish put a Hamas negotiator in place to lead the give-and-take for a truce. Our sources have not discovered if he is still there or has moved back to Gaza.
The Turkish prime minister brought a secret passenger in the plane bringing him to Cairo Saturday. He is Saleh Aruri, formerly of the Hamas military wing. Aruri had spent 15 years in an Israeli prison for terrorism and murder until he was released on Oct. 18, 2011 in the prisoner exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit on condition he went into exile.
Turkey granted him asylum and its intelligence agency MIT gave him free rein to set up an operational command in Istanbul for Hamas terrorist networks on the West Bank. On arrival in Cairo, the Turkish prime minister put Aruri in charge of the contacts with Haniyeh.
At a news conference in Cairo Saturday night, the Egyptian president and Turkish prime minister reported “some indications that there could be a ceasefire soon” although “there were still no guarantees.”
The guarantees issue has become a pivotal bargaining point.
Israel, backed by the United States, insists that a ceasefire be signed between the US, Egypt, Turkey and Israel, and exclude Hamas, which would be bound by a separate agreement with Cairo.
Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman are asking the United States to act as guarantor for a ceasefire. Erdogan has countered by inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to join US President Barack Obama as victor.
Hamas has rejected all of Israel’s terms.
During the night, Israel denied reports circulating in Cairo that an Israeli negotiator was heading for the Egyptian capital to get down to the specifics of an emerging truce deal. The three Israeli war leaders decided not to fall into the trap laid by Morsi and Erdogan. Instead, they told the IDF to press ahead with the operation until its objectives were attained – hence the launching of a fresh air and sea assault before daybreak Sunday.
OC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Rousso defined those objectives to reporters Saturday night as “eliminating the war arsenals of Hamas and terrorist organizations and restoring peace and normality to the population of southern Israel.”
The ground operation is meanwhile delayed, in accordance with Netanyahu’s promise to President Obama in their conversation early Saturday, that a full-scale ground invasion would not go forward so long as there was a chance of a ceasefire – unless there was escalation from Hamas or a strike that caused significant casualties.
A western source in Cairo familiar with the truce negotiations reported that Obama has not yet decided whether he wants to be directly involved in any ceasefire deal, which in any case has not reached the concluding stage. “The cake dough is still being kneaded and not yet ready to for the oven,” he said. source – DEBKA
Full-blown war about to break out
Gaza terrorists continued to fire rockets into southern Israel on Thursday morning killing three people and injuring two others in Kiryat Malachi. More than 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza into the South in the 24 hours after the IDF launched a campaign Wednesday to root out the terror infrastructure in the coastal territory, beginning with the targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari, the chief of Hamas’s military wing.
Three people were pronounced dead on the scene and two others were suffering moderate injuries, including a baby.
A house in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim near Beersheba also sustained damage from rockets on Thursday morning.
Rockets also landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area, Gan Yavne and Ashkelon.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office stated the Iron Dome rocket defense system has successfully intercepted more than 80 rockets since the operation began.
separate IDF spokesman confirmed that all Palestinian terror factions took part in rocket fire overnight Wednesday, with Hamas trying to take the lead.
He added that the IDF “believes the rocket fire will intensify.”
Since beginning its operation, the IDF has struck nearly 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, including several terrorist cells preparing to fire rockets at Israel and medium-range rocket launchers located across the Strip.
Tank fire also was directed at terror targets, he added.
Palestinian sources said that 13 people were killed in Gaza as a result of the IAF strikes, with more than a hundred suffering injuries.
The spokesman concluded by describing the Hamas-ruled Strip as “a forward Iranian base,” and urged the populace to remain steadfast, as “home front resilience is vital for the continuing operation.”
Schools within 40 km. of the Gaza Strip were declared closed Thursday, and residents were urged to follow directives from the IDF Home Front Command. Magen David Adom paramedics treated 13 Israelis for injuries suffered overnight prior to the fatal strike in Kiryat Malachi, the organization said. Of the injured, four suffered light wounds while nine more suffered shock symptoms.
Gaza-border communities were in lockdown, with residents ordered to remain in their homes if they live within 7 km. of Gaza.
Explosions have been reported as far away as Dimona, some 75 km. from the Gaza Strip.
At an emergency meeting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the security cabinet authorized Defense Minister Ehud Barak to mobilize reservists if needed.
The cabinet also agreed that the IDF should continue to act against terrorist infrastructure and activity in Gaza. It instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin a diplomatic public relations campaign to explain that Israel was acting in self-defense against military targets, as the continued rocket barrage had become intolerable.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on the telephone on Wednesday night with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. He was also scheduled to speak with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The prime minister thanked Obama and Biden for taking the position that Israel had a right to defend itself. The military operation immediately increased tensions with Egypt, which condemned Israel’s actions and recalled its ambassador. source – JPost
Psalm 129:5 - “Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.”
This is the moment a pinpoint Israeli airstrike blew up the one of the top Hamas military commanders in Gaza today. Ahmed Jabari, the most senior Hamas official to be killed since an Israeli invasion of Gaza four years ago, was travelling in a car in Gaza city when it was struck by a rocket and exploded. Video supplied from the official IDF BLOG website. Thank you, guys for all you do!
The event was played out online, with Israel and Hamas both using Twitter to provide updates on the latest round of cross-border violence. Video of the attack was posted online by the Israeli Defense Force as it provided live updates of its Operation Pillar of Defense on Terror Targets in Gaza.
The 46-year-old had long topped Israel’s most-wanted list and was notorious in Israel, which blamed him for in a string of bloody attacks, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006.
Israel immediately admitted responsibility for the attack and said Jabari had been behind ‘all terrorist activities against Israel from Gaza’ in the last decade.
‘The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership,’ the Israeli military said in a statement.
Immediate calls for revenge were broadcast over Hamas radio and smaller groups also warned of retaliation.
‘Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences,’ Islamic Jihad said.
The killing was a dramatic resumption of Israel’s policy of assassinating Palestinian militant leaders and military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch said the attack is the ‘start of a broader operation’ – seen as a clear indication attacks on more Hamas leaders are planned. source – Daily Mail UK
Israel calls up reservists for Gaza ground assault
The operation, called “Pillar of Defense”, has been launched by the Israel military. Many of the buildings in downtown Gaza City are on fire after being attacked by Israeli warplanes, RT’s Arabic correspondent Saed Swerky reports on Twitter.
The IDF says all options are on the table in Gaza, including a ground operation
Israel has started emergency call up of reservists, while saying they are preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza, RT`s Tom Barton reports from Israel. The strikes caused extensive damage to the long-range missile capabilities and underground weapons storage facilities, the IDF said on Twitter.
The Gaza Education Ministry has announced a suspension of study at Gaza schools and universities due to heavy fire by Israel.
Big explosion occurred near home of Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, Al Arabiya reported. The death toll from the strikes has risen to nine with some 20 wounded, the Red Cross says.
Jabari was traveling in his vehicle in Gaza City when his car was struck, AP reports, citing witnesses. Reports say Jabari, his son and three other people were killed in the strike.
An Israeli strike also targeted Raad Atar, another senior Hamas military wing commander, but he survived, Israeli Ynet reports.
The assassination has “opened the gates of hell,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were quoted by AFP as saying. The militants vowed to ”continue the path of resistance.”
The IDF stated on its website that it has launched a “widespread campaign on terror sites and operatives in the Gaza Strip” and Jabari was its first target. He’s the highest ranking Hamas official to be killed since 2009, when Israel conducted ground offensive against Gaza.
“The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure. This was a surgical operation in cooperation with the Israeli Security Agency, that was implemented on the basis of concrete intelligence and using advanced capabilities,” the statement said.
The crackdown follows the recent escalation of violence in the region. The conflict broke out last week when Palestinian militants attacked at an Israeli military jeep.
Israel responded with retaliatory attacks, to which the Gaza Strip replied with heavy rocket fire at southern Israel.
Jabari is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza four years ago. He is believed to be behind the notorious abduction and detention of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held hostage for more than four years until being released last year as part of a hostage swap deal. source – RT
Israel starts Operation Pillar Of Defense
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21,22
The IAF struck and killed Hamas’s head of military operations Ahmed Jabari in central Gaza on Wednesday. The strike marked the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in Gaza, IDF spokesman Yoav Mordechai announced.
Hamas has announced a general call-up and threatened to respond not just with rockets but suicide attacks. Israeli sources say the air operation called Pillar of Cloud is underway against more Hamas leaders and its military infrastructure and rocket stocks across the Gaza Strip until peace is restored to southern Israel. – DEBKA
“The first aim of this operation is to bring back quiet to southern Israel, and the second target is to strike at terror organizations,” Mordechai said. “The homefront must brace itself resiliently,” he added, describing Jabari as a man with “a lot of blood on his hands.”
The IDF says Jabari carried out and ordered numerous terror attacks against Israel, including the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit and the firing of hundreds of rockets in recent years.
Mordechai added that Gaza is a “forward Iranian base,” adding that the latest campaign of air strikes targeted most of the long-range offensive capabilities in the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
He added that columns of smoke were visible around Gaza.
Shortly after Mordechai’s annoucement, the IAF struck over 20 underground rocket launchers belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The airstrikes targeted long-range rockets in the possession of terror organizations, such as the Fajr-5 and other rockets that are capable of striking Tel Aviv from Gaza. Palestinian sources said that six Gazans were killed in the IDF strikes.
The IDF believes it has eliminated the majority of the long-range threat.
The majority of the Gaza weapons storage sites were located in civilian residential buildings, the IDF confirmed. “This is further evidence of the pattern of Hamas to use the population in Gaza as human shields,” the IDF stressed.
The IDF has urged civilians to pay attention to instructions from the Home Front Command in light of the developments.
In response to the attacks, Hamas said that “the occupation has opened the gates of hell.”
Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said the assassination will not “break the will of our people, nor weaken our resistance,”Al Ahram reported. Al-Rishq made the comments on his Facebook site, adding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is using the “war crime” to boost his chances of reelection, but that it could “cost him his political future.”
Wednesday’s violence came after a four-day rocket barragewhich began Saturday appeared to have come to an end on Tuesday evening. The hostilities saw over 100 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel and Israeli retaliatory strikes which killed six Palestinians.
Both Israel and Hamas sent signals to each other via Egypt that they would hold their fire unless attacked, after five days of mounting violence. source – JPost