Posts tagged IDF
Jerusalem, Israel: Israeli planes struck 29 targets in the Strip, the army said in a statement. Palestinians said at least five strategic points were hit in the coastal enclave, primarily in areas around the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.
Israel had warned that it would hit back hard at Gaza terror groups, after more than 50 rockets were fired at southern Israel. Among the IAF targets were bases of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, which had claimed the rocket attacks, throughout the Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses said. No Palestinian casualties were initially reported. Earlier, IDF tanks fired shells at targets in the Strip.
“All of our planes safely returned to their bases,” the IDF said in a statement. “The attack was carried out in retaliation for the massive ballistic bombardment of Israeli territory this evening. The IDF will not abide any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to act decisively against anyone who employs terrorism against the State of Israel.”
Israeli military sources said after the late-night retaliatory strikes that Israel would now wait to see how Hamas and Islamic Jihad responded. If there were no further rocket attacks on Israel, the current flare-up would be over. But if there was more rocket fire, Israel would again respond.
As of late Wednesday night, the Israeli authorities had not canceled school for children in the south Thursday.
Although the rocket fire from Gaza subsided late in the evening, Israel raised its security alert in the south, and residents were told to stay within 15 seconds of rooms reinforced against rockets, amid indications that the dramatically escalated new round of confrontation was not over.
At least two rockets from Gaza fell in residential areas, one of them causing light damage in Sderot. There were no direct injuries, but a Sderot woman, aged 57, was lightly hurt as she ran for cover.
“If there is no quiet in our south, no quiet for the residents of Israel, there will be noise, lots of noise in Gaza,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a joint press conference with his British counterpart, David Cameron. “And that’s an understatement.” source – Times of Israel
JPost: Israeli warplanes have struck Hezbollah targets near the Lebanese-Syria border, the Lebanese press reported late Monday evening. The hits were reportedly near the Lebanese towns of Janta and Yahfoufa, and were carried out by multiple planes on multiple targets.
According to the Lebanese newspaper Daily Star, IAF jets flew two bombing sorties against a Hezbollah post in the Nabi Sheet area on the border between Lebanon and Syria. A Lebanese security source is quoted by The Daily Star as saying that Janta is known to be a hotbed of Hezbollah recruitment and training. It is also considered a key stop on the route through which arms are smuggled between Lebanon and Syria.
Eyewitnesses told the Lebanese press that the IAF jets were seen flying out to sea and back toward Israel. Thus far, the Israeli army has refused to comment on the reports.
In August 2013, unnamed US officials told The New York Times that a July 5 IAF strike on a Syrian warehouse near Latakia targeted Russian-made Yakhont missiles destined for Hezbollah, and that the strike failed to destroy all of the missiles.
At the end of January, foreign reports claimed that Israeli fighter jets flying over northern Lebanon struck Latakia again. Some reports speculated that the targets were S-300 air defense systems destined for Hezbollah.
Foreign media reports have attributed five alleged Israeli air strikes on targets in Syria in 2013, reportedly to prevent the transfer of strategic arms to Hezbollah.
These include an alleged strike on a convoy ferrying SA-17 air defense missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in January, and two strikes in May in the Damascus area, targeting storage facilities housing guided, medium-range, Iranian Fateh-110 missiles.
Following the reports of strikes in May, a Syrian army post near the Israeli border opened fire at IDF soldiers patrolling the frontier. The IDF returned fire with a guided Tamuz surface-to-surface missile, destroying the post and hitting two Syrian soldiers. There were no injuries on the Israeli side. A few days earlier, two Syrian mortar shells slammed into Mount Hermon. source – JPost
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