As of this writing, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after more than four weeks of fighting. Hamas has violated each of the previous ceasefires. So far, Operation Protective Edge has resulted in the deaths of 64 Israeli soldiers, 3 civilians in Israel, and over 1,900 Palestinians. While a preliminary IDF assessment estimates that approximately 47% were combatants, the UN estimates that closer to 70% of the deaths were civilians. The IDF announced that it had destroyed 32 tunnels, dealing a large blow to the great investment Hamas had made, in which it found motorcycles, Israeli army uniforms, rocket propelled grenades, as well as booby trapped explosives. Israel said it had redeployed all its ground forces out of Gaza.
Throughout the war, Hamas routinely put the lives of Palestinian civilian at risk by intermingling its fighters in hospitals, schools, mosques, and other residential areas. On at least three occasions, Hamas used United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools as weapons depots, which, after discovery, UN officials promptly returned to Hamas. UNRWA supplies were also used to help construct terror tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel.
IDF soldiers in and around a Hamas terror tunnel they discovered. (Photo: IDF)
Iron Dome, Israel’s short-range anti-missile system, proved extremely effective during the conflict. It successfully intercepted 578 of the 3,360 rockets the IDF estimates have been fired during Protective Edge. Ten Iron Dome batteries are now deployed from Eilat to the Golan Heights. The United States, in a bipartisan and nearly unanimous fashion, agreed to provide $225 million in emergency aid to Israel to replenish its Iron Dome interceptor stocks.
On July 18th, the IDF shot and killed a Palestinian man who was throwing firebombs during a riot in the town of al-Ram in the West Bank. An Israeli citizen was shot while standing at a road junction in the West Bank the next day. The critically injured 25-year-old man was taken the Rabin Medical Center.
On July 24, thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank marched from al-Amari to the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates Ramallah from Jerusalem, to show their support for Hamas. Some parents brought their children and watched as Palestinian youths threw stones and fireworks at Israeli security forces. Hamas called for a “day of rage” on Friday August 2nd, urging Palestinians to take to the streets. More than 1,000 Palestinians participated in violent riots, throwing rocks and firebombs near Ramallah. Two protesters died in separate incidents during clashes with Israeli security forces.
Today, a security guard working at a checkpoint near the entrance to Ma’ale Adumim was stabbed by an unknown assailant, in what police believe to be a terror attack.
One person was killed and five others were injured on August 4th in Jerusalem when Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis rammed his tractor into and tried to flip a passenger bus. A police officer, assisted by an off-duty prison officer, shot and killed the attacker. Meanwhile, a gunman on a motorcycle shot and injured a soldier at nearby Mt. Scopus.
On the night of July 21st, Israel intercepted a boat loaded with guns and drugs attempting to cross the Dead Sea. Israeli officials discovered seven shotguns, six pistols, and large amounts of marijuana. Two of the smugglers were from Jericho and three were from East Jerusalem.
The Egyptian Army continued to crack down on terrorists in the Sinai who have targeted both the Egyptian and Israeli militaries. Over three days in the north Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, the army killed a suicide bomber headed towards Kerem Shalom in Israel and destroyed a vehicle filled with Grad rockets, killing two people. Unknown gunmen also killed two Egyptian police officers on July 25th in the same town. In early August, Egypt announced that 11 terrorists died during fighting with security forces in Sinai. Recent army operations also destroyed three cars, eight motorcycles, and 16 tunnels to Gaza.
Egyptian security forces stand guard at the Rafah border crossing between Sinai and Gaza. (Photo: UPI)
An Israeli UAV killed three Salafi terrorists belonging to Ansar Bait al-Maqdis in northern Sinai, according to a statement released by local jihadists. Other witnesses say the three militants were trying to fire Grad rockets into Israel.
On July 26th, four children were killed and five other people were injured when a rocket landed near Rafah, an Egyptian town close to Gaza. The rocket was fired at the Egyptian military from al-Gorah city, six miles from the Gaza border. The next day Egyptian troops killed 14 fighters in a battle in Sheikh Zuweid.
According to Israeli Radio, military leaders put Northern Command soldiers stationed near Lebanon and Syria on high alert in late July. Five rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon at Israel since the beginning of last month.
On July 19, the House of Representatives unanimously passed new sanctions targeting financial institutions dealing with Hezbollah and its Al-Manar television station. The bill also supports measures to label Hezbollah as a narcotics trafficker or transnational criminal organization, further restricting the group’s access to international financial markets.
Shin Bet Attack Summary
During the month of June, Gaza-based militants launched 36 attacks, including 31 rocket launchings, 3 mortar shell launchings, one small arms shooting, and one improvised explosive device (IED). In Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem the government recorded 100 attacks, including one kidnap and murder, 23 IEDs, 5 small arms shootings, and 71 firebombs.