Lebanon and Syria
The IDF appears to have launched an airstrike in Syria on January 18th that killed two Hezbollah commanders, an Iranian General, and nine other fighters. Jerusalem declined to comment on the strike, but an unnamed Israeli official told reporters that the IDF targeted terrorists who were planning attacks on the Jewish state. Jerusalem reportedly deployed two Iron Dome batteries near Israel’s northern border, and increased air patrols and troop deployments in the area following the attack.
In response, terrorists launched rockets from Syria at an Israeli military position in the Golan Heights on January 27th. The IDF subsequently bombed a Syrian army installation in Quneitra province. The next day, two Israeli soldiers were killed near the Lebanon border after Hezbollah fighters launched a Kornet anti-tank missile at their patrol car. At least seven other IDF troops in the convoy were injured during the attack near Mt. Dov. Israel’s military launched retaliatory artillery and airstrikes against Hezbollah operation centers near the border. A Spanish peacekeeper from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed in the crossfire, according to local media.
Vehicles burn near the village of Ghajar on Israel’s border with Lebanon after Hezbollah fired multiple Kornet missiles. (Photo: Reuters)
Israeli officials suspect Hezbollah could launch attacks from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights if fighting between Lebanon and Israel escalates. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, says communities near the border need better protection from tunnels and advanced missiles, such as the Kornet.
A 23-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank stabbed 11 people near a bus stop in Tel Aviv on January 21st. The perpetrator was shot in the leg while attempting to flee. Three of the seriously injured victims were taken to nearby hospitals.
Islamic State affiliate State of Sinai (formerly called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis) launched a series of attacks on January 29th that claimed the lives of 27 Egyptians. The terrorists first bombed a military barracks and hotel in the costal city of al-Arish. Later in the day militants opened fire at two checkpoints near Suez and el-Arish, killing an army major. Hundreds of soldiers and police officers have been killed since the insurgency erupted following the overthrow of Mohammad Morsi in 2013.
The Egyptian military discovered six bodies riddled with bullets near el-Arish on January 24th. Army investigators are working to identify the victims. A few days later, three men were found beheaded outside Sheikh Zuwayed.
State of Sinai also claimed responsibility for bombing a pipeline transporting gas to Jordan saying Amman was targeted due its role in the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria.
In response to the recent attacks, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to establish a joint counter-terrorism command in Sinai. The center will integrate leaders of the 3rd Army division, police forces, and the intelligence community, all of which have been battling the insurgency separately. Newly promoted Lieutenant General General Osama Askar will lead the command and try to reduce incident response times. Seperately, the Egyptian government extended the state of emergency and a 11-hour nighttime curfew for another three months.
The Palestinian Authority lead by President Mahmoud Abbas arrested more than 1,000 Hamas members last year in the West Bank, according to a statement by the Gaza based the terror group. Hamas claims that there were hundreds of other “attacks” against its members, saying that the PA seeks to undermine the Hamas’s influence in the Palestinian territories.
Israeli Authorities arrested two West Bank residents for the unprovoked shooting of two Palestinians from Kafr Akraba last month.
An Israeli soldier shot and killed a Palestinian man who was attempting to throw firebombs at cars near Nablus on January 31st.
Approximately 15,000 teenagers in Gaza graduated from a week long Hamas-run terrorist training camp. Drills taught youths aged 15-21 how out to use weapons, infiltrate Israel through tunnels, and kidnap IDF soldiers. A Hamas spokesman explained that high demand for the trainings forced camp organizers to expand the program, holding exercises on al-Qassam Brigades military facilities. Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, attended the graduation ceremony.
Palestinians burn tires at a UN building in Gaza on January 28, 2015. (Photo: AP)
A protest outside a United Nations compound in Gaza City turned violent when demonstrators stormed through the gates around the facility. Rioters, who were upset with the suspension of an aid program, smashed windows and burned tires.
Hamas terrorists test fired a series of rockets into the Mediterranean Sea as part of the group’s ongoing work to enhance their ingenious rocket capability.
The Israeli military arrested two men as they tried to sneak past the border fence with Gaza on January 30th. Authorities say the men were carrying three hand grenades, a knife and a screw driver.
An unidentified assailant threw a grenade into the Gaza City home of Fatah Assistant Deputy of Civil Affairs Naser al-Sarraj. The grenade failed to explode, but the attack adds to a growing number of violent crimes targeting both Fatah and Hamas officials.