Home Frontline Defense February 17th Edition

February 17th Edition

Jewish Policy Center

Golan Heights

With significant support from Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers, the Syrian government launched a new offensive against rebels on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Regime forces are trying to displace Islamist fighters who recently took control of Quneitra provence and other areas near the border. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran was trying to open a new front in which Tehran could threaten Israel.

An IDF soldier sustained serious injuries to her leg after a landmine exploded while she was working near the border fence in the Golan Heights.

Smoke rises following an explosion in Syria’s Quneitra province as Syrian rebels clash with President Bashar Assad’s forces last year. (Photo: AP)


Rivalry between militants groups in Gaza continued this month, with a car bomb targeting a senior Hamas official on February 6th. Sami al-Hams was not wounded in the attack, but a drive by shooting on February 16th nearly killed Ma’moun Sweidan who heads Fatah’s foreign affairs division in Gaza. The two incidents highlight a series of attacks that have targeted both Hamas and Fatah officials in recent weeks. Reports suggest an Islamic State affiliate, and other Salafists elements, could be behind the unrest and may attempt to provoke Israel into retaliating against Hamas.

Shin Bet and the Israeli Navy arrested three men on a boat traveling from Sinai to Gaza. The men were carrying large quantities of liquid fiberglass, which, according the smugglers, is used by Hamas to fabricate rockets.

Israel’s Military Advocate General handed down written indictments against several IDF troops accused of looting Palestinian homes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. If convicted, the soldiers could receive up to 10 years in prison.

Hamas claimed that the Egyptian army fired at their security outposts along Gaza’s border with Sinai on February 4th, and called for an investigation into the incident. Egyptian forces say they were just firing warning shots after a bomb exploded near an army convoy monitoring the border area. A few days earlier an Egyptian court labeled Hamas, which runs Gaza, as a terrorist organization.

Israeli troops completed demolishing the last tunnel leading to Gaza earlier this month after discovering it during Operation Protective Edge. The tunnel, which led to the Israeli town of  Nahal Oz, was partly destroyed over the summer but had still been monitored by Israeli troops.

At least eight names of Palestinian journalists killed during Operation Protective Edge last year were Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives, according to a new report by Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The head of the Institute argued that the militants were acting more as propagandists than as journalists and compared them to an Islamic State cameramen who films recent beheadings.

Japanese cyber security firm Trend Micro released a report detailing a series of malware attacks launched from Gaza against Israeli targets since 2013. The campaign, named “Arid Viper,” would send infected files disguised as pornography via email in an attempt to gain access to a user’s documents and files.

West Bank

IDF troops opened fire on a Palestinian driver who attempted to run them over near Bethlehem on February 8th. There were no reports of injuries from the attack but government officials continue to look for the suspect.

An Israeli court sentenced a Jewish settler from Havat Gilad to three years in prison for a religiously motivated arson attack on Palestinian property. Two other men were also convicted of torching Palestinian cars in the West Bank as part of a series “price tag” revenge attacks.

The IDF and Shit Bet launched a series of raids on February 10th and 11th to seize illegal weapons held by Hamas operatives in the West Bank. Besides high caliber guns and grenades, and about $11,000 was also seized.


The Egyptian military launched retaliatory airstrikes against IS-linked terrorists in Libya after they released a video showing the beheading of 21 Christian Coptic laborers believed to be kidnapped from Sirt.  

A screenshot from a video showing IS fighters executing Egyptian Coptic Christians in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. (Photo: Independent UK)

A series of airstrikes launched from Apache helicopters killed 27 insurgents in Sinai on February 6th said security forces. A few days later, a government source said over 151 militants had been killed in the past week, suggesting an increase in operations against the militants.

Egyptian soldiers shot and killed two drug smugglers near the Israeli border on February 10th.

State of Sinai insurgents, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, released a video showing the beheading of 10 men suspected of spying for Israel in Sinai.

A commander with Hamas’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades was killed during an Egyptian army raid against State of Sinai on February 11th, according to media reports. After being confronted by reports, the family of Abdallah Saeed Kashta, 25, denied he was killed in Egypt.

Egyptian security forces uncovered a 2.5km (1.5 mile) tunnel leading from Sinai into Gaza, the longest ever discovered. According to officials, similar tunnels are use for “terrorist infiltration” and weapons smuggling and could justify expanding an existing 500 meter buffer zone in Rafah to 5km.