With help from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Shin Bet intercepted two separate shipments of smuggled goods traveling through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza last week. The first shipment contained electric motors concealed inside large appliances, such as refrigerators. A few days later, authorities uncovered spying and surveillance equipment hidden in a truck, including infrared surveillance cameras and other communication devices.
The Telegraph reported that Iran has funneled million of dollars to Hamas to assist the group in reconstructing its underground tunnel network. Some funds have also gone to helping Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, rebuild its rocket arsenal, which was depleted during Operation Protective Edge last year.
Hamas launched a new social media campaign in an effort to boost its image in the Arab and Western worlds. The organization rebranded its website, launched Instagram and YouTube accounts, and even began a dedicated English Twitter feed.
Police say a 22-year-old Israeli man, Niv Asraf, and his friends could face criminal charges following a kidnapping hoax they called into police. Asraf’s friends claimed he went missing in the West Bank after his car broke down, prompting security forces to launch a massive manhunt in the area.
Israeli soldiers search a car in the village of Beit Anun, West Bank, on April 2, 2015, following the false reports of a kidnapping. (Photo: AP)
The IDF arrested six men of a Hamas-affiliated West Bank terror cell during a joint raid with the Shin Bet. The men, from the Palestinian city of Kalkilya, confessed to manufacturing explosives with the intent of launching attacks against IDF troops and Israeli civilians. According to officials, the individuals arrested were recruited in Jordan before being trained by other Hamas operatives in Gaza.
A Beersheba district court convicted Mohammed Abu Zaraj, a Palestinian man in his early 20s, of planning to kidnap Israeli soldiers during Operation Protective Edge last summer. Zaraj, who served with Hamas’s military brigade, will receive 15 and a half years in prison.
Israeli troops detained a young Palestinian man after he stabbed an IDF soldier with a knife. Officials say the assailant was attempting to cross the security fence into Israel near the town of Oranit, northeast of Tel Aviv.
The Israeli supreme court rejected a government proposal to construct part of the West Bank separation barrier through a monastery. The route would have divided a school on one side with a religious building on the other.
A series of coordinated attacks at five army checkpoints on the main road connecting Arish and Rafah killed 18 soldiers and four civilians on April 2nd. According to witnesses cited in local media, over 20 gunmen jumped out of four vehicles at different locations and began fighting soldiers with small arms, RPGs, and mortars. The militants also seized two armored personnel carriers (APC), before one of the vehicles was destroyed by an attack helicopter. Islamic State linked militants, calling themselves State of Sinai (formerly Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis), took responsibility for the attack.
A few days following the attacks that killed 22 Egyptians, the military announced it had killed 35 “terrorists” in a series of airstrikes in the North Sinai towns of Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah.
On April 5th, Islamist militants targeted Cairo and Alexandria. In Cairo, jihadists planted a bomb on a bridge leading to the upscale district of Zamalek, home to many foreign embassies. One police officer was killed and two other were wounded by the blast. Meanwhile in Alexandria, militants shot a bus belonging to a local church, wounding a police officer and three civilians.
During a raid in Cairo, Egyptian security forces killed Hamam Mohammed Atiya, a salaftist leader who helped found Ajnad Misr. Atiya is said to have organized 26 terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian officials, killing at least 14 people.
An Egyptian government spokesman announced that the army uncovered the longest tunnel leading from Sinai to Gaza, spanning almost two miles. The military is considering expanding the 1km buffer zone in Rafah into a third phase following the discovery. Egypt’s army destroyed thirteen houses and 22 smuggling tunnels in late March as part of their ongoing operation to secure the border with Gaza.
Siddqui Al Maqt in court (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Fighters with the Islamic State seized large parts of the predominantly Palestinian Yarmouk camp on the southern side of Damascus. Approximately 18,000 people remain in the area and are now subjected to IS brutality in the form of beheadings and other atrocities. The camp also comes under attack from Syrian government forces loyal to Bashar al-Asad, which are trying to seal the restive area from food and other supplies from the outside world. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as some Arab Israelis, have held demonstrations in solidarity with their compatriots suffering in Syria.
Three Druze men from the Israeli Golan were arrested for spying on the Israeli military. According to prosecutors, the men sent photocopied IDF reports and observations on IDF troop movements to Syrian Intelligence. One of the men indicted, Siddqui Al Maqt, 48, had served 27 years in an Israeli prison and was released less than three years ago.