State of Sinai militants linked to the Islamic State took responsibility for a bombing outside a police station in el-Arish that killed eight people and wounded 45 others on April 12th. The group also killed six soldiers the same day during an attack on an armored vehicle near Sheikh Zuweid.
On April 17th, two roadside bombs hit an armored vehicle, killing one Egyptian army officer and wounding five soldiers. Shortly after, a military helicopter killed three “terrorist elements” in a car seen fleeing the scene of the attack. A few days later, another roadside bomb killed an army captain and two other Egyptian soldiers in the town of Rafah, near the border with Gaza. State of Sinai militants claimed to have carried out the attacks on Twitter.
State of Sinai terrorists posted a video online showing the beheading of an Egyptian soldier captured from an army post during a raid on April 2nd.
Hundreds of people gathered around the bombed police station in el-Arish. (Photo: BBC)
An Egyptian court in el-Arish sentenced two Israelis in absentia to life in prison for spying on the Egyptian government. Jouma Adbari al-Tarabin and Shlomo Sofer, an alleged Mossad operative, were suspected of fleeing the country before their trial. A local man also received a 25-year sentence for conspiring to commit espionage.
Egyptian state media reported a new change to the country’s criminal code that would allow prosecutors to seek life sentences for anyone caught smuggling goods through tunnels with Gaza. Security forces can also confiscate buildings or materials used to hide or construct the tunnels. An Egyptian army spokesman also told the media that 69 tunnels leading from Sinai into Gaza had been destroyed in recent weeks.
The IDF has begun deploying a system designed by Elbit Systems and the Geophysical Institute of Israel to detect underground tunnels on the border with Gaza. Costing up to $2 million per kilometer, a series of monitoring sensors and special algorithms will alert the military to possible tunnel diggers.
Two homemade bombs were detonated outside the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City overnight on April 19th. While most bombings target rivaling Fatah or Hamas officials, a similar attack on the French Cultural Center in December was likely committed by Islamic State sympathizers in the enclave.
Hamas is preparing more short range missiles that can fall under the range of Iron Dome batteries, according to the Times of Israel. Sources tell the paper that Hamas is also using heavy mechanized equipment, such as small bulldozers, to rebuild and expand their underground tunnel network.
Eight cabinet ministers from the Palestinian Authority government based in the West Bank visited Gaza hoping to revive a reconciliation deal with Hamas. Officials with the PA insist that Hamas must give up military control of the Strip, but Hamas wants Fatah’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to pay the salaries of 40,000 Hamas-hired public servants. However, Fatah officials left only one day through their week long trip, saying they had been barred from their local offices.
A 28-year-old Arab Israeli man was stabbed by a 36-year-old Jewish man in Herzliya on April 20th. The victim was treated at scene and eventually taken to hospital as police apprehended the attacker. Police say the attack appears to be religiously motivated.
An Arab-Israeli taxi driver confessed to intentionally ramming his car into Jewish pedestrians at a Jerusalem bus stop on April 15th, killing one person and seriously injuring another.
Police escort Khaled Koutineh, who rammed his car into Israeli pedestrians, to a court hearing in Jerusalem on April 16, 2015. (Photo: Miriam Alster)
A 27-year-old Palestinian was killed when a funeral procession for a Islamic Jihad member turned violent. Army troops shot the man after they were threatened by agitators throwing firebombs and rockets at troops.
Israeli soldiers arrested 29 Palestinians in a series of overnight raids near Nablus on April 15th. Reports in the Israeli media suggest that the Hamas members arrested were planning attacks against the Jewish State. Overnight on April 20th, security forces arrested another 13 Palestinians saying at least five of those detained planned “terrorism and violent disturbances aimed at civilians and security forces.”
Israeli security forces arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian for attempting to stab an IDF soldier with a knife near Hebron on April 17th. The soldier confronted and disarmed the attacker without injury.
Lebanon and Syria
The IDF has started construction on a new seven mile barrier in northwestern Galilee to prevent Hezbollah infiltrations from Lebanon. Engineers are primarily using excavators and bulldozers to create a berm that will stop vehicles and people from crossing the border.
One-hundred and thirty troops with Ireland’s 46th Infantry Group returned home following their deployment last September as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mission in Golan Heights. They are the third contingent of Irish troops to take part in the peacekeeping operation, with a fourth unit already replacing them.