An explosion at a Hamas training facility in Beit Lahiya killed three people and injured approximately 50 more. According to Israeli media, the blast occurred during an attempt to defuse unexploded Israeli ordnance. A spokesman for al-Awda hospital said that most of the 30 people taken to the hospital for treatment were women and children.
Salafists claiming ties to the Islamic State took responsibility for launching mortars at a Qassam Brigades’ facility on May 8th. There were no reports of injuries or damage to the Hamas military base near Khan Yunis, but the attack comes amid increasing tensions between Hamas and other radical jihadists. The mortar launching may be in response to Hamas’s demolition of a mosque near Deir al-Balah frequently visited by Salafi fighters. Hamas security forces have also arrested 30 radical Salafists recently including Imam Adnan Khader Maya and stated that the detained men had connections to the Islamic State. Salafists allege their supporters have been tortured at the hands of Hamas.
A boy who was injured by an explosion at a Hamas training camp at a hospital in Beit Lahiya, Gaza. (Photo: AFP)
Israeli customs authorities, with the help of the Shin Bet, announced they had uncovered an attempt to smuggle 40 diving suits into Gaza through the Nitzana crossing. The import of wetsuits requires special approval from the Israeli government as Hamas fighters used them to launch raids on Israeli beaches last summer.
A mortar fired from Syria landed near the Alonei Habashan neighborhood on the night of May 17th. While no injuries or damage were reported, heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and government allies continues across the border.
Israeli defense officials believe that an Iranian-backed terrorist cell run by Samir Kantar was behind the late April attempt to plant explosives on the Israeli-Syrian border. An IDF airstrike killed four attackers, including two Druze men born in Israel.
Israel has begun a media campaign to set expectations for an upcoming military operation against Hezbollah, whenever that might be. Senior defense officials reached out to the New York Times to provide aerial photography showing how Hezbollah positions offensive weapons, launching stations, and arms depots inside small Lebanese towns near the Israeli border. Military planners in Jerusalem seem keen on warning Western media that civilian casualties will be significantly higher because terrorist organizations use non-combatants as human shields.
Terrorists killed two Egyptian judges and a prosecutor in North Sinai’s provincial capital of el-Arish hours after the country’s courts sentenced former President Mohamed Morsi to death. According to officials from the Ministry of Health, gunmen shot at a car the group had been traveling in, killing the group’s driver as well. A series of bombings killed four Egyptian soldiers and three civilians on May 13th in and nearby the northern town of Rafah.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced on May 13th that a buffer zone in Rafah had been expanded to almost two miles. The President also claimed “massive results” in fighting terrorists and that about 80% of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt had been destroyed by the security forces.
A group of local leaders with The Sinai Tribal Federation held its first meeting on May 10th to discuss ways to combat jihadists groups, such as State of Sinai. In a statement, the group agreed to work “in coordination with the relevant agencies and institutions of the formal state … to support the state and the armed forces in their war against terrorism.”
A Palestinian throws back a tear gas canister during clashes with Israeli security forces near the West Bank city of Nablus on May 16. (Photo: AFP)
Israeli security forces were put on high alert for Nakba Day on May 14th, where Palestinians hold demonstrations against the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment. In Gaza, about 100 rioters approached the security fence with Israel, IDF troops warned the Palestinians back, but five people were injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire. In the West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas as Palestinian protesters threw stones and firebombs at IDF troops. Several hundred protesters took part in the demonstrations and five people were injured.
A Palestinian Authority official told Israel Radio on May 15th, that five members of a Hamas terror cell were arrested near Hebron. Police received reports of people preparing explosives inside an apartment. A subsequent raid uncovered materials used in bomb making.