A Salafist group allegedly fired a rocket into Israel on May 26th, which prompted the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to respond with four aerial strikes that targeted buildings controlled by both Hamas and the Salafi group. Salafist claiming ties to Islamic State also took responsibility for the assassination of a Hamas commander, Saber Siam, in Gaza on May 31st. Then, on June 2nd, Hamas-run security forces killed 27-year-old Yussef al-Hatar, a local Salafist leader, as he tried to evade arrest in the Gaza neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan. Islamic State sympathizers believe that Hamas has been too lenient in their dealings with Israel, specifically in the ceasefire agreements of 2007 and 2014, and are challenging the group’s control of the enclave.
Hamas has been vigorously working to rebuild tunnels to Israel, allowing them to launch future attacks from Gaza on Israeli soil. One terrorist was killed in a tunnel collapse in northern Gaza on May 18th. Meanwhile, the terrorist organization’s Qassam Brigades, have also begun construction of a paved road only a few hundred meters from the northern Gaza border with Israel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Amnesty International released a new report detailing Hamas’s human rights violations during Operation Protective Edge last summer. The human rights group chose to conduct a narrow investigation into Hamas’s extrajudicial killing of 23 Palestinians, labeled as “collaborators” for Israel. The report concludes that “Hamas authorities appear to have condoned-possibly even to have ordered” the executions and that such actions “amount to war crimes.”
The Egyptian military killed 11 suspected terrorists during a shootout on May 18th in the northern coastal city of Sheikh Zuweid. Ground forces killed at least five militants with the help of a helicopter gunship.
An Egyptian armored vehicle parked Rafah. (Photo: AP)
A roadside bomb killed a high ranking Egyptian police officer on May 27th. Brig. Gen. Ahmed Ibrahim, the deputy commander of the criminal investigations in North Sinai, died after returning from a joint police-army operation in the North Sinai provincial capital of el-Arish.
State of Sinai leaders called for attacks on Egyptian judges amid the execution of six of its members and an increased effort to seek the death penalty for radical Islamists. Egypt’s newly appointed justice minister, Ahmed el-Zend, is a hardline outspoken critic of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a message posted to Facebook, State of Sinai threatened to attack Eilat, promising to launch rockets from Sinai in the coming days. The group also called on Egyptians to join the fight against the government in Cairo and criticized Hamas for “abandoning the fight against the Jews.”
The Egyptian government reopened the Rafah crossing allowing Palestinians to re-enter Gaza for the first time in nearly 80 days. However, authorities denied thousands of Gazans, including some seeking medical treatment, from leaving the enclave. According to a Hamas-appointed civil servant, more than 15,000 have registered to leave Gaza.
Egyptian army spokesman Mohamed Samir announced the destruction of 521 tunnel openings on the border of Gaza and Northern Sinai over the past six months. A government spokesman said 63 tunnels were 1-3 kilometers from the border. These tunnels, some of which were equipped with railway tracks and communication outposts, were being used to smuggle weapons.
Two attempts by Islamic State affiliates to establish a presence along the Golan Heights border have been thwarted in recent weeks. Heavy fighting in the border city of Quneitra resulted in Syrian rebels overcoming armed members of the Jaysh al-Jihad organization, an IS supporter. In the southern Golan Heights, collaboration between the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat al-Nusra overpowered IS-loyalists from the Shuhada al Yarmouk Brigades on May 18th. Fighting in both areas led to mortar fire landing inside Israeli borders.
The Israeli Security Agency Shin Bet announced that 22-year-old Muhammad Abu Ra’ad was arrested after posting pro-ISIS messages on his Facebook account. Authorities said the Arab-Israeli man’s support of the Islamic State poses a threat to the security of the State of Israel and would not be tolerated.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stopped legislation that would segregate buses between Israeli and Palestinian workers on West Bank. Thousands of Palestinians ride into Israel from the West Bank every day in order to work.
A Palestinian man used his SUV to run over two police officers in northeastern Jerusalem on May 20th before being shot by police. The driver was given first aid at the scene of the incident, but died soon after, while the police officers who were attacked were brought to a nearby hospital.