Tensions between Salafi groups and Hamas showed no signs of easing. An Islamic State- affiliated organization calling itself the Sheikh Omar Hadeed Brigade in Quds claimed responsibility for two rocket attacks on May 26th and June 3rd. In the same statement, the jihadi group asserted that it will keep its “weapons pointed at the Israelis”. Israeli airstrikes hit Hamas training camps on June 3rd in retaliation for Salafi-sponsored rocket attacks. The group launched another rocket salvo on June 11th, prompting air-raid sirens in Ashkelon, but the rocket ultimately fell short and landed in Gaza.
The Israeli military deployed an Iron Dome missile battery near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on June 8th following the recent rocket attacks. Other Iron Dome systems have already been setup in Netivot, Ashdod, and Rehovot, as well as south of Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reaffirmed a long standing policy of holding Hamas responsible for “what happens in Gaza.”
The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, said that one of its fighters died in a tunnel collapse near Shejaiya in northern Gaza on June 5th. According to a health ministry spokesman, two other people were “moderately injured” during the incident.
An Iron Dome system located in the Dan region, on November 16, 2012. (Photo: Alon Besson)
Hamas terrorists began patrolling a recently built road approximately 1,000 feet from Israel’s security barrier with Gaza. The IDF had attempted to destroy part of the road by deploying four bulldozers, drones, and ground troops, but were unsuccessful, according to Hamas’s website.
The IDF’s Magistrate’s office published a series of updates into ongoing investigations over controversial incidents during Operation Protective Edge last summer. Officials determined that no charges will be filed against soldiers who attacked and killed four Palestinian boys mistaken for Hamas fighters on a beach. The IDF found that while the incident was “wrong” and “tragic,” surveillance equipment was not able to suggest that the victims were indeed minors. Additionally, the boys were playing near a spot where the IDF had launched attacks against a Hamas naval commando unit the previous day.
Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of perpetrating a series of bombings in Gaza aimed at destabilizing the government. A spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said security officials thwarted an attempt to detonate a car bomb in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood.
An Israeli military jeep overturned, struck, and killed a Palestinian demonstrator during a raid to arrest terrorist suspects in the village of Qafr Malik on June 14th. While the incident remains under investigation, IDF officials said the driver accidently hit a Palestinian man after he threw a firebomb at the vehicle.
Shin Bet released new details about the May 24th attack on two Jewish teenagers walking to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. In a statement, the security agency said that John Kakish, a Christian Arab teenager living nearby, confessed to attacking the two Israelis around 2:30 a.m. to take “revenge on Jews”.
Egyptian security forces killed 141 militants and arrested another 393 on terrorism-related crimes in Sinai during the month of May, according to a report released by the armed forces on June 2nd. In a separate report, the government also said 1,429 smuggling tunnels leading to Gaza have been discovered and destroyed over the past year and a half.
The State of Sinai, an Islamic State affiliate, claimed responsibility on social media for launching rockets at an airport used by the Multinational Force & Observers peacekeeping mission.
The Egyptian government opened the Rafah border crossing with Sinai for five days, allowing Palestinians to travel both into and out of Gaza. For the past three months the checkpoint has been closed to families seeking to leave the enclave. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza expressed hope the crossing would stay open permanently.
Israelis Druze wave flags during a demonstration of some two thousand people in the northern Israeli Druze town of Daliyat al-Carmel, calling for the Israeli government to support and help their relatives in embattled Syria, June 14, 2015. (Photo: AFP)
In a morning raid on June 8th, Egyptian security forces killed four militants suspected of plotting terrorist operations. A fifth suspect was shot while trying to plant explosives near el-Arish, Sinai’s provincial capital.
An Egyptian appeals court overturned a February ruling to designate Hamas as a terrorist organization. The group’s Qassam Bridges are still banned in Egypt because of their links to terrorist attacks in Sinai and their connection to the Muslim Brotherhood. Ashraf Farahat, the lawyer pursuing Hamas, says he will now lobby Egypt’s Foreign Ministry to reinstate the designation.
An Egyptian court revoked the death sentences of seven individuals (including militant leader Adel Habara), convicted of executing 25 policemen during an August 2013 ambush in Sinai, later called “Rafah’s second massacre”. All six must be retried, although Habara still faces the death penalty on a separate terrorism conviction.
Following an al-Nusra Front attack that killed 20 Druze in Syria’s Idlib province last week, the Druze community in Israel collected more than $2.6 million to assist their co-religionists in buying weapons and other necessities.