Sinai Province, an Islamic State affiliate, took responsibility for launching a missile at an Egyptian coast guard vessel in the Mediterranean Sea on July 16th. The militant group released unverifiable images showing a large explosion engulfing one side of the vessel, however, a spokesman for the Egyptian military said none of the sailors onboard the ship were killed. After the assault, video shows large quantities of smoke billowing out of the ship, until it is towed away.
A roadside bombing in the North Sinai provincial capital of el-Arish wounded 20 policemen as they traveled in a bus and armored personnel carrier on July 9th. Sinai Province claims to have carried out the attack.
After being alerted to the presence of a suspicious package, security forces in Giza defused two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) near a hotel in the Haram neighborhood south of Cairo on July 14th.
An early morning car bombing outside the Italian consulate in central Cairo killed one person and injured nine others on July 11th. Social media accounts of jihadist sympathisers circulated a Islamic State statement claiming responsibility for the attack using a one-ton car bomb.
Smoke billows from an Egyptian naval vessel on the maritime border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, July 16, 2015. (Photo: EPA)
The Egyptian army claimed to have killed 252 militants in Sinai from July 1-11th following a major attack that left 17 soldiers dead. A military spokesman announced another 76 individuals suspected of terrorist activities were detained during the same period. Security forces killed another 20 jihadists on July 15th when the army used jet fighters and ground troops to repel an assault on a checkpoint south of Sheikh Zuweid. A few days later, on July 19th, the Egyptian military said it killed another 59 militants as part of a weekend campaign in which airstrikes demolished two warehouses used to store explosives. Seven Egyptian soldiers died as part of the operation.
Syrian soldiers, with the backing of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, advanced on the city of Zabadani, about 30 miles northwest of Damascus near the Lebanese border. Reuters estimates around 1,500-2,000 Islamists belonging to Ahrar al-Sham, the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, and local rebels, have fortified their positions in the city. If retaken, the city could open up important supply routes linking Syria and Lebanon.
A female Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli soldier near the Israeli settlement of Nehiel in the West Bank on July 15th. The soldier, 20, was taken to the hospital while the security forces detained the assailant for questioning.
Israeli security forces arrested Muhammad Abu Shahin and four other accomplices in connection to the murder of 25-year-old Danny Goren on June 19th. Shahin, a resident of the Qalandia, is known to be an operative for Fatah-Tanzim, according to Shin Bet.
Hamas is holding two Israeli citizens in Gaza, according to an Israeli Defense Ministry statement release July 9th. About 10 months ago, Avera Mengistu, a 28-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli who may be mentally ill, appeared to have voluntarily climbed over a border fence from a public beach and entered Gaza. Israeli authorities also believe an unnamed Bedouin-Israeli from the Negev Desert also crossed into Gaza. Amid media speculation over negotiations to return the captured Israelis, journalists discussed if any talks could resolve Hamas’s refusal to return the remains of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers killed last summer.
Bystanders look at the remains of a parked car after a bombing on July 19th in Gaza. (Photo: AFP)
Marking one year since the start of Operation Protective Edge, Ynet News interviewed an official with Israel’s Southern Command regarding the balance of power between the IDF and Gaza-based terrorists. Israel’s military believes that Hamas has restored much of its pre-war rocket capabilities, with the exception of some long range missiles. Similarly, Hamas has worked hard to recreate their underground tunnel system but “digging such cross-border tunnels could take years” and that “Hamas is nowhere near the border fence”. The official also spoke of being on “the verge of a breakthrough” in defensive measures for tunnel detection and the rising support of IS inspired terrorism in the enclave.
Hamas’s political bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, led a delegation of senior officials to meet Saudi Arabia’s King Salman while on pilgrimage to Mecca. Hamas representatives “discussed Palestinian unity and the political situation in the region” with the King and hailed the talks as a “clear shift in relations and a breakthrough with Saudi Arabia,” according to Hamas member Salah Bardawl.
Unknown militants placed bombs under five cars belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza on July 19th. The explosions injured two people, who were transferred to the hospital. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic State sympathizers have staged similar attacks in the past.
The IDF launched airstrikes targeting “terror infrastructure” in Gaza following a rocket launched at the city of Ashkelon on July 16th. No group claimed responsibility for launching the rocket and, according to Palestinian media, the IAF strike targeted a watch tower near the border and a terrorist training camp.