Israeli security forces confronted three separate stabbing attacks during a three-day period ending on August 17th, with two incidents occurring near Nablus and one outside of Ramallah. In all cases, young Palestinian men approached Israeli troops brandishing knives. One attacker was killed while the other two were taken into custody without significant harm to Israeli troops.
Israel’s military prosecutor indicted five Palestinians accused of shooting and killing Danny Gonen and Malachy Rosenfeld in separate incidents. Both murders happened in the West Bank last June.
Following the firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank that killed two people, including an infant, the Shin Bet launched a crackdown on Israeli extremist groups. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed a 6-month detention without trial authorization for Meir Ettinger, Eviatar Slonim, and Mordechai Mayer, three Israelis in police custody suspected of involvement in ultranationalist violence.
A Palestinian man rammed three Israeli soldiers with his car near the village of Sinjil on August 6th, seriously injuring two of them. A fourth soldier at the scene shot and immobilized the perpetrator, who officials believe was acting alone. Hamas praised the attack as an “act of heroism.”
Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, released a photo reportedly showing Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek beheaded. Days earlier, the group posted an online video demanding the release of Islamist prisoners in Egyptian jails in exchange for Salopek, a private contractor.
Egyptian army troops deployed in North Sinai (Photo: Reuters)
Terrorists planted eight bombs in the coastal city of Arish, but Egyptian security forces were able to detonate or defuse all the explosives. Following the attempted bombing, government forces banned cars from entering areas surrounding the North Sinai Security headquarters, Arish Prison, court buildings, and several police stations.
In early August, the Arab-language daily Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that the Egyptian armed forces allowed an Israeli patrol to enter Egypt to evacuate African refugees who were trying to scale the border into Israel. According to the paper, Egyptian soldiers had shot and injured some of the 15 migrants in the group.
A roadside bomb planted in el-Arish hit an armored car killing two policemen, a captain and a conscript, on August 9th.
The Egyptian cabinet approved new, smaller curfew hours in el-Arish, now 1am to 5am, according to state news agency MENA. As part of the state of emergency in North Sinai, a longer 11-hour curfew remains in effect in the provincial capital of Sheikh Zuweid and other parts of the peninsula. The state of emergency has been renewed twice after its enactment in October 2014.
Syria and Lebanon
The IDF performed a large exercise in northern Israel last week to prepare for a future conflict in the area. During the drill, military commanders tested the army’s ability to combat a cross border invasion by Hezbollah, the readiness of an army advance into Syria, and the evacuation of civilians living in northern Israel. Israeli generals also reiterated that Tehran finances and arms Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.
Two Druze villagers, Bashira Mahmoud, 48, and Amal Abu Salah, 21, were indicted in the killing of an injured Syrian rebel fighter in the Golan Heights in June. The two men appeared in Nazareth’s District Court and stand accused of killing Munzir Halil. Investigators believe that a mob, which blocked the ambulance’s path that Halil was being transported in, could have been tipped off by someone in the military.
Hamas terrorists test fired rockets from northern Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea on August 10th following at least three other rocket launchings at Israel from the Palestinian enclave in early August. None of the rockets caused any injuries in Israel, but the IDF commenced retaliatory airstrikes, injuring four policemen working for Hamas, a Palestinian official said.
A Palestinian man wounded in the explosion in Rafah is carried on a stretcher. (Photo: Reuters)
An explosion in the Gaza town of Rafah killed four people and injured at least 40 others on August 6th. The dead Palestinians, all adult men belonging to the Abu Naqira family, have close relations to Hamas leaders. Unverified reports suggest that the blast was caused by unexploded ordnance left from Operation Protective Edge last summer, but Hamas’s military wing quickly blocked off access to the site.
The Israeli government released new information it received following the interrogation of a Hamas tunnel digger. Authorities announced the arrest of Ibrahim Adal Shahada Sha’ar on August 11th and said that Shin Bet gleaned important information on Hamas’s planned attacks, battlefield strategy, and military cooperation with Iran. According to officials, Sha’ar disclosed the capabilities of Hamas’s elite infantry unit, anti-aircraft, and surveillance command.
Hamas claims to have rebuilt an IDF Skylark 1 drone for their own military use after one reportedly crashed in Gaza on July 22nd.