Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket at Israel on August 27th, the eighth such attack this year, according to an IDF statement. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) retaliated by launching an airstrike against a Hamas military facility. On September 1st, the Islamic State-inspired terrorists with Sinai Province launched a rocket toward Israel. Air raid sirens sounded in Ashkelon, but the rocket fell back into Gaza. No casualties were reported in either incident.
The Hamas-run al-Quds newspaper reported that the terrorist group captured an Israeli spy dolphin off the coast of Gaza. The animal was allegedly equipped with a camera but no photos of the dolphin have been released.
Shin Bet announced that Israeli customs officials intercepted two tons of fiberglass en route to Gaza through the Nitzana border crossing. The shipment, which was labeled as “clothes and materials”, could have been used by terrorist organizations in the enclave to make rockets.
Ismail Haniyeh, former Hamas prime minister in Gaza. (Photo: Abd Rahim Khatib)
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) denied a request from Hamas’s Gaza political bureau chief and former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, to allow Haniyeh’s sister to travel from Israel to the enclave for a wedding. Israeli officials said there was no need to approve the request on humanitarian grounds since two Israelis are still being held captive in Gaza.
Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, announced on August 29th that one of its members, Anwar Faraj al-Ghalban, 23, had been killed in an unspecified tunnel accident.
Hamas released a new propaganda film showing footage of Gilad Shalit while he was held prisoner in Gaza for over five years. A separate video released by the terrorist organization shows what Hamas claims to be are newly-built tunnels leading to Israel. The IDF believes one such tunnel leads to the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
The Obama administration has begun reviewing the longstanding policy of deploying U.S. soldiers to the UN peacekeeping mission in Sinai. Amid the Islamic State-inspired insurgency in the area, officials worry that the lightly armed troops could face attack from terrorists. Options range from withdrawing about 700 Army soldiers to better equipping the Multinational Force and Observers for confrontations.
In a renewed effort to cut off militant activity between Gaza and Sinai, the Egyptian military has begun constructing a fish farm to flood any remaining underground tunnels leading to the enclave.
Unknown gunmen boarded a bus transporting about 50 Palestinians from Gaza to Cairo and seized four Hamas fighters, according to reports from Palestinians and Egyptian officials. The Times of Israel reported that the four men were navy commandos with the Qassam Brigades and were apparently heading to Iran for training.
A bombing on August 24th killed three policemen as they traveled on a bus in the province of Beheira, about 100 miles north of Cairo.
A roadside bomb injured four civilians and a police conscript when it exploded near an armored vehicle in the city of el-Arish on August 25th.
Terrorists from Sinai Province claimed responsibility for a drive-by shooting on August 26th. Egyptian officials said that three gunmen shot and killed two police officers in northeastern part of the peninsula.
The military wing of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, showcased a 2.2 mile tunnel that reportedly leads from the West bank into Israel on Iranian television. Fighters with al-Aqsa are also seen asking the Iranian government for help in attacking Israel.
A Palestinian security source was quoted as saying that Hezbollah operatives are actively working with former al-Aqsa members to help recruit Palestinian youths to carry out attacks from the West Bank. The official said recent shootings and an attack where explosives were thrown at an IDF position have the hallmark of the Lebanese Shiite group.
An Israeli soldier was shot and injured, possibly by friendly fire, in an early morning raid on September 1st to target a senior Hamas operative in Jenin. The IDF surrounded a suspected terrorist hideout, demolishing the unit. Palestinians in the area gathered outside the operation’s perimeter and initiated a violent confrontation, throwing rocks and firebombs at security forces.
SA-22 Air Defense System. (Photo: Wikicommons)
Syria and Lebanon
Israel accused the Iranian-backed terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, of launching a rocket salvo into an village in upper Galilee on August 20th. The rockets ignited brush fires in the area, but caused no casualties. An IDF official said that the military launched airstrikes and fired artillery in response for the attack. A Syrian state-owned TV station reported that the Israeli strike killed six people.
Security officials in southern Lebanon reported two people were killed in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian camp as Fatah-affiliated militants clashed with hardline Islamists. More than 30 people were wounded in the flighting, which echoed a similar gun battle in June.
Iran is trying to transfer the advance SA-22 air defense systems and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile from military facilities in Syria to Hezbollah, announced Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold during high level talks in Berlin.