Home Frontline Defense Frontline Defense: May 17th, 2016

Frontline Defense: May 17th, 2016

Smoke billows over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as Israel Air Force planes struck four Hamas military targets, May 5, 2016. (Screenshot: Shehab News Agency)


The Israeli Air Force launched four retaliatory air strikes after Hamas launched a series of mortar attacks from Gaza aimed at IDF troops operating near the border. The flare-up in violence lasted four days, but Israeli soldiers continued their anti-tunnel missions near Eshkol.

Salfist leaders in Gaza claim to have 3,000 fighters in the enclave, saying many of them have been inspired by the Islamic State’s campaign in Sinai and across the Middle East. During a recent interview with AFP, the head of one of the jihadists groups, Abu al-Ansari al-Ina, stated that 200 of its members had crossed into Gaza to support IS.

Israeli authorities filed charges against a 17-year-old Gazan on May 10th after he crossed the border fence into Israel last month. Shin Bet said he was the second tunnel digger arrested in the past few weeks and that interrogators had gained valuable insights from the teen.

An Israeli Army officer was seriously wounded on May 10th after a suspicious object he approached detonated at the Hizme checkpoint. Five other explosive devices were found at the the West Bank checkpoint.

Israel and the West Bank

Two elderly women were stabbed in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv on May 10th in what police characterized as a terror attack. The assailants fled the scene and the women were evacuated to hospital for treatment.


Egyptian Defence Minister Colonel General Sedki Sobhi and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffarvisited security personnel based in Sinai on May 14th. The army’s spokesman released a statement saying the two high-Elranking figures inspected security checkpoints and held discussions with troops to boost morale.

Islamic State fighters based in Sinai are entering Gaza to train with Hamas operatives, according to a senior IDF official. Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that Hamas leaders have agreed to transit the jihadists in smuggling tunnels that are operated by the group.

A police conscript was killed and another officer wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated during a police patrol on May 15th in el-Arish, the North Sinai provincial capital.

The Egyptian military opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the first time in three months on May 11. The crossing was open for two days.

Egyptian media reported that jihadists are leaving Egypt’s Sinai for Libya, saying that the militants are enticed by the lawless areas inside the country.


Arab media sources say that the Israeli Air Force struck a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah on May 10th.

Lebanese newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Hezbollah has appointed Mustafa Mughniyeh as its new military commander following the death the Mustafa Badreddine on May 14th outside Damascus. According to local sources, Badreddine was killed by rebel artillery, not an Israeli air strike.