Israel and West Bank
During pre-dawn raids in the West Bank on April 15, the IDF detained 8 Palestinians suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. In addition, the IDF conducted searches in Hebron in an ongoing effort to thwart an M-16 gun smuggling ring.
Member of Knesset for the Joint Arab List Hanin Zoabi, called on West Bank Palestinians to join in the protests and riots on the Gaza Strip border. In her April 8 comments, MK Zoabi also referred to Israel as a “fascist” nation and called for investigations into the deaths of Palestinian Arabs who participated in the protests. Zoabi went on to say, “Israel is only looking for an excuse to kill the Palestinians. Stop buying the Israeli propaganda.” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon responded to Zoabi’s claims saying, “It’s shameful and disgraceful that while IDF soldiers are thwarting attacks on the border…a member of Knesset chooses to exploit her status to spread lies from the UN stage and support a terror organization calling for the annihilation of the State of Israel and using children as human shields,”
The Israeli Police reported that on April 8, a Palestinian man attempted to commit a stabbing attack and was shot by a nearby Israeli civilian. The attack occurred at a gas station outside Jerusalem. The assailant was chasing an Israeli man with a screwdriver when he was shot by a passing Israeli. The assailant was taken to a local hospital.
As tensions continue on the Gaza border, Hamas senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh said last Sunday that the marches would pave the way for Palestinian Arabs to migrate to Israel. This comes after Hamas leaders have threatened that the protests and riots would escalate into a large-scale breach of the border. Israel has said that it will defend its border. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit to Sderot, “We will not allow, here on the Gaza border, them to hurt us. We will hurt them.”
Israeli officials announced they had destroyed a major tunnel running from Gaza into Israel on Sunday. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the tunnel was the longest and deepest one Israel had discovered to this point, running from Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, to near Nachal Oz; although it was also announced that the tunnel did not have an exit yet.
The Egyptian army reported on April 15 that it killed four jihadists in recent days as part of its ongoing campaign to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria affiliates and other insurgent groups currently based in the Sinai Peninsula. In addition, two suspected jihadists and 250 “wanted and suspected criminals” have been arrested.
Egypt, also on April 15, announced an ambitious development plan intended to introduce huge agricultural, mining, industrial and tourist investments to Sinai. The plan calls for $15.6 billion in investments and is seen as a way to modernize the peninsula. However, some have called into question the viability of this plan while violent insurgent and terror groups like ISIS operate in the region, and large areas of Sinai lack a strong security presence. However, despite these challenges, newly re-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi said that he hoped to complete the plan by 2022.