Home Frontline Defense Frontline Defense: July 3, 2018

Frontline Defense: July 3, 2018

A fire near Nahal Oz caused by an incendiary kite from Gaza. (Photo: AFP)

Gaza Strip

Hamas launched 45 rockets at Israel in late June. While the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted seven of them, a few laned in populated areas, including one outside of a kindergarten. In retaliation, Israeli fighter jets struck 25 Hamas-affiliated targets in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has deployed the Sky Spotter system to detect fire-starting balloons and incendiary kites that enter Israeli airspace.  Once a balloon or kite is spotted, the system tracks the progress of the flammable material, and directs firefighters to the projectiles landing spot or  collides midair with the kites/balloons to neutralize them. Fifteen fires broke out in the western Negev after Palestinian terrorists launched incendiary kites and balloons across the border.  The kites set trees ablaze in the Shokeda and Be’eri forests. The latest fires add to the hundreds of others that have already burned through thousands of acres of Israeli territory.  

Israel claims that the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, paid the family of a baby girl who died last month to claim that the child passed away  after inhaling IDF-deployed tear gas. The allegations appear in an indictment that Israeli prosecutors filed against a Gaza resident when they learned of the payment from the interrogation of a man who had crossed into Israel from Gaza illegally.  According to Mahmoud Omar, Hamas leader Sinwar paid the baby’s family $2,200 to accuse Israel of the death of the infant. According to the indictment, Omar’s child had died of the same blood disease that killed her brother.  

Twitter complied with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s request and banned 35 out of 40 active Hamas and Hezbollah accounts in Israel. Erdan in a letter to Twitter stated that Twitter has been “enabling terrorist organizations to operate freely and spread their messages via your platform.”

The IDF is preparing for the possibility that Hamas will use underwater terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel and to carry out attacks using navy vessels. According to Lt. Col. Boris Schuster, the departing commander of the 916th fleet, “terror organizations in the Gaza Strip understand that they are losing their strategic assets in light of tunnel closures and are focusing on establishing strong naval commando unit.” He furthered stated that since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Hamas has been working to upgrade its naval commando unit.

The Qatari ambassador to Gaza, Mohammed Al-Emadi, confirmed that Israel is holding indirect discussions with the Hamas terror group in an attempt to solve Palestinian humanitarian needs and Israeli security concerns. During an interview with a Chinese news agency, Al-Emadi stated that “there still is no agreement between the two sides, only contacts ahead of an agreement.” The ambassador’s statement marks the first time that a senior diplomat involved in Gaza acknowledged that negotiations with terror organizations are taking place

West Bank

According to Shin Bet agents, the Israeli military and police discovered terrorist infrastructure they described as “extraordinary in its size and level of activity” operating in the West Bank. Syria granted the 20-member cell $100,000 to attack major Israeli cities. Security forces raided the suspected cell’s hideouts and seized weapons and explosives while uncovering information about other planned Hamas attacks.

Israeli border police shot a Palestinian man in the leg after he ignored officers’ calls to stop at a security checkpoint on June 23. According to police reports, the suspect got out of a cab near the checkpoint in Jerusalem area village of Abu Dis and walked towards the officers with a suspicious black bag shouting out “Allahu Akbar”. In a statement, the police said that the “protocol for stopping a suspicious person were conducted during which one of the officers fired in the air.”

Palestinian authorities suspect Jewish settlers of burning dozens of olive trees on Palestinian farms located in the neighborhood of Beit Forik in the West Bank. The settlers originated from an unlawful outpost called Itmar.  

Golan Heights

The IDF launched a Patriot interceptor missile at a drone from Syria that was heading towards Israeli airspace on June 24.  According to an IDF statement, “As a result, the aircraft fled from the border.  No interception was reported.” The Syrian military used the drone as part of a military action in the Quneitra region.

A small Israeli military drone patrolling the northern border fell into Syrian territory on June 17.  According to the IDF, there was no risk of information leaking from the downed aircraft.  The unmanned vehicle was surveying the northern border for “observational purposes.” Ground units typically use the Skylark drone for various tactical intelligence and operational purposes.

The IDF has reinforced troops in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria amid recent operations by pro-Assad forces on the Syrian side. Following Syrian airstrikes in the Dara’a region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement explaining that Israel will give as much humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees near the Golan Heights border as needed, but the refugees will not be allowed entrance to the Jewish state. The recent air strikes in the Dara’a province have forced more than 60,000 Syrians to flee their home towards the Israeli border.

Reports indicate that Hezbollah units deployed in Syria have begun withdrawing to positions 25 miles away from the Israeli border in response to a request from Russia. After the withdrawal, the Lebanese terror group will remain positioned at a similar distance from the Jordanian-Syrian border. However, Iranian groups have not withdrawn from the 25-mile border buffer.


Egypt’s parliament approved the extension of a nationwide state of emergency for three months from July 14. Cairo declared the emergency status in 2017 after two bombs exploded in a church killing 45 people.  The army continues to face an insurgency from Islamic State jihadists North Sinai.