Over the weekend of July 14, Hamas-affiliated terrorists in Gaza fired a salvo rocket at the Israeli border town of Sderot. While the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted more than 20 Hamas projectiles over the weekends attack, three Israelis were injured in the barrage. Two of the rockets hit Israeli targets including a citizen’s home and a Jewish synagogue. In retaliation to the rockets, Israel struck more than 40 sites in the Strip.
The Israeli military and Palestinian terrorists exchanged fire on July 16, just two days after a proposed agreed ceasefire. The IDF struck two Hamas targets near where incendiary balloons have been launched in Northern Gaza. Following the IDF attack, Hamas fired a rocket from Gaza at southern Israel. There were no casualties reported.
Police units in southern Israel responded to bomb-rigged balloons launched from Gaza that landed in the open areas of the Askelon region on July 4. Israeli bomb disposal experts arrived at the scene and diffused the explosives.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on July 9 the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing in light of the recent attacks emanating from Gaza. The crossing is the main commercial entrance to the Gaza Strip. There will be no export or marketing of goods from the Gaza Strip – except for humanitarian aid – and no more importing of hydrocarbons from Israel.
The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection installed a portable air quality monitor in Kibbutz Kissufim near Gaza on July 4 following a series of fires started due to incendiary kites.
Hamas has been using fake dating apps and World Cup tracking apps to hack into the smartphones of Israeli soldiers and turn them into spying devices. The apps grant Hamas operatives the ability to view a user’s location and contact list. According to the IDF, Hamas created imitation female Facebook accounts contacted Israeli soldiers in an attempt to discover the location of Israeli strong points.
Israeli prosecutors filed an indictment against a Turkish woman in the Samaria Military Court on July 8 for suspicions of smuggling funds to Hamas during trips to Israel and the West Bank. According to reports from the Jerusalem Post, Ebru Ozkan was arrested at the Ben-Gurion Airport on June 11 for colluding with members of Hamas at the Ru’a’a Center where she worked. The indictment states that the Hamas operative Abd al-tif Sada allegedly guided Ms. Ozkan and advised her where to place items in her luggage to evade airport security. Israel released Ebru Ozkan from detention on bail.
A Palestinian man threw a pipe bomb in the Northern West Bank city of Nablus on July 8. An Israeli bomb sapper was called to the scene to disarm the explosive, and the Route 60 highway was temporarily closed as a result. No injuries were reported.
The IDF will not allow refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria to enter Israel, but will continue to provide aid for those in tent camps in the Golan Heights. An army report stated that it will continue to monitor the “events in southern Syria and is preparing for a variety of scenarios, including continued humanitarian assistance to fleeing Syrians. We will not allow passage of Syrians fleeing the country and will continue to defend Israel’s security interests.” To that end, the IDF delivered 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three palettes of medical equipment and medicines as well as 30 tons of clothing and footwear to four different locations in the Golan Heights.
The Syrian army increased its shelling of the opposition-held parts of Kafr Shams near the Golan Hieghts as part of a larger campaign to retake border areas from rebel fighters.
A Hezbollah unit in Syria has reportedly withdrawn its fighters away from the Israeli border in response to a Russian request. Russia demanded that Iran and Hezbollah pull back forces as a result of Moscow’s recent talks with other “regional parties.” Although Hezbollah responded to the Russian request, Iran refuses to withdraw retreat its forces from southern Syria unless there is a corresponding evacuation of the United States- led international coalition forces from the al-Tanf base.
Egypt’s parliament re-extended the nationwide state of emergency for three months from July 14. The state of emergency has been in place since 2017 following two church bombings which killed at least 45 people. Egypt currently faces an Islamic insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has led to the deaths of hundreds of soldiers and police officers in recent years and has now expanded to include civilian attacks.
The Egyptian army on July 4 killed three jihadists in the Sinai and destroyed tunnels at Rafah on the Gaza border as part of a campaign against terrorism. Operations in recent days led to the death of three insurgents. Additionally, the destroyed Rafah border crossing was the only entrance to the Gaza Strip not under Israeli control. Egyptian authorities believe that jihadists used the tunnels to enter North Sinai.