Home Frontline Defense Frontline Defense: July 16, 2019

Frontline Defense: July 16, 2019

Palestinian demonstrators run away from the fence during protests along the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on July 12, 2019. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP)

Israel and the West Bank

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) arrested a Palestinian man suspected of ramming his car through a checkpoint northeast of Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding five IDF soldiers. The suspect was apprehended in the West Bank town of Hizme. 

A ceremony in Gush Etzion in early July marked five years since Hamas terrorists kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens in the West Bank. The memorial took place at Oz veGaon (Courage and Pride) Nature Reserve, which was established to honor the victims. The mothers of the victims were in attendance and spoke about their continued grieving, and the comfort the nature reserve gave them. 

Gaza Strip

On Friday, nearly 6,000 Palestinians protested near the Gaza border, hurling rocks and explosive devices at Israeli soldiers. The IDF announced that it has mistakenly shot a Hamas operative, near the border fence after soldiers believed him to be armed. The man had reportedly been sent to prevent Palestinians from approaching the border, as an attempt to de-escalate the conflict. Egyptian mediators have attempted to facilitate talks between both Israel and Hamas. 

Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades conducted an unannounced drill in the Gaza Strip in early July. Gaza’s interior ministry claimed the exercise tested the group’s emergency readiness. Additionally, the al-Qassam Brigades test-fired 10 missiles from Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea. The launches were intended frighten Israeli civilians in nearby areas who heard the explosions and as a show of force to the Israeli government. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that while he hopes a truce can remain intact, the IDF is fully prepared for any further escalation. 

The IDF discovered a terror tunnel connecting the Gaza Strip to Israel as it continued to construct its own underground defense system. It is the 18th such underground passage to be found since the Israel-Gaza conflict ended in 2014. 

On July 8th, the IDF shot down a drone flying over the Gaza Strip that crossed into Israeli airspace. 

A Hamas senior official, Fathi Hammad, called for the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews throughout the world. The high-ranking terrorist is cited by The Washington Examiner as saying: “…All of you 7 million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing.” 

Hamas militants attempted to extract confidential information from IDF soldiers, posing as fellow servicemen on the texting app WhatsApp. One terrorist reportedly texted “What’s up bro, do you have the schedule?” in Hebrew to an IDF soldier, and when pressed on their identity, claimed to be a comrade. The IDF has instructed soldiers and citizens to be mindful of their online behavior. 

Sinai Peninsula

Israeli media reported that over the past months Israel has launched airstrikes against several trucks in the Sinai Peninsula, preventing them from reaching Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The trucks were loaded with weapons and missiles, one reportedly carrying a shipment of Iranian missiles.

Golan Heights

In early July, sirens in Golan Heights rang a false alarm, mistakenly warning of incoming rockets. The IDF says it are unsure as to what triggered the siren. It is not unusual for the fighting from Syria to spill over into Israel, but the last incident of such an occurrence was in April.

JPC intern Catherine Goodwin compiled this report.