Israel’s National Cyber Directorate Director-General Yigal Unna said on May 29 that late April’s thwarted cyber-attack on Israeli water systems was meant to trigger a “humanitarian disaster.” If successful, the attacker could have prevented access to water to Israeli citizens or poison it. Unna also added that the incident represented a new era in cyber warfare. Although Israel did not publicly identify any suspects in the attack, news reports suggest that Jerusalem conducted a retaliatory cyber-attack on an Iranian port on May 9.
Israeli Defense Forces troops thwarted a terror attack on May 29, fatally shooting a Palestinian who tried to run them over with his car. The incident occurred near Halamish in the West Bank.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz apologized for the shooting death of Lyad Halak. Israeli forces spotted the man with “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” But, Israel police confirmed after the incident that no guns were found. Halak suffered from autism, according to his family, and was on his way to a special needs school when he was shot after apparently not understanding orders to stop.
The United States Embassy in Israel urged its nationals on May 28 to avoid traveling to the West Bank and Gaza as “violence can occur with little to no warning.” U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from travel to those areas unless for official business.
The Associated Press (AP) fired Eyad Haman, a veteran Palestinian cameraman, on the week of May 24. Haman claims the Palestinian Security Forces pressured AP to fire him after he spoke against the arrest and physical mistreatment of a Palestinian journalist. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate issued a statement demanding the AP reverse its “unfair and unjust decision.”
An Israeli court convicted Amiram Ben Uliel on May 18 of murdering three Palestinians. Ben Uliel set ablaze a Palestinian family’s home in 2015 killing three of the four residents. An unnamed minor was arrested along with Ben Uliel in 2016 but admitted guilt as part of a plea deal in 2019.
The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry reported the first coronavirus related death in the Gaza Strip on May 30. The government reported 35 new cases in the week of May 24-31 for a total of 55 cases throughout the enclave. Gaza is home to about 2 million people but has only 60 ventilators and limited access to medication.
The Ahfad al-Nasser terror group claimed responsibility for launching three incendiary and explosive balloons into Israel on May 26. According to a statement, the organization warned Israel that it had 72 hours to send medical supplies to Gaza otherwise the group would escalate violence.
Although the Palestinian Authority suspended security cooperation with Israel to protest Israel’s planned annexation of part of the West Bank, the IDF continued to carry out raids in the territories. The IDF arrested seven Palestinians on May 27 during overnight operations, the first such military operation since security cooperation ostensibly ended on May 22. No clashes were reported between Palestinian Security Forces and Israeli troops.
Col. Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that during the week of May 14-20 the Egyptian Army carried out raids in the towns of Bir al-Abed, Rafah, and Sheikh Zuweid in the northern Sinai, killing 19 Islamic militants. Other official sources said anonymously that five Egyptian Army personnel were killed as well.
JPC intern Sacha Warnod compiled this report.