|A rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel failed to clear border, landed inside the Strip; IDF bombs Hamas post|
In response, an Israeli military aircraft bombed a Hamas observation post along the border of the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF said.
The rocket attack came amid a flurry of exchanges of fire and mutual threats between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Israel has accused the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad of being behind the recent violence emanating from the enclave.
On Tuesday, terrorists in the Strip fired four mortar shells toward Israel. Three landed on the Gaza side of the border and one struck an open field inside southern Israel. In response, an Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas observation post east of Juhor ad-Dik in the central Gaza Strip, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Senior Egyptian intelligence officials invited Hamas leaders to Cairo for talks aimed at restoring calm and a delegation led by two top Hamas members was slated to leave Gaza late on Monday, according to Israel’s Kan public broadcaster.
A delegation from the Islamic Jihad is expected to head to Cairo in the coming days as well.
|IDF kills armed Gazans on Israeli border Saturday night, the five PIJ members are named|
|[IsraelTimes] Infiltration attempt comes hours after three rockets fired at southern Israel from the Strip, one of which struck a home in Sderot.|
Israeli forces a group of armed Paleostinians along the Strip’s security fence late Saturday night, hours after three rockets were fired at southern Israel from the restive coastal enclave.
The exact number of Paleostinians killed during the suspected infiltration was not immediately known. Gaza-based news outlets reported four or five people killed in the strike.
The Israeli military said an attack helicopter and a tank were used to kill the suspected as they approached the fence.
"A short while ago, IDF troops spotted armed suspects near the security fence around the northern Gaza Strip. An IDF attack helicopter and a tank fired at them," the army said in a statement.
Israeli troops also fired flares throughout the area in order to assist in the efforts to locate the suspected terrorists.
An army spokesperson said there were no reports of Israeli casualties.
The -linked Paleostinian Information Center said the men had been on the Gaza side of the fence when they were killed, and that some of the bodies had been confiscated by Israel, citing "local sources." The reports could not be confirmed.
Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said that Israel later conducted artillery strikes on its positions east of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, near where the men had approached the fence to enter Israel.
Paleostinian media reported that the men were members of the Iran-backed Paleostinian ’s military wing, Saraya al-Quds. This could not be immediately confirmed.
On Saturday night, the cities of Beersheba, Ashdod, Ofakim, Gan Yavne and Yavne opened their municipal bomb shelters ahead of expected reprisal rocket attacks. The Magen David Adom ambulance service also said it was going on high alert.
Earlier on Saturday night, Paleostinian in the Gaza Strip fired three rockets at southern Israel, two of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the military said.
Fragments from one of the Gaza rockets struck the yard of a home in the town of Sderot, causing damage. There were no physical injuries caused by the shrapnel in Sderot. Four people received medical treatment after they suffered anxiety attacks, medics said. In addition, two people sustained minor injuries while running to bomb shelters, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
Shrapnel also landed inside a community in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, northeast of Gaza, causing no injuries, local officials said.
It was the second night in a row that sirens sounded in Sderot. On Friday night, in the Strip fired at least one rocket into Israel, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, the IDF said. There were no reports of injury or damage. In response, the Israeli military struck two underground sites belonging to Hamas.
5 reported Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) armed wing militants killed by IDF tanks and helicopters on the northern Gaza border
|Iran's Hand Behind the Latest Flare Up in Gaza, Israel|
|[Free Beacon] The violent spasm from Hamas-run Gaza isn't just another episode in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict or merely another incident in a cycle of violence in which the Palestinians are given no agency. It is a significant escalation that tests the prevailing rules of the game with Israel where Iran is demonstrating its ability to intensify the conflict by meddling in Palestinian affairs.|
Despite the ceasefire previously hammered out by Egypt, a sniper from Iran's proxy‐the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)‐opened fire across the Gaza fence wounding an Israeli officer and soldier on Friday. The attack is all the more brazen as it took place as Hamas and PIJ leaders were in Cairo finishing an agreement to ease the tensions in Gaza and Israel's south. The IDF responded to the initial incident by targeting a Hamas outpost, killing three Hamas terrorists.
Beginning around 10 a.m. the next morning, the first of hundreds of rockets were fired by Hamas and PIJ into Israel, with around 700 launched toward Israeli homes and infrastructure by Sunday evening, killing four civilians and injuring dozens. Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency posted video of a salvo of rockets fired from Gaza.
This latest escalation is significant for several reasons. First is the deliberate increase in range in the rockets fired from Gaza. Hamas and PIJ began by targeting Israeli communities in the Strip's periphery, such as Sderot and Ashkelon. According to the IDF, after the Home Front Command instructed residents living within 40 km of the Gaza Strip to consult with local authorities and remain near protected spaces, the terrorist groups turned to rockets with increased ranges of up to 70 km. By Sunday, several longer-range projectiles were fired, growing to encompass Ashdod further north. On Sunday, city officials opened bomb shelters as far up the coast as Netanya, which lies north of Tel Aviv.
|Exit one rocket squad video care of the IDF.|
|Israel strikes Gaza targets in response to heavy rocket fire Saturday|
|[Ay-Pee] Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired scores of rockets into southern Israel on Saturday, wounding at least two Israeli civilians and triggering retaliatory airstrikes and tank fire against militant targets in the blockaded enclave and shattering a month-long lull in violence.|
Israeli officials said a 50-year-old woman was severely wounded by rocket fire, while a teenage boy was mildly hurt as he ran for cover. Gaza's Health Ministry said a 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed by an Israeli airstrike, and seven other Palestinians were wounded. Israeli police said a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon was damaged
Air raid sirens sounded in southern Israeli throughout the day. By late afternoon, the military said some 150 rockets had been fired into Israel. It said dozens of rockets were intercepted by its Iron Dome rocket-defense system, and that roads near the Gaza border were closed to civilian traffic. Israeli police said they had dispatched bomb disposal experts to the country's south to deal with projectiles that landed in open areas.
The army said its chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, convened an emergency session with top security officials to discuss the situation. Later, it said it had hit 30 targets in Gaza, including what it said were five Hamas military compounds and several Islamic Jihad compounds.
COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said it was closing the fishing zone off Gaza's coast altogether and sealing Israel's two land crossings with Gaza. The crossings
Actions have consequences, even in Gazoo
IDF tanks and helicopters began attacking terrorist targets belonging to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, managing to destroy an Islamic Jihad attack tunnel entering Israel from the southern part of the strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit reported on Saturday.
|Iran to support Palestinian nation, cause until complete victory: FM Zarif|
|[PRESSTV] Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic will always stand by Palestinian people and support their cause.|
Zarif made the remarks in a meeting with Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement Ziad al-Nakhala in Tehran on Saturday.
The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that supporting Palestine was a fundamental principle of the Islamic Republic's foreign policy.
|Home Front: WoT|
|Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes may not be Florida's only problem|
Sept. 11, 2001: A South Florida man known as Adnan El Shukrijumah
Sept. 11, 2001: Suicide hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi trained at a flight school in Venice, and their accomplice Ziad Jarrah took lessons a block away from the school. Atta and al-Shehhi were responsible for the jets that flew into the World Trade Center, and Jarrah controlled the plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Reports say that at least 14 out of the 19 terrorists responsible for Sept. 11 spent time in South Florida, with at least 12 of them in Palm Beach County.
Sept. 11, 2001: A Saudi family that left their Sarasota home weeks before Sept. 11 had ties to those associated with the terrorist attacks, according to FBI reports. Three of the family members were tied to the Venice flight school where two suicide hijackers from Sept. 11 were trained. The names of the three individuals were blanked out from official documents, but the home in Sarasota was that of Abdulaziz al-Hijji.
Feb. 20, 2003: Former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian was indicted, alleged to be a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and complicit in the murder of civilians. He was arrested in his Tampa home. Years later, Al-Arian ended up taking a plea deal on greatly reduced charges. He was deported to Turkey on Feb. 5, 2015.
Nov. 22, 2005: Former South Florida resident Jose Padilla was indicted on charges of conspiring to commit terrorist acts. He lived in Fort Lauderdale for an unspecified time where he prayed at Al-Iman mosque. He was transferred to Miami's federal detention facility after the indictment. Before the indictment, Padilla was held as an "enemy combatant" in U.S. Defense Department custody. He was previously arrested in 2002 for allegedly attempting to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the United States.
And on and on it goes.
|Palestinian militants agree truce after exchange of fire with Israel|
|[Reuters] GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian militants said on Saturday they would halt attacks into Israel from the Gaza Strip after they fired the heaviest rocket salvoes across the border since August.|
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the armed groups that operates in Gaza, said it fired the rockets in retaliation for Israel’s killing of four Palestinian protesters on Friday.
Israel in response struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.
A spokesman for the militants said an Egyptian-mediated truce had been reached.
"After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive ceasefire will begin immediately," spokesman Daoud Shehab said. "The Islamic Jihad will abide by the ceasefire if the occupation (Israel) does the same."
Egyptian security officials have been talking separately to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to restore calm along the border.
An Israeli military spokeswoman declined comment on Shehab’s remarks and there was no immediate response from other Israeli officials. Israel rarely acknowledges it has reached a truce with Gaza’s militant groups which it designates as terrorist organizations.
Earlier, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus accused Syria and Iran of involvement in the rocket attack.
|Hamas welcomes Gush Etzion terror attack|
|[Ynet] Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad issued official statements on Sunday welcoming a terrorist attack in Gush Etzion, in which an American-Israeli father of four, Ari Fuld, was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old Palestinian from Hebron.|
|It was terrorism: Iran denies any role in deadly Tajikistan attack|
"The of Iran denies any link with this terrorist attack and categorically denies that there is any military base to train inside Iran," says foreign ministry Bahram Ghasemi, according to the Mehr news agency.
"We condemn all terrorist acts all over the world, including the recent attack on foreign tourists in Tajikistan," he says.
Two Americans, a Dutch and a Swiss citizen were killed Sunday about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the capital Dushanbe after being struck by a car and attacked on a popular cycling route.
The jihadist group but this was rejected by Tajikistan police, who blamed a banned Islamist opposition party that it said had undergone "military sabotage" training in Iran.
Among the dead suspects was 21-year-old Jafariddin Yusufov, the owner of the Daewoo Leganza car that struck the tourists on Sunday afternoon, local officials said.
The Dutch foreign ministry told AFP on Monday that one of the dead tourists was a 56-year-old man who was cycling the route with his 58-year-old partner, without providing names.
The cyclists were travelling on a road that adjoins the famous Pamir Highway, a Soviet-era road surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.
A "wanted" notice disseminated by Tajik authorities named two suspects aged 18 and 19 from the same village close to the Tajik-Afghan border, and a third one, 21, from the town of Nurek located not far from the site of the attack.
The government of Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon - who expressed condolences to the U.S., Swiss and Dutch authorities on Monday - fought Islamist guerrillas in a 1992-1997 civil war which claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Some Tajik Islamists then joined a coalition government but in 2015 the state outlawed their political party, accusing its leaders of being behind a failed coup, a charge they deny.
Thousands of people from the mainly Muslim region have joined Islamic State militants in recent years. Several men from Central Asia were detained last year over a bombing of the metro in Russia's St Petersburg, and over truck attacks in New York and Stockholm.
|Debt lands hundreds of Gazans in jail as economy tanks|
Sameh al-Madhoun’s eyes fill with tears as he recalls his fall from successful businessman to prisoner in a Hamas jail in .
Once the owner of a flourishing car dealership, he is one of more than 40,000 Gazooks charged in the last year with failing to keep up debt payments as the economy in the Paleostinian enclave collapses.
Madhoun, a 40-year-old father of four, has sold most of his possessions, including his house and some of his cars, in a bid to pay back the $3 million debt that dragged his business into bankruptcy.
"I have paid off half of it until now. I don’t know how I will pay off the rest," he told AFP from his jail cell.
"I don’t own anything else now except these debts."
A decade-long blockade by Egypt and Israel ‐ which Israel maintains in order to prevent ’s Hamas terrorist rulers from importing weaponry ‐ and a dispute between Hamas and the West Bank-based Paleostinian Authority have brought the coastal territory’s economy to its knees.
Some 42,500 people were in the past year for failing to pay debtors, according to Hamas police.
At least 600 are currently in debtors' prison on similar charges.
Madhoun has been detained since September, but is allowed to leave two days a week to see his young children and search for the money to pay back his debtors.
AFP met him both in debtors' prison, after being granted access by Hamas, and during one of his leave days at his former company ‐ now just a few cars gathering dust.
"The market collapsed. Even though prices fell there were no customers," Madhoun said.
"If it continues all the businesses in will fail."
Economy ’all but dead’
As Gazooks’ buying power has collapsed, the amount of goods being imported into the Strip has more than halved in just seven months, according to border officials.
Tabba said some $112 million worth of checks bounced in 2017, up from $62 million in 2016. That, he said, is "clear evidence of an economic collapse."
Tabba estimates that several hundred of those currently in debtors' prison are owners of struggling or failed businesses.
In an attempt to contain the crisis, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in recently announced it would give people an extra month to find the money to service their debts.
Much of the world has dropped the policy of imprisoning debtors, but in it is still common.
With the help of Egypt, Israel has maintained a blockade of since 2007, which it says is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008. Hamas ‐ the Islamist terror group which seized control of in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew its entire military and civilian presence from the Strip ‐ is openly committed to the destruction of Israel.
Rights groups and UN officials say the blockade amounts to collective punishment and strangles the economy in the enclave, where unemployment is around 40 percent.
But the Paleostinian Authority has also sought in recent months to harm Hamas by damaging ’s economy, including by cutting the salaries it still pays to civil servants there despite Hamas taking over the territory in 2007.
Hamas has also largely stopped paying civil servants after an attempted reconciliation with the Fatah movement of president stalled.
Several hurt in reported training accident at Hamas facility in Gaza
[IsraelTimes] Several people are said hurt in a training accident at a Hamas training facility in the Gaza Strip, according to media reports in Gaza cited by Hebrew-language media this evening. The facility is located at the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City.
There are no reports of deaths. According to the Walla news site, Hamas is refusing to publicize any details about the incident.
Islamic Jihad member killed in accidental explosion in northern Gaza
[IsraelTimes] A 20-year-old Palestinian Islamic Jihad member was killed in an accidental explosion in the northern Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Hamas-run Health Ministry there said Saturday.
Ibrahim Fathi Farahat is said to have been working with explosives. Two other Palestinians were injured.
The blast was apparently caused by a work accident as the explosives were being prepared, the Ynet news site reported.
Several Hamas and PIJ operatives have been killed or injured in accidental blasts and tunnel collapses in recent months.
|New designated terror group: Harakat as-Sabirin li-Nasran Filastin|
|[LongWarJournal] The Trump Administration announced a new round of economic sanctions against terror groups in the Middle East on Wednesday, including Harakat as-Sabirin li-Nasran Filastin (The Movement of the Patient Ones for the Liberation of Palestine). As-Sabirin is an Iranian-funded splinter Shia jihadist faction that has operated in Gaza since as early as 2014. The sanctions are the latest indication that Washington is serious about going after various terror groups in the Gaza Strip.|
As-Sabirin is a unique organization in Gaza in that it is overtly Shiite. The group’s leader, Hisham Salem, reportedly converted to Shiism and has instructed his followers to proselytize in the predominantly Sunni coastal enclave. Salem is a former commander in Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), another beneficiary of Iranian funds. Salem broke with PIJ with the support of Iran after Tehran had a falling out with both Hamas and PIJ as a result of the Syrian civil war. As-Sabirin first appeared in Gaza in 2014 when one of its fighters died in a mysterious explosion at a weapons production facility.
Since then, as-Sabirin has attempted to establish a presence in the West Bank and launch attacks into Israel. The State Department designation says as-Sabirin fired rockets into Israel in Sept. 2015 and detonated an explosive device that targeted the IDF in Dec. 2015. In Jan. 2016, Salem announced that as-Sabirin formed cells in the West Bank, and one month later the Palestinian Authority arrested a five-man cell in Bethlehem. Salem’s Gaza home was also targeted in a bomb attack that year. He has been the subject of repeated assassination attempts.
As-Sabirin receives approximately $10 million a year in assistance from Iran. The group was spawned by Iran as a counterpoint to Hamas at a time when Tehran and the dominant Gaza terror faction were feuding. In recent years, however, relations between Iran and Hamas have improved, with some Hamas officials remarking that Iranian assistance is at pre-fallout levels. Regardless, today’s designation makes it clear that the US government still sees a significant relationship between Iran and as-Sabirin, and that it is serious about breaking up that alliance.