|Hamas demanding release of Barghouti and Sa’adat in prisoner swap|
|[Jpost] Maher Obeid, member of the 'political bureau,' said that any prisoner swap must include 'all the symbols, from Marwan Barghouti to Ahmad Sa’adat.'|
"Hamas 'Demands'" Lol
Hamas is demanding the release of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Popular Front for the Liberation of Paleostine Secretary-General Ahmed Sa’adat as part of a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel, a senior Hamas official said on Thursday.
Maher Obeid, member of the Hamas "political bureau," said that any prisoner swap must include "all the symbols, from Marwan Barghouti to Ahmad Sa’adat to Fouad al-Shobaki to Karim Younes and others."
He spoke as the Israeli security cabinet was set to convene on Thursday evening, amid speculation that a prisoner swap was in the works for the remains of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oren Shaul, believed killed in the war as well as for the release of two Israelis civilians Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayyed.
The Hamas official, however, downplayed reports about progress in the indirect negotiations with Israel to reach a deal and accused Israel of failing to respond to Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s offer to make "partial concessions" to facilitate a deal due to the crisis.
Obeid claimed that the negotiations were also stuck because of the political crisis in Israel after the March general election.
As good an excuse as any for what would not happen anyway..."There are no real contacts, and until now there is no mediator assigned by the Israeli occupation to discuss this matter in a real and effective manner," he remarked. "We are ready [for a deal] and we are serious about securing the release of the prisoners, especially the elderly, females, minors and the sick."
Obeid said that Hamas has informed Egypt and Russia of its readiness to strike a deal with Israel. He noted, however, that the contacts with Egypt and Russia did not move forward.
|Hamas chief warns Israel if more ventilators not brought to Gaza, ‘we’ll take them by force’|
|[IsraelTimes] The head of the terror group in is warning Israel if more ventilators for patients are not brought into the Paleostinian enclave then it will "take them by force."|
Stomping his tiny feet and shaking his tiny fists
"If ventilators are not brought into [Gaza], we’ll take them by force from Israel and stop the breathing of 6 million Israelis," Hebrew media reports quote Yahya Sinwar saying.
There have only been a handful of confirmed COVID-19 cases so far in Gaza, but a World Health Organization official warned earlier today that 80 to 90 percent of the ventilators in the Strip and the West Bank are already in use.
|Hamas leader says terror group has ‘hundreds of kilometers’ of tunnels|
Sinwar also directs warnings to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff, saying that if the centrist politician succeeds in forming a governing Israeli coalition, "he’ll curse the day he was born."
Sinwar’s comments come after a weekend of rocket fire at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, which were met with Israeli reprisal strikes in the enclave.
|Qatar increases number of Gaza beneficiaries of aid|
|[Jpost] The Ministry of Social Development in the Strip on Saturday published on its website the names of Paleostinian beneficiaries of i cash grants.|
Paleostinians whose names appear on the ministry’s list have been asked to head to the post offices in the -ruled coastal enclave on Sunday to receive the cash.
The Qatari Committee for the Construction of the Gaza Strip, headed by Mohammed Elamadi, announced on Friday that it has nearly doubled the number of beneficiaries ‐ from 60,000 two months ago to 100,000 poor families.
Each family will receive $100 in cash.
The announcement came shortly after Elamadi arrived in the Gaza Strip early Friday through the Erez border crossing with Israel.
Sunday’s distribution of the grants will be the seventh since Qatar began delivering millions of dollars in cash to the Gaza Strip last year.
The Qatari envoy said that the increase in the number of beneficiaries of the cash assistance grant this month "comes within the framework of easing the suffering people of the Gaza Strip in light of the difficult humanitarian conditions they are living, particularly on the eve of the beginning of the new academic year for school and university students.
The distribution of the funds is expected to continue for several days.
On Friday evening, Elamadi met in Gaza City with s and discussed with them the Qatari funds and the ceasefire understandings reached between Hamas and Israel under the auspices of Egypt, Qatar and the . The Hamas officials who attended the meeting included , Yahya Sinwar, Rouhi Mushtaha and Khalil al-Haya.
A Qatari official said that his kingdom’s decision to continue delivering cash grants to the Gaza Strip was in the context of an effort to prevent an all-out military confrontation between Israel and Hamas. "We are aware that such a confrontation will bring extensive damage to the residents of the Gaza Strip," the official said. "We will do everything we can to avoid total destruction in the Gaza Strip."
The official said that Qatar was worried in wake of mounting tensions between Israel and Hamas after several recent attempts by to infiltrate into Israel. The Qatari envoy will continue to work with Israel and Hamas to prevent war and improve the security and humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the official added.
|Hamas’s Gaza chief says terror group coordinating with Islamic Jihad|
|[IsraelTimes] The head of Yahya Sinwar, says a six-hour long meeting that included Hamas’s and ’s political and military leaderships took place a few days ago. in the Strip, |
"We were discussing the details of the resistance project and arrangements and preparations for liberation and return and responding to aggression," he says, speaking to members of the Dahdouh family in Gaza.
The comments come amid a Hamas outreach campaign that has seen Hamas leaders visiting families throughout the territory in recent days.
|Hamas leader thanks Iran for long-range rockets, threatens Tel Aviv, fire balloons continue|
|[IsraelTimes] Yahya Sinwar says that without capabilities provided by Tehran, his terror group would not have been able to hit Beersheba as it did in last round of fighting.|
Separately, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services reported that an incendiary balloon launched from sparked a fire in an open field near the border with the coastal enclave.
This was the 45th such fire in May, which has seen ceasefire of rockets since May 6, but a near daily onslaught of incendiary objects flown from the Strip toward Israel, burning dozens of acres of land.
Israel announced Saturday night that, as of Sunday, the fishing zone off the coast of the Strip will be expanded to 15 nautical miles (27.8 kilometers), four days after it was reduced to 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) amid a rash of incendiary balloon attacks from the coastal Paleostinian territory.
Since last March, incendiary balloons have caused fires that destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel, in particular in the areas bordering .
|Hamas offers $1000 to Gaza families whose homes were destroyed by Israel|
Naji Sarhan, deputy of the Ministry of Works, announced that each family whose house was destroyed will receive $1,000 in urgent financial aid. The aid will be provided through charitable institutions in the Strip, he said during a .
Sarhan said that an additional 30 housing units were partially damaged by IAF strikes on the Strip earlier this week.
Israel "destroyed dozens of installations, workshops, shops and media offices, in addition to agricultural fields and greenhouses," he added.
He also claimed that the Israeli military strikes destroyed vehicles and ambulances, as well as electricity networks supplying power to the Strip.
The official said that the ministry has begun removing the rubble and opening streets that were closed during the two days of fighting between Israel and the -based terror groups.
The financial aid, Sarhan said, also includes providing rental fees to the families that lost their homes.
Hamas and Paleostinian (PIJ) leaders were expected to leave Cairo late Tuesday after holding truce talks with Egyptian intelligence officials ‐ and after earlier in the day allocated $48 million for the Paleostinians.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General h were summoned to Cairo over the weekend for urgent talks on ways of restoring the ceasefire understandings that were reached with Israel earlier this year.
Those understandings broke down over the weekend, with Hamas and PIJ firing close to 700 rockets at southern Israel, killing four civilians. The IDF launched retaliatory strikes against 350 military targets, killing 30 Paleostinians.
A new Egyptian-mediated truce understanding was reached late Sunday night, that reportedly included the transfer of $30m. in Qatari funds to the cash strapped Hamas regime.
Paleostinian sources said that senior members of the two groups’ military wings, Izaddin al-Qassam (Hamas) and al-Quds Brigades (PIJ), participated in the discussions with Egyptian intelligence officials. The discussions, the sources said, resulted in the latest ceasefire understandings that were announced on Monday morning.
|Islamic Jihad warns of war during summer, calls last flareup ‘live fire drill’|
Paleostinian ’s Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhaleh said Tuesday that he expected war with Israel in the coming months, and that his group and Hamas coordinated the outbreak of the most recent round of fighting.
"The last escalation was only a live fire drill in preparation for the major campaign that is coming," Nakhaleh said during an interview with the Hezbollah-linked al-Mayadeen news outlet, according to Hebrew media reports.
Nakhaleh said that Islamic Jihad and Hamas, a jihadist terror organization sworn to Israel’s destruction, decided to spark the last round of fighting with the Israel Defense Forces while the two groups were in Egypt to discuss a truce with Israel. Egypt has long acted as a broker between Israel and Paleostinian terror groups in .
"We decided to fire at an IDF officer and a female soldier last Friday in cooperation with Hamas to respond to the killing of protesters at the March of Return," Nakhaleh said, according to Channel 13 news. "This was decided while we were in Cairo. The Egyptians didn’t like the fact that this happened while we were in Cairo. Myself and Yahya Sinwar decided to continue the escalation," he said, referring to Hamas’s chief.
Between us and Hamas there is agreement on everything," Nakhaleh said.
Nakhaleh, who was named the Islamic Jihad chief in September 2018, also claimed that if the last outbreak had continued for a few more hours, "it would have been possible to bombard Tel Aviv."
The comments came less than 48 hours after the end of two days of intense fighting between Israel and -based that saw nearly 700 rockets and mortars fired at Israel and four Israeli civilians killed.
In response to the onslaught, the Israel Defense Forces conducted over 300 strikes from the air and land, including a rare of a terrorist operative whom the IDF said funneled money from Iran to terror groups in the Strip.
’s Hamas-run health ministry said 29 Paleostinians were killed by Israeli strikes, including two pregnant women and a baby. Israel said one of the women and the baby were killed in a failed rocket launch inside and not as a result of IDF actions.
|Hamas leader Sinwar heads to Egypt to discuss truce with Israel|
|[IsraelTimes] terror group turns to Egyptian intel chief to mediate return to ceasefire, after a day of rising tensions following arson balloon attacks.|
A delegation led by the group’s chief Yahya Sinwar left the enclave for Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas officials said.
Egypt has long been the broker between Israel and the terror group that runs .
In November it brokered a fragile truce agreement whereby Israel eased its blockade of the Strip in exchange for calm.
That agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Paleostinians launching arson balloons and rockets into Israel and Israeli warplanes striking Hamas targets.
In retaliation. Kinda forgot that part, hmmm?
Hamas has said the incendiary balloons were a message to Israel not to hold up the transfer of millions of dollars in i aid funds to the cash-strapped Hamas government in .
Hamas Fawzi Barhoum said Sinwar "left for Cairo at the invitation of the head of the Egyptian intelligence service, Major General Abbas Kamel."
The visit was aimed at discussing "bilateral relations and ways to lessen the suffering of our people," he said in a statement.
A Hamas official said the truce agreement would be discussed.
, a Hamas-allied group backed by Iran, said its head will also attend the meetings.
Israel’s air force carried out air raids early Thursday morning on "a number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Strip," a military statement said.
It said they were in response to the launching of incendiary and explosive balloons from into Israel.
Paleostinian responded by launching two rockets into southern Israel. The projectiles fell in an open area, and no injuries were reported.
|Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar: In next war, Israel will have to evacuate Ashdod, Ashkelon, and even Tel Aviv.|
|Factions in #Gaza threaten immediate escalation, rockets deep into Israel if Netanyahu does not grant additional concessions|
Incendiary Balloon Lands In Sderot, Police Investigates
[Jpost] An alert citizen living in the southern city of Sderot noticed an incendiary balloon that landed in the city and called the authorities, the Police spokesperson said on Monday. A sapper was dispatched to defuse the explosive.
Reports: Islamic Jihad planning large Gaza attack to derail ceasefire talks
[IsraelTimes] Israeli defense officials on Monday warned that the Paleostinian appeared to be planning to conduct a large-scale terror attack on the border in order to derail ongoing ceasefire negotiations between Israel and , according to two Hebrew media reports.
The unnamed officials told Paleostinian affairs correspondents from the Ynet news site and Channel 14 television station that members of the Iran-backed group had been seen conducting "suspicious activities" near the security fence over the past day.
Paleostinian Islamic Jihad is the second-most powerful terror group in the Strip, after the coastal enclave’s de facto rulers, Hamas, though it is believed to have a slightly larger arsenal of rockets and mortar shells, mostly locally manufactured varieties based on Iranian designs.
The group is also suspected of being responsible for a barrage of rockets fired at southern Israel in the predawn hours of Sunday morning, which struck open fields in the Eshkol region, causing neither injury nor damage.
According to Monday’s reports, the PIJ operatives along the border appeared to be preparing for some kind of an attack, though the details were unclear. The anonymous officials said it could be the firing of an anti-tank guided missile at Israeli troops; a large-scale improvised attack; or some type of cross-border assault.
According to the anonymous officials, the Paleostinian Islamic Jihad’s Beirut-based leadership appeared to be trying to derail these ongoing ceasefire efforts with rocket fire and its planned attack along the border.
On Sunday afternoon, a mortar shell was launched from toward Israel but it failed to clear the border and landed inside the Strip.
These preparations are being carried out under the nose of the Egyptian mediators, and as far as is known, Hamas is not even aware of this activity. It appears that the instructions for carrying out the attack were given to the group's military wing by the Beirut office of Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nahala.
It is still not entirely clear why Islamic Jihad is interested in bringing about the total collapse of the arrangement currently being brokered by Egypt. It is possible that this is the organization's way of expressing dissatisfaction at what they are receiving as part of the agreement, or could be a directive from Iran, which funds Jihad, aimed at destroying the arrangement. Islamic Jihad is also responsible for the six rockets fired at the border communities on Sunday morning.
Islamic Jihad denied the IDF claim. "There is no truth to these reports. From time to time Israel tries to create confusion in the Paleostinian arena, but these attempts will fail," the group said in a statement.
Two senior Islamic Jihad figures - Daud Shihab and Khaled al-Batsh - are members of the extended committee in the Strip that receives updates from Egyptian intelligence about the progress of the negotiations. It is unclear whether they too are part of the plan to scupper the arrangement via a major attack.
Negotiations for the arrangement between Israel and Hamas are being conducted by General Ahmed Abdel Khalek, who holds the Paleostinian portfolio in Egyptian Intelligence, and the UN's Middle East envoy, Nikolay Mladenov, who met Monday with Hamas leader at his home in the Shati refugee camp.
On the Hamas side, the negotiations are being handled by the group's chief Yahya Sinwar, while the Israel side is headed by National Security Council chair Meir Ben-Shabbat. As part of the negotiations, two crossings from Israel to the Strip - Erez and Kerem Shalom ‐ have been reopened, while the supply of diesel to operate the power plant has been renewed through the latter.
|Hamas caught in trap of its own making|
It must have been inevitable. Monday’s pre-dawn rocket fire on central Israel occurred just hours before leader in , Yahya Sinwar, was to deliver a speech, marking a year since the start of the March of Return demonstrations. Although the campaign’s goals were always a little less grandiose than actually returning to pre-Israel Paleostine, they were no less ambitious - trying to lift the blockade on .
A year has passed and Sinwar doesn’t really have anything to say, neither to the ordinary residents of the Strip nor to the loyal Hamas supporters who have demonstrated tirelessly week after week over the past year along the security fence. The economic situation has not improved and the millions in