January 23, 2019
IDF Destroys Iranian Weapons, Military Sites In Syria
Israeli fighter planes struck Iranian and Syrian military targets, air defense batteries and Iranian Quds Forces positions throughout Syria early Monday (21st) in response to the firing of a missile by Iranian forces in Syria toward the Golan Heights. The surface-to-surface missile was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system above thousands of Israeli tourists at the Mount Hermon ski resort. The IDF attack targeted weapons storage sites, a site at Damascus International Airport, an Iranian intelligence site, and an Iranian training camp. During the attack, dozens of Syrian surface-to-surface missiles were fired at Israeli aircraft. In response, several Syrian air defense batteries were attacked.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who said the Israeli strikes in Syria were the deadliest since last May, reported that, “Israeli strikes targeting Iranian and Syrian military positions near and south of Damascus killed at least 11 fighters including two Syrians.”
Meanwhile, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said on Monday (21st), “The firing of the missile from Syria at Israel yesterday, a launch that could have killed civilians, was fired by Iranians out of Damascus within an area that we were promised there would be no Iranians.” “Such a missile fired by Iranians from an area where they are not supposed to be is an Iranian attempt to attack Israel….This is the third time that Iran has tried to attack Israel in the past year,” he added.
Netanyahu: ‘Israel Will Hurt Anyone Who Tries To Hurt Us’
Addressing reporters at the dedication of the Ramon Airport in Eilat on Monday (21st), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on a missile attack launched by Iranians from Syria on the Golan Heights on Sunday (20th).
“Last night the Israeli air force strongly attacked Iranian targets in Syria after Iran launched a missile from there at our territory,” the prime minister said.
At the Ramon Airport, Netanyahu warned, “We have a permanent policy: To strike at Iranian entrenchment in Syria and hurt whoever tries to hurt us. This policy does not change whether I am in Israel or on an historic visit to Chad. This policy is permanent.”
He added, “We are acting against Iran and against the Syrian forces that abet the Iranian aggression. Whoever tries to hurt us – we hurt them. Whoever threatens to destroy us will bear the full responsibility.”
The flare-up arrived amid saber-rattling on the part of Iranian military officials, who routinely threaten to destroy Israel.
On Monday (21st), for instance, state media quoted Iranian Air Force Commander Aziz Nasir-Zadeh, who said that his nation is ready for “the decisive war against Israel,” and is preparing for the Jewish state’s “elimination.”
In response, Netanyahu declared, “We will not ignore such acts of aggression, as Iran attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria, and we will not ignore explicit statements by Iran that it intends to destroy Israel, as the commander of the Iranian air force has just said.”
Arabs Riot In Israeli Prison To Protest Surprise Inspection
Arab terrorists held in an Israeli prison outside of Jerusalem staged a violent riot on Sunday (20th), reportedly in response to surprise inspections.
Two guards were injured during the riot, in which the terrorists set fire to one of the cells. Prison workers eventually extinguished the flames.
The surprise search exposed a wide range of contraband, including a number of weapons. Guards also discovered cellular phones and SIM cards, which imprisoned terrorists use to further criminal activity outside the walls of the prison.
One of the terrorists who was searched, a member of the Islamic Jihad group, was hiding two miniature cellular phones.
The individuals harboring the contraband were punished for violating the law.
Historically, terrorists imprisoned in Israeli correctional facilities enjoyed free college educations, watched televised sporting events, including soccer’s World Cup, and lived in conditions that led one former ex-convict to compare the environment to an “educational institution.”
Jordanian journalist Yousef Alawnah, who served 30 months in an Israeli prison for smuggling explosives, told Saudi 24 TV in June that inmates in Israeli prisons have “an opportunity to acquire culture, to read, and to study many things,” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In the interview, Alawnah asked, “Do the Sunni prisoners in Iraq have books to read? The prisoners held in the dungeons of the Syrian regime – do you think that they have books?”
EU Calls For New Palestinian Elections, Expresses ‘Concern’ With Lack Of Democracy
The European Union said that it is concerned by the absence of any democratically elected bodies in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the West Bank, as it called on Monday (21st) on the Palestinian Authority to ensure that new elections are held.
Its local heads of mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement on the matter after Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the Palestinian Legislative Council at the end of December and said that new elections would be held within six months.
The move effectively left the Palestinians without any elected governmental body.
“Its dissolution formally brings to an end the mandate of the only elected governing body of the Palestinian Authority, a development the EU missions regard with concern,” the head of missions stated.
The EU noted that the PLC which had been composed of members from Fatah and Hamas, had existed in name only.
It had not been in session since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup, making it impossible to convene the PLC.
Still, the EU noted, the PLC mandate played a symbolic role, even though the terms of office of its members had expired in 2009.
Also Mahmoud Abbas’ four-year term in office expired in 2009.
In light of the continued power struggle between Fatah and Hamas, the prospect of holding new elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is slim to none.
Germany Bans Iranian Airline Over European Attacks
Germany has banned Iranian airline Mahan Air from operating in the country. The US banned the carrier back in 2011 for providing technical and material support to the Quds Force, a brigade operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Mahan Air operated three flights a week from Tehran to Dusseldorf and Munich. It’s permit was revoked with immediate effect on Monday (21st), according to reports.
Although Germany was under US pressure to ban the airline, “The German decision is based on our own consideration of our security interests,” a German spokesman said, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mahan Air could potentially transport cargo or people posing a security threat to Germany, the spokesman said.
Germany’s move comes as the European Union adopts sanctions against the Islamic Republic after uncovering attacks planned on the soil of member states by the Muslim country. These include recently exposed operations in France, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Also in response, the EU has frozen assets of Iran’s intelligence ministry and various officials implicated in the plots.
Recently, Israeli defense officials flagged Mahan Air as one of the cargo carriers it suspects of transporting weapons from Iran to Syria. On Sunday (20th), flight data indicated that one of Mahan’s daily flights to Syria abruptly reversed course after reports of Israeli strikes near Damascus, according to Times of Israel.
The report about Mahan Air surfaces one week after German authorities announced the arrest of a German-Afghan military adviser suspected of spying for Iran.