News Digest — 1/30/24

Israel Foils ‘October 7-Style’ Terror Attack In Raid On Jenin Hospital – Three Killed

Israeli counterterrorism forces foiled an October7-inspired terror attack early Tuesday (30th), targeting a cell hiding and planning an attack from the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin in the West Bank.

According to a joint statement by the IDF, Israeli Police’s YAMAM counterterrorism forces, and the Shin Bet, wanted Hamas terrorist Mohammad Jalamna was killed during the operation, along with two fellow terrorists who hid alongside him at the hospital.

27-year-old Jalamna, a resident of Jenin, held direct communications with Hamas leadership abroad.  According to the statement, he was responsible for transferring weaponry and ammunition to Hamas terrorists across the West Bank for shooting attacks against Israelis.

Furthermore, Jalamna used the Jenin hospital as a secret base of operations as he was planning an infiltration attack akin to and inspired by the October 7 massacre, it added.

Along with Jalamna, Mohammed and Basel Ghazawi, brothers and Palestinian terrorists, were also killed by Israeli forces.  Mohammed was a terrorist operative of the Jenin battalions who was involved in numerous attacks including firing at IDF soldiers in the area in recent weeks, the IDF said.  Basel was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative also involved in terror activities in the area.

The security forces stated that for a long time, a large number of wanted persons had been hiding in hospitals and were using them as bases for planning terror attacks and carrying them out – they believed that hospitals would serve as protection against Israeli security forces.

The statement said that the operation was made possible due to accurate intelligence received before the operation, and that an operation of this nature was unprecedented.

One senior official stated, “There are no cities of refuge in the West Bank and there will not be – every terrorist should know this.  The hand of the IDF and the security establishment will reach everyone.”



Soldier Seriously Hurt In Haifa Car-Ramming- Ax Attack, Suspected Terrorist Killed

A soldier was seriously wounded in a terror attack in Haifa on Monday (29th) when a man rammed into him with his vehicle outside a military base in the city, police and medics said.

The attacker then exited the vehicle and ran toward the entrance of the naval base, waving an ax, before he was shot dead by an Israeli Defense Force officer at the scene, the army said.

Magen David Adom medics said they arrived at the scene and found the victim, 20, conscious but in serious condition with extensive wounds to his lower limbs.  He was given emergency treatment and taken to Haifa’s nearby Rambam Medical Center.

Rambam deputy director-general Dr. Avi Weissman said the victim was sedated and intubated in the trauma room, suffering from injuries to his extremities, and would be undergoing a series of surgeries.

In response to the attack, the entrances and roads leading to the hospital were blocked off to non-rescue vehicles for a short period of time.

The identity of the assailant was not immediately reported, but news media did say he was carrying an ID document that identified him as a resident of the northern Arab town of Tamra.

Pictures on social media showed troops with guns drawn standing near a man lying in the street with a hatchet next to him.  Other footage showed a car with its front smashed next to the outer wall of what appeared to be a military facility.

The attack came at the same time as soldiers foiled a stabbing attack outside the West Bank village of Tekoa.  The IDF said an attacker tried to stab soldiers at a guard post, who opened fire and killed him.  No soldiers were wounded.



Report: IDF Sending Soldiers To Gaza’s North As Hamas Terrorists Resurface

The IDF is expected to ramp up its military presence in the northern Gaza Strip over the upcoming weeks to counter attempts by Hamas to re-establish itself in the area as Israel’s focus had moved to the south, Army Radio  reported on Monday morning (29th).

The Israeli military plans to carry out several divisional raids in the area, some considered extensive, in areas Hamas has targeted in its efforts to reinstate itself in Gaza’s northern towns.

Amid the reports, the IDF on Monday (29th) called on Gazans west of Gaza City, in the north, to evacuate southward.

According to Army Radio, the IDF estimates that around 2,000 of Hamas’ terrorists remain in the northern Gaza Strip, with rockets on Sunday (28th) being fired at Ashkelon from the north for the first time in over a month.

The IDF also reported clashes along Gaza’s northern coast over a 24-hour period, with troops locating and destroying a terror tunnel route, killing five terrorists in the process.

According to Israeli assessments, Hamas’ senior leadership has long lost contact with its remaining terror forces in the north.  The IDF believes remaining terrorists in northern Gaza are being directed by Hamas’ commander of its Gaza City division, who remains alive and in hiding.



PA Official:  ‘If Hamas Were To Win Elections, We’d Hand It The Government’

The Palestinian Authority’s deputy prime minister said Saturday (27th) the PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas would be willing to hand control over his government to Hamas if the terror group were to win future general elections.  

In an interview with the Saudi news channel Al Arabiya Saturday (27th), Nabil Abu Rudeineh, who also acts as spokesperson for Abbas, said that the Palestinian people need to find common ground and formulate a unified position, but for the time being, “the address for political decisions is the Palestine Liberation Organization and its Leader Mahmoud Abbas.”

But after the war, the PA “is ready to hold general elections, and if Hamas wins, the PA Leader will hand over the Authority.”

The Palestinian Authority has not held general elections since 2006, when Hamas won a majority of the seats in the legislative council, and subsequently staged a violent coup in the Gaza Strip.

Since the outbreak of the war, various PA officials have called for integrating the political wing of Hamas into a future Palestinian government, claiming that it is an essential component of Palestinian society.

Elections are seen by many in the international community as a key stage in the reform and revival of the Palestinian Authority, a body perceived as corrupt and ineffectual, in order to boost its legitimacy and potentially enable it to take control over the Gaza Strip after the war.

A wartime opinion poll in December found 88 percent of Palestinians saying Abbas must resign.  At the same time, 44% in the West Bank said they support Hamas, up from just 12% in September.  In Gaza the terror group enjoys 42%, up from 38% three months ago.

The war erupted on October 7 when some 1.200 people, most of them civilians , were killed by Hamas terrorists who rampaged across southern Israel.  Another 253 people, also largely civilians, were abducted and taken into Gaza, where 132 remain.

Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that their goal in the war sparked by Hamas’ October 7 onslaught is the eradication of the terror group and the return of all the hostages.

Separately, the PA’s Foreign Ministry decried the suspension of funds to UNRWA by many countries, including the US and the UK, as a demonstration of “deplorable double standards.”

The countries have announced they are freezing funding for the UN Palestinian “refugee” agency after Israel showed evidence that a large number of UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7th onslaught alongside Hamas.



Iran Advisers Killed In Israeli Strike On IRGC HQ In Syria: State Media

Two people were killed and several wounded on Monday (29th) in what Iranian and Syrian media said was an Israeli attack on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, with Iran’s ambassador to Damascus denying reports of that location being an Iranian military post.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the explosions.

Iran state media reported the two deaths but did not identify the victims.  Tasnim news agency said Israel “attacked an Iranian military advisory center” in Syria, but Iran’s envoy to Syria Hossein Akbari, denied the details on the target and said the casualties were not Iranian.

Syrian state media, citing a military source, said Israel had launched an air assault on several locations south of Damascus.  It said the attack left both dead and wounded but did not specify any number.

Explosions w0ere detected near the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine complex on the outskirts of the Syrian capital.  Arab media reported that farming areas south of Damascus were targeted due to the proximity of an IRGC stronghold.

The strikes allegedly attacked an operational headquarters for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a source in Iran’s regional alliance told Reuters.

The airstrikes completely destroyed the Quds Force branch of the IRGC’s Shiite stronghold, Arab media reported.

Two Iranian Revolutionary Guards members who served as military advisers in Syria were also killed in an Israeli attack, Iranian state media reported in November, in the first reported Iranian casualties during the ongoing war in Gaza.



After The ICJ Ruling, Israel Will Continue Its Honorable Quest For Justice – Alan Dershowitz

The International Court of Justice did the right thing by refusing to enjoin Israel from conducting its military operation against Hamas.  Even if an injunction had been issued, Israel would have justifiably ignored it.  But the court gave Israel a yellow light to proceed, requiring it to report back in a month on its efforts to prevent its soldiers from committing genocide.

But Israel’s soldiers were not committing genocide.  They were fighting in the same way that the U.S. and Britain fought urban warfare against terrorist groups.  Israeli soldiers do not need to be lectured about not doing something they would never do.

A nation bent on genocide does not put its soldiers at risk by warning the other side about its intended military targets.  Nor does it provide humanitarian corridors for the provision of food, medicine and other necessities.  There have been fewer civilian deaths in Gaza, and a lower ratio of civilian to combatant casualties, than in any modern war in history.

It is Hamas who should be lectured about its multiple war crimes: using hospitals, schools and mosques to protect its fighters, rockets and tunnels.  But the ICJ did not order Hamas to do or stop doing anything.  Unless the ICJ addresses the Hamas war crimes, it will deserve no respect.

The writer is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School.  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)



Israel Goes To Greater Lengths To Avoid Civilian Casualties Than Any Other Nation – Jake Wallis Simons

Ever since its birth, Israel has been subjected to empty judgments and prim finger-wagging.  While the International Court of Justice resisted the urge to demand that Israel lay down its arms and bare its neck for the slaughter, it could not help but deliver a scolding.  Israel goes to greater lengths to avoid civilian casualties than any other nation.

Take the leaflets warning people to leave the combat zone in advance of an attack or the strikes aborted when innocents are spotted in the target zone.  Did the RAF do the same when we pounded Iraq, Afghanistan or the Houthis in Yemen?  Did the Americans?  Israel has managed to maintain a combatant-to-civilian ratio of around 1:2, even on a battlefield designed to put civilians in harm’s way (the global average is 1:9).

Will the ICJ now address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or Turkey’s massacre of the Kurds?  It’s not the killing that’s the problem.  It’s the Jewishness of the finger on the trigger.  As Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky remarked: “We do not have to account to anybody.  We are not to sit for anybody’s examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer.  We came before them and we will leave after them.  We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change, nor do we want to.”  (Telegraph-UK)