News Digest — 10/14/21

Border Police Officer Injured In Ramming Attack North Of Jerusalem

A Border Police officer was seriously injured in a ramming attack in Kalandiya, north of Jerusalem on Wednesday night (13th), according to Israel Police.

The officer was taking part in operations to evacuate illegal structures in the village when a terrorist drove at high speed toward the Israeli forces and struck the officer.

Border Police fired toward the vehicle and arrested the terrorist, a 22-year-old resident of Qalqilya, after he hit a wall.  Following initial questioning, the suspect was transferred to the Shin Bet for further interrogation.  His condition is unclear.

The injured Border Police officer was transferred in serious condition, with injuries to his head and abdomen, to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment while conscious, according to Magen David Adom, Shaare Zedek updated on Thursday morning (14th) that the officer was in serious but stable condition.

“This attack is another reminder of the threats that exist in every operational activity and in every area of land in which we operate,” said Israel Police Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turjeman.  “Our operational alertness and quick and determined response is the key to neutralizing any threat immediately, and preventing harm to human life.  In this case as well, the quick response and operational deployment of the operatives in the field prevented injury to additional operatives and led to a speedy end to the incident and the neutralization of the terrorist.” 

“We must continue to act resolutely in the face of any attempt to harm the forces or lives of the citizens of Israel,” added Turjeman.

The attack comes amid a recent jump in terrorism in Jerusalem and the West Bank, with multiple attacks and attempted attacks reported in recent weeks, including a thwarted plot by Hamas operatives in the West Bank to carry out largescale terrorist attacks in Israel.



Israeli Planes Reportedly Struck In Central Syria, Killing 1 And Injuring 3

A Syrian soldier was killed and three others were wounded in an Israeli airstrike targeting an area south of the city of Palmyra in central Syria Wednesday night (13th), according to Syrian media.

The state-run SANA broadcaster said at around 11:30 pm, Syrian air defenses in the central province of Homs opened fire on the missiles.

The Israeli warplanes launched their missiles from the direction of al-Tanf, a US outpost on the border between Syria, Jordan and Iraq, according to SANA.

Damage was caused to a “communications tower and some areas around it” near the city of Palmyra, the report said.

One Syrian soldier was killed and three others were wounded in the strike, according to media reports.

This would mark the second alleged Israeli strike in Syria in recent days, after six Syrian soldiers were wounded in an airstrike targeting the T-4 airbase outside of Palmyra on Friday night (8th).

Israel’s military does not comment on reports of specific strikes in Syria, save for those that are in retaliation for attacks from the country.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel fears Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.



Iran Claims Arrest Of 10 Spies Linked To Foreign Intelligence Services

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced on Tuesday (12th) the arrest of 10 spies it claims are linked to foreign intelligence services.

The Associated Press, citing Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, reported that the 10 were Iranian expatriates working for unspecified “regional” countries.  According to the Intelligence Ministry, the spies allegedly collect information on “sensitive centers” in the Islamic Republic.

Iran didn’t specify the foreign intelligence service or services with which it was associating the spies.

An IRNA report said they were arrested in the Bushehr province, which is along the Persian Gulf.  That province is home to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.  Iran began work on a second reactor at the facility in 2019.

In July, the Russian-built reactor suffered an emergency shutdown that required three to four days of repairs.  Officials said the shutdown was necessitated by a technical problem in an electrical generator.  But with persistent accidents and explosions at Iranian industrial and energy facilities and other infrastructure, it was widely believed the Iranians were covering up acts of Israeli sabotage.

The announcement comes in the wake of a provocative Iranian war exercise along its border with Azerbaijan.  Tehran claims that Azerbaijan allows Israeli personnel to operate on the border, an allegation denied by the Azeri government.

Iran occasionally announces the detention of people it says are spying for foreign countries, including the United States, Israel and other Western states.



Guatemala Names 27 Streets After ‘Jerusalem, Capital Of Israel’

The Israeli ambassador in Guatemala earlier this week inaugurated a street named ‘Jerusalem, capital of Israel,’ which was the twenty seventh street in the country to be named after the city in the past two years.

The ambassador, Matanya Cohen, attended the ceremony in the city of La Gomera, where he was joined by the mayor and local dignitaries.

The Israeli Embassy in Guatemala launched a new initiative to name streets, squares and parks throughout the country after Jerusalem following Guatemala’s decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital in May of 2018 and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Guatemala became the second country to do so after the United States, a move initiated by former President Donald Trump.  Just two days after the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales inaugurated the Embassy of Guatemala in Jerusalem with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   

The idea is the personal initiative of Ambassador Cohen.  “The intention was for the cities of Guatemala to display their friendship with Jerusalem,” he said.

“In June 2018, a month after the Guatemalan Embassy was relocated to Jerusalem, the first city joined the initiative.  Since then, other cities including the capital, Guatemala City – which is the only capital in the world with a street named ‘Jerusalem, capital of Israel’ – joined in,” said Cohen.

According to Cohen, he no longer needs to convince the mayors to join the project since more than 50% of Guatemalan residents are Evangelical Christians who are very supportive of Israel.

“The former president’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem did something spiritual to them,” said the envoy.

The ambassador also said he received requests from mayors all over Guatemala, and he hopes that by next summer the initiative will have spread to 34 cities, which is 10% of all the cities in the country.  “I hope to come to each city that inaugurates a new street named after Jerusalem, he said.”

Cohen’s initiative is now spreading to other countries on the continent, and Israeli Ambassador to Costa Rica, Oren Barel has already persuaded four cities in his country to name streets after Jerusalem.



Israelis Helped Evacuate 165 Afghan Women

Sylvan Adams, co-owner of the Israeli national cycling team, revealed new details Tuesday (12th) of a mission that helped Afghan women cyclists and others to escape Taliban rule in an operation likened to a “spy novel.”

“We are about the only group that’s able to move people around in Afghanistan and get them out,” Adams said during a conference Tuesday (12th) held by the Jerusalem Post.  “Of course, the Afghan National Women’s team was terrified.  They were in a situation in a country like Afghanistan, where you could be killed for riding your bicycle.”

The Israeli-Canadian Adams owns Israel Start-Up Nation, the Jewish nation’s first professional cycling team that competes in international tournaments, and said he was approached for the initiative on the basis of past humanitarian projects.

For the mission, the philanthropist teamed up with IsraAID, as the Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency had operatives on the ground.  Together they devised a plan to help the women cyclists and others flee from Afghanistan.  Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the cycling world’s governing body, was also part of the evacuation operation.

Adams recounted that the cycling team was taken to a land crossing of an unnamed neighboring country, where he knew somebody who was close to the president and could lend influence.

“It was crazy – like something you would read in a spy novel,” Adams said.  “We made a call to the president of the neighboring country, and they were let in.  They are now in the United Arab Emirates.”

Adams emphasized that he was particularly proud of the support and cooperation of the UAE, which he described as “a product of the Abraham Accords,” the normalization agreements which Israel struck last year with Arab states.

“The Emirates, when they heard that an Israeli group was taking out Muslim Girls from Afghanistan, wanted to be our partner, specifically because we were Israeli,” said Adams, who financed the evacuation operation.  “It’s a stunning partnership now and the girls are in the UAE and we extracted a second group as well that is in Albania.”

“165 souls have been saved,” Adams added.

Among the evacuated group were also female judges, human rights workers, and Afghan diplomats, he said.