News Digest — 11/14/19
Fresh Barrage Of Rockets Fired At Israel Hours After IDF Confirms Gaza Ceasefire
The Israel Defense Forces on Thursday (14th) said five rockets were fired at Israel, hours after the military confirmed a ceasefire had been reached with terror groups in Gaza.
There were no reports of damage or injuries in the bombardment, which was launched at Netivot and Gaza-area communities.
The IDF earlier had confirmed that a deal was reached to end a two-day bout of violence that paralyzed large parts of Israel and is said to have killed 34 Palestinians, including 25 terrorists.
An IDF spokesman said the latest flareup of violence in Gaza, in which two Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders were killed and its terrorist infrastructure targeted, was dubbed “Operation Black Belt.”
In a press briefing, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said that approximately 450 rockets were launched toward Israel within a 48-hour-period, of which 60% land in open fields and 90% of the remainder were intercepted.
In a series of tweets, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee said the Israeli military swiftly achieved its objectives in the fight, having struck a “harsh blow” to the terror group’s capabilities.
A ceasefire went into effect at 5:30 a.m., with the help of Egyptian mediators, but it is unclear if it will hold given the continued violence.
Israel’s Defense Minister Speaks Of New Ground Rules – ‘Complete IDF Freedom Of Action’
On Thursday morning (14th), Israel’s new defense minister, Naftali Bennett, said that regardless of the ceasefire that took effect at 5:30 a.m., “At this stage, it is not over yet.”
Bennett also said, “The new rules of the game are clear. The IDF will act with complete freedom of action, with no restrictions.”
The former education minister who had lobbied for the defense minister position, had in the past urged for a more aggressive response from the IDF against terror attacks.
“As defense minister, “I would return fear to the enemy,” Bennett said.
It appears that now Bennett wants to put his ideas into action. Israel media reports that he has spent all night in discussions with senior IDF officials.
“A terrorist who tries to harm Israeli citizens will no longer be able to sleep peacefully, not in his home, or in his bed, and nowhere in hiding,” Bennett said on Thursday (14th).
“This morning we send a clear message to all our enemies, in all sectors: Anyone who plans to hurt us during the day will never be sure to pass the night. You are, and will remain in our sights,” he added.
“In the coming hours, I ask the public to continue to be alert and attentive,” Bennett said clearly.
‘Israel Will Hunt Down Every Terrorist Till Our Kids Are Safe
Israel’s new Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett vowed that Israel would “hunt down every terrorist” in the Gaza Strip, until children in Israel “are secure and safe.”
In a video statement Wednesday afternoon (13th), Bennett called on the world to “stand together” against Islamic terrorism, warning that a failure to do so would leave the world vulnerable to the “wrath” of radical Islam.
“Over the past 24 hours the Islamic Jihad terrorists shot over 300 rockets and missiles on Israelis, on our families, and on our children.”
“But these terrorists are not only out to kill Israelis. In fact they’re killing their own people in Gaza. At the cost of every rocket they shoot, they could have built another Gazan classroom.”
“Israeli security forces will hunt down every terrorist,until our children are secure and safe. The world must stand together and unite against radical Islamic terror, otherwise the world will feel its wrath.”
The IDF stepped up its counter-terror efforts in Gaza Wednesday (13th), striking a number of Islamic Jihad positions in the coastal enclave, including a rocket factory, weapons storage facilities, and terrorist training areas.
Twelve persons were killed in the strikes Wednesday (13th), Gaza’s health ministry reported, bringing the total number of dead terrorists to 25.
Israel Warned Hamas: Stay Out Of This Fight Or We’ll Topple Your Tall Buildings
Israel relayed a message to Hamas warning that if the terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, gets involved in the current fighting between the IDF and Islamic Jihad, the Israeli military will “topple multi-storied buildings in Gaza” in response, reports Israel public broadcaster Kan.
Hamas has so far stayed out of the fighting which erupted Tuesday morning (12th) after Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad terror mastermind Baha Abu Al Ata in a precision airstrike on a Gaza City building.
The current round has differed from previous fighting between Gazan terror groups and Israel, in that the Jewish state has traditionally charged that Hamas is responsible for all terror activity from the enclave. Hamas gained control of Gaza in a 2007 coup, ousting the Palestinian Authority two years after Israel withdrew all its civilians and military personnel in its disengagement.
However, since Tuesday morning (12th), Israel has stated that it has limited itself to attacking Islamic Jihad targets as long as Hamas does not get involved.
Hamas reportedly fears, however, that if it does not get involved, it will be accused of abandoning a fellow Palestinian terror group.
Perhaps to fend off potential intra-Palestinian criticism, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Wednesday (13th) that “resistance” activity in Gaza was taking place in “complete” coordination and consultation among the various groups, implying that Hamas is involved.
Fox News Reporter In Gaza: Amnesty International Lied
Amnesty International lied on Tuesday (12th), when it accused Israel of violating international law for bombing the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights building in Gaza, said Fox News foreign correspondent Tray Yingst.
Yingst, reporting from Gaza said the building was hit by a rocket that misfired from Gaza, and that he witnessed the event.
“Israel did not strike this building. A rocket misfired from Gaza. I was across the street when it happened,” wrote Yingst on Twitter.
Yingst responded to this post yesterday by Amnesty International:
“We strongly condemn the attack on the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights whose office in Gaza was struck by an Israeli missile earlier this morning. Strikes targeting civilian buildings is a violation of international law. We are sending our solidarity to @ICHR_Pal”
Amnesty International is frequently accused of having an anti-Israel bias and whitewashing the war crimes of Palestinian Arabs.
Matan Peleg, CEO of the pro-Israel watchdog Im Tirtzu. accused Amnesty International of deliberately spreading blood libels about Israel.
“Rather than condemning genocidal terrorists who work day and night to murder Jews, Amnesty International opts to condemn Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,” said Peleg.
“This depraved so-called human rights organization should be ashamed of spreading blood libels about Israel, and siding with terrorists.”
Elderly Woman Moderately Hurt In Ashkelon Rocket Strike
An elderly woman was moderately hurt Wednesday afternoon (13th) in a rocket strike on an assisted living facility in Ashkelon.
The woman was taken to Barzilai Hospital in the city, where she was treated for injuries caused by flying glass, said Magen David Adom medic Dvir Baribo.
“When we arrived at the scene, we found a woman in her 70s in full consciousness. There were many shards of shattered glass around,” said Baribo. “She suffered injuries to the face and limbs. We gave her primary medical treatment which included bandaging and stopping the bleeding, and we evacuated her in moderate but stable condition to Barzilai Hospital.”
Rocket fire brought life in much of Israel to a standstill and schools remained closed in Israeli communities near the Gaza border Wednesday (13th). Restrictions on public gatherings continued as the rockets rained down.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a special cabinet meeting Wednesday (13th) that Israel has no interest in sparking a wider confrontation but warned Islamic Jihad that Israel would keep pounding its members until the rockets stop.
No Israeli deaths have been caused by the rocket attacks, mostly thanks to the Iron Dome missile defense system, which israel says has intercepted some 90% of the projectiles. A few homes suffered direct hits, though, and there was a near-miss on a major highway, where a rocket crashed down just after a vehicle had passed.
Seeking to keep the outburst under control, the Israeli military has restricted its operations to Islamic Jihad, and nearly all the Gaza casualties have been members of the Islamic Jihad terror organization.