News Digest — 12/5/19

Report: Hamas Calls For Resumption Of Gaza Border Violence

Hamas on Wednesday (4th) called on Gaza Strip’s residents to return to the Israel-Gaza border on Friday (6th) and resume the “March of Return” protests following a three-week hiatus.

According to local media reports, the Gaza-based terror group has issued leaflets promoting the protests that included depictions of black smoke and blood.

The move comes after Israel launched airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza on Friday (11/29) in response to a rocket fired from the coastal territory that landed in an open area of the Eshkol Regional Council.

According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the strikes targeted a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip.  Projectiles other than rockets were also fired from Gaza on Friday (11/29) triggering sirens in the Israeli communities near the border.

The attacks from Gaza followed the death of a Palestinian on Friday afternoon, who was reportedly shot during a riot by Israeli troops along the Gaza-Israeli border.  The IDF said it was investigating the incident, during which dozens of rioters had approached the border and attempted to sabotage the fence, throwing explosives at Israeli troops.



Airstrikes Target Iranian Weapons Storehouses In Eastern Syria – Report

Unidentified aircraft bombed Iranian-controlled weapons storehouses in eastern Syria on Wednesday evening (4th), causing massive explosions, a Syrian opposition news site reported. 

According to the Step News agency, the planes fired several missiles at warehouses belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at the al-Hamdan airport, outside Deir Ezzor, in the Abulkamal region of Syria, an area that has reportedly been targeted several times by Israeli airstrikes on Iranian facilities in the past year.

Troops on the ground fired anti-aircraft weapons at the attacking planes, the news site reported.

The Israeli military as a rule does not comment on its airstrikes in Syria, except for those that are in retaliation to attacks on Israel. 

Syria’s Abulkamal region, near the border with Iraq, is seen as a crucial region for Iran and its plans to establish a land corridor to the Mediterranean Sea in order to more easily transport material and fighters throughout the Middle East.

The Quds Force, led by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, is part of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for extraterritorial operations, and is a key actor in Syria – both against rebels and in Tehran’s efforts to entrench itself along Israel’s border and threaten the Jewish state from there.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from Syria.



Hamas Officials Make Condolence Calls To Bitter Rival Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas received a phone call on Tuesday evening (3rd) from Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, reports the PA news agency Wafa.

He also received a call from former Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, said the news agency.

The calls were said to be for the purpose of offering condolences on the death of a long time Fatah official.

Fatah is the mainstream wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of which Abbas is a leader.  Hamas is a rival terror group which overthrew the PA in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

The longtime leading Fatah figure who died was identified by Wafa as Ahmed Abdel Rahman, 76.

The PA news agency reported that Abbas received a message of condolence from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, as well.

Efforts to reconcile differences between the PA and Hamas have continued intermittently over the years.  However, in more recent times, Abbas is believed to have “seldom communicated” with senior Hamas leaders, says Times of Israel.

“Both Abbas and Haniyeh have recently met with Hanna Nasser, head of the PA Central Elections Commission, several times to discuss the possibility of holding legislative and presidential elections in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem, the Times added.

Israeli officials have warned of Hamas efforts to gain control over the portions of Judea and Samaria where the PA rules.  Despite political tensions between Israel and the PA, security cooperation is said to be maintained, and Hamas has even accused the PA of cooperating with Israeli efforts to thwart Hamas terror.

Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but continues to suffer air attacks, sometimes on a massive level, from the Strip, in addition to violence on the ground in the area around the border.



Heartfelt Call To Europe’s Jews: ‘Europe Is Doomed; Leave!’  

Israeli Actor Harel Noff has produced a heartfelt call to Jews in Europe to leave before it is too late: “To all my Jewish blood brothers out there in Europe, wherever you are: For 2,000 years, we were hated, despised, humiliated, demonized, persecuted, pogrom-ized, and yes, even murdered, while longing, wishing for an independent homeland – the promised land of Israel and Jerusalem.”

“So get this: We made it!  We’re here! And the question is, why aren’t you?  Is your life out there in Europe that jolly and delightful?  Is it? Is it worth being there than here?”

“Can’t you acknowledge that Europe is rapidly changing for the worse and is no longer safe for its Jews?  And you must hide your identity for your own safety! Is this the life you wish for your children?”

“Our politicians may not be able to tell you what I’m about to because of their delicate give-and-take relations and interests between governments.  But I can, because I don’t owe them a thing.”

“So please, listen to me.  Europe is doomed. Doomed. Doomed.  Leave. Evacuate, ASAP, and come to Israel.  Come home. We need you here, and you need us.  We are a growing nation, and together our light soon will shine upon the world brighter and clearer.”

“So don’t just say L’Shana ha ‘baa b’Yerushalayim.  Do it.”



Technion Students Develop Algorithm To Land Aircraft With Engine Failure

Engine malfunction, fuel leaks or improper maintenance can spell death for pilots, their crews and passengers.

A research group at Technion led by Professor Nahum Shimkin, who is dean of the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, developed an on-line algorithm to solve this problem.

“The on-line algorithm calculates (and periodically re-checks) the globally-optimal trajectory in terms of minimal altitude loss, accounting for descent-generated terrain obstacles and on-board estimated intense in-plane and crosswinds,” Technion wrote in a press release.

The algorithm would help pilots in distress, similar to Chesley Sullenberger, who was forced to land his plane on the Hudson River in 2009 after both of his engines were compromised.

“Since we are aiming to aid a pilot under immense stress, it is imperative to validate the algorithm in actual flight,” the team told Technion.  “We’ve chosen to flight-test our optimal algorithm on a Cessna172 – to demonstrate both the optimal airstrip choice, and trajectory generation, as well as the following of this trajectory by the Pilot-in-Distress.

The simulation that the students developed to test the algorithm “involves flight modeling, the generation of the optimal trajectory towards the preferable airstrip, and cues on a screen – for the pilot to track this trajectory.  This [simulated] environment has contributed immensely to our on-board S/W debugging and thus to the success of our airborne experiment,” according to the team.

The algorithm was able to route a simulated flight experiencing engine failure west of Mount Tabor to a landing strip east of the mountain and gave it the optimal trajectory for the test pilot to track.

“We have thus validated our concept in-flight, as a real-time algorithm for the tracking of the globally-optimal trajectory by the pilot.  This real time globally optimal algorithm, developed by the Technion research team, can be readily adopted in GA aircraft cockpits as well as for UAVs,” the team told Technion.