News Digest — 2/22/24

Israel’s Arrow Intercepts Apparent Houthi Ballistic Missile Headed For Eilat

Israel’s long-range Arrow air defense system shot down a ballistic missile over the Red Sea early Thursday morning (22nd), apparently fired by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, the military said.

Footage from Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat showed smoke trails in the sky from the aftermath of the interception.

The Israel Defense Forces said the missile was headed toward Israel. Likely aimed for Eilat, it was shot down over the Red Sea using the advanced Arrow system.

The IDF added that the missile did not enter Israeli airspace, and sirens had sounded in the southern city according to protocol, due to fears of falling shrapnel.

The Houthis did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

Thursday’s (22nd) Arrow interception was its sixth interception of a ballistic missile, all of which occurred amid the war in Gaza: cruise missiles and drones launched by the Houthis in recent months have been taken out by Israeli fighter jets.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014 and control large swaths of the country, are “part of the axis of resistance” against Israel along with Hamas – which is also sponsored by Tehran.

Houthi rebels have expressed support for the Palestinians and threatened Israel amid the Israel-Hamas war.  The Iranian-backed group’s slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.”

In the Red Sea, the Houthis have fired on commercial and military ships dozens of times since November.

Houthis say they are targeting ships over Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas.

Shortly before the launch at Eilat, the US military said it destroyed seven anti-ship missiles, one missile launcher and a drone originating from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The US military’s Central Command said the missiles, the launcher and drone “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the US Navy ships in the region.”

The war began on October 7, when some 3,000 Hamas terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air, and sea, killing 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages of all ages.  The vast majority of those killed, as gunmen seized border communities amid acts of brutality, were civilians.

The Houthis say the strikes are in solidarity with the people of Gaza, where the Hamas-run Health Ministry says more than 29,000 people have been killed in the conflict, a figure that is not verified and includes some 12,000 Hamas terrorists Israel has killed in battle.  Israel also said it killed some 1000 gunmen inside Israel on October 7

Hamas has also killed many of its own people with its own rockets that fell short of their targets or just malfunctioned.     



One Dead, 7 Injured, In Shooting Attack Near Maale Adumim, Terrorists Eliminated

Eight people were injured, three of them seriously, in a shooting attack on Highway1 near Maale Adumim, on Thursday morning (2nd).

One of the victims has died of his wounds, Magen David Adom (MDA) reported.

According to MDA, two women, ages 23, and 30 were shot in the chest and are in serious condition.  Another person, age 23, was shot in the abdomen and is in serious condition.  Two other victims in their 40s were shot in the arms and are in moderate condition.  Shaare Medical Center has received five of the victims, one, a pregnant woman in serious condition.

Two terrorists have been eliminated.  Police forces have initiated searches in the area out of concerns of additional terrorists.  Police were told that an additional terrorist may have escaped the scene.  Eyewitnesses said that the terrorists used automatic, not homemade weapons.

A police update said three terrorists arrived by vehicle, exited it and began firing automatic weapons towards vehicles waiting in a traffic jam on the Jerusalem-bound highway.  Security forces at the scene neutralized two terrorists.  Searches at the scene revealed an additional terrorist attempting to escape, who was also neutralized.

The local police commander arrived at the scene of the shooting and is holding a situational assessment. 



With 99 Votes, Knesset Overwhelmingly Rejects Imposition Of Palestinian State

The Knesset plenum approved Wednesday (21st), with a large majority of 99 “yes” votes, the government’s statement opposing unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by international actors.

A majority of opposition MKs voted to support the statement.

After the declaration was approved, Netanyahu spoke in the plenum and said, “I don’t remember many votes in which the Knesset voted by a majority of 99 out of 120 on any vote.”

“The Knesset united with a huge majority against the attempt to dictate to us the establishment of a Palestinian state – the vote sends a clear message to the international community – unilateral recognition will not bring peace closer but will push it further away.”

“The citizens of Israel and their representatives in the Knesset are more united today than before.  We voted with a huge majority against a move that will endanger Israel and the achievement of peace before we achieve a complete victory against Hamas,” Netanyahu said.

The vote in the Knesset came three days after the Cabinet unanimously approved the government statement rejecting attempts to unilaterally force a Palestinian state on Israel.

The full statement reads:

“1.  Israel absolutely rejects international diktat regarding the permanent arrangement with the Palestinians.  Such an arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.”

“2.  Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.  Such recognition, following the October 7 massacre, will award an immense and unprecedented prize to terrorism, and prevent any future peace agreement.”



 2 Iranians Killed In Alleged Israeli Targeted Strike In Syria, Numerous Explosions Heard

Two men were killed and one was wounded in an alleged Israeli bombing of a building in Damascus, Syria Wednesday morning (21st), according to Arabic-language media reports.

Sky News Arabia identified the two slain men as Iranian nationals.

While Israel does not officially confirm or deny airstrikes in Syria as a matter of policy, it’s believed that the IAF has carried out hundreds of bombings targeting Iranian assets and proxies in the country.

The strike occurred in the upscale Kfar Sousa neighborhood, where the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located.

Witnesses told Reuters that they heard numerous explosions around 9:40 a.m.

Footage from the scene circulating on social media showed the blackened side of a multi-story building, which remained structurally intact.

An AFP report noted that most of the damage was concentrated on the fourth floor of the building, suggesting a highly targeted strike.

Syria’s state-run SANA News Agency claimed that Israeli fighter jets had fired the missiles from the Golan Heights, in order to avoid crossing into Syrian airspace.

Earlier in February, Reuters reported that Iran was “downsizing” its military and personnel in Syria, following numerous Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 12 Iranian operatives.

In January, an airstrike attributed to Israel killed at least five Iranians affiliated with the IRGC in a western neighborhood in Damascus.

Iranian General Seyed Razi Mousavi was killed in a likely Israeli airstrike in Damascus in December 2023.

In 2009, Imad Mughniyeh, a founding member of Hezbollah, was assassinated in Kfar Sousa.

The car bombing that killed Mughniyeh was allegedly carried out by Mossad and CIA agents.



Israel’s Ambassador To The U N: ‘United Nations Is Collaborating With Hamas’

In an interview Wednesday (21st) Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan harshly criticized the conduct of the United Nations In response to the war in Gaza.

Erdan pointed an accusing finger at UN Secretary-General Guterres, whom he called “the head of the snake,” and called for his removal from his position, along with UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarini.

“Today I told the Security Council about the letters and meetings I had with Lazzarini and Guterres, how terror tunnels pass under schools, and how UNRWA teachers idolize Hitler,” he said.

Erdan also added that, “We have been presenting this information to UN officials for years – but they have become collaborators of Hamas, and now they are literally a part of the terrorist organization.”

“As much as I am uncomfortable with the situation, because I have to keep arranging meetings between the UN head and the hostages’ families – I have told him to his face that he doesn’t deserve to be in this position – a fish rots from the head down, he added.”



Israeli Engineering Forces Clear 19 Miles Of Lebanese Border Routes

Engineering forces of the Alexandroni Brigade cleared close to 19 miles of routes near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, the military said on Wednesday (21st), granting it significant freedom of action on the northern front.

The Alexandroni Brigade, deployed from Metula to Rosh Hanikra is leading the defense battle against Hezbollah, the IDF noted.

In an additional incident in the north, a house in Metula was hit by an anti-tank missile, Israel media said on Wednesday (21st), with no injuries reported.

Over the course of the war, under the direction and cooperation of the Air Force, more than 500 targeted attacks were carried out on enemy spots from the air and on the ground, and more than 2000 shells were fired into Lebanese territory.

The IDF attacked three operational headquarters of the terrorist organization Hezbollah in southern Lebanon Wednesday (21st), the military announced.  The forces also attacked a military building containing Hezbollah terrorists in the village of Yaroun.

Later on Wednesday (21st) , IAF jets attacked other Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including infrastructure and observation posts in the Khiam area.

An additional attack was carried out by an IDF helicopter, targeting terrorists in the Ramyeh area from which launches were fired toward the area of Shlomi in Israel’s North.



We’ve Got To Stop Believing Hamas’ Lies About Civilian Deaths In Gaza – Isaac Schorr

The global news media would have you believe that the Israel Defense Forces fighting in Gaza have gone far beyond anything that could be justified in response to the barbaric Hamas assaults on Israel last October 7, in which more than 1200 men, women and children were murdered in the most horrifying ways.

It is completely unreasonable to believe the terrorists of Hamas on the matter of how many people Israel has killed.  Yet that is precisely what the media and everyone else does.  The Hamas figure is not a fact: it is terrorist propaganda.  As the renowned military historian Lord Andrew Roberts noted in the House of Lords earlier this month, we would not believe Vladimir Putin or ISIS on casualties inflicted by their enemies: there is no reason to treat the rapists, torturers,  and murderers of Hamas any differently.

Roberts went on to point out that it’s estimated that more than 9,000 of the dead were not innocent civilians but active Hamas fighters – and even Hamas admits that its dead fighters are included in the total.  If one then accepts the Hamas-concocted death toll for the sake of argument and makes allowance for the fact that Hamas and its allies are also killing Gazans, the IDF are killing less than two civilians for every Hamas fighter they take out.  

Roberts said, “I speak as a military historian.  Less than 2:1 is an astonishingly low ratio for modern urban warfare where the terrorists routinely use civilians as human shields.  It is a testament to the professionalism, ethics and values of the Israel Defense Forces.”  The UN has assessed that a more normal ratio in urban combat would be 9:1.  There is probably no other army in the world which could operate in Gaza as surgically as the IDF is doing.

Students of history and statecraft understand that evil on the scale of Hamas – which charged over a border to murder, rape, torture, and burn alive men, women and children for the crime of being born Jews – must be wholly destroyed, rather than tolerated.  They are able to distinguish between the bombs that fell on Dresden and those that fell on London.  (Telegraph–UK)