News Digest — 3/25/19

Gaza Rocket Strikes Central Israel, 7 Injured Including 2 Children, 1 Infant – 4 Dead Pets

An early morning rocket from the Gaza Strip, Monday (25th), struck a house in central Israel, wounding seven people, an attack that could set off another round of violence shortly before the Israeli election.

The sounds of air-raid sirens woke up the residents of the Sharon area, northeast of Tel Aviv, sending them scurrying to bomb shelters.  A strong explosion-sound followed.

The Magen David Adom rescue service said it was treating seven people, including two women who were moderately wounded.  The others, including two children and an infant, had minor wounds. The rocket also killed the family’s four dogs.

The rocket smashed through the roof of the family house and exploded on the floor creating a crater in the ground and sending shrapnel flying through all areas of the house.  The rocket was stuck in the ground and efforts are being made to extract it.

Images from the scene showed massive destruction.  Most of the house collapsed, showing a bedroom, a baby’s crib and toys covered in shingles and tiles.

The family believes their secure room saved their lives.

“It’s a miracle that nobody was killed,” said Assi Dvilanski, a Magen David Adom paramedic who was one of the first responders at the scene.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently in Washington and set to meet later today with President Trump, announced his intention to cut the visit short in light of the “criminal” rocket fire.

IDF statements have consistently said that “Israel holds Hamas responsible for any artillery or rocket fire emanating from the coastal enclave, and it will deal accordingly as is its practice.”



MORE: “I Would Be Burying My Family If We Hadn’t Gotten To The Bomb Shelter”

Miracles saved the seven members of the Wolf family from certain death, when a rocket destroyed their home in Moshav Mishmeret just before 6 a.m. Monday (25th).

“I nearly lost my family,” said Robert Wolf, as he stood outside the shell of his house, on a tree-lined street with single-family homes in the middle of the country, close to Kfar Saba.

“If we had not gotten to the bomb shelter in time, I would now be burying all my family,” he said.  “We would all be dead if we didn’t do what we were told to do.”

At Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba where most of the family was treated for light injuries, his son Daniel spoke with reporters.

Daniel said he had slept in the living room and heard the siren.  He woke his parents, and all headed to the shelter. His mother was between the kitchen and the safe room and was moderately injured.  She is undergoing treatment at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

He said one of the shards had cut the gas line and there was the smell of gas throughout the neighborhood, but no explosion.

Following the attack, the children were sent to school, to put on a face of normalcy.  Meanwhile, Robert Wolf and his neighbors began the process of trying to clean up the damage, while reporters watched.



Israel Moves Two Brigades To The Gaza Strip, Calls Up Some Reserves

Two Israeli military brigades are moving to reinforce the Gaza border.  The Israel Defense Forces also announced a limited call-up of reserves after a rocket attack on an Israeli home.

IDF spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said, “Due to the security assessment led by the Chief of Staff, we are currently bringing two brigades who were training, and a division commander for the Southern Command.  We are calling in some reservists, for specific tasks. We are prepared for a wide variety of situations.”

Maj. Mika Lifshitz, a military spokeswoman, said the IDF has concluded that Gaza’s Hamas rulers fired the rocket from one of their launching pads in the southern part of the coastal strip, near the city of Rafah. She said it was a self-manufactured rocket with a range of 75 miles.

The rocket made a direct hit on a home in central Israel, northeast of Tel Aviv, wounding seven and prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a trip to Washington.



IDF Strikes Hamas Target Following Cross-Border Attacks

An Israeli tank hit a Hamas position near the Gaza border on Sunday evening (24th) following a day in which Palestinian terrorists mounted several cross-border attacks on Israel.

According to a statement released by Israeli security forces, “An Israeli Defense Forces tank attacked a military post belonging to the Hamas terror group in the northern Gaza Strip in response to explosive devices that were thrown at the security barrier and balloons carrying explosive devices that were launched throughout the evening,” Times of Israel  reported.

Earlier Sunday (24th), the Israeli Air Force conducted airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza after terrorists conducted nighttime riots along Israel’s border, scrambling jets less than an hour after Israeli communities ran for shelter as a rocket warning alarm sounded.

Two Hamas reconnaissance posts were struck in the Israeli reprisals.

Hamas’ “confusion units” said on Saturday (23rd) that they would begin rioting with sound grenades, burning tires, explosives and rocks starting at 7 p.m. until dawn and that they would launch more bomb-laden and fire-armed balloons into Israeli communities.  



Arab Village To Name Street After Killer – Jordan Honors Him With Quran Reading

An Arab Village declared it will name a street after terrorist Omar Abu Leila, Arutz7 reported on Sunday (24th).  Leila killed IDF soldier Gal Keidan, 19, and Rabbi Ettinger, 47, in a terror attack last week.

The village, Bruqin, is located near Ariel, the opening scene of the attack, which took place at two junctions.

Leila killed First Sergeant Gal Keidan, a combat soldier in the 334th Battalion in the Artillery Corps, and Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, a father of 12, on Sunday (17th).  A third victim, IDF soldier Alexander Drovsky, is improving after undergoing surgery and is expected to survive.

Leila was killed in a shootout with Israeli forces last Tuesday (19th).

The Palestinian Authority has a history of naming streets and squares after terrorists.  The PA also has a Martyrs Fund to pay a monthly stipend to the families of terrorists killed or jailed for carrying out attacks against Israelis.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian Parliament on Sunday (24th) honored 19-year-old killer, Omar Abu Leila by reading a Quran chapter in his memory.

The eulogy for Abu Leila on Sunday was organized by MP Khalil Atifeh, who last week saluted him [Leila] – before he was killed – for “killing the Jews.”  During the same session Atifeh called Israel’s ambassador “a descendant of monkeys and pigs.”

On Sunday, Atifeh stood up to salute Abu Leila again and recited the Quran passage, after which all those present in the parliamentary hall rose to honor him.



Rafi Eitan, Israeli Master Spy Who Caught Eichmann, Dies At 92

Rafi Eitan, a legendary Israeli spy who led the capture of Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann, died Saturday (23rd) in Tel Aviv.  He was 92.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday evening (23rd), “My wife Sara and I, together with the people of Israel, mourn the passing of Rafi Eitan,” to whom he referred as “a personal friend of our family.”

Netanyahu continued,” Rafi was among the heroes of the intelligence services of the State of Israel on countless missions on behalf of the security of Israel.  He took part in the capture and bringing to justice in Israel and Jerusalem of the infamous Nazi Adolf Eichmann.”

The Israeli prime minister also lauded Eitan’s work “to return Jewish property that was taken during the Holocaust,” concluding, “His wisdom, wit and commitment to the people of Israel and our state were without peer.”

Eitan was perhaps most well-known for his role in the 1960 operation to capture Eichmann in Argentina and bring him to trial in Jerusalem, which remains one of the Mossad’s most historic missions.  It brought to life the horrors of the Nazi “Final Solution” to commit genocide against the Jewish people, of which Eichmann was the architect.

In addition to other security officials, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen also expressed sorrow over Eitan’s passing announcing, “Eitan was a pillar of the intelligence community in general, and the Mossad in particular.  We will always remember his contribution to the security of the State of Israel from his days as a young fighter in the Palmach. His work and his actions will be etched in gold letters in the annals of the state.”

Cohen added, “The great majority of his operations cannot be publicized but they contributed greatly to the security of the State of Israel.  The foundations that Rafi laid in the first years of the state are a significant layer in the activities of the Mossad even today. The people of Israel owe him much.  May his memory be blessed.”

Rafi Eitan was laid to rest on Sunday (24th).  He is survived by his wife Miriam and three adult children.