News Digest — 5/12/22

Palestinians Block Israeli Investigation Into Journalist’s Shooting Death

The Palestinian Authority is refusing to allow an Israeli investigation into the shooting death of Shireen Abu Aqleh and will not turn over the bullet that killed her for an IDF ballistic examination.

Abu Aqleh was killed on Wednesday morning (11th) during a firefight between Israeli security forces and Palestinian terrorists in Jenin.

Despite a preliminary statement from the Palestinian Health Ministry Wednesday (11th) that it was unclear who fired the shot that killed Abu Aqleh, PA officials blamed Israel and said there was no need for additional investigation.

“Israel requested a joint investigation and the handing over of the bullet that killed the journalist, and we refused that, and we affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently, and we will inform her family, America, Qatar and all official authorities of the results of the investigation,” Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Chief Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter.

Videos from the scene depict Palestinians firing indiscriminately, including blindly around corners within the neighborhood where the IDF was carrying out arrest raids.

In one video, a young man holding an M-16 machine gun is heard boasting that he shot an IDF soldier who was lying on the ground.  Because Abu Aqleh was wearing a helmet and no soldiers were injured during the Jenin operation, Israeli commentators have suggested that the man in the video likely shot her, believing he was firing at Israeli troops.

Israeli officials have called for a full investigation into Abu Aqleh’s death, pledging to take responsibility if her death is found to be the fault of the IDF.

Biden administration officials, including US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, have called for a thorough investigation, but it is unlikely that the Palestinians will be sanctioned for their refusal to allow an independent or Israeli inquiry into Abu Aqleh’s death.



Chief Of Staff: Soldiers Acted With Professionalism And Courage

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has issued instructions to investigate the death of Shireen Abu Aqleh, the Al Jazeera reporter who was killed during a firefight between IDF forces and Arab terrorists in the Jenin area early Wednesday morning (11th).

The Chief of Staff said: “IDF units are working around the clock with determination to thwart terrorism and prevent terrorist attacks.  This activity takes place wherever required, especially in the area of Jenin which has a high concentration of terrorist activity.  During early Wednesday morning ( 11th) activity, as in many other cases, Palestinian gunmen fired extensively at Israeli forces, recklessly and indiscriminately firing in every direction.  Unlike the Palestinians, IDF soldiers open fire in a professional and precise manner.”

Kochavi stated that “the reporter was killed in a battle zone.  At this stage, it is not possible to determine the source of the gunfire that hit her, and we express our sorrow over her death.  In order to get to the truth, we have set up a special task force to clarify all the facts and present them as soon as possible.  The soldiers acted under fire and showed courage and determination to protect Israel’s civilians, which we will continue to do wherever we are required.”

The IDF Spokesperson stated that “in response to the terrorist attacks in Israel in recent weeks, the IDF has been conducting counterterrorism activities in various locations in Judea and Samaria, focusing on the Jenin area.  This is the area from which the terrorists who carried out the latest attacks in Israel originated.” 

As part of the activity, IDF, ISA and Israel Border Police forces operated overnight and this morning (Wednesday, 11th) in Jenin in order to apprehend individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

“Early Wednesday morning, (11th) IDF soldiers operated in the area of Jenin to apprehend a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative and search for illegal weapons.  The security forces apprehended eight suspects and confiscated Carlo submachine guns.  The suspects were transferred to security forces for further questioning.”

“During the activity, Israeli security forces came under heavy fire from dozens of Palestinian gunmen.  The Palestinians hurled explosive devices at the soldiers, endangering their lives.  The soldiers responded with live fire.”

“A Palestinian journalist was hit at the time of the activity.  Since the incident, the IDF has been examining the circumstances leading to the death of the journalist.  The IDF’s offer to conduct a joint investigation with the Palestinians was not answered.  The possibility that Ms. Aqleh died as a result of Palestinian gunfire is also being examined in light of extensive footage circulating on social media showing Palestinian gunmen firing recklessly and indiscriminately in every direction.”

“The IDF expresses its sorrow over the tragic death of Ms. Abu Aqleh, and sees great importance in preserving the freedom of the press.  With that, we would like to emphasize that caution must also be exercised in the vicinity of terrorist gunfire,” the IDF spokesperson said.



Suspected Terrorist Shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’ And Lunges At Police In Jerusalem

A Palestinian who tried to stab an Israeli police officer near the Temple Mount shouted “Allahu Akbar” and lunged at police in a suspected terror attack before being shot by officers in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israel Police said Wednesday evening (11th).

According to a police statement, there were no casualties in the incident besides the attacker, a man in his 20s who was seriously injured and taken to the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition.

The suspect’s identity has not yet been released.

The attack comes on the heels of Sunday’s (8th) stabbing of a Border Police officer at the Old City’s Damascus Gate.  That officer is in moderate condition at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital.

Two months ago, another Palestinian had carried out a stabbing attack at the same location, moderately wounding an Israeli policemen, before security forces shot and killed him.

Also Wednesday evening (11th), rioters blocked roads and threw rocks at police during a protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina after the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh in Jenin earlier Wednesday (11th).  Police arrested three suspects at the scene.



Israel Navy Captures Gazans Smuggling Materials For Hamas’ Weapons Production

Israeli security forces broke up a Palestinian naval smuggling network that imported components for the production of weapons for terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet revealed Wednesday (11th).

Operating on accumulated evidence, the Israeli Navy captured the smugglers during one of their attempts to import materials used for Hamas’ military buildup.

The Navy arrested three smugglers on April 8 after they left the Gaza Strip and began sailing toward Egypt.  They were stopped by IDF forces when they tried to cross the border in the direction of Egypt’s territorial waters.

Israeli sailors seized the vessel, arrested the suspects, and transferred them to the Shin Bet for interrogation.

Israel Navy Ashdod Base Commander, Colonel Eli Sukholitsky, stated Wednesday (11th) that his troops “hit a significant network that was used to transfer components to create weapons for terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.  The intelligence effort in the IDF and Shin Bet, combined with field forces and the naval control system, are what led to the success of the operation.”

Since Israel decimated Hamas’ terror infrastructure during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 and in successive operations, Hamas has been working to rehabilitate its networks and replenish its weapons stockpiles.

It has developed a diverse apparatus for the smuggling of weapons and materials used for its rocket production program into Gaza, including through the mail and by sea.



New Palestinian Fashion Craze: M-16 Shirts Celebrating Rifle Used To Murder 5 Israelis

The latest fashion craze in PA areas and among some Israeli Arabs are shirts and pants with an M-16 rifle printed on them.

They became popular as a show of support for the murder of Israelis immediately after Palestinian terrorist Dia’a Hamarsheh murdered five people in Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, last month, and was shown on TV and social media shooting at Israeli victims with his M-16 rifle.  

A Palestinian storeowner, Abu Hamza described the phenomenon to Al-Arab, an independent UK Arab news website (April 22, 2020):

“The demand for this kind of clothing is huge. In 10-days I have sold approximately 12,000 shirts or pants with the print on them, and have ordered 12,000 additional units due to the huge demand.”

It is not surprising that these shirts and pants are especially popular in Jenin.  Most of the terrorist murderers, including those who killed Israelis, used an M-16 rifle, and were from the Jenin area.

Palestinian popular support for these murderers reflects the support coming from the Palestinian leadership.  Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Fatah leaders, after calling for terror and violence for months are now expressing open support for the murderers of Israelis.

The message of the shirts at this time is open support or even admiration for the use of weapons to murder Israelis during the current crime wave.  

Israelis are naturally outraged at the open terror support by Palestinians and their leaders, and some Israeli Arabs.



Israeli Drone Maker To Supply Advanced Systems To US Department Of Defense

Israeli company Xtend, which specializes in human-guided autonomous drones for use by militaries and law enforcement, announced this week that it will supply hundreds of its Wolverine systems to the US Department of Defense.

The drones were developed under the joint leadership of the DoD and Israeli Ministry of Defense, and are designed to protect US military forces in the field.

The contract follows joint Israeli and American research and development involving the Defense Ministry, the DoD’s irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate, and Xtend.

“Made in the US, the small, lightweight and rugged Wolverine is affordable, versatile and has low power consumption,” Xtend said in a statement.

“Easy to use, it enables operators, even those with no flight experience, to perform extremely precise remote tasks, maneuvers and actions in complex environments, indoor or outdoor, with minimal training and maintenance,” added the company.

Operators enjoy complete sensory awareness by using advanced virtual and augmented reality technologies, coupled with advanced machine-learning flight algorithms.

“Using a wearable lightweight system and a natural hand gesture-recognition controller, operators immerse themselves in the remote environment without physical risk,” said the company.  This enables combat forces to “be everywhere” – to receive real-time visuals and perform precise pick-and-drop tasks.

“The Wolverine system was developed in direct response to the need of forces to conduct complex field and outdoor missions while maintaining force protection and without making contact with the enemy,” explained Gadi Bar-Ner, Chief Business Officer of Xtend.

“For the first time, any user can operate a drone intuitively and without any prior training giving forces complete autonomy in the field.  Xtend systems are combat proven and used with great success by the Israel Defense Forces in defending its borders and forces.”