News Digest — 5/15/24

IDF KIlls Dozens Of Hamas Terrorists In Largest Gaza Battle In Two Months

IDF Division 98 on Tuesday (14th) killed dozens of Hamas terrorists in Jabalya in northern Gaza in the largest Gaza battle since mid-March and the largest battle in Jabalya itself,  since January.

Although the IDF started its reinvasion of Jabalya over Saturday (11th) and Sunday, (12th) only on Tuesday (14th) did the military finally find and confront larger quantities of Hamas reconstituted forces in the northern Gaza area.

Until Tuesday (14th), fights in Jabalya, since January had only involved IDF altercations with smaller terror cells, and a handful of Hamas fighters at a time. 

The last large fight anywhere in the Strip was during a reinvasion of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City  in mid-March.  That reinvasion lasted one to two weeks because of the different stages of fighting.

Until now, it was unclear why the IDF evacuated 100,000-150,000 Gazans, between one-third to one-half  of the remaining northern Gaza civilian population.  But with the large operation Tuesday (14th), it was an indication of a more significant volume of Hamas terrorists reconstituting themselves again in Jabalya.

In addition, IDF Division 162 continued smaller battles in Rafah, and IDF Division 99 continued battles in Zeitoun, killing a lower number of Hamas fighters.

The IDF still has not broadened its operations in Rafah beyond portions of the eastern area, though the Post has been told by Israeli defense sources that such a broadening operation could come soon.  US sources have told CNN that the massing of additional IDF forces appears ready  to broaden the Rafah operation.

In the face of US threats to halt the transfer of large American bombs, one move Israel may make is to invade Rafah without using as much airpower.

This could expose IDF ground forces to greater dangers, but those forces would still be able  to use tanks and artillery to overpower Hamas’ four Rafah battalions.

Israel’s air force has not powered down completely, with the IDF saying on Tuesday (14th) that it carried out over 100 strikes throughout the Strip over Monday and Tuesday, (13th, 14th).



One Dead, Five Injured in Hezbollah Missile Attack On Northern Israel

One person was killed and five more injured in northern Israel Tuesday (14th) after Hezbollah terrorists operating out of southern Lebanon fired an anti-tank missile across the border, hitting Kibbutz Adamit in the Western Galilee.

Hezbollah terrorists fired multiple missiles at Kibbutz Adamit, with one direct hit  reported.

A civilian was fatally injured in the attack.  According to preliminary reports, the man is not a resident of Adamit, but was visiting a friend who lives in the kibbutz.

Emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene to treat the victims and evacuated them to local hospitals.

Five IDF soldiers were injured in the missile attack, with one listed in moderate condition and the remaining four in light condition.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s (14th) attack, saying that an IDF “spy balloon” and the control center used to operate it in Adamit were targeted.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that an army balloon was hit by a Hezbollah projectile, causing it to crash, but added that no sensitive information was compromised.

In addition to the missile attacks on Adamit, Hezbollah claimed it opened fire on the Israeli town of Metula and the Arab-Israeli village of Arab al-Aramsheh with anti-tank missiles Tuesday (14th), striking two private homes

Meanwhile, an Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft killed senior Hezbollah field commander Hussein Ibrahim Mekky in the area of Tyre in southern Lebanon during an overnight operation on Tuesday (14th), the military said on Wednesday morning (15th),

The IDF said Mekky was responsible for planning and carrying out many terror attacks against Israeli territory, civilians and homes since the beginning of the war.  

Earlier on Tuesday (14th), Lebanon’s state news agency reported that at least two people were killed by an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting a car in southern Lebanon’s Tyre.




President Herzog Hosted Ambassadors On Israel’s 76th Independence Day

President Isaac Herzog hosted the annual Independence Day Reception for ambassadors, international representatives, and members of the diplomatic corps based in Israel, at the President’s Residence, Jerusalem.  Also attending was Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz, and other senior officials and dignitaries. 

In his address, President Herzog welcomed the representatives from countries around the world.  He noted, “These are difficult times,” and said, “yet there is still so much to be grateful for on this 76th Independence Day of Israel.  Our improbable story in Israel is a story of bold and obstinate hope.  A story of rising from the depths, again and again, to build and rebuild the world in the image of our dreams.  Hope has always defined us. And it continues to do so now.”

He noted, “When Hamas launched its rampage of rape, murder, and abduction on October 7th, it was not only trying to weaken the State of Israel.  It was trying to weaken the pillars of free, open, democratic societies.  It was trying to weaken the path of innovation,progress and prosperity.  And it was especially trying to weaken the winds of warm peace that were blowing through our region, promising real change.  For the security and integrity of every nation, we must not allow this.  We must stand together as champions of modernization, democracy and peace.  We must speak loudly and forcefully against the startling spike in anti-Semitism, which is exposing the dangers of corrosive hate that still lurks within societies all over the world.  Most importantly, we must stand together as a family of nations and respond decisively to a despicable ongoing crime against humanity: the cruel abduction of men, women, and children, of so many different nationalities, of over 220 days – our hostages.  We call upon all nations, of all of humanity to act forcefully in order to bring them back home as soon as possible.  The world cannot enable international forums to be violated by this evil force, or be misused.

He stressed, “True victory in the fight against radical hate will come not only  when we have defeated the terrorists, returned our hostages, and rebuilt our communities.  But when we have built a new corridor of collaboration and connectivity, across the Middle East.  It can be done.  I look forward to working together with all of you to get there.”



‘120 Outstanding Soldiers – Go Forth And Succeed!’

The Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi, delivered remarks at the ceremony for the recipients of the President’s Award for Outstanding Soldiers.

“The Ceremony for the President’s Award for Outstanding Soldiers on Independence Day  is an Israeli tradition.  Every year, this is the most festive and joyous ceremony, but this year our joy is not complete.  The ceremony is taking place during a time of war, and the happiness for the achievements of the outstanding soldiers is mixed with sadness for the heavy price and the missing ranks.”

“Jewish tradition distinguishes between times of joy and sorrow,  In Ecclesiastes it is written: “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  However, the poem from the Rosh Hashanah prayer ‘Et Sha’are Ratson’ offers a way to reconcile the two with the words: “An eye weeps bitterly, and the heart rejoices.’”

“Throughout the generations, the Jewish people knew how to remember the pain even in the times of joy, without numbing either of them.  At the marriage ceremony, a cup is broken, and at the entrance of a new home, an incomplete corner is left, as a reminder of the destruction of Jerusalem.”

“And so also it is in marking our independence, in the closeness of time between Memorial Day and Independence Day.  Remembering the wars of the past and those who fell in them makes us sad, and the joy of independence, which does not ignore the grief at its cost, is a source of comfort, pride, strength and hope.”

“This is the way of our people – mourning for what was lost, hoping for good, and working to bring it about.”

“Excellence is an act of hope and optimism, looking to the future.  It aims to take responsibility for the collective and to be ready to act on its behalf above and beyond what is expected.  Excellence is a significant part of being able to overcome the difficulty and the loss, and to bring about a better future.”

“Your commanders chose you because you excel in missions, and no less important than that – you excel in values.”

“You represent everyone who chose to serve a meaningful service and fulfill it to the best of their ability.  Together, you are the story of the IDF’s excellence, the key to its success and victory is in combining its forces.”

“We all see this in the months of the war, in the integrated and coordinated action of the Ground Forces with the Air Force and Navy, intelligence and firepower capabilities.  I saw this up close every time I met with the combat teams in the Gaza Strip.  They fought shoulder to shoulder, regular soldiers and reservists, soldiers and commanders, who came from different units and did not know each other, until they entered the battlefield to excel and win together.”

“The soldiers of the IDF are working and performing their duty with excellence even at this hour and on all fronts: in the south, in the north, in the center – far and near.  They do it there so that we can be here, with you and in your honor.”

“120 of your personal stories are the story of the diverse Israeli society, the story of the IDF as the people’s army.  Among you are those from cities and villages, natives of the land and immigrants from six continents, representatives of all religions and denominations, including those who grew up in the ultra-Orthodox society and are serving in the IDF.”

“How good it will be if in a few years, among the ranks of the outstanding soldiers, there will sit more of its children, proving that it is possible to maintain religious identity and religious lifestyle, all the while excelling in military service for the people and the state.  “Scholar and warrior – these do not contradict each other but rather complete each other – this is a clear national security need.”

“The outstanding soldiers are the beautiful face of the State of Israel.  On this beautiful face, furrows of joy and wrinkles of sorrow are etched.  Among you, there are those who have lost a close family member in the war.  Some of you belong to communities that were evacuated from their homes for their safety.  Each of you knows someone who has fallen or been wounded, and perhaps also from the families of the hostages, for whose return we all hope and work.”

“In the Israeli reality of our seventy-sixth year, personal and unit excellence is a necessity.  It is the key to the existence of the State of Israel, which was established in the land of our ancestors as a home and refuge for the Jewish people.  Our answer to our enemies on this Independence Day is clear: Israel is a unique wonder that we have established and built over seventy-six years, based on our historical right to live and thrive here, and it is a wonder that we will continue to develop for generations to come.”

“Thanks to our outstanding soldiers like you, each in your unique and different way, we are confident that we will get to celebrate many more Independence Days here.”

“You are the joy in the fabric of our nation, and thanks to you, it is a colorful and strong tapestry.  I bless you and your families, who watch you with pride, for your immense dedication and your contributions to the security of the state and the people of Israel.”

“Go forth and Succeed!”



Two Men Charged In UK With Plotting ISIS-Style Attack Against Jewish Community

LONDON, UK – Two men accused of plotting to gun down Jews in an Islamic State inspired attack in northwest England were held without bail Tuesday (14th) after appearing in a London court.  Walid Saadaoui, 36, and Amar Hussein, 50, were accused of planning to use automatic weapons to kill Jews, police and military personnel and prosecutors said in Westminster Magistrates Court.

The duo face charges of preparing terrorist acts between December 13 and May 9,

A third man, Bilel Saadaoui, 35, was accused of making arrangements for the expected death of his brother, co-defendant Walid Saadaoui.

He pleaded not guilty of failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism

The three were arrested last week by Greater Manchester Police.  They were held without bail and are scheduled to appear May 24 for a hearing in the Central Criminal Court.

The charge comes as incidents of anti-Semitism in the UK hit a record high last year – with a spike following Hamas’ Oct. 7 brutal terror attack on Israel, in which some 1,200 people were killed and 253 were taken hostage.

Jewish security advisory body, the Community Security Trust, said the allegations were very serious.

“This is one of a number of recent and ongoing cases that demonstrates why the Jewish community needs such extensive security measures,” Amanda Bomsztyk, northern regional director of the Trust said.

“It is harrowing to read reports of an alleged terror attack targeting the Jewish community,” said UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.  “I’d like to thank British security services and the Police for their tireless work to keep our country and our communities safe.”

“This news underlines just how essential their work is and gives us the confidence to maintain the vitality of Jewish community life across the country,” he said, also thanking CST.

Police said they recognized the impact the details of the plot could have on the Jewish community, adding they did not believe there was a wider risk to the public.

“Tuesday’s (14th) first court appearance has outlined some concerning and distressing details about a suspected terrorist plot that we allege was being planned by suspects from Greater Manchester,” said Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts.

“We know how significant the impact of this will be,” he added, “particularly for our Jewish community in Greater Manchester and across the country.”

“Should you have any concerns about your safety or any suspicious activity in your area, then I would encourage you to contact the police.”

The Jewish Chronicle reported that Potts issued a statement saying, “Everyone should feel safe in our region, regardless of their religion or race.”