News Digest — 9/14/22

IDF Officer Killed In Firefight With Palestinian Gunmen In West Bank Barrier Zone

An IDF officer, identified as Deputy Commander of the Nahal Reconnaissance Battalion Maj. Bar Pelach, was killed in a fire exchange with two Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank security barrier overnight, the military said on Wednesday (14th).

The IDF said that Israeli forces spotted two suspects approaching the security barrier near the Palestinian village of Jalamah north of Jenin.

A force dispatched to the scene flanked the suspects, at which point the gunmen opened fire at the troops.  Israeli troops returned fire and killed the assailants, however Israeli soldier Major Bar Pelach was killed in the fire exchange.

The gunmen were identified by the Palestinians as Ahmed Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed from a village near Jenin. The former was reportedly a member of the PA’s security apparatus.

Hamas spokesman Hazen Qasem said, “ Our Jenin branch continues its struggle and resistance against the Zionist occupier and draws the parameters of a new level called the ‘protracted revolution’ until achieving the goals of our people.”

“As of today, the heroes of Jenin ignore all the empty threats of the occupation against the cities of the West Bank, and do not pay attention to the intimidation attempts using airplanes or incursions.”

“The martyrs of Jenin this morning are fuel to another revolution and escalation of the struggle against the occupation, and this pure blood is the tax of triumph and liberation.  This revolution will continue to escalate across all West Bank cities in defense of al-Aqsa Mosque, in response to the crimes of the occupation, and on the path to liberation of the land, the people and the martyrs.”

Meanwhile on Tuesday (13th), senior Israeli defense officials presented Prime Minister Yair Lapid with 70 concrete warnings about imminent attacks during the up-coming Jewish High-Holiday season.

Dozens of suspects have been arrested in recent weeks as the IDF continues to crackdown on Palestinian terrorist activity across the West Bank.

According to security officials, more than 240 significant terror attacks have been thwarted since the beginning of the year, including shootings, suicide bombings, bomb attacks and kidnappings.



Temple Mount To Be Used For Incitement During High Holidays

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid met with internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, Chief of Police Kobi Shabtai, and members of the Jerusalem district police, including Shabak (ISA) on Tuesday (13th) to prepare for the upcoming Jewish High Holidays.

A security force who was informed of the details told Kan News that “There are tangible warnings concerning the intentions of terror groups to incite violence on the Temple Mount.  The police have issued restraining orders for removing Jewish and Arab activists.” 

Arab social media profiles and groups have posted calls to attend the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Jewish holidays, especially during the morning and noon hours when Jews are permitted to enter the Temple Mount.

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah 2022, begins the evening of Sunday, September 25th and ends Tuesday, 27th at sundown.

Earlier Tuesday (13th) Palestinian Arab terrorists operating in northern Samaria opened fire on an Israeli engineering team.

IDF forces were deployed to the area to conduct searches for the gunmen, and the Jalamah checkpoint was closed.

The engineering team from the Israeli Defense Ministry was working to upgrade the security barrier in response to a string of terror attacks carried out by terrorists from the Jenin district, when gunmen opened fire on them, the IDF said Tuesday (13th).  According to Kan News approximately 40 shell casings were found in the area. 

The Fatah-aligned Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack, and released footage from the shooting on social media.

The Jenin district has been the epicenter of a recent wave of terror attacks, led primarily by the Islamic Jihad organization.

The Israeli military has responded with an ‘anti-terror crackdown’ across Judea and Samaria.  Since Operation Break the Wave was launched this spring, Israeli security forces have arrested some 2,000 suspected terrorists.

Israel’s crackdown was launched after a spate of deadly terror attacks between March and May 2022, which saw 17 Israelis and 2 foreign nationals murdered.



Iran Arrests Several Over Killing Of General It Blamed On Israel

Iran said Tuesday (13th) that several people had been arrested over the assassination of a top general that Tehran had blamed on Israel.

Col. Sayyad Khodaei, a senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was shot dead outside his Tehran home in May by two assailants on a motorcycle.

“Several people have been arrested in the case of martyr Khodaei’s killing,” judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi told a news conference, Reuters reported, citing state media.

“The necessary legal orders have been issued for them and the case is under investigation,” Setayeshi said.

Days after the assassination, the New York Times cited an unnamed intelligence official as saying Israel told US officials it was behind the Khodaei killing, which it carried out to warn Tehran against the continued operation of a covert unit the target helped lead.

According to the Times report, Israeli officials claimed Khodaei was deputy head of the so-called Unit 840, a shadowy division within the IRGC’s expeditionary Quds Force that carries out kidnappings and assassinations of figures outside of Iran, including against Israelis.  Khodaei was specially in charge of Unit 840’s Middle East operations, but he had been involved in attempted terror attacks against Israelis, Europeans, American civilians, and government officials in Colombia, Kenya, Ethiopia, the UAE and Cyprus in the last two years alone.

Iran has never publicly acknowledged the existence of Unit 840 and maintains that Khodaei played a completely different role in the IRGC after joining as a teen, voluntarily enlisting during the Iran-Iraq War and later fighting against Islamic State in Syria on behalf of the Quds Force.

Khodaei was shot five times in his car by two unidentified gunmen in the middle of Tehran on May 22.

The incident took place in the heart of one of the most secure areas in Tehran, Mojahedin-Eslam Street, home to other senior officials in the IRGC and its elite Quds Force.

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen, Hossein Salami publicly blamed “the Zionists” for the assassination.

Khodaei’s assassination was the most high-profile killing inside Iran since the November 2020 killing of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.



Central American Leaders Show Support For Israel

Last week, senior ministers, members of parliament, mayors, religious leaders and heads of influential NGOs from across Central America expressed their solidarity and support for Israel and called to combat antisemitism, at the first-ever in-person Central America-Israel Forum, which celebrated the State of Israel’s deep and longstanding ties with Central America.

More than 300 participants and officials from 14 nations met at Parlatino – The Latin American parliament in Panama City, Panama, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama Erika Mouynes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guatemala Mario Bucaro, Minister of Education of the Republic of Panama Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, Minister of Social Development of Panama Maria Ines Castillo de Sanmartim, Vice Minister of Culture of Panama Gabriel Gonzalez and the undersecretary  of the Ministry of Environment of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay Gerardo Amarilla.

Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Oded Forer and Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai also participated.

Minister Oded Forer addressed the group, and acknowledged the historic nature of the ties with Israel, going back to the support of many Central American nations for the 1947 UN Partition Plan which recognized the creation of a Jewish State, and called relations “deep and enduring.”

The event was hosted by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM), the Center for Jewish Impact, and the Panama-Israel Friendship League.

“We raise a voice of hope, and a commitment as a state to make a common and supportive front against the hatred and intolerance that still exists against Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said Panama’s Minister of Education Gorday de Villalobos.

At the end of the forum, the dignitaries signed a declaration calling for “the strengthening of ties between Central American nations and the State of Israel in all areas and in all arenas.”

There also was an award ceremony honoring the work of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guatemala, Mario Bucaro, for his strong and enduring relations with the State of Israel and the Jewish people.  Minister Bucaro traveled immediately from the Forum to Israel for an official visit where he met, among others, Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

“Relations between the State of Israel and Central American nations have been some of the most consistently strong of any region in the world, and there is a recent push to strengthen them even further, from both sides,” said CEO of the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, Sacha Roytman Dratwa, who opened the event.  “Israel and the Jewish people face many challenges in the years ahead, and it is clear from the hundreds of participants at this forum that the leaders of this region are not ‘fair weather friends’ but have a genuine affection and support for the Jewish state.”



Israel To Receive Rare Coin Minted By Jews As Show of Independence From Rome

A rare coin minted by the Jewish rebels during the Great Revolt against Rome toward the end of the Second Temple Period will be handed back to Israel some 2,000 years after it was introduced into circulation as a sign of defiance against the world’s superpower at the time, it was reported on Tuesday (13th).

US authorities took the coin from collectors in 2017 after they got word of an attempt to sell it at an auction in Denver, where it was to be sold for as much as $1 million.  However, talks with Israel over its fate encountered various legal pitfalls that were recently overcome this summer.

“Experts say the coin, a quarter-shekel piece featuring palm branches and a wreath and dated to AD.69, is among the rarest coins remaining from the bloody Jewish uprising against imperial Rome.  The Roman response included the sacking and burning of the Temple Mount in AD.70 and, in AD.73, the demise of the last Jewish holdouts at Masada,” according to Israel Hayom.  The minting of such coins by Jews during the rebellion was considered a major statement of sovereignty by people whom the Romans had forbidden from issuing silver coins,” according to the newspaper.

Ilan Hadad, an archaeologist at the Israeli Antiquities Authority, was quoted as saying, “the coin should be considered a national treasure” that “has strong religious and political symbolism to Jews around the world.”

“Coins like this were a very in-your-face declaration of independence,” said Hadad.  “They were made by scratching out the images of emperors on Roman silver coins and restamping them.”