Fallen IDF soldiers laid to rest Thursday

Separate ceremonies held for IDF soldiers killed in Hezbollah attack; Hezbollah informs UN peacekeeping forces they do not want escalation; Netanyahu accuses Iran as responsible for attack

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Major Yochai Kalangel laid to rest in Mt. Herzl (Jpost)

The two IDF soldiers killed in an attack by Hezbollah on Wednesday were laid to rest on Thursday, thousands attending the funerals. The soldiers were killed when Hezbollah attacked their patrol vehicle, leaving 7 others wounded.

Major Yochai Kalangel, 25, was laid to rest in Israel’s Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Kalanhel was the father of one, his wife currently pregnant with their second child.

Staff Sergeant Dor Nini was laid to rest in a cemetery in Shtulim close to his home. He was 20 years old.

Hezbollah has reportedly notified the UN Peacekeeping force UNIFIL that the terrorist group is not interested in conflict with Israel. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed the message from UNFIL stating, “Indeed, a message was received. There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon. I can’t say whether the events are behind us. Until the area completely calms down, the Israel Defense Forces will remain prepared and ready.”

Prime Minister Netayahu accused Iran as responsible for the attack, stating Thursday, “Today, Iran is the one arming, organizing, funding and launching its messengers of terror on our borders in the north and the south. This is the same Iran that is now trying to get an agreement with world powers that would leave it with the capability to develop a nuclear weapon and we strongly oppose this agreement.” He added that the State of Israel will “do all to defend itself both near and far”.

Two IDF soldiers killed, seven injured in Hezbollah attack

Soldiers names released to public, funerals to be held tomorrow; Netanyahu: whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price

Captain Yohai Kalangel, 25, and Sergeant Dor Nini, 20

Captain Yochai Kalangel, 25, and Sergeant Dor Nini, 20

The names of the two IDF soldiers who were killed on Wednesday were released to the public Wednesday evening.

Captain Yochai Kalangel, 25, and Sergeant Dor Nini, 20, were killed in a Hezbollah attack on an army patrol vehicle on the Lebanese border. Seven others were wounded.

Captain Yochai Kalangel, from Har Gilo in the West Bank, was a company commander in the Tzabar Battalion of the Givati Brigades. He was father to a one year old, his wife currently pregnant with their second child. He will be laid to rest in Mount Herzl military in Jerusalem Thursday and has been promoted to the rank of Major.

Major Yochai Kalangel

Major Yochai Kalangel

Dor Nini was a sergeant in the Givati Brigades. He will be laid to rest in his home town of Shtulim Thursday. He has been promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Staff Sergeant Dor Nini

Staff Sergeant Dor Nini

Addressing the attack, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that, “whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price…With the assistance of Hezbollah, Iran has been for some time trying to open another front against Israel on the Golan Heights. We are acting with force and determination against these attempts.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated on the attack, “We will continue to pursue, at every time and place, the terrorists and those who sent them, and we will put our hand on everyone who wants to disrupt the lives of Israeli civilians,” he says in a statement. “Israel will show zero tolerance toward terrorist organizations, as we have done to this point, and will know to operate with full power and determination toward anyone who challenges it and tries to hurt its citizens. We will not let terrorist organization and rogue countries harm or try to harm the security of Israelis.”

The White House condemned the attack, spokeswoman Jen Psaki stating that the United States, “support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation.”

 

2 IDF soldiers killed, 5 injured by Hezbollah attack on patrol vehicle on Lebanese border

IDF searching area for possible border breaches; Two IDF soldiers killed, five wounded reported injured; IDF positions reported attacked by mortar fire; Residents warned to stay in homes

IDF soldiers on Lebanese border

IDF soldiers on Lebanese border

Two IDF soldiers were killed and at least five wounded in the Hezbollah attack when an anti-tank missile was fired on their patrol vehicle on the Lebanese border in the Har Dov region. Hezbollah forces reported ambushed the vehicle and there are reports of mortar fire on IDF positions along the border.

IDF forces responded with artillery fire on the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Shouba at the source of the fire. Arab media are reporting that the Israeli Air Force

Residents in the region have been warned to not leave their homes, the Home Front Command stating, “All residents are asked to return to their homes and to close all door and windows until further notice.”

IDF forces are searching the area for any breaches along the border.

Hezbollah took responsibility for the attack claiming it was in retaliation for Israel’s airstrikes overnight on Hezbollah affiliated military positions.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz is currently in a large scale meeting with security experts, Prime Minister Netanyahu expected to join soon. Netanyahu stated on the attack, “At this moment, the IDF is responding to events in the north. To everyone who is trying to challenge us at the northern border, I recommend for them look what happened there, not far from the city of Sderot, in Gaza. Hamas took its hardest hit since its formation and the IDF is prepared to act strongly on all fronts.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated that “We will not tolerate any firing towards Israeli territory or violation of our sovereignty and we will respond forcefully and with determination.”

Netanyahu: Iran planning “new genocide” on Jewish people

PM warns of nuclear agreement with Iran; Bill in Congress on harsher sanctions on Iran if talks fail not to be voted on before March 24; Negotiations with Iran to end in March, deadline for final deal in June; Netanyahu: it is the government of Israel that holds the ultimate responsibility for the security of the one and only Jewish state

Netanyahu speaking at Yad VaShem (AFP)

Netanyahu speaking at Yad VaShem (AFP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of the threat nuclear Iran poses to the State of Israel, stating that the Ayatollah’s are planning a “new genocide” against the Jewish people.

Netanyahu gave a speech at Israel’s national Holocaust museum, Yad VaShem, Tuesday on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Tuesday marked 70 years since the liberation of the death camp Auschwitz- Berkanau.

In his speech Netanyahu spoke of the strong connection between Israel and the United States stating that the State of Israel is “especially grateful for the bipartisan support for Israel across the United States, our great ally. We share a special bond with the United States, which is built on common values, and it’s reflected in our expansive cooperation, especially on matters of security.”

Netanyahu then addressed Israel’s role in protecting herself, amidst tensions over Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to Congress in March. Netanyahu was invited by Congress House Speaker John Boehner to address nuclear Iran and Islamic extremism. The invite has been strongly criticized by the Obama Administration, the President stating he would “veto a bill that comes to my desk” in reference to any legislature in Congress on imposing new sanctions on Iran.

Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers have set a deadline for the end of June, negotiations to end by the end of March. Netanyahu, Israeli diplomats and lobbyist have consistently opposed any deal with Iran since the start of nuclear talks, consistent on exposing Iran on its “charm offensive”. Negotiations have been ongoing for over 18 months with several missed deadlines and extensions.

Netanyahu stated that, “The pending agreement with Iran is an agreement that endangers the State of Israel. It leaves Iran with the capabilities that will allow it to arm itself with nuclear weapons, one bomb at first and afterwards many atomic bombs. We cannot live with such an agreement… it is the government of Israel that holds the ultimate responsibility for the security of the one and only Jewish state. We must speak our mind about the dangers to our people and our state. This is something we could not do at the time of the Holocaust.”

On Tuesday night, a bill back by Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez along with 14 cosponsors was submitted to Congress. The bill seeks to impose harsh sanctions on Iran if nuclear talks are to fail. The vote on the bill will not occur for two months time, Democrats in Congress stating they would wait following Obama’s threat to veto any bill. Menendez also confirmed in a letter to President Obama that the new sanctions bill will not be voted on before March 24th.

Israeli Air Force strikes military targets in Syria overnight

Following two rocket attacks on Israel from Syria, IAF strikes military targets in Syria; Rebel forces report targets affiliated to Hezbollah

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The Israeli Air Force struck military targets in Syria overnight following two rocket attacks into Israel. According to Arab media, artillery positions of the Syrian Army’s 90th brigade were targeted. Syrian rebels reported that the target was affiliated to Hezbollah.

Air raid sirens were heard across the Golan Heights in Israel, however with no reported attacks.

The IDF confirmed direct hits of the targets and stated that Tuesday’s rocket attacks on Israel, were “a flagrant violation of Israeli sovereignty. The IDF holds the Syrian regime as responsible for what occurs in its territory, and will act at any time and any way it sees fit to protect the citizens of Israel. Direct hits on the targets were identified.”

Rebel sources from Syria claim that the rocket attacks into Israel Tuesday were carried out by Hezbollah.

The IDF and IAF are on high alert following growing tensions on Israel’s borders, infantry, artillery and armory forces have been strengthened in the region, as well as concrete blocks placed on the border with Lebanon.

Close to 1,000 visitors to the Mount Hermon region were evacuated on Tuesday and residents of northern Israel placed on high alert.

300 Holocaust survivors to visit Auschwitz on 70th anniversary

International Holocaust Remembrance Day to see 300 survivors visit Auschwitz- Birkenau death camp; EU Foreign Policy Chief addresses recent Paris terror attack and rising anti-Semitism; Merkel speaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment in Germany

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300 Holocaust survivors will visit Auschwitz- Birkenau Tuesday, marking the 70th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation. On the 60th anniversary 10 years ago, 1,500 survivors traveled to Auschwitz.

Ceremonies will be held for International Holocaust Remembrance Day through out Europe, Israel and internationally.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini stated on Tuesday that the terror attacks in Paris in which four Jews were killed was a “grim reminder” of the Holocaust, amidst rising anti-Semitism worldwide. She stated, “The latest terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, in which four people were murdered, is a grim reminder that violent anti-Semitism is still alive. Seventy years after the Holocaust, there are Jewish communities in Europe that again feel threatened. So today, more than ever, it is not enough to say ‘Never again.’ We must turn these words into action. Today, more than ever we must inform the generations born after the Holocaust about the terrible events that took place on European soil and educate them to take a stand against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination.”

She stated that on this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day that she takes part in “in commemorating a crime unparalleled in human history, a crime in which six million Jews as well as millions of other innocent victims, Roma, political prisoners, prisoners of war, disabled people, homosexuals, were murdered in Nazi death camps.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech a speech in the International Auschwitz Committee’s Remembrance Ceremony, also addressing the massive rise of anti-Semitism through out Europe, stating that Auschwitz is a “warning of what people can do to each other”

She stated that “It’s a disgrace that people in Germany are abused, threatened or attacked when they indicate somehow they are Jewish or when they side with the State of Israel” in reference to attacks and slander in Germany against Jewish communities, adding that “With us, everyone must be able to live free and safe, irrespective of religion or origin.”

There are approximately 100,000 Jewish Germans living in Germany.

 

 

Two rockets fired from Syria into Israel, IDF retaliates

2 rockets fired from Syria into Israel, IDF retaliates to source of fire; Code Red Siren heard through out Golan Heights

IDF soldiers on the Israeli-Syrian border (Reuters)

IDF soldiers on the Israeli-Syrian border (Reuters)

Two rockets were fired from Syria into Israel Tuesday afternoon near Mount Hermon. Initial reports claim the rockets hit open areas and no injuries or damages were reported. Explosions were heard in the Golan Heights and a Code Red Siren to alert residents. It is unclear whether the rockets were a spillover from Syria’s civil war or intentional.

The IDF retaliated targeting the source of the fire with 20 artillery shells.

IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner confirmed the explosions, releasing the statement: Confirmed 2 rounds struck the Golan Heights, IDF has instructed the evacuation of Mt. Hermon more to follow.

The IDF has instructed the evacuation of over close to 1,000 visitors skiing in Mount Hermon. An official stated, “Following this, the IDF instructed to evacuate the visitors from the Hermon site … the IDF is also at the scene.”

Security has been tight on both the Syrian and Lebanese border following two Israeli airstrikes in Syria on January 18th in which 6 Hezbollah militants and 6 Iranian soldiers were killed.

The IDF has placed northern residents on alert since the attacks, following numerous threats from Hezbollah and Iran of retaliation. Last week, an Iranian officer of the Revolutionary Guard threatened an attack on Israel from the West Bank.

As a security measure, the IDF deployed Iron Dome missile batteries to the north of Israel and performed a joint drill with the Northern Command. The Israeli Air Force was also part of the military drill.

Additionally the IDF installed concrete blocks on the border with Lebanon, as well as increased artillery, infantry and armored forces in the region.