IDF destroys terror tunnel from Gaza Strip into Israel

7 terrorists killed in Gaza terror tunnel explosion Monday; IDF: Will keep taking all measures needed over and under the ground to thwart attempts to harm the residents of the State of Israel and to keep the area quiet, as it was after the Pillar of Defense operation, Oct. 30, 2017.

The tunnel discovered by the IDF Thursday (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

 

The IDF located and destroyed a Hamas terror tunnel from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory on Monday.

The tunnel, which the IDF believed was constructed and maintained by Islamic Jihad since 2014, entered Israeli territory near Kibbutz Kissufim. The IDF located the tunnel on Monday, destroying it with explosives.

The IDF located the tunnel from recent technology implemented along the underground barrier being built on the border with the Strip. It confirmed “The explosion took place inside Israeli territory. The majority of the dead were activists that entered the tunnel after it was exploded and died in the Gaza Strip, and not as a result of the explosion.”

Hamas reported seven deaths from the explosion, including the death Islamic Jihad faction head Arafat Abu Marshould. It condemned the IDF’s mission, claiming that the “latest Zionist crime” used in order to “reverse” the recent Palestinian unity government. The terror organization released the following statement “The latest Zionist crime is a grave escalation against our people and against our resistance aimed at harming our steadfastness and unity. It is part of widening efforts to reverse Palestinian unity and maintain division as it was. The resistance to the occupation in all its forms and the various ways in which it is strengthening is a natural right that is guaranteed for our people. The continued escalation of the Zionist enemy and the execution of its crimes will only increase our adherence to the way of unity and increase our reliance on the weapon of resistance accordingly in our attempt to settle the score with [Israel].”

During his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the tunnel, stating, “I told you many times that we are developing groundbreaking technology to deal with the tunnel threat. Today we detected a tunnel and destroyed it, and we will continue doing so.”

IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manlis confirmed the IDF strike and that it did not intend to kill the terrorists in the tunnel. He stated “The operation in which a terrorist tunnel was bombed this afternoon was carried out in Israeli territory. The intention was for the explosion to knock the tunnel out of commission. The IDF did not use any explosives or materials that are forbidden for use. The officials arrived only to rescue those who were trapped inside and were hit by the explosives in the tunnel.”

Just yesterday the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported its discovery of a Hamas tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip two week ago, the UNRWA calling on Hamas to cease any “activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff alike at risk”. The UNRWA confirmed it had updated the IDF and Israel’s Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories, Yoav Mordechai.

The IDF clarified that it “will keep taking all measures needed over and under the ground to thwart attempts to harm the residents of the State of Israel and to keep the area quiet, as it was after the Pillar of Defense operation.”

Kushner held meetings on peace process in Saudi Arabia last week

Kushner, Mnuchin, Greenblatt and Powell traveled to S. Arabia, meetings centered on combatting terrorism, peace process and regional developments; White House: The president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress toward that goal, Oct. 30, 2017.

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President Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner visited Saudi Arabia last week, holding talks with Saudi officials on the peace process, security, combatting Islamic terrorism and regional developments.

Kushner’s visit was unannounced and only confirmed by the White House following his return to the United States.

Kushner was accompanied by deputy national security advisor Dina Powell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. According to reports, Greenblatt traveled from Saudi Arabia to meet with Jordanian officials in Amman, followed by meetings in Egypt and Ramallah in the West Bank.

The White House confirmed the events and stated on the delegation “The senior advisor to the president, the deputy national security advisor for strategy [Powell] and the special representative for international negotiations [Greenblatt] recently returned from Saudi Arabia. The senior advisor has also been in frequent contact with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”

Addressing the peace process, the White House official stated that the United States would not impose any deal on Israel or the Palestinians, stating “While these regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress toward that goal. No deal will be imposed on Israelis and Palestinians; We are committed toward that goal.”

This was Kushner’s third visit to the region under the Trump Administration this year, his last visit including Saudi Arabia and Israel where he met with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

 

 

Photo: Jared Kushner, CC, 2017.

UN finds Hamas tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip

UNRWA discovers tunnel under school in Gaza Strip; UN: again demands full respect for the neutrality and inviolability of United Nations premises at all times, Oct. 29, 2017.

A smuggling tunnel between Gaza and Egypt (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90))

 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) discovered another Hamas tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip.

Reports of the discovery made two weeks ago were made public on Sunday, the UNRWA calling on Hamas to cease any “activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff alike at risk”. The UNRWA confirmed it had updated the IDF and Israel’s Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories, Yoav Mordechai.

The United Nations responded to the tunnel discovery, releasing the statement “The presence of a tunnel underneath an UNRWA installation, which enjoys inviolability under international law, is unacceptable. It places children and agency staff at risk. The Agency again demands full respect for the neutrality and inviolability of United Nations premises at all times. Any activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff alike at risk, and undermine the ability of UNRWA staff to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees in safety and security, must cease.”

Hamas is known for building its terror tunnel network underneath UN schools to avoid them being attacked by Israel. Over 35 tunnels have been located to date, majority destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

This summer, Israel announced that it would build and underground barrier on Gaza border with Israel and Gaza border with Egypt, the border to extend into the Mediterranean Sea. The barrier will include smart, sensory technology to detect tunnel construction.

Hamas warned Israel that the construction of the barrier as an “declaration of war”, the terrorist organization threatening Israel releasing the statement “This is a declaration of war. We will not allow the occupation to carry out its plots and crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and we will prevent the construction of this barrier by all means… The entry of the occupation army’s troops and equipment into the Gaza Strip to carry out this work is tantamount to a military incursion into Gaza and Hamas will respond accordingly. We will not sit idly by and we will respond with force the likes of which Israel has never known.”

The underground barrier on the border with Gaza is Israel’s third defense barrier to be constructed on the border. The first barrier was constructed post-Oslo Accords in 1994, the second following the disengagement from the Strip in 2005. During the disengagement, over 8,500 Israeli, Jewish citizens were pulled from their homes as an effort for resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The Gaza Strip was then taken over by Hamas. Since then, Israel has been subject to rocket attacks and terror tunnels into Israeli territory for over a decade.

Pence to visit Israel and Egypt in December

Visit to center on US relations and ending persecution of Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East; Pence to meet with Sissi and Netanyahu; Pence: Now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities, Oct. 27, 2017.

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United States Vice President Mike Pence will visit Israel and Egypt in December, his visit to center on ending the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East.

Pence made the announcement of his visit during the “In Defense of Christians” annual event, confirming he will visit Israel and Egypt. During his address at the event, Pence stated “under this president you can know with confidence that America condemns persecution of any faith at any place at any time and we will stand against it with all of the might of this great nation.”

Confirming his visit and President Trump’s commitment to end the persecution of Christians and religious minorities, he stated “President Trump has directed me to go to the Middle East in late December, and I promise you, one of the messages that I will bring on the President’s behalf to the leaders across the region is that now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities.”

Pence’s itinerary has not yet been released to the public, but the White House confirmed he will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, their meeting to center on US-Egypt security cooperation and the persecution of Christians in Egypt.

He will also meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

 

 

Photo: Mike Pence, CC, 2017.

Israel “will act militarily by itself” if Iran attains nuclear weapons.

Intelligence Minister confirms Israel will act by itself if needed, calls on Japan to support Trump’s changing of nuclear deal; Iran: The defense capabilities and strength of the country are not negotiable or up for haggling, Oct. 26, 2017.

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Israel’s Intelligence Minister confirmed that Israel would act militarily if Iran were to abstain nuclear weapons.

Speaking in Tokyo on Thursday, Israel Katz addressed nuclear Iran, confirming that the Jewish State would directly respond to a nuclear Iran if President Trump’s new efforts, mainly sanctions, do not deter the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He stated “If international efforts led these days by US President Trump don’t help stop Iran attaining nuclear capabilities, Israel will act militarily by itself. There are changes that can be made [to the agreement] to ensure that they will never have the ability to have a nuclear weapon.” Speaking specifically on Iran’s military presence in Syria he reiterated that Israel “will not allow Iran to transform Syria into forward base sea harbors, air bases and Shiite militias. We will act together with the United States and other countries in the world until they stop the ballistic missiles that threaten Israel.”

He called on the Japanese government to “support steps led by President Trump to change the nuclear agreement,” and called on Japan to consider strongly before supporting Iran’s economy, stating “The question of whether Japanese companies will begin to work in Iran or not is a very important question.”

Israel continues its efforts to gain support in combatting a nuclear Iran in the international community, mainly by leaving the nuclear deal. Iran continues to build and improve its missile capabilities alongside its nuclear program, openly calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisted its defense capabilities are not negotiable stating “The defense capabilities and strength of the country are not negotiable or up for haggling.”

Last week, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced that it would accelerate its missile program despite increased sanctions from the United States, releasing a statement “Iran’s ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this Revolutionary [Guards] organization.”

It additionally accused Israel of “wicked policies in the region”, and claimed sanctions by the United States on the Islamic Republic show America’s “failure” stating “Imposing cruel sanctions against the Guards and hostile approach of the rogue and brute president [Trump] shows the failure of America and the Zionist regime’s [Israel] wicked policies in the region.”

 

 

Photo: Israel Katz, CC, 2017