An explosive device planted near the Gaza border by Palestinian terrorists wounded four Israeli soldiers on Saturday in one of the most serious escalations in that conflict since the last war in 2014, and one day later it was published that a separate Palestinian terror cell was plotting to use explosives to assassinate Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The scheming terror cell was arrested—foiling thosee plans.
Meanwhile, in addition to the Gaza bombing attack on IDF soldiers, Harretz reported that a Gaza rocket hit the roof of an Israeli home on Saturday. The IDF Spokesperson Twitter page reported that Israel responded to Saturday’s Gaza attacks with a barrage of strikes on 18 Hamas targets. The conflict wasn’t over Saturday night—the IDF Spokesperson tweeted that sirens sounded in response to another Gaza rocket launched at Israel on Sunday.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter that two of the four Israeli soldiers hurt in the Gaza attack were wounded severely. Separately, he tweeted that Hamas “regularly organizes riots and ‘demonstrations’ in Gaza and that the explosives were covertly placed near the Gaza security fence during a riot in Gaza. While Hamas hasn’t claimed direct credit, the Israelis repeatedly have said the ruling power in the Gaza Strip is ultimately responsible and the terror group certainly has set a vicious example in the past. “We hold #Hamas responsible for all aggression from Gaza,” he tweeted.
The other plot to bomb the Israeli defense minister sought help from Gaza terrorists. The cell were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Judea and Samaria region—also known as the West Bank—who had contacted Gaza terrorists for financial support, according to a press release from the Israel Security Agency (ISA). The ISA warned this Gaza-Judea terrorism cooperation is part of a disturbing pattern.
“The cell’s plans to appeal for assistance from terrorists based in the Gaza Strip are part of a growing trend by terrorists in Judea and Samaria to acquire financing, war materiel, guidance and sponsorship from sources outside Judea and Samaria,” said the ISA. “…The security establishment will continue to take determined counter-terrorist action and warns both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip of the consequences of carrying out attacks in Judea and Samaria.”
The investigation into the plot to attack Defense Minister Lieberman recalled a previous plan to use a rocket-propelled-grenade, but since that scheme failed to be implemented the latest terror cell focused on explosive devices instead. The ISA noted that the cell was “deterred” in their efforts by Lieberman’s security detail and that the plot was still “in its very early stages” when they were caught.
While the Judea and Samaria terrorists have been arrested, Hamas also paid a penalty for their role in the Gaza attacks. “Weapons manufacturing infrastructure” was among the dozen-and-a-half targets struck this weekend by the Israelis according to the IDF Spokesperson Twitter page. Military compounds and a terror tunnel were also hit.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Gaza incident “severe” in comments released by his office. It was the second weekend in a row in which Israel has faced a dramatic escalation in attacks along its border, last weekend’s being the Iranian drone incursion.
However, while things had been quieter than normal, the latest Gaza violence recalls past terror attacks and spikes in violence. IDF spokesman Conricus noted the many ways in which Hamas cynically exploits their own people and the international community while attacking Israel
Tweeted Conricus, “Hamas tactics of diverting attention away from own failures: 1)stage fake ‘demonstrations’ towards Israeli border 2)use kids and handicapped as pawns 3)throw grenades and bombs 4)place IEDs along fence 5)exploit in media.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 18, 2018)