Gaza Strip

Behind the lines: Salafi insurgency fermenting

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By JONATHAN SPYERLAST UPDATED: 02/15/2014 03:44

While the main focus of the jihadi groups in northern Sinai is the regime in Cairo, the situation in the peninsula has serious implications for Israel.

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Funeral convoy of slain Islamists, Sinai. Photo: REUTERS

Northern Sinai has long played host to a variety of smuggling networks and jihadi organizations. Since Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s July 3 military coup in Egypt, however, there has been an exponential increase in attacks emanating from this area.
This increasingly lawless region is now the staging ground for an emergent Islamist insurgency against the Egyptian authorities.
Since July 2013, more than 300 reported attacks have taken place in Sinai. The violence is also spreading into the Egyptian mainland, with attacks in recent weeks on a security facility in Cairo, and the killing of an Interior Ministry official in the capital.
Some of the groups engaged in the fighting are linked to global jihadi networks, including al-Qaida.
Others have connections to elements in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The precise links between the various organizations engaged are difficult to trace.
This emergent reality in northern Sinai has serious implications for Israel. While the main focus of the jihadi activity is directed against Sisi’s administration in Cairo, some of the groups centrally involved have a track record of attacks against Israeli targets.

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Egyptian army launches campaign to create buffer zone on Gaza border

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Published  15/02/2014 21:22

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(MaanImages/file)

CAIRO (Ma’an) — Egyptian border forces destroyed 10 tunnels and seven homes in the Sinai on Saturday as part of new campaign to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip that would extend 500 meters in some places.
The campaign began with a military operation in the border town of Rafah, where tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip were targeted in the neighborhoods of al-Brahma, al-Sarsuriya, Salahudeen, al-Helwat, and Zoraba, an Egyptian security source said.
The security source added that the tunnels were destroyed and the homes they were located in were subsequently blown up.
He explained that the move was part of a wider campaign to set up a buffer zone along the border with Gaza in Rafah that would extend 300 meters in populated areas and 500 meters in open areas.

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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (May 23-29, 2012)

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 The remains of cell phones used to detonate the IEDs near Yattah (Photo courtesy of the Israel Security Agency).

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  • Overview

·

  • Again this week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory. An IDF force was attacked by sniper fire near the border fence in the central Gaza Strip. An officer and a soldier were wounded.
  • The Israeli security forces recently exposed a number of terrorist networks operating in the Hebron district. One of the was making preparations to infiltrate Kiryat Arba to abduct or murder a local resident. A terrorist cell which attacked an Israeli vehicle with a ring of IEDs was exposed in southern Mt. Hebron.
  • The Turkish media reported that the Turkish attorney general had issued indictments against four IDF commanders who had been involved in the events aboard the Mavi Marmara. The indictments falsely claimed that the passengers aboard the ship had been armed with “plastic flagpoles, spoons and forks” [In reality, the IHH operatives aboard were armed with deadly cold offensive weapons and at least one or two guns].

 

  • Israel’s South Important Terrorist Events
  • Judea and Samaria
  • The Situation in the Gaza Strip
  • The Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike
  • Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation
  • Israel and the Palestinians
  • Propaganda Events

 

Hamas The Delegitimization Campaign The Palestinian Authority

Full Document in PDF Format

[1] The statistics do not include rockets fired which fell inside the Gaza Strip. As of May 29, 2012.

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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict(April 11-17, 2012)

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 Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip targeting Israel’s south continues. This past week two rockets hit open areas in the western Negev. In the Jordan Valley, a Palestinian with carrying seven improvised IEDs was detained at a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley.

 A group of Palestinian and left-wing European pro-Palestinian activists biking through the Jordan Valley clashed with IDF soldiers. A YouTube video showed an IDF officer striking a Danish activist with his rifle butt. The officer was immediately relieved of his command, until a full-scale investigation had been undertaken. The heads of the Israeli government and army, including the prime minister, strongly denounced the officer’s behavior.

 The fly-in of anti-Israel activists intended as a provocation for the State of Israel was conducted without exceptional incident. There were limited public disturbances at the Ben-Gurion International Airport. In several European countries (most prominently in France), activists who had been prevented from boarding a plane to Israel held protests. The number of activists who reached Ben-Gurion Airport was small (78), far below the organizers’ expectations and declarations.

 

Rocket Fire Targeting the Western Negev

 Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory continues. On the night of April 15 two rockets fell in open areas in the western Negev. There were no casualties.

Rockets Fired into Israeli Territory 1

Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory

Note: The figures for March 2012 include 50 rockets intercepted and destroyed by the Iron Dome aerial defense system during the most recent round of escalation. In April 2012 three rockets were fired at Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat.

The Situation on the Ground

 This past week the IDF carried out routine counterterrorist activities, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities and confiscating weapons. The security forces also dealt with local riots during which stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at them. 

Violent Clash in the Jordan Valley

 On April 14 a group of approximately 250 Palestinians and pro-Palestinian left-wing activists from Europe, held a biking event through the Jordan Valley. They began near Jericho and their final destination was the region of Jiftlik in Samaria. They were detained by IDF soldiers on the Jordanian Valley road near the village of Uja and a clash broke out.

 An Internet video showed an Israeli officer employing violence and striking a left-wing Danish activist with the butt of his M-16. The IDF Spokesman stated emphatically that it was a grave act which violated IDF values and that there was no justification for violence. However, the Spokesman noted that the video did not show the entire incident, in which behind the twenty-odd leftist and anarchist activists there were 200 Palestinians who tried to switch to the main Jordan Valley road and block it (Interview with the IDF Spokesman on Israeli Channel 2 radio, April 16, 2012).

 The officer was immediately relieved of his command until “a thorough investigation can be conducted.” In addition, the Military Advocate General ordered an internal military police investigation, according to whose findings it will be decided whether or not to prosecute the officer (IDF Spokesman’s Website, April 16, 2012). Senior Israeli political and military figures, among them the prime minister, defense minister and IDF chief of staff, strongly denounced the officer’s behavior, emphasizing that it violated IDF values and did not reflect the ethical conduct of IDF soldiers and officers.

Palestinian Carrying IEDs Detained at Checkpoint in the Jordan Valley

 On April 11, IDF military police detained a Palestinian at the Beqa’ot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. He was found to be carrying seven improvised IEDs, three knives and bullets. He was transferred to the security forces for questioning (IDF Spokesman’s Website, April 11, 2012).

 Note: Three months ago two similar events occurred at the same crossing. In the first, a Palestinian terrorist operative armed with a pipe bomb advanced toward an IDF force shouting “Allahu akbar.” When he ignored their orders to halt, they opened fire and killed him. In the second, the IDF opened fire at a Palestinian who tried to stab a soldier at the roadblock. The Palestinian was critically wounded and died as he was being taken to the hospital for treatment (IDF Spokesman’s Website, April 11, 2012).

Temporary Easing of the Fuel Crisis

 Recently there was a temporary easing in the fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip following a delivery of diesel fuel from Israel to the Gaza Strip power plant, in accordance with an agreement reached between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. That resulted in an improvement in the supply of electricity to the Gazan population and an increase in the number of vehicles on the road. However, the boat bringing fuel from Qatar, which was supposed to help relieve the crisis, has not yet arrived.2

The power plant in the Gaza Strip, which has received fuel to manufacture electricity (Gazayouth.net website)
The power plant in the Gaza Strip, which has received fuel to manufacture electricity
(Gazayouth.net website)

Article in Egyptian Daily Newspaper Strongly Attacks Hamas

 Following the Gaza Strip fuel crisis and Hamas’ accusations that Egypt is responsible it, on April 16 the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm published an article entitled “Egypt and Hamas’ faulty judgment.” The article, written by Dr. Tareq Fahmi, head of the Israeli studies department at the National Center for Middle Eastern Studies,3 strongly attacked Hamas for trying to make Egypt responsible for its own crises (the fuel crisis and the crisis in the negotiations with Fatah). According to the article, among other things:

  • Hamas is of the opinion that after the Muslim Brotherhood achieved political power, it would be easy to deliver merchandise through the Rafah crossing or the smuggling tunnels, “with all the achievements and profit involved.” Hamas behaves “as though the lands of Egypt had turned into the private property of the Hamas movement.” However, said the article, Hamas has forgotten the existence of Egypt’s “red lines” of national security.

  • There has been, according to the article, a “security problem” in the Gaza Strip, the result of “the strategic expansion of the Palestinian factions,” which do as they please in the Sinai Peninsula. The Palestinian factions [i.e., the terrorist organizations] carry out “illegal activities” [i.e., terrorist activity] which threaten Egyptian national security. As a result, there is concern [in Egypt] that “in the future Israel’s activities will be directed against the Sinai Peninsula and not the Gaza Strip.”

  • Hamas seeks to involve Egypt in a confrontation with Israel, since the “illegal activities” [i.e., terrorist attacks] provide Israel with an excuse to reoccupy the Sinai Peninsula to turn it into a buffer zone to protect its security. Hamas may think that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power has created an opportunity for a war between Egypt and Israel, but the cost to Egypt of such a war would be very high.

 In our assessment, the article was written as part of an exchange of blows in the media between Egypt and Hamas, caused by the fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip. However, it is also possible that it expresses genuine, if covert, Egyptian discontent at the way Hamas behaves towards Egypt and the attempts of the Palestinian terrorist organizations to gain a foothold in the Sinai Peninsula and turn it into a focal point for terrorist activity against Israel.

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Israel Releases 550 More Palestinian Terrorists

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Israel MapRobert Berger;VoA News, Jerusalem

Israel has completed a prisoner swap with the Palestinian militant group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip.

There were celebrations in the West Bank as Israel released 550 Palestinian prisoners. A Palestinian celebrant said it is a step in the right direction. “We believe that we have our state and they have their state, and we can live with peace,” she said.

It was the second phase of a prisoner swap negotiated for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit two months ago, after being held hostage for five years of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel freed 477 Palestinian prisoners in the first phase. The final tally: 1,027 prisoners for one Israeli soldier. Read the rest of this entry »

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
(November 23-29, 2011 )

Damage caused by the rockets fired from south Lebanon into the western Galilee
Damage caused by the rockets fired from south Lebanon into the western Galilee
(Photo by Max Yelinson, courtesy of NRG, November 29, 2011).

 

 

Overview

 On the night of November 28 three rockets were fired from south Lebanon into the western Galilee. There were no casualties but property was damaged. A network affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. Two years ago the same network claimed responsibility for two rocket attacks.

 Sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues to plague southern Israel. This past week two rocket hits were identified in the western Negev. In response the Israeli Air Force attacked two terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.

 On November 24 Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal met in Cairo as part of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process. Both sides described the meeting as positive. In effect it would seem that both preferred not to decide the essential items on the agenda, and the agreements reached reflected common issues of relatively slight importance.

 

Rocket Fire into Northern Israel

 On the night of November 28 three rockets were launched from south Lebanon into the western Galilee. There were no casualties. A chicken coop and gas balloons were hit by shrapnel. The IDF returned fire (IDF Spokesman, November 29, 2011). On the morning of November 29 UNIFIL and Lebanese Army forces patrolled the region of Aita al-Shaab in the western sector of south Lebanon from which the rockets were fired (Al-Jazeera TV, November 29, 2011). UNIFIL said in a statement that it was investigating the incident (MTV, November 29, 2011).

 Since the end of the Second Lebanon War there have been a number of rockets fired into Israeli territory from south Lebanon. The last was a little over two years ago on October 27, 2009, when a rocket was fired into the eastern Galilee, apparently a 107mm shell (IDF Spokesman, October 27, 2009).1

Firefighters put out one of the fires caused by the rocket fire
Firefighters put out one of the fires caused by the rocket fire
(Photo by Max Yelinson, courtesy of NRG, November 29, 2011).

 A network calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket fire (Al-Nashra website, November 29, 2011). The network is affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad. It is headed by Salah al-Qar’awi, a Saudi Arabian who fought the Americans at Fallujah in Iraq. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades are a terrorist network in Lebanon operating in the Palestinian refugee camps and have a branch in the Arabian Peninsula which calls itself the Companies of Yusuf al-Ayiri.2

 Two years ago the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for two rocket attacks from south Lebanon against Israel:

  • On September 11, 2009, two or three 122mm rockets were fired from the western sector of south Lebanon into the western Galilee. On September 14 an Internet forum affiliated with the global jihad posted the statement that a group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, whose Lebanese branch was called the Companies of Ziad al-Jarrah, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire (Al-Fallujah forum, September 14, 2009).

  • On October 27, 2009 a rocket, apparently 107mm in diameter, was fired into Israel from the central sector of south Lebanon. It fell in an open area near one of the villages in the eastern Galilee. There were no casualties but the rocket caused a fire (IDF Spokesman, October 27, 2009). The following morning the Lebanese found four additional rockets ready for launching in the same area from which the first rocket had been fired. They were located in the yard of a building under construction on the outskirts of the town of Hula. (Lebanese News Agency, November 28, 2009). A global jihad forum issued a statement claiming responsibility for placing five rockets around the Hula (Al-Fallujah forum, October 29, 2009).

Logo of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades
Logo of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades

Important Terrorism Events Israel’s South

Rocket Fire into Israeli Territory

 On November 26 two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. Both fell in open areas in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was done

Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 3

Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory

Rocket Fire — Monthly Distribution

Rocket Fire -- Monthly Distribution

Mortar Shell Fire — Monthly Distribution

Mortar Shell Fire -- Monthly Distribution

Israeli Air Force Activity

 In response to the rocket attacks, on November 27 Israeli aircraft struck two focal points of terrorist activity in the southern and central Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, November 27, 2011).

Judea and Samaria

The Situation on the Ground

 This past week the IDF carried out routine counterterrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities and confiscating weapons. There were an increasing number of incidents in which stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli security forces and vehicles.

Developments in the Gaza Strip

Export of Agricultural Products from the Gaza Strip to Europe

 On November 27 agricultural products began being exported from the Gaza Strip to markets in Europe. The forecast is for 150 tons of cherry tomatoes, 50 tons of green peppers, 100 tons of strawberries and 20 million flowers. The trucks leave the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The exports are part of a large-scale project carried out in coordination with the Israeli government coordinator and financed by the Dutch government (IDF Spokesman, November 27, 2011).

Truck loaded with strawberries for European markets
Truck loaded with strawberries for European markets
(Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website, November 28, 2011).

 Hamas has great expectations for the elections currently being held in Egypt. It assumes that the Muslim Brotherhood, its parent organization, will gain significant influence in the Egyptian politics and be able to support Hamas in various areas, especially the conflict with Israel. However, in public Hamas spokesmen are careful to express support of all the Egyptian parties in order to preserve its flexibility and freedom to maneuver. Read the rest of this entry »

Hamas’s Gaza – Four Years Later; Chapter 1: Fatah-Hamas Relations

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The Coat of arms of the Palestinian National A...
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July 20, 2011 Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.710

By: C. Jacob*

Preface

Four years after its takeover of Gaza, in June 2007, Hamas has successfully established an independent entity there, separate from the West Bank. Since the takeover, Hamas has managed to strengthen itself economically (though its resources have been directed more towards reinforcing the movement than towards promoting the wellbeing of the population). It has also managed to consolidate its military strength, and has continued to prepare itself for the next confrontation with Israel. For the time being, however, the movement has found it beneficial to maintain a tahdiah (lull) with Israel, though occasionally the tahdiah is disrupted, not only by other organizations in Gaza but also by Hamas itself.

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