Israel’s chief of staff visits the site of an incident on the Israeli-Egyptian border where an IDF soldier was killed.
One of the weapons seized during the incident (IDF Spokesman, September 23, 2012).
The site of the incident on the Israeli-Egyptian border (IDF Spokesman, September 21, 2012)
Friday demonstrations in Naalin (Wafa, September 21, 2012)
PIJ military wing operatives on a military display in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sajaiya (Jerusalem Brigades website, September 23, 2012)
PIJ military wing operatives on a military display in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sajaiya (Jerusalem Brigades website, September 23, 2012)
PIJ operatives hanging posters in northern Gaza Strip mosques ahead of the main event that will be held in Gaza City on October 4 (Jerusalem Brigades website, September 23, 2012)
Abu Mazen at a meeting with Turkey’s Prime Minister (Wafa, September 21, 2012)
Protest rally in Baalbek (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 21, 2012).
Israeli and U.S. flags burned at a protest in Al-***Akar, northern Lebanon (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 23, 2012).
Protest rally organized by Hezbollah and Amal in Bint Jbeil (Bint Jbeil website, Lebanon, September 22, 2012)
Protest rally in Ramallah (Hamas forum, September 21, 2012)
Protest rally on the Temple Mount after the Friday prayers.
- The focus of this past week’s events was an incident on the Israeli-Egyptian border in which an IDF soldier was killed. Three terrorists armed with two explosive belts were killed. A Salafi jihadist network operating in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility. An Israeli Air Force strike prevented a terrorist attack from the Gaza Strip via the Sinai Peninsula. These incidents show once again that the threat of terrorism from the Israeli-Egyptian border is growing more serious.
- On September 27 Abu Mazen is scheduled to deliver a speech at the U.N. General Assembly in which he will ask the U.N. to upgrade Palestine’s status to that of a non-member state. On the eve of the assembly the PA leadership continued its efforts to raise Arab/Muslim and international support for the Palestinian move.
Incident on the Israeli-Egyptian border
- On Friday, September 21, at around noon, three terrorists opened fire at an IDF force engaged in routine security operations along the Israeli-Egyptian border. The IDF soldiers joined another IDF force that was nearby and returned fire, killing the three terrorists. One IDF soldier was killed and one sustained moderate injuries in the incident. The soldier killed was Corporal Netanel Yahalomi, 20, from the village of Nof Ayalon (IDF Spokesman, September 21, 2012).
- Scans of the area showed that the terrorists, who had been using the terrain for cover, were equipped with two explosive belts, one of which exploded during the fight with the IDF force. Also found in their possession were a machinegun and three RPG launchers. The terrorists were not in uniform but did attempt to camouflage their clothing (IDF Spokesman, September 21, 2012). Judging by the equipment found on the scene, it can be assumed that the terrorists were planning a large-scale attack.
- A Sinai-based Salafi jihadist organization known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. A statement posted on Islamic websites said that the attack was carried out in retaliation for the American film “that humiliates Prophet Muhammad”, whose production crew included Jews, according to the organization. The statement also said that the terrorist attack had been originally planned as revenge for the killing of one of the organization’s operatives this past August, but that the release of the American film (Innocence of Muslims) ultimately led to the decision to first retaliate for the offense done to Prophet Muhammad and postpone the retaliation for the killing of the operative to a later date. Also according to the announcement, the attack, during which the organization was planning to kidnap a soldier, resulted in the deaths of eight Israeli soldiers, a number which Israel supposedly does not disclose (masrawy.com, September 23, 2012).
The claim of responsibility released by Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (www.alwafd.org)
Israeli Security Forces Thwarted an Attack in Israeli Territory via the Sinai Peninsula
- On September 19, in a joint operation with the Israel Security Agency, IDF aircraft attacked a terrorist squad in the southern Gaza Strip belonging to a network called Defenders of al-Aqsa. The two operatives killed in the attack were in the final stages of preparation for a terrorist attack in Israeli territory.
- The operatives killed were (IDF Spokesman, September 20, 2012):
- Anis Abu al-Anin, born in 1979, from Rafah. In recent years Anis was involved in a number of attempts to carry out terrorist attacks, including smuggling IEDs from the Gaza Strip to Israel via Egyptian territory. He was also involved in orchestrating terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria.
- Ashraf Mahmoud Muhammad Salah, born in 1979, from Rafah. He was a PRC operative and had been involved in transporting two terrorists to Egypt for suicide bombing attacks in Israel. He was also involved in weapons trade. Ashraf is the brother of Ahmed Yousef, former political advisor of Isma’il Haniyah, the head of the de-facto Hamas administration (Safa, September 19, 2012).
- The IDF Spokesman said in an interview that the killing of the two operatives prevented a terrorist attack planned from the Gaza Strip via the Sinai Peninsula. The terrorist attack included activating powerful IEDs and was almost ready to launch. According to the spokesman, Hamas knew about the attack and made no attempt to prevent it even though it had received information on it (interview to the IDF Radio morning show, September 20, 2012).
- Palestinian sources reported that two people were killed and one critically injured in the attack. According to the Interior Ministry of the de-facto Hamas administration, which released a statement of condolence, the people killed were members of the national security apparatus and died while on “official and routine” duty (Safa, September 19, 2012). Ihab al-Ghussein, the head of the Publicity Office of the de-facto Hamas administration, accused Israel of perpetrating “crimes against humanity” by launching air strikes against civilian targets. He said that those hit in the attack were members of the Crossings Administration, considered a civilian body (Felesteen al-Aan, September 20, 2012).
Left: Isma’il Haniyah on a condolence visit in Rafah (Hamas forum, September 22, 2012). Right: the vehicle driven by the terrorists after being hit (Felesteen al-Aan, September 19, 2012).
Rocket Fire Continues
- No rocket landings in Israeli territory were detected this past week.
Rockets Fired into Israeli Territory
Demonstrations at Points of Friction
- In addition to new protests sparked by Innocence of Islam, which took place after the Friday prayers, this week as well there were riots at the traditional friction points in Judea and Samaria. Rioters threw stones at the IDF forces, who in certain instances used riot control equipment to disperse the demonstrators. In a number of instances stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli civilian and security vehicles.
The PA Exposed a Hamas Underground Vault in Ureif
- On September 23, acting on information obtained during the interrogation of Hamas operatives, Palestinian security forces discovered an underground vault belonging to the Hamas military wing in the village of Ureif (south of Nablus). The vault could be accessed through a restaurant situated in the main street of the village. The vault had electricity and running water and was equipped with a refrigerator, communications devices, and a satellite dish. Found inside were hundreds of thousands of dollars, Hamas flags, flyers, video tapes, uniforms of the Hamas military wing, and more (Maan, September 23, 2012).
- Hamas condemned “the fabrications spread by PA officials”, saying their sole intent was to justify the recent wave of arrests of Hamas operatives (Paltoday, September 23, 2012).
The Hamas vault discovered in the village of Ureif (Maan, September 23, 2012)
PIJ Military Display
- On September 22 the Jerusalem Brigades, the military wing of the PIJ, held a military display in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sajaiya to mark 31 years since the organization’s establishment and 17 years since the death of its chairman, Fathi Shaqaqi. Another, larger military display commemorating these events is scheduled for October 4 and will be held in downtown Gaza City (Jerusalem Brigades website, September 23, 2012).
Smuggling to Gaza Strip Decreases
- Due to Egypt’s security activity on the Egypt-Gaza Strip border, particularly the closing down of smuggling tunnels, the Ministry of National Economy of the de-facto Hamas administration reported that, since the Kerem Shalom terrorist attack, there has been a decrease of nearly 45 percent in smuggling to the Gaza Strip. Of particular note is a 31-percent decrease in smuggling basic food supplies (rice, flour, and sugar). The ministry also reported that there has been a 22-percent increase in importing goods to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. However, the ministry added, given the limited capacity of the Kerem Shalom crossing, it cannot meet all the demand for goods in the Gaza Strip (Maan, September 21).
The Palestinian U.N. Bid
- As the U.N. General Assembly is about to convene, the PA leadership under Abu Mazen continues to raise Arab/Muslim and international support for the Palestinian U.N. bid. In this context, Abu Mazen visited Turkey to meet with Prime Minister Erdogan. At the same time, a delegation of Fatah ministers visited Saudi Arabia (Maan, September 20, 2012). In his September 27 speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Abu Mazen will ask for Palestine to be recognized as a non-member state.
- In his Facebook page, Abu Mazen wrote that he is determined to move forward with the Palestinian U.N. bid despite all the pressure that he is under. According to Abu Mazen, his speech before the U.N. General Assembly will make the entire world see “the suffering of the Palestinian people and Israel’s violations against them” (Maan, September 20, 2012).
Wave of Protest over Innocence of Muslims continues
- The worldwide wave of protest over the U.S. release of the film Innocence of Muslims continues. Of particular note this week was a series of Hezbollah-led protests in Lebanon, in which Amal took part as well.
- Protest rallies and demonstrations were held throughout Lebanon, particularly in the country’s Shi’ite regions. Participants burned flags of the United States and Israel and chanted slogans against both countries. Some of the events were:
- LebanonValley: on September 22 Hezbollah held a mass protest rally after the Friday prayers. The rally was held in Baalbek and attended by high-ranking members of the organization. Participants chanted slogans against the United States and Israel, such as “Death to the United States and death to Israel” (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 22, 2012). On September 23 Hezbollah and the Amal movement held a joint mass rally in the city of El-Hermel, which was attended by political figures and clerics. During the demonstration participants chanted slogans against the United States, such as “Death to the United States” and “the United States is the Great Satan” (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 23, 2012).
Left: Israeli and U.S. flags burned at a protest in Al-***Akar, northern Lebanon (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 23, 2012). Right: protest rally in Baalbek (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 21, 2012).
- A mass rally was held in the city of Tyre which was attended by officials from Hezbollah and Amal (Sawt al-Farah, Lebanon, September 19, 2012). High-ranking Hezbollah member Nabil Qaouk said that the Americans “committed the greatest stupidity”. Addressing the Americans, he said “We are warning you about the scenes of resistance and we are telling you that you had better take it back, otherwise you will get in trouble” (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 19, 2012).
- Towns near the border with Israel: on September 22 Hezbollah and Amal held a protest rally in the town of Bint Jbeil, with representatives from Hezbollah, Amal, and Christian clerics in attendance. Flags of Lebanon and Hezbollah were raised during the demonstration, and the participants chanted slogans against the United States (Bint Jbeil website, September 22, 2012). The residents of Kfar Kila held their Friday prayer near Fatima Gate. After the prayer the participants chanted slogans against Israel and the United States (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 21, 2012).
- In Nabatiya unidentified individuals opened fire at a KFC restaurant. The building was damaged but no casualties were reported. The Lebanese army promptly arrived on the scene and began investigating the incident (Sawt al-Farah, Lebanon, September 19, 2012).
Kfar Kila residents during a Friday prayer in front of Fatima Gate (Al-Intiqad, Lebanon, September 21, 2012)
- On September 17 the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, held a night rally in the streets of Jebaliya, during which they carried posters in support of Prophet Muhammad and in condemnation of the movie. At the end of the rally, Mushir al-Masri, a high-ranking Hamas member from the northern Gaza Strip, gave a speech condemning the movie and calling for the “resistance against the occupation” to continue. The event was attended by top officials from the Hamas preaching network in the northern Gaza Strip, including Dr. Mohammed Shihab, who can be seen in the photograph carrying a Kalashnikov (Hamas forum, September 19, 2012).
Left: Dr. Mohammed Shihab carrying a Kalashnikov (Felesteen al-Aan, September 19, 2012). Right: the night rally held by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in Jebaliya.
Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem
- A number of protest rallies were held in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem after the Friday prayers.
The Ship Estelle to Set Sail for the Gaza Strip
- Estelle, which departed from Sweden to the Gaza Strip this past June, is scheduled to set sail from Naples to the Gaza Strip on October 1. The ship, which has by now visited several European ports, will apparently also carry equipment for the Gaza’s Ark project. The project was launched by anti-Israeli activists from Sweden and headed by Dror Feiler, who also took part in the Mavi Marmara flotilla
 As at September 24, 2012.
 Follow-up to the News of Terrorism report for September 12-19, 2012.
 A project organized by Canadian activists, who are planning to build a ship in the Gaza Strip with the help of European activists and sail it from the Gaza Strip with Palestinian products for export on board.