The Tel Aviv bus where the attack was carried out (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, January 21, 2015).
The scene of the stabbing attack carried out by a Palestinian in Tel Aviv, wounding nine civilians.
Trucks bringing humanitarian aid from the UAE enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Paltimes.net, January 21, 2015 and Youm7.com, January 22, 2015).
Demonstrators at Jahar al-Deek hold Hamas-affiliated flags. The Arabic reads, "The authorities bear responsibility for the suffering of Gaza" (Facebook page of PALDF, January 23, 2015).
An ISIS flag is hung across from the French Cultural Center in Gaza City (Twitter account of Ayun al-Ummah, January 25, 2015)
Stabbing Attack on a Bus in Tel Aviv
- On January 21, 2015, a Palestinian terrorist carried out a stabbing attack on a crowded bus in Tel Aviv en route from Bat Yam (a city south of Tel Aviv) to Tel Aviv University (crossing the center of the city). According to reports from Magen David Adom, nine people were wounded, four of them critically and three seriously. In addition, 12 people were treated for shock (Magen David Adom spokesperson, January 21, 2015).
- The terrorist operative who carried out the attack was Hamza Muhammad Hassan Matrouk, born in 1992, from Tulkarm. According to the investigation, he acquired the knife in Tulkarm and arrived in Israel via Jerusalem without an entrance permit on the morning of the attack. He claimed he carried out the attack because of Operation Protective Edge, the events on the Temple Mount and the influence of extremist Islamist media content describing the benefits of "arriving in paradise" (Shabak.gov.il, January 21, 2015). He got on the bus at the old Tel Aviv Central Bus Station a few minutes before carrying out the attack (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, January 21, 2015).
- The stabbing attack in Tel Aviv was widely covered by the Palestinian media, which supported the attack and glorified the attacker. The Palestinian Authority (PA) did not issue a comment. Fatah justified it, and Hamas and the other terrorist organizations praised it. Updates on Palestinian TV's Facebook page were received with sympathy and approval from surfers, who praised the attack and attacker and called for more of them. Two notices of those examined by the ITIC had implied references to ISIS and the global jihad's attacks in Paris.
Left: The sign reads, "Occupied Tel al-Rabi' [Arabic for Tel Aviv]. The speech bubble reads, "[Well done!] Tit for tat for what was done to the prophet," an implied reference to Charlie Hebdo (Facebook page of PALDF, January 21, 2015). Right: A knife in the colors of the Palestinian flag drips blood on the Israeli flag. The Arabic reads, "Good morning," apparently because the attack was carried out in the morning (Facebook page of PALINFO, January 21, 2015).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Clashes on the Israel-Gaza Strip Border
- On January 23, 2015 dozens of Palestinians gathered and threw stones at the security fence near the Jabaliya refugee camp. An IDF force fired shots to distance the rioters (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 22, 2015). The Palestinian media reported that a Palestinian youth was seriously wounded. Hamas' security forces dispersed the rioters (Alresala.net, January 23, 2015).
Additional "Popular Resistance" Terrorism and Violence
- This past week the wave of violence and rioting continued in the traditional friction spots in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, part of what the Palestinians call the "popular resistance" [i.e., "popular terrorism"]. In Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails targeting Israelis were thrown.
- The prominent attacks were the following:
- On January 26, 2015, stones were thrown at the light railway in the Shuafat region of east Jerusalem. There were no casualties. The railway was damaged. A Border Police force identified the stone-thrower and apprehended him. Following his apprehension dozens of Palestinian threw stones and shot fireworks at the policemen. The railway stopped running (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 26, 2015).
- On January 25, 2015, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Halhul (Hebron region). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 25, 2015).
- On January 25, 2015, an Israeli civilian identified a pipe bomb in an open area at the entrance to one of the networks of the village of Neveh Suf (on the trans-Benjamin highway, Judea). It apparently had been thrown but did not explode (Tazpit.org.il, January 25, 2015).
- On January 24, 2015, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli bus near the village of Beit Hagai (south of Mt. Hebron). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 24, 2015).
- On January 24, 2015, Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of east Jerusalem. The driver incurred minor wounds. The vehicle's windshield was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 24, 2015).
- On January 23, 2015, stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Sinjil in Samaria. A baby girl incurred minor wounds and was treated at the scene (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 23, 2015).
- On January 21, 2015, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at residences in the eastern neighborhood of Neveh Suf (northeast of Ramallah). One hit a parked vehicle, setting it on fire and causing damage (Tazpit.org.il, January 21, 2015).
The Rafah Crossing
- After the Palestinian leadership lodged repeated requests and Gazans held protest demonstrations, on January 20, 2015, the Rafah crossing was opened to civilian traffic for three says. Several hundred Gazans crossed the border, leading to extreme crowding. Egypt also permitted the passage of aid convoys from the UAE, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, which brought medicines, medical equipment and food products for the Gaza Strip (Samanews.com, January 21, 2015).
- Maher Abu Subha, director of the crossings and border authority, said that on January 22, 2015, the Egyptians closed the Rafah crossing and did not say when it would open again. He called on Egypt to open the crossing for a longer period because there were still many Gazans who needed to use it (Alresala.net, January 22, 2015). The crossing and border authority issued a report dealing with the activity at the Rafah crossing in 2014, according to which it was closed for 240 days and open for only 125.
Gazans Protest the Delays in the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip
- A demonstration was held under Hamas aegis at the ruins of Jahar al-Deek (south of Gaza City) to protest the delays in rebuilding the neighborhood. The demonstrators claimed Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian national consensus government were responsible for the delays (Safa.ps, January 23, 2015).
- Mutual accusations and recriminations over the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip continue:
- PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, on a visit to Tunisia, claimed to the media that the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip was being delayed because of the Palestinian national consensus government's inability to take responsibility for the Gaza Strip and oversee the border crossings (Wafa.ps, January 22, 2015).
- Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, claimed that Hamas was delaying the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip by insisting on receiving responsibility for some of it. He claimed Hamas had to understand that only the national consensus government could successfully reconstruct the Gaza Strip (Maannews.net, January 23, 2015).
- Marwan Abu Ras, a member of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, speaking during the Friday prayer held on the ruins of a mosque in the Shejaiya neighborhood, claimed that Robert Serry, the UN envoy to the Middle East, was personally responsible for the delay in reconstruction because the oversight mechanism he established served Israel (Maannews.net, January 23, 2015).
Calls to Construct a Seaport
- Calls have recently increased to renew the construction of a civilian seaport to break the siege on the Gaza Strip. The Committee to Break the Gaza Siege claimed in an announcement that in two months it planned to launch a ship from the Gaza shore carrying patients and students. According to Alaa' al-Din al-Bata, committee spokesman, a number of countries have already expressed their agreement (Alresala.net, January 25, 2015).
Left: Gazan children demonstration at the port. Right: A press conference held at the port of Gaza organized by the Hamas-affiliated Committee to Break the Gaza Siege (Palestine-info.info, January 25, 2015).
Egypt Destroys Smuggling Tunnels
- The Egyptian ministry of defense posted a video to YouTube showing its border police and army engineering corps exposing entrances to six tunnels inside houses in Rafah. According to the video, two of the six were so-called strategic tunnels equipped with communications systems and railway tracks, and apparently intended for the transport of weapons to the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians also reported that one of the tunnels they found six rockets, 30 mortar shells, 18 grenades and several dozen bullets (Egyptian ministry of defense on YouTube, January 20, 2015).
Support for ISIS in the Gaza Strip
- Expressions of support for ISIS continue in the Gaza Strip. On January 25, 2015, an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account posted a picture of an ISIS supporter hanging an ISIS flag across fromthe French Cultural Center in Gaza City. A text accompanying the picture read, "Today we wave [our] flag and tomorrow we destroy your building" (Twitter account of Ayun al-Ummah, January 25, 2015). The French Cultural Center was attacked on December 12, 2014, when a bomb exploded in the building. A Salafist-jihadi network called Jund Ansar Allah, affiliated with the global jihad, claimed responsibility for the attack in a video posted to YouTube on December 18, 2014.
PA Public Opinion Poll
- At the beginning of December 2014 the Palestinian Center Policy and Survey Research headed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki held a public opinion poll based on a random sampling of 1,270 Palestinians from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The findings were as follows:
- Elections – If elections were held in the PA Hamas would win 36% of the votes and Fatah 34%. Before Operation Protective Edge Hamas would have won 40% and Fatah, 32%.
- Prime minister – Ismail Haniya would receive 53% of the votes, Mahmoud Abbas, 42%.
- Operation Protective Edge – The majority of Palestinians, 66%, still believe that Hamas won the war. However, satisfaction with the outcome of the war has declined from 49% to 42%. The survey also indicated that a very high percentage, 81%, of the Palestinians are in favor of renewing rocket fire targeting Israel if the present situation continues.
- The PA's responsibility – More Palestinians say the failure of the national consensus government to function is the responsibility of the PA, 32%, than of Hamas, 21%.
- The crossings – The majority of Palestinians, 61%, would prefer the national consensus government to control the Gaza Strip border crossings.
- An armed "struggle" as the way to establish a Palestinian state – The survey indicated that 42% of the Palestinians favor an armed campaign against Israel.
- Support for ISIS – Not many Palestinians support ISIS. It is regarded by 74% as a radical organization that does not represent Islam. Support for ISIS was more than double in the Gaza Strip compared with Judea and Samaria, 19% in Gaza as opposed to 8% in Judea and Samaria.
Incitement to Violence and Terrorism against Israel on Fatah's Official Facebook Page
- Fatah's official Facebook page posted two notices calling for the continuation of the "resistance" to Israel, including the use of cold weapons and firearms.
Left: The evolution of Palestinian weapons. The Arabic reads, "We [Fatah] started with stones...and we will end with a state. The Fatah movement." Right: The Arabic reads, "We are the men of Fatah, we were and have remained those closest to the rifle's trigger," "Fatah, the first stone...the first bullet" (Facebook page of Fatah, January 16, 2015).
Convoy of Hezbollah Operatives Attacked in the Golan Heights
- On January 18, 2015, a convoy of Hezbollah operatives was attacked in Mazrat al-Amal in the northern Golan Heights. According to media reports, six Hezbollah operatives and a senior officer in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed in the attack.
- The Kuwaiti paper Al-Ra'I reported the following information about those who were killed (Alrai.com, January 21, 2015):
- The senior Iranian officer was General Muhammad Ali Allahdadi, IRGC commander in Syria and Lebanon since 2014. Along with Hezbollah, he supervised military activities in Syria. The border patrol on January 18, 2015 was not the first in which he visited the Golan Heights region.
- Muhammad Ahmed Issa, aka Abu Issa, accompanied Allahdadi to compose a report about the northern Golan Heights as an area for special operations. His objective was to benefit from Allahdadi's experience in fighting in mountainous regions.
- This past week various Lebanese and Iranian sources reported that the Hezbollah operatives and Iranian officer were in the region as part of Hezbollah and Iranian efforts to establish "an additional front" with Israel in the Golan Heights. Some of the reports said the following:
- During the past year Hezbollah and the Syrian forces worked hard to train and equip a force of local residents of the Golan Heights villages who could defend the villages near the border. An additional force was also established to carry out "resistance" operations [i.e., terrorist attacks] from the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon against Israel from the Lebanese and Syrian sides of the border (Al-Akhbar.com, January 19, 2015).
- "Iranian sources" reported that the convoy that had been attacked was planning to open an operative front in the Golan Heights in accordance with an IRGC plan. The group was inspecting the region opposite Israel's observation posts on Mt. Hermon (Alhayat.com, January 22, 2015).
- With the UN forces abandoning their posts in the Golan Heights and the residents of the northern Golan Heights, most of them Druze, threatened by groups of jihadists, Hezbollah sent commanders and operatives to train and arm the residents to enable them to defend themselves. Samir Kuntar (a Hezbollah operative of Druze origin who was released from an Israeli prison), Jihad Mughnieh and other military-terrorist commanders were charged with turning the region into a "resistance [i.e., terrorist] front" (Al-Diyar, January 21, 2015).
- Hezbollah and Iranians sources promised to respond forcefully to the attack, which they claimed was carried out by Israel:
- Walid Sakariya, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament, claimed that a response to the attack was certain. He claimed the Hezbollah leadership would determine the time, place and nature of the response after an evaluation of the situation. He added that it would have to be a "deterrent response" so that Israel would not continue its aggression. However, he claimed, the response would have to be "politically balanced" (Almanar.com.lb, January 24, 2015).
- Hassan Salami, acting IRGC commander, claimed that the Israeli move had begun the defeat of Israel and the United States, which had already suffered blows in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain. He claimed Israel could expect a "crushing response" from the IRGC and it would be struck by "destructive lightning." He claimed that Iran's Shihab missiles could be launched from any location. He also claimed the mortar shells of Hezbollah and Palestine could do the job as well as the Shihab missiles (Farsnews.com, January 22, 2015).
- Interviewed elsewhere, Hassan Salami claimed that Iran would create a "new balance of force" and open "new fronts," including one in Judea and Samaria. He claimed that in addition to the new front in Judea and Samaria there would be a "special retribution" from Iran [in the Golan Heights] (Al-Alam TV, January 25, 2015).
- Mohsen Rezaee, secretary of the Iranian Expediency Discernment Council, claimed that Hezbollah would "severely punish" Israel for the attack (ISNA.net, Iran, January 21, 2015).
For further information see the date bulletin see the January 25, 2015 bulletin " Stabbing Attack on Tel Aviv Bus Wounds Nine, Some in Critical Condition: Stabbing attacks are a widespread modus operandi, relatively easy to carry out, part of the so-called "popular resistance" in Judea and Samaria and sometimes filter into Israel."
As of January 27, 2015. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.