Weekly Updates

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 23 – April 6, 2021)

Coronavirus: In the Gaza Strip the number of active cases spiked significantly this past week, and a lockdown is being considered. In Judea and Samaria there was a significant decrease in coronavirus infection, although hospital occupancy is still high. Terrorist attacks: On March 23, 2021 (election day in Israel) a medium-range rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at Beersheba, the largest city in Israel's south. The PA: Election preparations continue. The slates of the contending factions for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been closed. PA budget, 2021: The PA announced it will continue paying prisoners and released prisoners, transferring the funds through post office bank branches in Judea and Samaria and through the department of prisoners and released prisoners' affairs in the Gaza Strip.

Spotlight on Iran (March 21, 2021 – April 4, 2021)

The activity of Iran and its proxies in eastern Syria: fighters of the Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade, which operates under the guidance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Syria held training maneuvers in southeastern Syria. An investigation of Agence France-Presse revealed that the control of Shia pro-Iranian militias of Iraq’s border crossings has allowed them to funnel billions of dollars in customs duties, which ought to have been collected by the State, to their own coffers, to political parties connected to them and corrupt officials. In the economic sphere: the head of the Joint Iranian-Syrian Chamber of Commerce estimated that the volume of trade between Iran and Syria will rise in the coming year. The Iranian ambassador to Yemen rejected the Saudi peace proposal for resolving the crisis in Yemen and declared that any real initiative to end the war will entail lifting the siege placed on Yemen, withdrawing of Saudi armed forces, and an end to Saudi Arabia’s support for its “mercenaries” in the country.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 18-24, 2021)

Syria: In the Idlib region, exchanges of artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the forces supporting it, and the rebel forces. In the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region, ISIS operatives continued to attack Kurdish SDF forces. Iraq: This week, there was a decrease in the volume of ISIS’s terrorist activity. As part of ISIS’s “economic war,” its operatives blew up two high-voltage pylons in the Al-Khales region, about 10 km northwest of Baqubah. Sinai: There was a decrease in ISIS’s terrorist activity in the Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid region. Africa: ISIS’s intensive activity in Africa continues. In the United States: a man opened fire in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. At least 10 people were killed, including a police officer.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 17 – 22, 2021)

Coronavirus: In Judea and Samaria the number of active cases continues to rise. The ministry of health in Ramallah also noted a rise in hospital occupancy and in serious and critical cases. The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced the lockdown would be extended to April 3, 2021. Vaccinating Palestinians has begun and social media users have criticized its lack of transparency. Terrorist attacks: The Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet. The Gaza Strip: Following an appeal from the families of the three fishermen who were killed off the Khan Yunis shore, Mahmoud Abbas declared them shaheeds (Wafa, March 17, 2021). That may mean they will be eligible for monthly payments from PA. The PA: Preparations for the elections continue.

Spotlight on Iran (March 7, 2021 – March 21, 2021)

Two fighters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed in a mine explosion in al-Mayadin, eastern Syria. The advisor on foreign affairs to the supreme leader of Iran met with the incoming Syrian ambassador to Tehran and passed on the wishes of speedy recovery from the supreme leader of Iran to the Syrian president, who recently contracted COVID-19. In an extraordinary statement, a former Iranian Majlis member stated that it can not be ruled out that Syria will change its approach toward Iran is the future, and hence Iran must not place all its eggs in President Assad’s basket. The Iranian ambassador to Baghdad met with the Iraqi minister of finance and discussed the issue of releasing Iranian funds frozen in Iraqi banks due to Western sanctions. Esmail Qa’ani, the Commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, stated in a commemoration ceremony in the city of Mashhad that Israel is forced to wall itself off to protect itself, and warned “the Zionists” that they should know that this wall too will be destroyed.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 11-17, 2021)

Syria: In the Idlib region, exchanges of artillery fire continued south and southwest of Idlib between the Syrian army and the forces supporting it, and the rebel forces. Iraq: ISIS’s activity in the Salah al-Din Province this week consisted mainly of breaking into the homes of those suspected of collaborating with the authorities. Africa: In view of the recent expansion of ISIS’s activity in Africa, the US Department of State has approved the imposition of economic sanctions on ISIS’s branch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its leader, and on ISIS’s branch in Mozambique and its leader.

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