An Arab newspaper recently revealed details of meeting between Hamas and Iranian officials after the 40 Day War in Gaza ended in August 2014. Iran agreed to overlook Hamas support for Sunni Islamic terror groups fighting the Iran supported Syrian government and cooperate with Hamas on doing some damage to Israel. Iran agreed to resume sending cash and as much military aid as could get past the Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Iran is also on bad terms with the current Egyptian government. Hamas and Fatah are supposed to have made peace but given the Hamas violence against Fatah supporters in Gaza and Fatah doing the same to Hamas members in the West Bank, the Hamas-Fatah peace is more fiction than fact.
Hezbollah continues to take a beating in Syria where it battles Syrian government forces as well as ISIL Islamic terrorists and other, less manic, rebels. Hezbollah knows that this involvement in Syria, at the behest of Iran, is unpopular back in Lebanon. Not so much because Hezbollah is fighting for the Syrian government (which is hated by most Lebanese for previous Syrian aggression and misbehavior in Syria) but because that Hezbollah involvement brings more of the Syrian violence into Lebanon. In southern Syria rebels operating near the Israeli border have asked Israel to provide some air support by bombing Hezbollah and Syrian Shia militias that are assisting the Syrian Army in pushing the rebels away from the Israeli and Jordanian borders. This has been the major offensive operation for the Syrian forces this year and dozens of Syrian Air Force bombing attacks have hurt the rebels. This appeal is based on mutual interest as the rebels in this part of Syria are largely secular or not aligned with the more radical Islamic terrorists like ISIL and al Nusra. If the rebels are pushed away from the border Hezbollah will have free access to the Israel border. Israel has made no public response to this request.
Egypt is now at war with ISIL big time. Air attacks are being coordinated with the much smaller (but still functional) Libyan Air Force and more cooperation with the UN recognized Libyan government and its armed forces is expected. Egypt is still working with its Arab and Western allies in the anti-ISIL coalition to determine longer-term Egyptian military operations against ISIL. This might include other members of the coalition sending warplanes or special operations troops to operate against ISIL in Libya. Egypt has long declared that outside force would eventually be needed and saw Libyan peace talks as futile and counterproductive because the Islamic terrorist factions really have no interest in compromising. This was before ISIL showed up in 2014. ISIL is the most violent and uncompromising Islamic terror group out there. Despite the appearance of ISIL in Libya Algeria and most Western nations (especially the EU) still see a negotiated settlement as the best way to deal with the Libya civil war. The Tobruk (officially recognized by the UN) Libyan government goes along with this, mainly because they cannot afford to annoy the UN and risk losing the international recognition as the legitimate government.
Until the latest ISIL mass murder of Egyptians in Libya Egypt insisted it would not intervene militarily. But Egypt was providing substantial, and secret, support to the Tobruk government. This came in the form of air support (occasional air raids), weapons and other military supplies and even some Egyptian special operations troops. Algeria, the United States and the UN kept trying to persuade Egypt, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Qatar to drop their support for more secular (and non-terrorist) pro-Tobruk factions fighting in Libya. Egypt felt it could not afford to do nothing in large part because their border with Libya was easy for smugglers (and Islamic terrorists) to cross. Egypt had been negotiating directly with Libyan tribes who live near the Egyptian border to make arrangements (cash payments and other traditional favors) to obtain cooperation in keeping smugglers under control. These arrangements are even more important now because most of the Libyan tribal leaders want ISIL gone from Libya. A lot of that cooperation is expected to go public as most Egyptians call for vengeance against ISIL for killing Egyptians working in Libya. Meanwhile Egypt has amped up its counter-terror operations in Egypt now that ISIL has promised, and delivered, more attacks inside Egypt.
February 17, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) security forces carried out several ground and air attacks against Islamic terrorist locations killing nine Islamic terrorists.
February 16, 2015: Egypt is now openly bombing ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) targets in Libya, in reaction to the ISIL mass murder of 21 Egyptian Christians. Earlier today the Egyptian Air Force announced that it had hit ISIL targets in the city of Darna, which has been controlled by Islamic terrorists since 2014 and that those groups have recently declared allegiance to ISIL. Another round of air strikes were carried out before the end of the day. The Libyan Air Force also made some attacks and all the air attacks today apparently killed at least fifty people (most of them Islamic terrorists).
Two mortar shells fired from Gaza landed in Gaza just short of the Israeli border. There were no casualties.
February 15, 2015: In northern Egypt (the Nile Delta) a soldier died when Islamic terrorists fired on the patrol he was with.
The rival Tripoli Libyan government announced it was now at war with ISIL and would cooperate with the Tobruk government to defeat ISIL. The Tripoli government never did actually control all the Islamic terrorist groups technically under its command but that is changing because all Islamic terror groups in Libya know what happened in Syria when ISIL showed up and told all other Islamic terror groups to submit to ISIL leadership or die. This change of attitude came shortly after a video appeared on the Internet showing ISIL beheading 21 Egyptians on a Libyan beach. These were reported as Egyptian Christians (Copts) and ISIL is known to have kidnapped 21 Copts in December and January. ISIL is also believed to be holding 20 Egyptian fishermen and several other Egyptians they recently seized in eastern Libya. It is expected that ISIL will have more mass beheadings, of both Libyans and foreigners. This is what ISIL does to attract attention and inspire its armed followers.
February 14, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) security forces fired at four cars that refused to stop at a checkpoint and two of the cars exploded while the other two escaped. Two Islamic terrorists were killed and the other two cars were being sought. Two soldiers were wounded by fragments. Elsewhere in the north (near Cairo) two bombs went off at a railroad station causing no injuries but halting train operations for hours.
February 13, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) security forces carried out several ground and air attacks against Islamic terrorist locations killing 18 ISIL members. Elsewhere in the north (near Cairo) Islamic terrorists used two bombs against police, killing two of them and then fleeing as other police saw and fired on them.
February 12, 2015: With the appearance of ISIL in Libya and growing violence against Egyptians in Libya, Egypt has agreed to join the coalition fighting ISIL.
February 11, 2015: With the appearance of ISIL in Libya and growing violence against Egyptians in Libya, Egypt has agreed to join the coalition fighting ISIL.
In northern Egypt (Sinai) security forces carried out several ground and air attacks against Islamic terrorist locations killing 17 ISIL members. Most were killed by the air strikes.
February 10, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) security forces carried out several ground attacks against Islamic terrorist locations killing 19 ISIL members. The army also mentioned it used at least one UAV to locate Islamic terrorists and adjust artillery fire.
February 8, 2015: In Egypt (Cairo) thousands of football (soccer) fans without tickets tried to force their way into a stadium to see their team play. Nineteen people were killed in the crush before police could disperse the crowd. All the victims appear to have died in crush of fans trying to get into the stadium, not by police action to disperse the crowd (which was largely done with tear gas). No Islamic terrorists were involved either.
February 6, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) security forces carried out several ground and air attacks against Islamic terrorist locations killing 25 ISIL members. Some arrests were made and much equipment and many documents was seized.
In Gaza the car of a senior Hamas official blew up. There were no injuries but the Hamas official who owned the care was openly hostile to ISIL, which many Gaza residents believe was responsible for the bombing. Most locals believe ISIL is recruiting in Gaza. Hamas insists that there are no ISIL members in Gaza and the car bombing was carried out by Fatah, which runs the West Bank and used to run Gaza until 2007. ISIL is apparently present in Gaza and the West Bank but stays out of sight. ISIL does distribute fliers at night which, among other goals, calls for the overthrow of Hamas and Fatah and replacing them with an Islamic terror group like ISIL.
February 3, 2015: In northern Egypt (Alexandria) a bomb meant to attack soldiers instead killed a civilian and wounded several more. Two similar bombs went off in Sinai also wounded several people. Elsewhere in Sinai soldiers and police conducted several raids killing eight and wounding five Islamic terrorists.
February 1, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) an Islamic terrorist threw a grenade at some police but killed two nearby women instead. There were also several bombs set off on a natural gas pipeline but these did not do serious damage. Elsewhere in Sinai soldiers shot dead a man who violated the curfew.
January 31, 2015: In the West Bank Israeli troops fired on Palestinians throwing fire bombs at them, killing one of the bomb throwers and wounding another.
January 30, 2015: Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian Army artillery near the Israeli border in retaliation for the rocket attack on Israel the day before.
Israel believes that Hezbollah does not want a major war with Israel right now (given the situation in Syria and Lebanon) and has said it will not sharply escalate retaliation unless Hezbollah does so first. Hezbollah and Iran both threatened major retaliation for the Israeli air attack on the 18th that killed an Iranian general and some senior Hezbollah men. Israel is watchful, but reminds everyone that a major escalation is not in the interest of Iran or Hezbollah.
January 29, 2015: In northern Egypt (Sinai) ISIL made four attacks that left at 33 dead and 90 wounded. Most of the victims were soldiers and police.
Just across the border in Gaza Hamas announced that 15,000 teenagers and men in their 20s had completed a week of military training. Last November Hamas announced the formation of an unarmed “Popular Army” of male volunteers over 20 years old. These young men are trained to assist armed Hamas members in any future conflict with Israel. It is expected that these volunteers will eventually receive arms training and serve as a recruiting pool for armed Hamas security units and terror organizations.
In northern Iraq the head of a Yazidi militia with 12,000 members has called on Israel to provide weapons and training so the Yazidi and Israel can better fight their common enemy ISIL. Many Moslems, and some Christians, consider the Yazidi pagans and devil worshipers. The Yazidi are Kurds who practice a pre-Christian religion related to the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religion common in Iran (and now only found in India). The Yazidis are considered pagans by ISIL and to Moslems pagans must either renounce their beliefs or die. Israel is always willing to work with persecuted religious minorities, who can often provide useful information and other services in return. This puts these minorities in more danger in the Middle East, but that has always been the case because Islam is one of the most violently intolerant religion on the planet and has been that way from the beginning. Israel has worked with the Kurds for decades, but keeps this cooperation quiet in order to placate the Arab Moslems (Kurds are mostly Sunni Moslem). Israel has long been quietly sending aid to Yazidi and Christian refugees in northern Iraq. Israel has also aided other persecuted minorities in Iraq. Some believe this is in memory of past help these minorities provided to get Jews out of Iraq (where their families had lived for thousands of years) in the 1940s and 50s. Whatever the case, if Israel arms the Yazidis they won’t issue press releases or leave any evidence that they did it.
January 28, 2015: Hezbollah and Iran both threatened major retaliation for the Israeli air attack on the 18th that killed an Iranian general and some senior Hezbollah men. Israel is watchful, but reminds everyone that a major escalation is not in the interest of Iran or Hezbollah. Israel also said that it was not going after the Iranian general but the six Hezbollah leaders he had the misfortune to be with.
On the Lebanese border an Israeli patrol travelling on a road two kilometers south of the border were hit by up to six Hezbollah missiles (Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles). Two soldiers were killed and seven others wounded. One missile hit a nearby home and some civilian vehicles travelling on the same road were damaged as well. Israeli return fire accidentally killed a UN peacekeepers on the border.
January 27, 2015: On the Israeli border two rockets were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights. There were no casualties. Israeli troops returned fire.