Hamas recently proclaimed that it has resumed building tunnels into Israel that would support terrorist attacks. In response Israel said it would not allow the necessary construction materials used for those tunnels to be shipped into Gaza from Israel until Hamas provided guarantees that it was not breaking the ceasefire agreement that allows construction materials in as long as these items are monitored and there is proof they were used for legitimate reconstruction rather than for military purposes. The recent Hamas declaration was in violation of that agreement, brokered by the UN, and Hamas appears to believe they can get away with that.
In the last week Palestinians have staged more violent encounters in and around the al Aqsa mosque (which is just above the Wailing Wall, a popular Jewish holy place and tourist attraction). The last time the violence got out of hand was in 2010 when Palestinians threw stones at people below. The Palestinians were protesting Israeli settlers and Israeli policies in general. This happens periodically, even though Israeli security forces try to keep Palestinian troublemakers out of al Aqsa. Israeli police have to go into al Aqsa to deal with these disturbances before they lead to serious injuries. This usually results in even more violence before the police can haul everyone out. This is then denounced as an Israeli atrocity against Palestinians and Islam. The Palestinians feel it is a religious obligation to attack Jewish religious shrines everywhere (especially in the West Bank where some are also Islamic holy places.) This attitude is common throughout the Islamic world but especially among Arabs.
It was recently revealed that Israel had quietly and anonymously contributed some vital targeting information for the air campaign against ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) in Iraq (and possibly Syria as well). It wasn’t that the U.S. doesn’t have spy satellites and agents that could have provided this, but the Israeli fleet of spy satellites does not have worldwide responsibilities and spend most of their time over Middle Eastern nations and have been doing so for a long time. Moreover the Israeli espionage network in the region is second to none. Thus the Israelis had data right now that it would take weeks, months or longer for American satellites and agents to collect. The Israeli contribution were kept quiet and Israeli data had been “scrubbed” to remove any evidence that it was from Israel. But none of the Arab nations contributing warplanes to the operation were surprised and, except for Iran (which openly insists ISIL is an invention of the Americans, British and Israel) no one complained.
Despite Iranian cooperation in the fight against ISIL, Iranian leaders continue to accuse the United States, Britain and Israel for creating ISIL. This was done (the details of how vary depending on which senior cleric is making the accusations) to weaken Islam and give the West an excuse to kill Moslems. Conspiracy theories that absolve Moslems of responsibility for problems they created have long been common and popular in the Islamic world.
October 19, 2014: In Egypt (Sinai) a roadside bomb killed seven soldiers.
October 18, 2014: On the Egyptian side of the Gaza border three Egyptian soldiers died when a smuggling collapsed on them as they were rigging it with explosives to destroy it. Poorly built tunnels regularly collapse without warning, often killing the Palestinians or Egyptians who operate the tunnels.
October 17, 2014: On the Syrian border two more badly wounded Syrians were allowed in and sent to an Israeli hospital for medical care. Since 2011 398 Syrians have received such treatment. In 2013 Israel set up a military field hospital on the Golan Heights to deal with the growing number of wounded Syrians coming up to the border seeking care. Israel has let some of these in and treated them in Israeli hospitals, but considers doing this long-term a security risk. So the field hospital will be able to treat all but the most seriously injured right near the Syrian border. The most seriously injured are transferred to Israeli hospitals.
October 16, 2014: While visiting Iran the leader of Islamic terrorist group Islamic Jihad (an Iran backed terror group that is a Hamas rival in Gaza) publically thanked Iran for its help in the recent war with Israel. Islamic Jihad has long threatened to start an armed rebellion against Hamas because of perceived treason by Hamas against Islam. Islamic Jihad continues to take aid, and instructions, from Iran. Islamic Jihad takes credit for many of the rocket attacks from Gaza that break ceasefire agreements negotiated between Hamas and Israel. This aggression got Islamic Jihad criticized by the UN, which is usually condemning Israel for defending itself. Before the recent 50 day war the consensus was that Islamic Jihad was trying to goad Israel into attacking Gaza again. Such an attack would force Hamas to try to defend Gaza which would cause heavy Hamas casualties and make it easier for Islamic Jihad to oust Hamas by force later on. Many in Hamas see this as an effort by Iran to weaken Hamas, because Hamas began openly supporting the Syrian rebels in late 2013 and Iran was not pleased. That cost Hamas over a million dollars a month in Iranian cash and caused a lot of dissent within Hamas. Some Hamas men have gone to Syria to fight against the rebels and Hamas is still trying to work out some kind of deal that would allow them to maintain support from both Iran and the Sunni Arab oil states that support the Syrian rebels. That would be quite a feat, but for an organization that believes it will eventually destroy Israel, nothing is impossible. Hamas is also facing more pressure in Gaza from moderates who are angry over the economic problems and Hamas attempts to impose Islamic conservative lifestyle rules. Hamas sees these moderates as potential traitors and probably allies with pro-Fatah groups. The recent peace deal with Fatah made it clear that Fatah still had a lot of supporters in Gaza. Actually many of these “supporters” are really just Gazans who are willing to do anything to diminish Hamas power in Gaza.
In Egypt (Sinai) Islamic terrorists fired an RPG at a bus carrying policemen, killing two of the police. This came hours after several bombs in northern Egypt wounded eleven civilians.
October 14, 2014: Just across the Egyptian border in Raffa soldiers raided a major rocket and bomb manufacturing workshop. Some five tons of explosives and many other rocket and bomb making materials were seized along with 14 people who were arrested. Elsewhere in Egypt (Alexandria) a police raid on a university led to 28 arrests, dozens of wounded and one student killed. Egyptian universities are full of supporters for deposed Moslem Brotherhood president Morsi and more radical Islamic terrorist groups.
October 11, 2014: Iran threatened to attack Israel (apparently with long range missiles) if the United States attacked the forces of Syrian dictator Basher Assad. Iran apparently fears that the American, NATO and Arab attacks on ISIL in Syria will be interpreted as helping the Assads too much and lead to air attacks on the Assad forces as well. There has been some calls for that in the West and in Arab countries.
October 10, 2014: In Egypt (Sinai and northern Egypt) army raids left 21 Islamic terrorists dead and dozens arrested. One of the dead was a well-known leader. Troops also discovered and destroyed 11 smuggling tunnels from Gaza and 13 motorcycles used for terrorist attacks.
October 8, 2014: On the Lebanese border a bomb went off wounding two Israeli soldiers participating in a nearby (on the Israeli side) patrol. This roadside bomb was apparently the work of Hezbollah, which not only took credit but promised more attacks. Israel retaliated with some artillery fire at known Hezbollah facilities in the area. This was the first Hezbollah attack since March. In the meantime a growing number of Sunni Islamic terrorist groups are sneaking past the Lebanese Army patrols to launch rockets into Israel or plant bombs on the border that might injure passing Israeli soldiers. The Lebanese Army has been pretty good at keeping a lot of these attackers away from the border, but there are not enough Lebanese troops to cover the entire border 24/7. Hezbollah threats are just that as it is no secret in Lebanon that Hezbollah has been considerably weakened by over two years of being forced (by Iran) to send thousands of Hezbollah gunmen into Syria to fight the rebels. This was a big help to the Assads at first but now Syrian rebels, especially Islamic terrorist ones like al Nusra and ISIL, are regularly attacking Lebanese border crossings to Syria and even making attacks against Hezbollah facilities (or Shia villages) near the border. This means even more Hezbollah gunmen are involved in the Syrian civil war, and don’t have to leave Lebanon to get shot at. All this is unpopular with many long-time Hezbollah supporters and even more so with the majority (all the non-Shia) Lebanese.
October 5, 2014: In Egypt an Islamic terrorist group put a video on the Internet showing the murder of four men (by beheading) who had been accused of spying for the Egyptian Army or Israel.
On the Lebanese border a Lebanese soldier was wounded when his patrol passed near an area where Israeli troops were firing on Islamic terrorists trying to sneak into Israel.
October 3, 2014: In Egypt (Sinai and northern Egypt) army raids resulted in the death of twelve Islamic terrorists and the arrest of 68.
Egypt has offered to train Libyan Army soldiers, something which several NATO nations have already been doing. Egypt has the advantage of using Arab trainers who speak fluent Arabic and have a cultural affinity for what Libyans are going through. Egypt also offered to share intelligence it has on Libyan militias, especially those in the east (Benghazi) because some of these groups threaten Egypt and Egypt would like to see all the Islamic terrorist groups gone from Benghazi and Libya in general. That would help reduce the weapons smuggling activity which mainly goes through Egypt.
October 2, 2014: In Egypt (Sinai) an army raid not only discovered two tons of explosives hidden in a tunnel, but resulted in the death of a much sought Islamic terrorist leader.
October 1, 2014:
The UN admitted that it had basically withdrawn its peacekeeping force on the Israeli/Syrian border. The 1,200 man peacekeeping force has been on the border since 1974 and Israel has long criticized the UN for allowing their troops to be used as human shields anti-Israel terrorists could hide behind. Now those peacekeepers are fleeing to Israel for protection.
September 30, 2014: In Egypt (Sinai) several army raids left seven Islamic terrorists dead, 15 arrested and twenty hideouts seized and searched.
September 29, 2014: In eastern Libya (south of Benghazi) a militia kidnapped 70 Egyptian truck drivers and demanded that the Egyptian government release one of the militia leaders who had been arrested in Egypt for smuggling and other crimes. A compromise was eventually negotiated.