This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Egypt mediates Israel-Gaza ceasefire in biggest escalation since 2014 war
- Israel also prepares for war on Syria border with Iran and Hezbollah
Egypt mediates Israel-Gaza ceasefire in biggest escalation since 2014 war
A Patriot Missile launched in southern Israel on Friday afternoon hit an incoming Syrian drone as it crossed the border into Israel (Reuters)
Israel and Gaza appear close to full-scale war today for the first time since 2014, despite the announcement that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza had agreed to a ceasefire mediated by Egypt. However, it is unclear whether the ceasefire is holding.
According to Israel’s military (IDF), since Friday afternoon Hamas has launched 200 rockets and mortar shells across the border into Israel, causing property damage and three injuries.
As a precaution, the IDF instructed Israelis living near the Gaza border to remain within a 15-second radius from bomb shelters or safe rooms.
In retaliation, Israeli aircraft on Saturday attacked more than 40 targets in Gaza in the most extensive daytime assault since the 67-day war with Gaza in 2014. The IDF says that targets included urban warfare training facilities, weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centers, and offices in Hamas’s Battalion headquarters. This was the first time recently that Israel struck targets in the heart of Gaza city. Palestinians said two teens were killed and 14 injured in the Israeli strikes.
Every Friday after midday prayers for several months, Gaza has been holding demonstrations along the border fence with Israel, with the stated objective for Palestinians to exercise their “Right of Return,” to regain the lands where their ancestors had lived, prior to the 1947 war between Arabs and Jews that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The demonstrations have been mostly peaceful, but activists have also tried to break through the fence, with the intent of attacking Israelis in their homes.
In recent weeks, the protests have been supplemented by incendiary kites and balloons, which float over the border fence and land in forests and farmland, causing massive fires. Israel’s army has been baffled by these devices and has been responding by striking Hamas targets in Gaza. Saturday’s attack was the biggest attack since the 2014 full-scale war.
According to an IDF spokesman, the aims of Saturday’s operation were to end the large-scale border protests, end the incendiary kites and balloons, and end the rocket and mortar fire. That appears to be a great deal to hope for. Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel and BBC and Reuters
- Israel will close crossing point to Gaza in retaliation for incendiary kites (10-Jul-2018)
- Israel hopeful that Egypt’s mediation has ended Gaza violence – for now (01-Jun-2018)
- Channeling Sisyphus, Trump and Abbas say Mideast peace not as hard as it looks (04-May-2017)
Israel also prepares for war on Syria border with Iran and Hezbollah
Late on Saturday evening, Israel’s army announced that military exercises will be taking place across the country for the next week, starting immediately on Sunday morning. The announcement said that the exercises were “planned in advance,” but the abrupt nature of the announcement indicates imminent concerns.
It is believed that it may be in response to the following announcement that appeared in the Syrian government’s al-Masdar news on Thursday:
The Syrian Arab Army’s shock troops have moved from the Daraa Governorate to the Al-Quneitra front, following the military’s recent achievements in southwest Syria.
According to the official Facebook of Colonel Nizar Qindi, his elite shock troops from the 9th Division have moved to the Al-Quneitra Governorate, today, after a short deployment in the Daraa Governorate.
The 9th Division has operated in the Al-Quneitra Governorate before, but they were later redeployed to the Damascus and Daraa fronts to aid in those offensives.
Also redeploying alongside the 9th Division was the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Al-Sweida, Damascus, and Izraa.
These reinforcements should give the Syrian Arab Army and their allies a major military boost in the Al-Quneitra Governorate, as they make their final preparations for this operation.
In the coming days, the Syrian Army is expected to kickoff their long-awaited Al-Quneitra offensive, as they look to conclude their southwest Syria operations before month’s end.
The National Defense Forces (NDF) referred to in the statement are a collection of militias that the Syrian regime set up in 2012, organized by Iran and Hezbollah.
While Israel’s army is struggling to deal with the increasing tensions on the Gaza border, the army is also facing the possibility of a northern war with Iran and Hezbollah along the border with Syria.
It’s quite possible that Israel’s army is not prepared for a two-front war. This could explain Saturday evening’s abrupt announcement of military exercises in cities across Israel.
Syria’s Quneitra offensive is expected to begin within the next two days, before or during the summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Al-Masdar News (Damascus) and Debka (Israel) and YNet (Israel) and Debka
- Concerns grow in Israel over Syrian and Russian assaults on Daraa and Quneitra provinces (25-Jun-2018)
- Thousands of Syrians flee into Jordan to escape bombing in Daraa (22-Jun-2018)
- Russia, Iran, Turkey sign farcical Syria peace agreement (25-Jan-2017)
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Gaza, Egypt, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria, Daraa, Quneitra, Nizar Qindi, National Defense Forces, NDF, Iran, Hezbollah
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