Thursday, July 18, 2024

Hezbollah increasing attacks shows willingness to ramp-up tensions with Israel - analysis

Hezbollah claimed a new round of attacks on Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group has also been increasing some of its threatening rhetoric lately.

For instance, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to increase the range of attacks inside Israel in what he claims is a response to attacks by Israel.

According to the Iranian state media IRNA, “Hezbollah announced on Tuesday night that it had targeted the towns of Kfar Hoshen, Or Haganuz, Bar Yohai, Kabri, and Meron with dozens of Katyusha rockets in response to the Israeli regime’s airstrike on southern Lebanon, which resulted in the martyrdom of three civilians.” Hezbollah’s Al-Manar reported the same details.

Hezbollah launched up to 150 rockets in these attacks over a period of 24 hours, which is an increase in attacks. The areas targeted included Kiryat Shmona and Mount Meron on Tuesday and also areas near Nahariya on Wednesday.

Warning against offensive in Lebanon

Nasrallah also gave a speech warning Israel against an offensive in Lebanon. He said Israel would not emerge well from a war in Lebanon and its armored units would be destroyed. He also praised the Houthis in Yemen and the Palestinians. He alluded to his view that Israel is now suffering defeats on multiple fronts and that this generation in the region will see Israel defeated.

The context of the attacks comes amid Iranian-backed escalation on several fronts. The Houthis in Yemen struck a ship with an unmanned surface vessel. Iraqi militias also attempted to attack the Asad base in Iraq where US forces are present. The Iraqi group used two drones in the attack. READ MORE

IDF kills Islamic Jihad naval chief in Gaza; Hamas attacks troops securing aid route

The commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s naval forces in the Gaza City region, Anas Murad, was killed in a recent drone strike, the Israel Defense Forces said Thursday.

In a separate drone strike, the military said it killed Ahmed al-Masri, an Islamic Jihad member who participated in the October 7 onslaught on Israel led by the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which started the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said al-Masri was also responsible for the firing of a large number of rockets from Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood at communities in southern Israel.

Another recent airstrike killed a Hamas sniper who killed an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip, along with some 20 more terror operatives, the IDF and Shin Bet security agency said Thursday.

According to the IDF, the drone strike killed around 20 members of Hamas’s Shati Battalion, including members of the elite Nukhba force, snipers, and operatives who would observe Israeli forces.

Muhammad Abu Hatab, a sniper and a platoon commander in the Shati Battalion, was among those killed. READ MORE

US warned Iran over its nuclear activities

The Biden administration sent a private warning to Iran last month expressing serious concerns about Iranian research and development activities that could be used for the production of a nuclear weapon, three US and Israeli officials told Barak Ravid of Axios, according to a report published on Wednesday.

US officials said the Biden administration conveyed its nuclear concerns to the Iranians several weeks ago, both through a third country and direct channels.

The US officials added that the Iranians came back with a response that included explanations for these nuclear activities, stressing there has been no change in policy and they are not working on a nuclear weapon.

The exchange of messages and other information obtained by the US and Israel addressed some of the concerns and somewhat eased anxieties over the Iranian research and development activities, US and Israeli officials told Axios.

"We do not see indications that Iran is currently undertaking the key activities that would be necessary to produce a testable nuclear device," a US official told the site.

"We take any nuclear escalation by Iran incredibly seriously. And, as the President has made clear, we are committed to never letting Iran obtain a nuclear weapon—and we are prepared to use all elements of national power to ensure that outcome." READ MORE

Nasrallah warns: 'If Israel attacks Lebanon it won't have any tanks left'

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah continues to threaten Israel against going to war against his organization.

"The resistance (Hezbollah) will assist in battle all nations in the region that were attacked with occupation, massacres, aggression, threats by Israel," he stated.

In a special address for the Ashura holiday, Nasrallah said: "Since October 8th Lebanon has been in a different campaign and has opened a front of support in the al-Aqsa Flood campaign since it is the campaign of the entire Umma (Muslim nation), in addition with the fronts of support in Yemen and Iraq, and together with us Syria and Iran are assisting as well."

According to Nasrallah, "There are three countries that are still suffering from Israeli occupation, aggression, and terror, they are Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria."

In this context, the leader noted that "Yemen managed to prevent ships that belong to the aggressor from passing through the Red Sea to occupied Palestine and it forced a siege on the Eilat Port which has gone bankrupt as the Zionist entities admitted.

"The Israeli occupation forces admitted for the first time that it has a shortage of tanks because of damage of the fronts in Gaza and the north," claimed Nasrallah. "If your tanks enter Lebanon and south Lebanon you won't suffer from a shortage of tanks since you won't have tanks at all."

Sending a message to Israel he warned that "the continued harm of civilians will prod the resistance to attack towns which have not been attacked until now."

The Hezbollah leader confidently declared: "The threat of war hasn't scared us for the past ten months when Israel didn't have a shortage of tanks."

He added: "For the first time, the Israeli entity is in a severe condition on all levels as its leaders admitted, the politicians and the military officials. For the first time, the occupation's leaders and elites are talking about the destruction of the Third Temple, the end, and the riddance." Israel National News - Arutz Sheva

Before PM visit to Washington: Knesset establishes its position against Palestinian state

The Knesset on Wednesday night approved a proposal which establishes the position of the Knesset against the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan.

The proposal establishes the principled position of the Knesset against the establishment of a Palestinian state. It follows a proposal from February that determined the position of the Knesset against unilateral international recognition of a Palestinian state.

68 MKs voted in favor of the proposal, 9 voted against, and there were no abstentions.

The proposal says, "The Israeli Knesset firmly opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan. The establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the Land of Israel will pose an existential threat to the State of Israel and its citizens, perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region."

"It will only be a matter of a short time until Hamas takes over the Palestinian state and turns it into a base of radical Islamic terrorism, working in coordination with the axis led by Iran, to eliminate the State of Israel."

"The promotion of the idea of ​​the Palestinian state will be a reward for terrorism and will only encourage Hamas and its supporters who will see this as a victory thanks to the massacre of October 7, 2023, and a prelude to the takeover of jihadist Islam in the Middle East," the proposal reads.

The proposal is an initiative of the New Hope-The National Right Party, led by its Knesset faction chairman, MK Ze'ev Elkin. The motion was supported by members of the Knesset from New Hope-The National Right, Likud, National Unity, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Otzma Yehudit, Yisrael Beytenu and the Religious Zionist Party.

The chairman of New Hope-The National Right, MK Gideon Sa'ar, said, "The decision is intended to express the overwhelming opposition that exists among the people to the establishment of a Palestinian state that would endanger Israel's security and its future. The decision signals to the international community that pressures to impose a Palestinian state on Israel will be futile."

The chairpersons of the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset, MK Yuli Edelstein, MK Limor Son Har Melech, and MK Simcha Rothman,said, "Today the Israeli Knesset stood like a wall against the idea of ​​establishing a Palestinian state and gave great tidings to the citizens of the State of Israel and made an important statement to the entire world. It is of the utmost importance to strongly oppose a Palestinian state which would constitute a terrorist enterprise and give a reward to our enemies who rise up to destroy us. We praise our colleagues from the coalition and the opposition for making this clear statement to the world." Israel National News - Arutz Sheva

IDF confirms: Jemaah Islamiyah official eliminated in Israeli strike

Mohammed Jabarah, a senior terrorist in the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, was eliminated Thursday morning in an Israeli airstrike, Lebanese reports said.

According to the reports, the strike took place in the Beqaa region in southern Lebanon.

The Islamist Jemaah Islamiyah terror group has played a role in the fighting against Israel on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Early on Thursday afternoon, the IDF confirmed the reports, stating: "A short while ago, an IAF aircraft struck and eliminated the terrorist Mohammed Jabarah, a Hamas operative in Lebanon, in the area of Beqaa."

"Mohammed Jabarah was responsible for carrying out terror attacks and missile launches against the State of Israel, including attacks coordinated with the Jamaah Islamiya terrorist organization.

"His elimination diminishes the capabilities of the Hamas terrorist organization to plan and carry out attacks against the State of Israel in the area of the northern border." WATCH

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Taliban confirms detention of two Americans, US calls for release

The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Sunday that two US citizens are currently being detained for violations of Afghan laws.

The US State Department recently reported that three American citizens are currently imprisoned in Afghanistan. According to media reports, a department spokesperson identified the detained individuals as George Glezmann, Mahmood Habibi, and Ryan Corbett, who the Afghan Taliban are holding.

Hamdullah Fitrat, the deputy spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate Afghanistan, told The Media Line, “Both American nationals violated the country’s law, and discussion has been held with the US officials in this regard.”

Last week, Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban's chief spokesperson, told reporters in Kabul that “the topic of a prisoner release was discussed during his recent meeting with US officials in Doha, continuing a recurring theme in their negotiations.”

"Afghanistan's conditions must be met. We have our citizens who are imprisoned in the US and Guantanamo," Mujahid stated. "We should free our prisoners in exchange for them. Just as their prisoners are important to America, Afghans are equally important to us," he added. READ MORE

Liberman, Bennett meet in bid to hammer out elusive new right-wing bloc

The formation of a new right-wing bloc in opposition to the current government has been proving elusive, with questions lingering as to who would lead the potential conservative mega-party.

On Wednesday morning, Israeli journalists shared photos of former prime minister Naftali Bennett and Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman holding a coffee meeting in central Tel Aviv, credited to the latter’s office.

A television poll last month found that more Israelis believe Bennett is better suited to be prime minister than long-serving incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu, in a head-to-head matchup.

Bennett has been out of office since announcing he was leaving politics following the 2022 collapse of his diverse coalition government, which a year earlier ousted Netanyahu from the premiership after 12 consecutive years in the post amid political turmoil that included four national elections in three years.

He has recently hinted at making a comeback, as Netanyahu’s grip on power appears increasingly shaky amid the ongoing war sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack and as his coalition is torn over contentious legislative proposals backed by his ultra-Orthodox allies.

Liberman, for his part, on Monday predicted that Netanyahu will dissolve the Knesset and call for fresh elections in November. READ MORE

FBI cracked Trump shooter’s phone with tech from Israel’s Cellebrite – report

The FBI used Israeli technology to break into the phone of former United States president Donald Trump’s would-be assassin, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators used Cellebrite’s tech to unlock the phone of Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, of Bethel, Pennsylvania, who opened fire at a Trump rally in nearby Butler on Saturday. Crooks, who used an assault rifle legally purchased by his father 11 years prior, killed one person and critically injured two, and one of his bullets grazed the Republican candidate’s right ear. A US Secret Service sniper shot and killed Crooks on the spot.

The shooter’s phone was recovered from his body and was cracked to help determine his motive, which remains elusive. Investigators are considering the possibility that Crooks used two phones, after discovering a phone with a dead battery at his home in Bethel Park, where he lived with his parents, the Post reported.

People familiar with the investigation were quoted as saying that cracking Crooks’ phone provided investigators with some leads but did not immediately yield “derogatory information” — signs of criminal links or plans.

The phone was reportedly a relatively new model, which can be more difficult for law enforcement to open. The Pittsburgh FBI office, which did not have Cellebrite’s technology, sent the phone to the FBI office in Quantico, Virginia, where agents were able to crack open the phone within 40 minutes using the technology, the report said. READ MORE

The paper noted that phone cracking can take months in many federal investigations. In this case, opening Crooks’ phone was an urgent priority for both the FBI and Cellebrite, according to the people familiar with the investigation.

US had intel on Iran plot to kill Trump, stepped up security, unrelated to Sat. shooting

The United States received intelligence from a human source in recent weeks regarding an Iranian plan to assassinate former president Donald Trump, CNN reported on Tuesday, and the Secret Service was instructed to step up security around him due to the threat.

There was no indication that Thomas Matthew Crooks, who tried to assassinate Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, was connected to the plot, the report said.

Two US officials told the Associated Press that the US Secret Service and the Trump campaign were made aware of the Iranian threat, prompting a surge in resources and assets, which ultimately did not prevent Saturday’s attack.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said there have been no ties identified between the gunman at the rally “and any accomplice or co-conspirator, foreign or domestic.”

Trump’s campaign has been warned several times that it would be better off holding rallies indoors, as there are greater risks posed by hosting them out in the open, CNN stated, but until recently, these had been general warnings.

Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told CNN that the agency recently “added protective resources and capabilities to the former president’s security detail.”

The agency has come under scrutiny in recent days after the gunman at Saturday’s rally gained access to a roof unimpeded and fired directly at Trump, grazing his ear, killing a rallygoer and critically wounding two other attendees.

While law enforcement officials had long been concerned about the possibility of Iranian plans to harm the former president, recent intelligence indicated an increased threat, CNN reported, citing sources with knowledge on the matter. READ MORE

Israel will not be safe until it has destroyed the government of Iran

Robert Harris is a news editor who has worked in television and newspapers in the United States, Asia and the Middle East.

How much longer must we live with the threat from Iran to destroy all of Israel? When will it be possible for the leaders in Israel to at last strike a fatal blow to the Moslem government of Tehran?

In truth, Iran creates armies on Israel’s borders, they pay these armies, arm them, train them and command them, which is why our true battle is not with Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad or Houthis in Yemen. Year after year, decade after decade, Israel is only fighting Iran.

So why must Israel continue to dance to the Iranian music? Iran positions their troops on our borders. They decide when to provoke us into going to war. They even decide what kind of war will be fought, insisting on drawing IDF soldiers to fight within civilian populations.

And, in violation of the last ceasefire agreement, the Iranians have been allowed to place a weapon of mass destruction in Lebanon, with 150,000 missiles ready to be fired into Israel.

The Iranians, not the Gaza Arabs, planned and killed our 1,200 loved ones on October 7. Indeed, one of the Iranians who drew up the October 7 plan was their General Mohammad Zahedi, who Israel killed in Damascus on April 1.

Following his death, parliamentarians in Tehran praised Zahedi’s “strategic role in forming and strengthening the resistance front, as well as in planning and executing…” the October 7 attack. READ MORE

40 rockets launched at Galilee from Lebanon

The IDF announced that following the sirens that sounded in the Galilee Panhandle over the past few hours, approximately 40 projectiles were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory, some of which were intercepted. No injuries were reported.

Additionally, the IAF swiftly struck a launcher in the area of Blat that was identified firing projectiles toward the Kiryat Shmona area earlier this evening.

Shortly prior to the strike on the launcher, the IAF struck a Hezbollah terrorist cell in the area of Yarine in southern Lebanon. Israel National News - Arutz Sheva

Barrage on northern Israel, IDF strikes Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon

The IAF overnight Tuesday struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in the areas of Yarine, Ayta ash Shab, and Aalma El Chaeb in southern Lebanon, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Additionally, IDF artillery fired to remove a threat in the area of Majdal Zoun.

Around 2:20 a.m. early Wednesday morning, sirens were sounded in Nahariya and other localities in the Western Galilee.

In that barrage, according to the IDF, approximately 15 projectiles were identified crossing from Lebanon.

Some of the projectiles were successfully intercepted by the IDF Aerial Defense Array and the rest fell in open areas. No injuries were reported.

The Hezbollah terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the barrage and claimed that it was carried out in response to "the death of three Syrian children in an Israeli attack aimed at the village of Umm al-Tut".

On Tuesday evening, at 10:23 p.m., sirens warning of rocket fire were sounded in the Western Galilee area.

In this barrage, about ten launches were identified that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and which fell in open areas. There were no reports of injuries or damages.

Earlier in the evening, about 40 rockets were launched towards localities in the Galilee. The rockets caused to homes, infrastructure and vehicles. WATCH

Nasrallah threatens: We will attack towns which have not yet been hit

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to attack Israeli communities which have not yet been hit by rocket fire, if Israel continues "attacking civilians in Lebanon."

Thus far, Israel has carried out targeted attacks on Hezbollah officials in Lebanon, without escalating the tensions to an outright war which would significantly impact the lives of Lebanese civilians.

In a Wednesday morning statement, Nasrallah said, "Our response last night, with the missiles on Kiryat Shmona and other towns, shows our equation. We want to add: If you continue attacking civilians, the resistance will attack towns which have not been attacked until now."

Nasrallah added: "We hear the destruction of the Third Temple. Israel is not able, for the first time in its history, to achieve its goals, and it is using indiscriminate killing to justify the situation it finds itself in now."

"The Houthis have turned the Eilat port into a port which is going bankrupt. No ship sails there. The cost of living in Israel and the collapsing Israeli economy show the fruits of our pressure."

"The threat of war has not scared us for ten months now," Nasrallah stressed. Israel National News - Arutz Sheva

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Syria's Assad says will only meet Turkey's Erdogan if 'core' issues addressed

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday he would only meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan if the two countries could focus on the core issues of Ankara's support for "terrorism" and the pullout of Turkish forces from Syrian territory.

"The problem is not the meeting, but its content," a video clip released by the presidency showed Assad telling reporters in Damascus.

Turkey severed ties with Syria in 2011 after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, in which it supported rebels looking to oust Assad. The Syrian leader views the rebels as terrorists.

Ankara also established a "safe zone" in northern Syria where Turkish troops are now stationed, and it has carried out several cross-border military operations against militants it says threaten Turkey's national security.

Erdogan said earlier in July he would extend an invitation to Assad "any time" for possible talks to restore relations. READ MORE

Trump’s VP pick Vance: Gaza war should end so Israel and Sunni states can counter Iran

Ohio Senator JD Vance, fresh off his nomination on Monday as the Republican party’s vice presidential candidate, accused US President Joe Biden of “making it harder and harder” for Israel to vanquish Hamas, claiming his policies were unnecessarily prolonging the war and preventing Israeli-Saudi rapprochement.

Vance, a bestselling author who is the junior senator from Ohio, said that the war in Gaza should end as quickly as possible, to enable the “Israelis and the Sunni Arab states” to form a united front against Iran.

Former US President Donald Trump on Monday named Vance, the junior senator from Ohio, as his running mate at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump himself was officially nominated as the party’s candidate for president.

Trump’s selection of Vance was seen as cementing the former president’s hold on the party, with some analysts saying Trump was effectively anointing the senator to be his successor. In choosing Vance — a harsh Trump critic turned fierce loyalist — the former US president eschewed more traditional conservatives in favor of a populist firebrand with a notable isolationist streak.

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, Vance concurred with host Sean Hannity’s statement that Biden had “surrendered the war on terrorism” by failing to sufficiently support Israel in its war on Hamas, sparked by the terror group’s shock October 7 onslaught that killed nearly 1,200 people and saw 251 taken hostage. READ MORE

“What Biden has done is the worst of all possible worlds,” said Vance of the US president’s policy on the war in Gaza. “He has prolonged the war, Israel’s war to actually take out Hamas, but in the process, he’s made it harder for us to really move towards a sustainable peace.”

With victory starting to slip away, Deif strike comes at worst time for Sinwar

For nine months, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was riding high even as he hid deep underground.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Sinwar told other Hamas leaders, according to a June report in The Wall Street Journal.

Sinwar’s approach to hostage talks was evidence of his confidence. After the weeklong November ceasefire, Hamas turned down every Israeli and international proposal.

And why wouldn’t it? The longer Sinwar waited, the more his situation improved.

Israel slowly, then quickly, became a pariah abroad, as even its close allies called for an immediate ceasefire that would leave Hamas standing.

In May, the International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor announced that he had requested arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. READ MORE

IDF Confirms: Many tanks were damaged, existing supply is insufficient

In the IDF's response to the Supreme Court today (Monday), it was revealed that there is a shortage of tanks and ammunition due to the war.

This response was provided by the IDF to a petition demanding the opening of additional combat roles for women.

"During the war, many tanks were damaged, they are currently out of service and are not used for combat or training, and new tanks are not expected to be introduced into the corps in the near future," the response to the petition stated.

IDF's Response to the Supreme Court

The IDF announced that due to the tank shortage, the pilot for integrating women into the maneuvering armor will be postponed by a year, to November 2025. In the IDF's response, it was stated: "The implication is that the existing number of tanks in the armored corps is insufficient, both for war efforts and for simultaneous testing."

It was further written: "Similarly, the amount of ammunition and resources required for maintaining the equipment is very limited. The IDF is constantly working to extend the ammunition scope, but at this stage, it is impossible to prepare to start the pilot on time, as it cannot be guaranteed that there will be enough equipment and ammunition to meet the testing targets."

Regarding the integration of women in combat units, which is the subject of the petition, it was written: "At this stage, before the investigation and learning regarding the combat of women in the war have been exhausted, and before their conclusions were examined by the relevant professional and command authorities – it is not possible to draw conclusions in a professional, responsible, and based manner as required, and to make decisions regarding the placement of women in additional combat roles."

In conclusion, it was written: "It should be clarified that after completing the investigation and learning process and examining its conclusions by the relevant professional and command authorities, it will be assessed whether they have implications for the integration of women in additional combat roles."

Later, the IDF explained that "weaponry within the armor corps, including tanks and ammunition, is currently prioritized for war over training and expanding trials, including the trial of training female soldiers for the combat role in maneuvering armor." Israel National News - Arutz Sheva

Egypt believes war in Gaza will continue until US elections

An Egyptian source has revealed that the process of negotiations between Israel and the Hamas terror group may remain at a standstill until the US elections in November.

The source revealed to Al-Akhbar a "situational assessment" submitted to the Egyptian presidency by the country's general intelligence. According to the assessment, the negotiations may not progress until November's elections.

The assessment also noted that there is a possibility that the fighting will continue until the end of 2024. In addition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is betting on former US President Donald Trump returning to the Oval Office, in the hopes that the US government will be more supportive of Israel's war against Iran and its proxies.

According to the Egyptian source, "The problem is rooted in the consequences of the continuation of the conflict in the long term, especially with the lack of a guarantee that the rate of military actions will continue at a level which will not lead to a regional escalation."

The report does not discuss Hamas' abilities to withstand Israel's continued strikes in Gaza, but Egyptian intelligence recommended increasing the steps taken to secure the border with Gaza, as well as identification of new points for the passage of humanitarian aid to the Hamas-controlled enclave. Israel National News - Arutz Sheva

Monday, July 15, 2024

Iran's President Pezeshkian speaks with Hamas leader, praises Houthis

The newly elected president of Iran Masoud Pezeshkian, spoke with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Monday, Iranian state media reported. Haniyeh “expressed gratitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran over its support for the Palestinian cause and called for stepped-up diplomatic efforts to end the Israeli regime’s aggression against Gaza,” Iran’s IRNA said.

The Iranian leader also held a phone call with the Houthis in Yemen, where he praised their nine months of attacks in “support” of Hamas in Gaza.

The phone call was one of several that Pezeshkian has had since becoming leader of Iran. In each case, the new Iranian leader has acted to showcase Iran’s close ties to anti-western countries such as Russia and also to make it clear Iran will continue to back terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Hamas’ leader spoke to the Iranian leader and praised Iran for backing Hamas. “We appreciate Iran for playing a role in supporting the Palestinian cause, and we demand more political and diplomatic efforts to bring an end to Israel’s aggression,” Haniyeh said.

Earlier this year, the International Criminal Court sought indictment for Haniyeh for crimes against humanity for his role on October 7. Haniyeh resides in Qatar, a US ally, where he leads Hamas along with other Hamas leaders who live in Doha. READ MORE

Full text of Israeli hostage release-ceasefire proposal, submitted on May 27

The following is the full text of the Israeli proposal for a hostage release and ceasefire deal with Hamas, which was submitted on May 27, 2024, and obtained by The Times of Israel on July 13, 2024. It underwent a series of amendments earlier in July, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on July 13, 2024, that he remains committed to this proposal.

General Principles for an agreement between the Israeli side and the Palestinian side in Gaza on the exchange of hostages and prisoners and restoring a sustainable calm

Israel response on 6 May 2024 proposal

This framework’s purpose is the release of all civilian and military Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip whether living or not whom have been detained during all periods in exchange for a number that will be agreed upon of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, and restoring a sustainable calm which would achieve a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, the reconstruction of Gaza, opening of the border crossings, and facilitating movement of people and transfer of goods.

The framework agreement is made of 3 stages which are interconnected, subject to the following:

The First stage (42 days):

1. Temporary cessation of military operations by both Parties and the withdrawal of Israeli forces eastwards away from densely populated areas along the borders in all areas of the Gaza strip including Gaza valley (Netzarim axis and Kuwait roundabout) as mentioned below.

2. Temporary cessation of aerial movement (military and surveillance) in the Gaza strip for 10 hours daily, and for 12 hours daily during days where exchange of hostages and prisoners will take place.

3. Return of the internally displaced to their place of residence and the withdrawal from Gaza valley (Netzarim axis and Kuwait roundabout): READ MORE

Netanyahu says ‘not absolutely certain’ Deif killed, ‘cracks’ appearing in Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday evening that he was not yet “absolutely certain” as to whether Hamas’s most senior military commander Muhammad Deif had been killed in an airstrike earlier in the day, but insisted that Israel was winning the war and that “cracks” and “weakness” were now evident within the Palestinian terror group as a result of Israel’s military campaign against it.

Speaking at a press conference at the Israel Defense Forces’ headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu also took the opportunity to laud his handling of the war and the hostage negotiations, claiming the attack on Deif and other strikes were only possible due to his refusal to end the campaign until all the war aims were achieved.

He also contended that his insistence on attacking the southern Gazan city of Rafah had brought about the necessary pressure on Hamas to force it to begin negotiating seriously for a new hostage release deal.

There is still “a way to go” to obtain victory, Netanyahu concluded, but said it was possible with “unity, determination and faith in the justice of our cause.” Earlier this year, the prime minister said on several occasions that Israel was just “a step away” from victory.

Unlike in several similar press conferences held since October 7, Netanyahu addressed the media without Defense Minister Yoav Gallant or any other cabinet minister alongside him.

He made his remarks after Deif, together with his deputy Rafa’a Salameh, were targeted in an airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday morning as they were reportedly present in an above-ground building between the al-Mawasi designated humanitarian zone and the city of Khan Younis. READ MORE

Gallant to fighter pilots: 'Pursuit of Hamas terrorists will continue for years to come'

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant visited the IAF airbase in Nevatim on Sunday and met with the fighter pilots and support teams that participated in the operation against top Hamas targets in Khan Yunis on Saturday. Base commander Brig. Gen. Yotam Sigler briefed the Minister on the operational activities conducted over the past several days.

“I came here this morning to express my profound appreciation to the IDF and the ISA , more specifically the IAF, the combat troops, the Operations Directorate and the entire general staff. Your operations are accurate and professional, and they impact our freedom of operation moving forward," the Defense Minister told the pilots.

“Your actions are eroding Hamas’ capabilities. They also provide us with the freedom of action necessary to achieve our goals. We have the goal of returning the hostages, and as a result of your operations, including what you did yesterday, we have gained the freedom of action and the flexibility to create the conditions to bring about a significant achievement,” he added.

According to Gallant, “Hamas’ capabilities are eroding every day, they are paying huge prices and their ability to rebuild is very limited. In Rafah, we are hitting command posts, weapon warehouses, communication rooms, and weapon production facilities. Your work is central to ensuring that Hamas is unable to regain military and industrial capabilities.

“The pursuit of Hamas terrorists will continue for years to come – from the most senior ones, to the terrorists in the field. We must remember at any given time – and you were here on October 7th – we need to remember what Hamas did to us. We must eliminate any terrorist who murdered children, raped women and kidnapped the elderly. We must also deter anyone who may attempt to conduct such heinous acts in the future,” he concluded. Israel National News - Arutz Sheva