Archive for February 17, 2018

Israel hits target in Gaza with tank fire after ‘device explodes’ near border – IDF

February 17, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces training © Yin Dongxun / Global Look Press
An Israeli tank fired at an observation post located in the southern Gaza Strip, the country’s Defense Forces (IDF) said. The shelling followed an explosive device being detonated near the Israeli patrol in the area.

IDF troops were patrolling an area near the security fence in the Gaza Strip, the military tweeted. It is still unclear if the explosion resulted in any casualties. In response, the IDF used a tank to target an observation post in the area.

The shots were reportedly fired at a Hamas facility located east of the city of Khan Yunis, according to Israeli media.


Hezbollah threatens attacks against Israeli offshore oil & gas operations (VIDEO)

February 17, 2018

Published time: 17 Feb, 2018 09:24

An Israeli gas platform is seen in the back as a sailor in the Israeli navy stands aboard a patrol boat in the Mediterranean sea some 15 miles (24 km) west of the port city of Ashdod February 25, 2013. © Amir Cohen / Reuters

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to attack Israel’s offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling operations in yet another escalation in the two countries’ increasingly hostile war of words.

During a televised address in Beirut on Friday, Nasrallah said Hezbollah could “disable [Israel’s offshore oil installations] within hours.”

“If you prevent us, we prevent you; if you open fire at us, we will open fire,” he added during a ceremony commemorating the death of Imad Mughniyeh, the party’s former military commander who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.

“In the battle for oil and gas, the only power you have, you the Lebanese people, is the resistance, because the Lebanese army is not allowed to own missiles,” Nasrallah began the address, as cited by Al Masdar News. Nasrallah also took the opportunity to condemn US interference in the region’s diplomacy.

“The Americans are not honest mediators, especially when the other party is the Israeli entity,” he concluded.

This isn’t the first time that the Lebanese militant group has threatened to attack Israel’s oil and gas installations in the Levant basin. Lebanon issued an offshore oil and gas exploration tender in late January along the country’s maritime border with Israel, instantly ramping up tensions in the region and sparking increasingly antagonistic rhetoric from both sides.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman described the move as “very provocative” and said such a tender was illegitimate as it was for a gas field “that is by all accounts ours,” as cited by The Times of Israel. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri fired back calling Lieberman’s statement a “blatant provocation that Lebanon rejects.”

Hezbollah also recently disseminated flyers in Lebanon that read: “Whoever harms gas and oil sites in Lebanese economic waters, their own sites will be harmed, and they know Lebanon is fully capable of doing so,”Ynet News reports.

Lebanese officials previously announced plans to begin exploratory drilling in 2019. Israel is already producing gas at the Tamar field and expects to bring the much larger Leviathan field online next year. For context, the specific contested area at the heart of the recent spat, nicknamed Block 9, extends over an area of roughly 854 square kilometers.

Shin Bet Investigation Exposes Depth of Turkey’s Hamas Support

February 17, 2018

by Yaakov Lappin February 16, 2018

Source Link: Shin Bet Investigation Exposes Depth of Turkey’s Hamas Support

{Birds of a feather flock together. – LS}

Hamas is operating freely on Turkish soil, gathering terrorist finances and looking for ways to upgrade the capabilities of its armed wing in Gaza, an Israeli security source has told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). It is highly likely that these activities occur with the knowledge of the Turkish authorities, the source said.

The comments come after Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency announced the arrest of two suspects — including a Turkish national — on the suspicion of working for Hamas in Turkey.

“There are Hamas military operatives in Turkey, not political operatives,” the source said.

The Shin Bet’s investigation found that Turkish adviser Adnan Basha, who is close to Turkish government officials, set up a company called SADAT, which was tasked with assisting Hamas with acquiring money and weapons. A former Turkish general worked at the company, the IPT has learned.

According to the investigation’s findings, SADAT employees helped senior Hamas officials visit a 2015 weapons show in Turkey. There, the operatives showed interest in drone technologies. {Coincidence? – LS}

“Turkey’s intelligence services are powerful. To believe that they would not know about this is unreasonable,” the source stated. “These activities are taking place on Turkish soil with no interference, and in the knowledge of elements close to the Turkish government.”

According to the Shin Bet’s announcement, Israeli security services arrested a Turkish law lecturer named Cemil Tekeli last month, on suspicion of assisting Hamas terrorists in Turkey.

Three weeks later, Israeli-Arab Dara’am Jabarin, from the northern Israeli town of Umm El-Fahem, was arrested on suspicion of being part of Hamas’ Turkey operations.

The investigation found that “the two had been recruited in Turkey by senior Hamas terrorist Zaher Jabarin,” who was released in Israel’s 2011 prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, in exchange for the freedom of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Jabarin “is responsible for Hamas’ budget and promotes terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank],” the Shin Bet stated. Jabarin is reportedly under the command of Hamas’ deputy chairman, and the head of West Bank operations, Salah Aruri, who is believed to be based in Beirut, under Hezbollah protection.

In its statement, the Shin Bet released remarkable descriptions of Turkey’s contribution “to the military strengthening of Hamas.” Questioning of Tekeli, the Turkish law lecturer, revealed that the SADAT company “was founded to assist — with funds and war materiel — the creation of the ‘Palestine Army’ [in its goal of fighting] Israel.”

“During the investigation, it became clear that Hamas is in direct contact with Turkish authorities via Jihad Ya’amur, a terrorist who was involved in the [1994] abduction of IDF soldier Nahshon Waxman [that soldier was murdered by Hamas during an Israeli attempt to rescue him].” Ya’amur was also released by Israel in the 2011 Shalit deal.

Tekeli’s role, according to the investigation, was to assist Hamas terrorists who moved to Turkey — both personally and economically. Most of these terrorists were released in the Shalit deal, and had taken part in deadly attacks on Israelis in the past.

“Tekeli assisted them in obtaining visas that allowed them to stay in Turkey, in purchasing and renting commercial and residential properties, in purchasing luxury vehicles, and in becoming established in business via the registration of companies in their names,” the Shin Bet stated.

The investigation also exposed large-scale Hamas money laundering in Turkey, overseen by Zaher Jabarin. Hamas operatives in Turkey owned a company called IMES, “which served as a cover for the laundering of millions of US dollars that were transferred to the Gaza Strip and various countries,” the intelligence agency said. “An account was opened for IMES with Turkey’s Akbank. The company’s chairman opened another bank account under his name with Türkiye Finans Bank.”

Subsequent questioning of the Israeli Arab suspect, Dara’am Jabarin, who was allegedly recruited to Hamas’ ranks by Jabarin, showed that the IMES company was used as a cover for meetings with recruits. Dara’am visited Turkey frequently over a period of 18 months, and was asked by his handlers to transfer Hamas funds from Turkey to the West Bank, according to the investigation.

“His handlers in Turkey gave him hundreds of thousands of Euros for Hamas’ military infrastructure. He hid the funds in various secret locations” in the West Bank, the Shin Bet said. “A search of his home uncovered 91,000 Euros which were due to be transferred to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].”

In recent weeks, additional suspects from the town of Umm El-Fahm have been detained in connection with the investigation.

Tekeli was deported from Israel after the end of the investigation, while Dara’am Jabarin is due to go on trial in the coming days.

In its official statement, the Shin Bet said that Turkish officials turned a blind eye, and on occasion encouraged Hamas’ economic and military activities. This activity occurred “with the assistance of Turkish nationals, some of whom are close to the government. This activity relies on — inter alia — business platforms that serve Hamas in laundering funds that are transferred to Judea and Samaria,” the statement said.

Speaking to the IPT, the Israeli security source said that the arrest of the Israeli Arab man underscores a disturbing danger posed by Hamas’ ongoing attempt to recruit Arab Israelis on Turkish soil. “This is problematic,” the source said, referring to the fact that recruits with Israeli citizenship have full freedom of maneuver inside of the country, which can be exploited for hostile action.