Archive for December 5, 2018

Netanyahu: Shin Bet prevented 500 terror attacks in 2018

December 5, 2018

Source: Netanyahu: Shin Bet prevented 500 terror attacks in 2018

In special ceremony, Prime Minister Netanyahu recognizes Shin Bet operations and the agents behind these groundbreaking undertakings; ‘The citizens of Israel owe you their lives,’ the prime minister says.
The Shin Bet prevented 500 terror attacks in 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at an award ceremony honoring six groundbreaking operations and several Shin Bet agents who excelled in 2017 and 2018.

 Among the operations highlighted were an operation to develop advanced technological capabilities in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML); an operation to prevent espionage against the State of Israel; an operation to obtain access to intelligence information; an operation to thwart dangerous terror cells; and an operation to develop covert methods and operational tools against a variety of adversaries.

Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman and Netanyahu (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman and Netanyahu (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

“You have thwarted 500 terror attacks this year. It means that hundreds of Israeli citizens owe you their lives. I want to thank you for continuing to shine this light, and for fighting each day with discretion, ingenuity, creativity and immense dedication, I am proud of you,” Netanyahu told Shin Bet agents.

Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman added that “We are celebrating Hanukkah today, the holiday of heroism that glorifies decisiveness, bravery, and faith in the justice of our cause, a holiday that testifies to a tradition of victories and accomplishments. The work we are celebrating today will not have been possible without the determination and aspiration for excellence inherent in you.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the award ceremony (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the award ceremony (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO)

“Excellence requires an element of innovation and creativity, the ability to create something from nothing, to think outside the boundaries of what is known, to believe in an idea, even if it seems crazy at first, and hold on to it. You faced this test successfully and proved to us all that the sky is the limit,” Argaman concluded.

The Prime Minister’s Award is given once every couple of years, as an expression of appreciation to high-level planning of covert operations, impeccable performance of agents, and an outcome that makes a significant contribution to counterterrorism efforts and state security.

 

Hezbollah tunnel was to be used to cut of Metulla: Senior IDF officer

December 5, 2018

Source: Hezbollah tunnel was to be used to cut of Metulla: Senior IDF officer – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

Israel on Tuesday morning launched Operation Northern Shield to expose and destroy cross-border Hezbollah attack tunnels.

BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
 DECEMBER 5, 2018 15:58
A woman walks her dog as an Israeli soldier guards near the border with Lebanon

The cross-border Hezbollah tunnel discovered early Tuesday morning by the IDF outside of Metula would have been used by the terror group to send militants from their elite Radwan units to cut the community off from Route 90, a senior IDF officer said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters meters away from the Hezbollah tunnel, he said that the military decided to launch the Operation Northern Shield to expose and destroy cross-border Hezbollah attack tunnels before they were operational and posed an imminent and direct threat to Israel as “the tunnels were something that we could not wait to deal with until a war were to break out.”

The tunnel discovered Tuesday morning stretched from a residential structure in the south of the Lebanese village of Kfar Kela and infiltrated some 40 meters into kiwi and apple orchards belonging to the community of Metula.

The senior officer stated that the element of surprise was a major component of the operation and that Hezbollah militants had been working on the tunnel outside Metulla until the moment the IDF announced the operation had begun.

Hezbollah, he said, chose the residential building which was used to make bricks because of its strategic location, in near proximity to a UNIFIL post and hidden behind the security wall and not visible from Israel.  Israel jets, he said, noticed dozens of trucks going in and out of the building and driving some 10-12 kilometers to dispose of the material.

UNIFIL, the senior officer said, was “surprised” about the discovery of the tunnel and has been met with both the IDF and Lebanese Armed Forces on the issue.

Shortly after the beginning of the operation the IDF placed a camera some 25 meters into the tunnel and moments later saw two militants approaching the camera which had a small bomb attached to it which then detonated leading the militants to retreat.

It was the first time that the IDF actually saw Hezbollah militants inside a tunnel, the senior officer said.

The military said that it took Hezbollah around two years to build the 200 meter-long tunnel and that the IDF believes that there are longer tunnels along the 130 kilometer-long border between Israel and Lebanon.

According to the senior officer the discovery of the tunnel outside Metula was not “a Hanukka miracle” but rather years of intelligence gathering and significant technological investment by the IDF.

While Hezbollah has worked on their tunnel project for years with the belief that Israel was in the dark, the senior officer stated that over the past year Israel Air Force platforms have been surveying the border area and gathering intelligence about possible tunnel locations.

“Hezbollah has lowered their profile tremendously since we started the operation. They still don’t fully understand how much we know about their project.”

While Hezbollah has currently stopped working on their project, making it harder for IDF troops to find the precise location of the tunnels, the officer stressed that the military will continue until all objectives are met.

If the group decides to respond to the IDF’s engineering work-either by targeting troops taking part in the operation or launching rockets towards the homefront- Israel has military options ready, the senior officer said.

Officials in the defense establishment have stressed that Israel’s intelligence capabilities has increased dramatically since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and has a significant highly number of targets in the north if another war were to break out.

 

Analysts: Tackling tunnels is first step before IDF takes on Hezbollah missiles

December 5, 2018

Source: Analysts: Tackling tunnels is first step before IDF takes on Hezbollah missiles | The Times of Israel

Explaining Northern Shield op, Netanyahu says ‘only a small piece of the big picture’ of Israeli efforts to counter the Lebanese terror group has been revealed thus far

In this photo released by Hezbollah Central Military Media, Israeli military diggers work on the Lebanese-Israeli border next to a wall that was built by Israel facing the southern village of Kafr Kila, Lebanon on Dec. 4, 2018. (Hezbollah Military Media via AP)

In this photo released by Hezbollah Central Military Media, Israeli military diggers work on the Lebanese-Israeli border next to a wall that was built by Israel facing the southern village of Kafr Kila, Lebanon on Dec. 4, 2018. (Hezbollah Military Media via AP)

Israeli security analysts believe that Tuesday’s launch of an IDF operation to tackle Hezbollah attack tunnels, swiftly followed by the exposure of a first such tunnel found extending into Israel, is a precursor to a larger Israeli operation to remove the threat posed by precision missiles being developed by the Lebanese terror group together with its Iranian sponsors.

On Tuesday, the IDF said it uncovered the “first of what are sure to be many” cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah, as part of its newly launched Operation Northern Shield. The tunnel was found south of the Israeli town of Metulla along the Lebanese border. The army said it was some 200 meters (650 feet) long, extending some 40 meters (120 feet) into Israeli territory.

Israel’s Channel 10 TV later said the IDF estimates that there are some 10 attack tunnels.

However, the channel noted that Israel’s military reaction to the tunnel discovery was subdued and forces did not enter Lebanon to destroy it, saying that this was largely due to an expectation that the IDF would have to launch a far greater operation in the near future to deal with Hezbollah’s efforts to add precision guidance to its arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets.

Channel 10 analysts said that it was important that the tunnels be destroyed before Israel launched a large-scale military operation.

This assessment was backed up by Amos Yadlin, the head of the Institute for National Security Studies and the former head of former chief of Israeli military intelligence.

Amos Yadlin@YadlinAmos

“The MORE CRITICAL CHALLENGE, stopping the “Precision Project” is still ahead, with legitimacy issues and escalation risks at a totally different level,” Yadlin wrote on Twitter, adding that it was also an important message to Hezbollah.

“The tunnels’ exposure carries a message to Hizbullah, who based its operations on secrecy, covert action and surprise. It needs to consider that it is in fact, exposed and vulnerable to Israel’s Intel. Its safe and secret posts may prove as death traps to his terrorists,” he wrote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also suggested there was far more to come.

“Two weeks ago I said that in order to ensure the security of Israel we need a steady hand and patience. I added that much cannot be revealed,” he said during a televised address at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

“Today, again, I want to say that what we will reveal to you now is only a small piece of the big picture of our efforts and our actions to ensure our security on all fronts. We are taking everything into account and all is being done with the utmost deliberation,” Netanyahu said.

Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran was trying to set up missile factoriesin Lebanon to upgrade Hezbollah’s capabilities and warned that it was a red line for Israel.

A satellite image released by the Israel Defense Forces showing three sites near Beirut’s international airport that the army says are being used by Hezbollah to convert regular missiles into precision-guided munitions, on September 27, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

In his speech, Netanyahu also said that Israeli efforts to destroy cross-border tunnels built by Hezbollah were “not an isolated operation, but a wide and ongoing operation” aimed at targeting a broader push by the Iran-backed terror group to capture parts of the Galilee from Israel.

“The aim of Hezbollah has been to dig tunnels into our territory. It is part of an effort with a breadth and depth that we have not seen before,” Netanyahu said

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday called up a small number of reservists, as it prepared for a potential retaliation by Hezbollah in response to the operation to find and destroy cross-border attack tunnels the military says the terror group dug into Israeli territory.

The military said it believed the tunnels were for offensive purposes, unlike the tunnels and underground bunkers used by Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which were primarily utilized as defensive measures.

Hezbollah operatives were still working inside the cross-border tunnel when it was exposed on Tuesday morning, the IDF spokesperson said Tuesday evening, showing footage he said was filmed mere hours earlier inside the underground passage.

Netanyahu said that the tunnel, and others like it, were part of a wider effort to “inflict great damage” to Israel and Israeli citizens.

“Capturing parts of the Galilee by Hezbollah is a concrete threat,” he said. “It is also part of a regional and global terror effort led by Iran.”

Citing Israeli military action in Syria in recent years that he said has led to a 10 percent decrease in the number of Iranian troops operating in the war-torn country, Netanyahu said that Tuesday’s operation was part of efforts to also thwart Iranian terrorist groups operating in Lebanon.

“The operation will continue until the outcome is achieved, however long that may take,” Netanyahu said.

“I have a message for the people of Lebanon,” he added. “Hezbollah is putting your lives in danger. They are sacrificing your well-being to serve the aggressive purposes of Iran.”

He noted that “These cross-border terror tunnels were built by Hezbollah with direct support and funding from Iran. They were built with one purpose in mind – to attack and murder innocent Israeli men, women and children. This is a grave violation of Israel’s sovereignty, and a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution #1701. It is an unacceptable act of wanton aggression.”

The tunnel found Tuesday, he added, “was built under a home in a civilian neighborhood in southern Lebanon. Now, this is just one more example of how Hezbollah is committing a double war crime. They target civilians while hiding behind civilians. And this must be condemned loudly and clearly by all nations that care about peace, freedom and human dignity.”

In an apparent effort to preempt allegations that the decision to launch Northern Shield was connected to the recent calls by police to indict him, Netanyahu said the decision to take action was made “a few weeks ago.” He also specifically thanked “former defense minister Avigdor Liberman who was part of the preparations.” Liberman resigned last month in protest of Netanyahu’s refusal to sanction a major assault on Hamas in Gaza after that terror group fired some 500 rockets at Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center), Defense Minister Avigdor (left) Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot (right) seen during an emergency meeting at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, on July 20, 2018. (Ministry of Defense/Ariel Hermoni)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, speaking directly after Netanyahu, said the military came to the security cabinet with the recommendation to start the operation “once the conditions were ripe,” approximately a month ago.

According to Eisenkot, the cabinet approved the operation on November 7.

He said the operation was expected to last several weeks and is being led by the head of the IDF Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick.

“This morning we initiated action to thwart Hezbollah’s intrusion into our territory, to improve our security reality in the north… to strike and to continue to strike Iranian entrenchment in the north,” Eisenkot said.

The army chief said Northern Shield was launched before the tunnels became operational and “became an immediate and direct threat to northern communities and army bases.”

This picture taken on December 4, 2018, from the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila shows a view of Israeli machinery operating behind the border wall in Israel. (Ali Dia/AFP)

Eisenkot said that in the wake of the 2014 Gaza war, in which the threat of Hamas tunnels was a key issue, the Israeli military “built a highly advanced operational, technological engineering and intelligence capability to neutralize attack tunnels, both in the north and in the south.”

The army chief said the heads of communities in northern Israel were informed of the operation ahead of time and lauded them for showing “responsibility” by not revealing that it was slated to take place.

He said that the IDF was “in possession of Hezbollah’s offensive tunneling plans” and called on Israelis to “feel safe, to continue their daily routines and to continue traveling to the north.”

Speaking before Netanyahu, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said that Hezbollah operatives were working inside the tunnel exposed by the Israeli military on Tuesday up until its discovery, showing footage he said was filmed inside the underground passage on Tuesday morning.

For now, the army’s activities are limited to the Israeli side of the Blue Line — the internationally recognized armistice line that acts as a de facto border between Israel and Lebanon — though Manelis indicated earlier in the day that other tunnels may be destroyed within Lebanon as well.

“We are prepared for all options, and the operation is only in its first day. The neutralizing of the tunnels will not necessarily take place within our territory,” he said.

 

Amid tunnel-busting effort, IDF brings in air defense, engineering reservists 

December 5, 2018

Source: Amid tunnel-busting effort, IDF brings in air defense, engineering reservists | The Times of Israel

Army girds for potential Hezbollah retaliation to operation targeting subterranean passages from Lebanon, but refrains from large call-up of reservists

An Israeli armored personnel carrier and command post is transported toward the border with Lebanon on December 4, 2018. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

An Israeli armored personnel carrier and command post is transported toward the border with Lebanon on December 4, 2018. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday called up a small number of reservists, as it prepared for a potential retaliation by Hezbollah in response to a newly launched effort to find and destroy cross-border attack tunnels the military says the terror group has been digging into Israeli territory.

Additional tanks, artillery cannons, and armored personnel carriers were also spotted on highways leading up to northern Israel.

As of Tuesday evening, the Israeli military has refrained from a mass call-up of reservists, preferring instead to enlist those from select combat engineering, administrative and air defense units, as the IDF does during most periods of increased tensions and unrest.

An army spokesperson stressed that the call-up was “seriously limited,” but refused to comment on the specific number of people brought in.

The Combat Engineering Corps reservists were meant to assist in the counter-tunnel effort. The Air Force units were called up in order to provide additional manpower to Israel’s various air defense batteries. Hezbollah is believed to have an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets and missiles — larger than that of many European countries.

A truck drives near the border between Israel and Lebanon outside the village of Metulla on December 4, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

On Tuesday, the military said it uncovered the “first of sure to be many” cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah, as part of its newly launched Operation Northern Shield.

The tunnel was found south of the Israeli town of Metulla along the Lebanese border. The army said it was some 200 meters (650 feet) long, extending some 40 meters (120 feet) into Israeli territory.

According to the IDF, the tunnel originated under a house in the Lebanese village of Kafr Kila.

The army said the tunnel was not yet operational and did not present an immediate threat to residents of the area.

This was the first tunnel that the Israel Defense Forces has said it discovered as part of Northern Shield.

“At this time, having exposed the tunnel, IDF soldiers are conducting engineering and operational efforts before neutralizing it,” the army said in a statement.

The Israeli military has refused to comment on how it plans to destroy the tunnel, with some speculating that the army will fill it with concrete in order to seal it off. In the past, the IDF has also used explosives to demolish tunnels.

Though for now the army’s activities are limited to the Israeli side of the Blue Line — the internationally recognized armistice line that acts as a de facto border between Israel and Lebanon — IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis indicated that other tunnels may be destroyed within Lebanon as well.

Israeli soldiers stand guard near the border between Israel and Lebanon outside the village of Metulla on December 4, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

“We are prepared for all options, and the operation is only in its first day. The neutralizing of the tunnels will not necessarily take place within our territory,” he said.

Defense analysts have warned that while Hezbollah is unlikely to react so long as the IDF keeps its activities within Israel, the Iran-backed terror group may retaliate if the tunnel-busting effort crosses the border or results in deaths among its operatives.

The army said the tunnel was dug some 25 meters (80 feet) below the ground, and was two meters (six feet) tall by two meters (six feet) wide, significantly larger than most of the tunnels dug by the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

According to the IDF, the tunnel took over two years to excavate — due to the harsh terrain under the border — and contained electrical and communication lines as well as ventilation.

“Hezbollah has been using industrial equipment in order to dig these tunnels. We are beginning to assess and analyze the findings,” Conricus told reporters.

An Israeli military digger works on the border with Lebanon in the northern Israeli town of Metulla, December 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

In a tweet in English, the army added that the tunnel was dug “with the intention of harming Israeli civilians.”

The IDF also described the cross-border tunnels as a “flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

The army lauded itself for finding the tunnels. According to Conricus, Hezbollah’s program to build the underground infrastructure was kept “ultra secret” within the terrorist organization.

The IDF spokesman said the IDF’s effort to find and destroy Hezbollah’s tunnels was also kept on a need-to-know basis.

“It was deeply compartmentalized. Only a select few who needed to know were involved in this operation,” Conricus said.

That secrecy ended on Tuesday, with the public launching of Operation Northern Shield on to uncover and destroy the tunnels.

This picture taken on December 4, 2018, from the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila shows a view of Israeli machinery operating behind the border wall in Israel (R). (Ali DIA / AFP)

“We’re trying to nip them in the bud,” Conricus said.

The military said it believed the tunnels were for offensive purposes, unlike the tunnels and underground bunkers used by Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which were primarily utilized as defensive measures.

“This was part of a surprise component of [Hezbollah’s] plan,” Conricus said.

According to the IDF, approximately seven years ago, Hezbollah created a special forces unit — known as the Radwan Unit — specifically tasked with crossing into Israel and causing as much mayhem and destruction as possible both for the sake of the damage to Israel itself and for the “symbolism” of having troops carry out attacks inside Israel.

Tuesday’s operation came as tensions on Israel’s northern border have ramped up in recent days, and hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Brussels for a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Iran and the Hezbollah tunnels.

Last Friday, the Lebanese terror group issued a warning video to Israel apparently filled with satellite images and precise map locations of strategic sites in the Jewish state, with a message: “Attack and you will regret it.”

A screenshot from a warning video issued by Hezbollah apparently showing satellite imagery of an Israeli airbase superimposed with a target and its map coordinates. (Screenshot/Youtube)

The video was posted after an alleged Israeli airstrike on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria the night before.

The video, with Hebrew subtitles, opened with scenes of Hezbollah fighters preparing to launch rockets and leader Hassan Nasrallah warning that the Lebanese terror group would respond to any attack on Lebanon.

Israeli security chiefs were holding security assessments throughout the day Tuesday in order to deal with any possible Hezbollah reaction to the IDF operation.

The Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson called on Hezbollah members and Lebanese civilians to keep away from the tunnels. “You’ve been warned,” he wrote on Twitter.

A spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL, which is meant to enforce UN Resolution 1701, told The Times of Israel that it was aware of the reports that the IDF was launching Operation Northern Shield and was maintaining contact with “all relevant interlocutors to ensure that the parties use the UNIFIL liaison and coordination mechanisms to maintain the continued calm and stability.”

“The situation in UNIFIL’s area of operation remains calm,” the spokesperson said, noting that the peacekeeping force has stepped up patrols in the area.

Israel has long said that Hezbollah planned to conduct cross-border raids in any future conflict, with the specific goal of attacking and conquering a civilian town near the border. Northern residents have raised fears in recent years of attack tunnels being dug under the border, spurring the IDF to launch a task force to investigate the concerns in 2014.

“[Hezbollah’s] main goal is to kill as many people as they can in [Israeli] villages and army bases,” a senior officer IDF officer said earlier this year, in a briefing to reporters on the Lebanese border.

The IDF operation began in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning. The military declared the area around the community of Metulla a closed military zone, but gave no other special instructions to Israeli civilians in the area.

 

Russia backs Israel’s tunnel-busting op, calls for ‘restraint’

December 5, 2018

Source: Russia backs Israel’s tunnel-busting op, calls for ‘restraint’ | The Times of Israel

Moscow says Jerusalem has right to ‘prevent anyone from entering the country,’ but hopes IDF activities in the north won’t violate UN Resolution 1701

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, center, visits soldiers searching for Hezbollah attack tunnels on Israeli-Lebanese border on December 4, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, center, visits soldiers searching for Hezbollah attack tunnels on Israeli-Lebanese border on December 4, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Russia expressed tacit support on Wednesday for Israel’s current operation to expose Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels, while calling on both sides to show restraint lest the volatile situation on the Lebanese border escalate.

“We do not question Israel’s right to ensure its national security, including by preventing anyone from entering the country,” the spokesperson of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, told reporters in her weekly briefing.

“At the same time, we hope that no actions taken to achieve this purpose will be in conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which defines the rules of conduct for the parties on the Blue Line, which, I would also like to remind, is not an internationally recognized border.”

Israel argues that by digging tunnels with the intention to carry out terror attacks against Israeli civilians, the Shiite terror group was violating Resolution 1701.

Passed in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War, that resolution called for, among other things, the “immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks” and for the group’s disarmament.

It also expressed its “strong support” for Lebanon’s “territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence” and called for respect of the Blue Line.

MFA Russia 🇷🇺

@mfa_russia

: We do not question @Israel’s right to ensure its national security, including by preventing anyone from entering the country

See MFA Russia 🇷🇺‘s other Tweets

Zakharova went on to say that Moscow hoped that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) would “fulfill its monitoring mission and will not allow any violations.”

She called on all parties to “show the necessary responsibility and restraint, to avoid provocative steps and harsh statements that can further aggravate the tense situation.”

Russia does not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Russia🇷🇺 in Israel

@israel_mid_ru

No doubt that has the right to protect its national security, including to prevent the illegal entry of anyone into the country. At the same time, we hope that the actions taken for this purpose will not conflict with resolution 1701, read https://bit.ly/2Rw8y1b 

View image on Twitter

Russia🇷🇺 in Israel

@israel_mid_ru

We expect that deployed in the blue line area will fulfill its mission and will not allow violations. We call on all parties to show the necessary responsibility and restraint, to avoid provocative steps and harsh statements that can further aggravate the tense situation

See Russia🇷🇺 in Israel’s other Tweets

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Iran was directly funding Hezbollah’s tunnel building project, and claimed that its goal is to “attack and murder innocent Israeli men, women and children” as well as to capture parts of the Galilee.

“This is a grave violation of Israel’s sovereignty, and a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. It is an unacceptable act of wanton aggression,” Netanyahu said.

So far, only the US administration has expressed unequivocal support for Operation Northern Shield.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a press conference with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at the defense headquarters in Tel Aviv, on December 4, 2018. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Relations between Jerusalem and Moscow have been tense since a September 17 incident that saw a Syrian missile shoot down a Russian Il-20 plane during an Israeli attack in Syria’s Latakia area, resulting in the death of 15 Russian troops.

Moscow blames Israel for the incident, arguing that Israel’s F-16 jets were hiding behind the Russian spy plane, thus drawing the Syrian fire. Jerusalem rejects the accusation, insisting that the Israeli jets had returned to Israeli airspace by the time the Russian plane was hit.

Later this month, two senior Russian defense officials are scheduled to arrive in Israel for talks: Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Viktor Bondarev, who heads the council’s Defense and Security Committee. Bondarev is a former commander of the Russian air force.

 

If Iran can’t export oil from Gulf, no other country can, president says 

December 5, 2018

Source: If Iran can’t export oil from Gulf, no other country can, president says – Israel Hayom

 

Hezbollah’s ‘grand plan’ takes major hit 

December 5, 2018

Source: Hezbollah’s ‘grand plan’ takes major hit – Israel Hayom