Archive for the ‘Rocket attack’ category

Israeli hysteria magnifies Hamas rocket threat

April 15, 2016

Israeli hysteria magnifies Hamas rocket threat, DEBKAfile, April 15, 2016

epa01962019 A Palestinian Hamas masked militant stands near a Hamas flag as he takes part in protest and a military parade in central Gaza Strip, 11 December 2009. Israeli settlers vandalized a mosque in a northern West Bank village early 11 December, spray-painting hate slogans in Hebrew and setting ablaze bookshelves and a carpet, Palestinian police and the Israeli military said. Palestinian police spokesman Munir Jagoub told the German Press Agency dpa that the fire in the grand mosque in the village of Yasouf, south-west of the city of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, caused heavy damage to the library, where copies of the Holy Quran are kept, as well as to prayer rugs and the wall. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER I

A Palestinian Hamas masked militant stands near a Hamas flag as he takes part in protest and a military parade in central Gaza Strip, 11 December 2009.

Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Musa Abu Marzuk led an SOS delegation to Tehran last month in a desperate effort to persuade Iran to end its boycott and renew the flow of funds and weapons to the Gaza Strip. But on April 4, the delegation returned home empty-handed.

This was a last-ditch effort since the Palestinian fundamentalist Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip is flat broke.

Since March 1, it has been forced to slash by two-thirds the wages paid to members of its military wing, the Ezz-a-din Qassem Brigades: each fighter now takes home $200 instead of $600 per month, and officers used to earning $1,000 must be satisfied with $350.

Since March 1, it has been forced to slash by two-thirds the wages paid to members of its military wing, the Ezz-a-din Qassem Brigades: each fighter now takes home $200 instead of $600 per month, and officers used to earning $1,000 must be satisfied with $350.

DEBKA’s military and intelligence sources add: The terrorist group has moreover halted recruitment for lack of funds to pay, accommodate or train new fighters.

The cash crunch has also hit the Hamas government. Most of Gaza’s municipal services are suspended because city officials have not been paid.

Iran’s boycott on military and financial assistance to the Gaza Strip was clamped down in mid-2015 over Hamas’ refusal to line up behind Iran’s unqualified endorsement of its allies, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since then, Hamas has spared no effort to end the shutdown. Its leaders even tried asking their friend and ally, Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah, to intercede on their behalf with his masters in Tehran. Nasrallah pulled some strings, suggesting that his group would be allowed to renew military and intelligence operations in Gaza to make it worthwhile for Iran to restore its support.

But that proposition like all previous applications was thrown out.

This time, the Hamas visitors were initially received by high Iranian officials, including Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, and Ali Larijiani, chairman of the Shura Council. Abu Marzuk asked them to put the case for ending the boycott before Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

After the Palestinian officials cooled their heels for two weeks, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Al Qods Brigades, finally gave them a hearing.

But, according to DEBKA’s Iranian sources report, he told them bluntly that no more largesse would be forthcoming from the Islamic Republic until Hamas publicly declared its support for Syrian President Assad and ordered its fighting assets in Lebanon to join Hizballah’s military campaign in support of the Syrian ruler.

This confrontation has broad ramifications over and above Iran’s relations with the Palestinian terrorists.

Hamas_480_Kotert

1. Tehran demonstrated that its support for Assad is absolute and brooks no opposition. This should dash any hopes underlying the US-Russian understanding for a political resolution of the Syrian conflict that Assad would at some point agree to hand over power to a broad coalition.

Iran is ruthless in bending all its allies and dependents into toeing its line in defense of the Syrian ruler

2. Gen. Soleimani has resurfaced after a five-month disappearance from public view. Rumors abounded that he had been seriously wounded in a Syrian battle, or else fallen into disfavor with Khamenei and cast aside. His reappearance in Tehran with the Hamas delegation means he has been reinstated to the command of Iran’s forces in Syria and the role of operations coordinator with the Russian military.

3. After Iran’s door was slammed in their faces, Hamas leaders reluctantly tried patching up their tattered ties with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.

But a delegation to Cairo found Egyptian military and intelligence officials as tough-minded as the Iranians. Hamas terrorists were put on notice that, to mend relations, they would have to prove their good faith by cooperating with Cairo in the war against the Islamic State in Sinai. Specifically, the Palestinian terrorists must hand over to the Egyptian army all the intelligence data they had accumulated on the ISIS networks in Sinai with whom they were playing ball.

Though insolvent, Hamas decided it could not afford to comply with Egypt’s terms for assistance. As DEBKA’s sources explain, breaking up with the Islamic State affiliates in Sinai, would also snap Hamas’ last remaining conduit for the receipt of smuggled funds and weapons from Islamist sources in Libya.

Having burned their boats to Tehran and Cairo, the Palestinian terrorists have run themselves into a dead end.

Hysteria regarding the threat posed by Hamas resurfaced in Israel this week, even though the terrorist organization’s military strength is gradually disintegrating mainly amid a cash crunch that nobody in the Hamas  political or military leadership has been able to resolve.

It all started from a briefing given by the head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, to military correspondents following a defensive exercise in the Gaza border area.

Afterwards, the heads of the Israeli defense establishment commented on the threat posed by Hamas using clichés that have been familiar to the Israeli public for years. Perhaps the most common one is “Hamas is not interested in an escalation now… but.” Another one is “Israel and the IDF are not interested in an escalation now…but.”

One of the heads of the Israeli local councils in the Gaza border area added that he was not surprised by recent comments by senior IDF officers on the strengthening of the Hamas. “The statements that Hamas operatives are continuing terror operations can only surprise those who are detached from reality,” he said.

Amid the terrorist organization’s weakness, Israeli hysteria is helping Hamas conceal its true situation from the Palestinian public.

Anti-air missiles in ISIS hands also imperil Saudi, Jordanian and Israeli skies

November 5, 2015

Anti-air missiles in ISIS hands also imperil Saudi, Jordanian and Israeli skies, DEBKAfile, November 5, 2015

Shut_up

The Ansar al Sharia terrorist organization in Libya, which attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and murdered the American ambassador in 2012, has the very missiles capable of shooting down large airliners flying at high altitudes: Russian-made ground-to-air Buk missiles, which have a range of between three and 42 kilometers. This ultra-violent Islamist terror group has very close operational ties with ISIS-Sinai, and very possibly smuggled the missile system into Sinai from Libya.

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The British Cobra (emergency cabinet) decision of Wednesday, Nov. 4, not to send airliners to or from Sharm El-Sheikh, where 20,000 British tourists are stranded, further strengthens the assumption that the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 was downed over Sinai Saturday by a terrorist missile. It confirms that air traffic over Sinai and landings at Sharm are under threat from the ground – else why leave a large group of Britons under virtual siege in the Egyptian Red Sea resort? London said that the suspension of flights to Sharm was “indefinite.”

Moscow early Thursday accused London of being moved to this action out of hostility to Russia rather than security concerns.

Downing Street released a statement Wednesday saying: “As more information has come to light, we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.” This statement was criticized by Egypt as “premature” – not a good omen for the conversation Prime Minister David Cameron is due to hold with his visitor, Egyptian president Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi, later Thursday.

The British government has therefore stubbed toes in Moscow and Cairo without coming up with an emergency plan for evacuating its citizens from Egypt, whether overland to Cairo by bus or by sea aboard ships picking them up at the Red Sea resort and sailing through the Suez Canal.

This lack of initiative is a sign of confusion and uncertainty.

So far, the drawn-out deliberations and prevarications by officials in several countries regarding the crash of the Russian plane are meant for one purpose: to gain time for doing nothing about ISIS in Sinai. Neither the US, Russia or Britain is ready to send forces to the peninsula to confront the terrorists head-on.

The Ansar al Sharia terrorist organization in Libya, which attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and murdered the American ambassador in 2012, has the very missiles capable of shooting down large airliners flying at high altitudes: Russian-made ground-to-air Buk missiles, which have a range of between three and 42 kilometers. This ultra-violent Islamist terror group has very close operational ties with ISIS-Sinai, and very possibly smuggled the missile system into Sinai from Libya.

A number of intelligence agencies are aware of this and so a flock of leading European and Persian Gulf airlines lost no time in rerouting their flights to avoid Sinai straight after the Russian air disaster.

By causing this disaster, the Islamist terrorists coolly aimed for four goals:

1.  Retaliation for Russian intervention in Syria

2.  An attempt to destabilize the regime of Egyptian President Fattah Al-Sisi

3.  To show up the inadequacies of the 63-member coalition that the US formed in its effort to fight ISIS

4. To parade before the world the Islamic State’s operational prowess, its ability to shoot down the large passenger planes of the world’s biggest powers.

For five days, intelligence and flight safety experts dismissed the claim of responsibility that ISIS issued on the evening of October 31, maintaining that it was not to be taken seriously because no proof had been provided to support the claim – as if the charred fragments of the plane spread across tens of kilometers of desert were deniable.

In the second of its three messages, ISIS repeated its claim Wednesday, Nov. 4, promising details of how it downed the plane at a later date.

While more and more Western governments are coming around to accepting that the Russian airliner’s crash was caused by an explosive device, DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources repeat that they cannot rule out the possibility of a missile. The argument made on Wednesday in Washington and London that terrorist organizations do not have missiles capable of downing such planes is are simply incorrect.

ISIS-Sinai’s possession of an advanced ground-air missile system does not only endanger planes in the peninsula’s airspace, but also those aircraft flying over the Suez Canal as well as parts of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. One of the Egyptian president’s main purposes in his London visit was to try and persuade Prime Minister Cameron to join an Egyptian military operation against Ansar al Sharia in Libya and so eliminate a major prop and arms supplier for ISIS-Sinai. He does not hold out much hope of success.

After Blasting Israel, State Department Doesn’t Immediately Condemn Afghan Hospital Bombing

October 6, 2015

After Blasting Israel, State Department Doesn’t Immediately Condemn Afghan Hospital Bombing, Washington Free Beacon via You Tube, October 5, 2015

 

Jihad, Iranian-style

August 21, 2015

Jihad, Iranian-style, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, August 21, 2015

The new twist in the controversy surrounding the nuclear agreement is an argument over the veracity of a report on a side deal giving Iran the right to inspect its own nuclear facilities for potential violations. The idea is so preposterous that it must be true, judging by the rest of the top-secret document on which the U.S. Congress is going to vote in September.

But as the debate heats up over whether the deal furthers or hinders Iran’s nuclear weapon capabilities, an equally serious issue keeps being marginalized. This is the more immediate and tangible danger posed by Iran’s terrorist proxies, and the sudden financial and ideological boost the deal is providing them.

The reason it is crucial to keep an eye on their activities is that they constitute Iran’s global army — the boots on the ground, so to speak — who perform the legwork necessary for the ultimate aim of regional and global jihadist hegemony. Their role is to set the stage for that time in the not-so-distant future when Iran’s power and reach are so extensive that its leaders won’t need to waste their nuclear warheads by firing them.

This is where Israel comes in. As the only democracy in the Middle East, an ally of the West and a Jewish state, it has key strategic value. It is like the central card in a house of cards, whose removal topples the whole structure.

It is also tiny and surrounded by rogue states with an endless supply of Muslim would-be “martyrs” willing to die in the “holy” endeavor to take it down.

On Thursday, Israel received its latest message to this effect, when four rockets, launched from Syria, landed in the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. The Iran-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist organization was behind the attack, which spurred Israel to retaliate.

Also on Thursday, Israel deployed anti-missile Iron Dome batteries in the south of the country, in the areas between Ashkelon and Ashdod, as well as in Beersheba. This was in response to threats of rocket fire by Iran-baked terrorists in Gaza — whose excuse was the worsening condition of hunger-striking Palestinian terror suspect Mohammed Allan.

A review of recent Iranian rhetoric and activity, released by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, puts all of the above in context.<

Last month, the General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema (scholars) held a weekend conference titled “Unity for Palestine.”

At the gathering, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said, “We believe with certainty that Israel, this cancerous tumor, is headed for extinction, and that Palestine and Jerusalem will be returned to their people. It is only a matter of time and is linked to the will, action, jihad, and sacrifices of the Ummah [Islamic nation], according to the principle: If you achieve victory for Allah, Allah will lead you to achieve victory.”

From Iran, Ayatollah Mohsen Araki, secretary general of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, agreed.

“Annihilation of the Zionist regime is a sure thing and Quranic pledge,” he said, adding that it is important to unify “Muslims in countering the regime of Zionism and the arrogant world.”

Muhammad Hasan Zamani, a former Iranian cultural attache in Egypt who heads the Department of International Islamic Madrasas (educational institutions) for the General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema, reiterated this position.

“Israel must be erased from the map of the world,” he said. “These are the golden words Imam Khomeini, may God have mercy on him, uttered.”

Sheikh Abdel Halim Qadhi, a professor at Zahedan University in Iran, said, “The holy Quran makes it known that Jews are the enemies of Islam and the Muslims and their holy places and rites. … Jihad is the most powerful and only way to liberate Palestine and defend Jerusalem. … God loves those who fight in his way.”

Earlier this month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei published “Palestine,” a 416-page tome devoted to the issue of Israel’s inevitable demise, with a blurb on its back cover calling the author the “flagbearer of jihad to liberate Jerusalem.”

This week, Khamenei gave an abbreviated version of this on Twitter: “We spare no opportunity to support anyone #FightingTheZionists,” he wrote.

At the same time, a clip produced by the Islamic Revolution Design House, a media outlet associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, began to circulate on YouTube. The minute-and-a-half animated video depicts an Islamist invasion of Jerusalem.

The brief silent film shows soldiers from the Revolutionary Guards, Shia Badr, Hezbollah, Hamas and Qassam Brigades, clad in military gear and keffiyehs, marching to and standing on a hill overlooking the Temple Mount, as thousands upon thousands of additional terrorists amass.

An inscription in Farsi on a black screen at the end says: “Israel must be erased from the annals of history, and the youth will definitely see that day when it comes.”

Lest anyone imagine the mullahs pulling the strings in Iran don’t mean business, all one has to do is observe how they are executing their grand plan, part of which is the nuclear deal with the “Great Satan” and the other P5+1 countries. Among these is Russia, which confirmed on Wednesday that it will supply Iran with four upgraded batteries of S-300 surface-to-air missiles as soon as the deal is finalized.

Such missiles give Iran the extra benefit of being able to stave off attack. At that point, will it really matter if Iran is in charge of its own inspections?

Kerry says sinking of Iran deal would be ‘ultimate screwing of ayatollah’

August 5, 2015

Kerry says sinking of Iran deal would be ‘ultimate screwing of ayatollah,’ Jerusalem Post, August 5, 2015

(It’s as pro-Israel as the Obama administration gets. Please see also, Daniel Greenfield’s comments here. — DM)

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US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks in Singapore. (photo credit:STATE DEPARTMENT)

The secretary rejected Israel’s criticism of the nuclear agreement, saying that the deal “is as pro-Israel” as it gets.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told The Atlantic on Wednesday that if Congress were to shoot down the Iran nuclear agreement, it would be “the ultimate screwing” of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Kerry made the remarks in an interview with The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg.

The secretary rejected Israel’s criticism of the nuclear agreement, saying that the deal “is as pro-Israel” as it gets.

Reneging on the nuclear agreement, which has the support of the major world powers, would constitute a setback for Washington and justify anti-American animus in Iran.

“The ayatollah constantly believed that we are untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them,” Kerry said. “[Having Congress vote down the nuclear pact] will be the ultimate screwing.”

“The United States Congress will prove the ayatollah’s suspicion, and there’s no way he’s ever coming back. He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America. America is not going to negotiate in good faith. It didn’t negotiate in good faith now, would be his point.”

Kerry also commented on the vociferous opposition to the deal expressed by Israel, which the secretary referred to as “visceral” and “emotional.” He was adamant that the agreement was positive for Israel’s geopolitical standing.

“I’ve gone through this backwards and forwards a hundred times and I’m telling you, this deal is as pro-Israel, as pro-Israel’s security, as it gets,” Kerry said. “And I believe that just saying no to this is, in fact, reckless.”

Kerry said that he was “sensitive” to Israeli concerns over Iran’s long-term aims, but he rejected arguments made by Jerusalem that the Islamic Republic was planning its annihilation.

“I haven’t seen anything that says to me [that Iran will implement its vow of wiping Israel off the map],” the secretary said. “They’ve got 80,000 rockets in Hezbollah pointed at Israel, and any number of choices could have been made. They didn’t make the bomb when they had enough material for 10 to 12. They’ve signed on to an agreement where they say they’ll never try and make one and we have a mechanism in place where we can prove that. So I don’t want to get locked into that debate. I think it’s a waste of time here.”

“I operate on the presumption that Iran is a fundamental danger, that they are engaged in negative activities throughout the region, that they’re destabilizing places, and that they consider Israel a fundamental enemy at this moment in time,” Kerry said. “Everything we have done here [with the nuclear agreement] is not to overlook anything or to diminish any of that; it is to build a bulwark, build an antidote.”

The secretary said that the nuclear deal is even more imperative if Israel’s fears that Iran is plotting its destruction are true, since the agreement neutralizes Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khameni publishes book on how to eliminate Israel

August 2, 2015

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khameni publishes book on how to eliminate Israel, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, August 2, 2015

Ayatollah Ali Khameni has published his version of Mein Kampf, a 416 page book outlining his strategy to eliminate Israel, which he describes as  “a cancerous tumor.” Although it is currently available only in Iran, an Arabic translation is underway, and sooner or later it will achieve wide readership in the Muslim world. The Obama administration is no doubt hoping it will achieve no notice in the United States until after the Iran deal is voted upon, because the plan advocated will be immensely aided by its implementation.

Amir Taheri of the New York Post obtained a copy from Iran:

Khamenei makes his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a state.

He uses three words. One is “nabudi” which means “annihilation.” The other is “imha” which means “fading out,” and, finally, there is “zaval” meaning “effacement.”

Khameni does not call for wiping out Israel with a nuclear bomb. He states that one of his fondest desires is to pray in Jerusalem. Instead, his plan is one of terrorism and pressure, keeping Israel from fighting back against Iran, the sponsor of terror, with the implicit threat of nuclear retaliation.

 What he recommends is a long period of low-intensity warfare designed to make life unpleasant if not impossible for a majority of Israeli Jews so that they leave the country.

His calculation is based on the assumption that large numbers of Israelis have double-nationality and would prefer emigration to the United States and Europe to daily threats of death.

Iran has many allies in this effort, including the BDS movement in the United States. Cripple Israel economically, and her economically productive people will leave. Make the political cost of supporting Israel high. That will pave the way for an internationally-sponsored plebiscite engineered to produce a Muslim state:

Under Khamenei’s scheme, Israel, plus the West Bank and Gaza, would revert to a United Nations mandate for a brief period during which a referendum is held to create the new state of Palestine.

All Palestinians and their descendants, wherever they are, would be able to vote, while Jews “who have come from other places” would be excluded.

Double standards are inherent in Islamic thinking. Any land that once fell under Muslim control belongs to Muslims by right. So Israelis who only boast a few generations in Israel are excluded, while Arabs whose families once lived in Israel generations ago are automatically qualified.

Khamenei does not mention any figures for possible voters in his dream referendum. But studies by the Islamic Foreign Ministry in Tehran suggest that at least eight million Palestinians across the globe would be able to vote against 2.2 million Jews “acceptable” as future second-class citizens of new Palestine. Thus, the “Supreme Guide” is certain of the results of his proposed referendum.

With a $150 billion war chest, thanks to the Obama deal, and the prospect of oil exploration and other business expansion in Iran, there will be plenty of money available to subsidize Hezb’allah, Hamas, and other terror attacks against Israelis and Jews (such as the attack on the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires).

Khamenei boasts about the success of his plans to make life impossible for Israelis through terror attacks from Lebanon and Gaza. His latest scheme is to recruit “fighters” in the West Bank to set up Hezbollah-style units.

“We have intervened in anti-Israel matters, and it brought victory in the 33-day war by Hezbollah against Israel in 2006 and in the 22-day war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip,” he boasts.

Far from a spittle-flecked madman, Khameni is coldly calculating, and explains a plan that is already underway with considerable success. And he has many allies in this country, some of them in high places.

 

Islamic State at Israel’s Gate

June 12, 2015

Islamic State at Israel’s Gate, Front Page Magazine, June 12, 2015

(According to Israel National News

Late on Thursday night “color red” rocket sirens were sounded in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, as well as throughout the Ashkelon Coast regional council.

At least one rocket was identified as having been fired from Gaza, but IDF officials said it is believed the rocket exploded inside Gaza. No rockets were found in Israeli territory.

— DM)

ISIS-in-Gaza-404x350

All this is happening while the Obama administration, by the president’s own admission, has no clear strategy to defeat ISIS. At the same time, President Obama’s “strategy” to deal with Iran is to make concession after concession in order to secure any nuclear deal he can, including the possibility of providing Iran with relief from sanctions that were imposed for non-nuclear related reasons such as Iran’s support for terrorist activities

In short, Israel is facing Iran-backed Hamas from the south, Iran-backed Hezbollah from the north, and an expanding Islamic State presence north and south of Israel and within Israel itself. And that is before Iran gets its hands on a nuclear bomb and the Islamic State has enough radioactive material to build its own weapons of mass destruction.

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Jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) are carrying on the rocket war against Israeli civilians from where Hamas left off. Following several rocket attacks in the last several weeks for which the Islamic State has taken credit, rockets launched from Gaza Thursday night exploded in the Ashkelon area.

Israel is still holding Hamas responsible for the attacks as the governing authority in Gaza.

“The IDF understands that Hamas wants quiet and is making an effort to prevent the shooting, but the State of Israel still sees Hamas as responsible for what happens in Gaza,” said Sami Turgeman, head of IDF’s Southern Command.

The Israeli military responded with measured attacks on Hamas facilities, while at the same time trying to avoid setting off a wider war at this time.  But Israel’s hand is being forced by the Islamic State, which is evidently working assiduously to supplant Hamas as the authoritative Islamic power in Gaza. The Gaza branch calls itself the Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade. It is cooperating with another ISIS-affiliated group operating in the Sinai Peninsula, which calls itself Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

According to a June 8th report by Debkafile, “Islamic State operatives in the Gaza Strip have been helping themselves to Hamas rockets in recent weeks after furtively penetrating the factory teams operating the group’s production and assembly lines… The jihadis then secretly passed the stolen rockets to their squads for launching against Israel.”

On June 7th Debkafile noted in more general terms Hamas’s loss of control in Gaza in the face of Islamic State infiltration: “The terror infrastructure Hamas built over many years in Sinai has been taken over by ISIS, and its control of the Gaza Strip is slipping, as yet more radical and violent organizations eat away at its authority and seize control of the rocket offensive against Israel.”

Thus, even as Hamas remains committed to the destruction of Israel and is trying to re-build its arms stockpiles with Iran’s help, it is engaged simultaneously in its own battles with the Islamic State. Hamas has arrested some ISIS supporters and bulldozed a Sunni mosque believed to have been used by ISIS affiliated jihadists, while Hamas’s own facilities have come under attack by ISIS affiliated jihadists. Hamas also claimed in a message to Israeli authorities, routed through an Egyptian intermediary, that jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State were deliberately trying to spark a renewed war between Israel and Hamas.

The Islamic State is also trying to position itself to challenge Israel from the north. Israeli TV Channel 2 reported last week that the Islamic State is moving forces in the direction of the Golan Heights and the Israeli border.

Moreover, ISIS is developing an increasing presence within Israel itself. Recruits, influenced by ISIS’s slick social media promotions, are attracted to ISIS’s self-declared purer Islamic ideology. Hamas is apparently too “moderate” for these jihadists’ tastes.

“Dozens of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join insurgent groups.” Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency said in a statement released last January 4th. Israel had announced that it managed to crack one Islamic State cell on its soil and arrested its alleged members. An Israeli security official described the cell as “just the tip of the iceberg.”

Last July, the Islamic State previewed its intentions in a statement that it issued regarding jihad against Israel:

As for the massacres taking place in Gaza against the Muslim men, women and children, then the Islamic State will do everything within its means to continue striking down every apostate who stands as an obstacle on its paths towards Palestine. It is only [a] matter of time and patience before it (Islamic State) reaches Palestine to fight the barbaric Jews and kill those of them hiding behind the gharqad trees – the trees of the Jews.

Arutz Sheva reported that a spokesperson for the Islamic State, Nidal Nuseiri, urged patience as the Islamic State wanted first to consolidate its control over Arab Muslim lands, but “reaffirmed that conquering ‘Bayt el-Maqdis’ (Jerusalem) and destroying the State of Israel is central to the group’s jihad.” Thanks to President Obama’s dithering, the Islamic State is well on its way to achieving such consolidation in Iraq and Syria, while spreading to Libya.

At least three questions arise from the emergence of ISIS as a direct threat to Israel. Will Israeli military and security forces, either on their own or in concert with Jordan and Egypt, take on ISIS directly, including going after ISIS’s command and control centers with far more firepower than the Obama administration has used thus far?

To what extent will Israel be willing to outsource military operations against ISIS affiliates in Gaza to Hamas, much as it has outsourced some security operations to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank? Major-General Turgeman tried to cast Hamas as the lesser of two evils, since, he claimed, “Israel and Hamas have shared interests, including in the current situation, which is quiet and calm and growth and prosperity.” Hamas “does not want global jihad,” he added. This is a truly incredible assertion coming from an Israeli military leader about a group willing to put its own citizens and their homes in harm’s way in order to launch their own thousands of rockets against Israel. What happened to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s concise description of Hamas and the Islamic State as “branches of the same poisonous tree?” This just further demonstrates how completely insane the Middle East has become.

Finally, how successful will Iran be in exploiting the chaotic situation in Gaza, positioning itself as it has in Iraq as an enemy of ISIS, while further bolstering Hamas to Israel’s detriment?

All this is happening while the Obama administration, by the president’s own admission, has no clear strategy to defeat ISIS. At the same time, President Obama’s “strategy” to deal with Iran is to make concession after concession in order to secure any nuclear deal he can, including the possibility of providing Iran with relief from sanctions that were imposed for non-nuclear related reasons such as Iran’s support for terrorist activities.

In short, Israel is facing Iran-backed Hamas from the south, Iran-backed Hezbollah from the north, and an expanding Islamic State presence north and south of Israel and within Israel itself. And that is before Iran gets its hands on a nuclear bomb and the Islamic State has enough radioactive material to build its own weapons of mass destruction.