A number of Israeli cities opened their bomb shelters Sunday after two or three Katyusha-type rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel.
Several reports indicate that the rockets were fired from a location close to the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidiya. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) apparently took responsibility for the attack.
The rockets followed the killing of Samir Kantar, a militant in the Shia group responsible for the 1979 murder of three Israelis, including a four-year-old girl.
Meanwhile, Israelis in the north, including family of ministry staff have been bracing for additional attacks, spending time in the bomb shelters.
Rockets in the north are not the only threat in Israel. The threat of Islamic State (IS or ISIS) attacks inside Israel and against Israelis traveling abroad also has become very real.
Two weeks ago, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) charged five Israeli Arab men of the Suliman family from Nazareth with creating an Islamic State terror cell. The family had been practicing with weapons and was found to have exchanged private messages on Facebook expressing support for ISIS jihadist teachings. (Arutz Sheva)
The arrest follows a similar sting in August where the Shin Bet and Israeli police stopped a planned attack on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base by three Arabs from the Yafia Council in northern Israel. The men had prepared guns and firebombs while training and assessing intelligence about the IDF base for a year prior to their arrest.
The trio — Mohammad Ihab Sharif, Mohammad Hamad Mohammad Jazala and Ahmad Omar Mohammad Mahajana, aged 22, 23 and 19, — were affiliated with the Islamic State and said during interrogations that ISIS had encouraged them to carry out an attack in Israel.
They also were suspected of planning to strike police precincts and vehicles, as well as businesses selling alcohol.
These eight are not the only Israeli Arabs to join hands with the Islamic State.
In August, an Israeli Arab woman was arrested in Turkey after attempting to enter Syria; she was first reported missing by her children and husband. (Haaretz)
In July, a 23-year-old Israeli Arab was convicted of entering Syria and joining the Islamic State. As well, six residents of the Hura village in the Negev — including four school teachers — were arrested for starting an IS cell and teaching Islamist ideology to their pupils and others.
Another suspected IS cell comprised of seven Israeli Arabs in the Galilee was broken up late last year with officials describing their secret meetings as discussing “Salafist Jihadist ideology, Islamic State’s activity in Syria and preparations for traveling to Syria to fight.”
The Shin Bet told reporters the members would learn how to set up Molotov cocktails and how to slaughter animals “as mental preparation for slaughtering ‘infidels’ on Syrian soil.” (Haaretz)
Islam’s Black Flags Wave in Israel
Israel declared the Islamic State “an illegal organization” in September 2014, and categorized it as a terrorist organization this October.
Black flags had appeared in numerous cities during the middle of 2014, including Acre, Nazareth, Umm el-Fahm, Kafr Qana, Sakhnin and eastern Jerusalem, writes Ariel Koch in an essay in The Institute For National Security Studies entitled “Military and Strategic Affairs” (p. 128).
At the end of July 2014, “a sign featuring the black flag had been erected across the entrance from the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, one of the most sacred sites in Christianity,” Koch writes, adding, “In October, the slogan ‘The Islamic State is coming’ appeared as graffiti near the Christian village of Bana in the Galilee.”
Israel Issues Holiday Travel Warnings
The threat is not limited to Israelis at home; Israel feels that Israelis abroad are also at risk.
Following the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has issued a general travel warning to its citizens to be vigilant, especially in crowded places.
“Despite the absence of concrete information regarding terror attacks, the bureau is asking the public to be in a state of heightened attention during overseas visits,” the statement reads, noting “a marked increase in the daring nature … of terror attacks around the world by international jihad organizations, especially by ISIS.”
“ISIS continues to say that it intends to continue to harm states that are participating in the fight against it in Iraq and Syria,” the bureau stated.
Berlin, in fact, foiled ISIS-inspired plans to attack the city’s Israeli embassy and a synagogue earlier in the year. The Berlin Criminal Court recently charged two Palestinian men, both 21, in “planning a massive act of violence.” (JPost)
Court spokesman Tobiah Kaehni said the men had pistol cartridges, illegal fireworks explosives, baseball bats and knives gathered; and according to information from the trial, the leader of the two men was fascinated with the Islamic State and its terror attack on a seaside resort in Tunisia in June.
Are Attacks on Israel Imminent?
“‘You will say, ‘I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people … I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations.'” (Ezekiel 38:11–12)
Increased attacks abroad have Israeli officials preparing for possible strikes by the Islamic State in 2016 at home.
With Russia inflicting damage on the Islamic State (Da’esh) from the air, the Middle East Newsline (MENL) says “an exodus” of terrorists could result in a refocusing of attacks on Israel.
“We have been very fortunate until now,” an Israeli source told MENL, “but it looks like ISIS is preparing to find other venues and the most logical one is here.”
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, “liberating Jerusalem” is the Islamic State’s long-term goal, while the short-term threat from Islamic militants to all Jews abroad is entirely credible.
This month, a senior defense official in Israel has said an attack on Israel by the Islamic State “is only a matter of time” and its lack of a centralized hierarchy will make an Israeli response or offensive maneuver beforehand difficult. (BIN)
“Who would we even attack in Syria that the international coalition and the Russians aren’t attacking already?” the official asked. (YNet)
On October 23, ISIS issued threats against Israel in a Hebrew-language video. The young spokesman stated from behind his mask that “the true war hasn’t yet started; what you’ve experienced until now is a child’s war compared to what will happen soon.” (Arutz Sheva)
“We promise you that not a single Jew will be left in the entire country,” the masked, gun-toting youth said. “Look how you responded to a few car attacks and stabbings: you fell on your heads, you shot anyone who drives fast and anyone with something in their hand. Think what will happen to you when soon tens of thousands from all over the world will come to slaughter you and throw you in the trash.”
“We aren’t just speaking hot air,” he added, “We are getting closer to you from every place, from Sinai and from Damascus and more. The account between us is getting longer and longer. The account will be closed soon.”
“You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land.” (Ezekiel 38:15–16)
Although the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has stated that “ISIS has no real organized presence among the Palestinians in either the Gaza Strip or the West Bank,” earlier this month in Gaza, Hamas hosted the head of the Sinai’s ISIS group, Shadi Al-Mani’i (also called Abu Mus’abi) to discuss deepening cooperation.
This past Tuesday, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy reported on the growing cooperation: Hamas has provided training to the ISIS Sinai Province fighters and the Sinai-based group has facilitated the smuggling of weapons to Hamas, taking a “generous cut” from each shipment — such as the Kornet antitank missiles already used against an Egyptian patrol boat.
“Israeli intelligence has been alerting Western and Arab security agencies for over a year now to the growing cooperation between Hamas and IS Sinai. Until a few months ago, these warnings were met with skepticism because Israel was reluctant to share its sources,” Ehud Yaari writes for the Washington Institute.
Israel has given Egypt room to carry out air strikes against ISIS in the Sinai from Israeli air space and has previously allowed Egyptian troops into the “weapons-free” no-man’s land near the Israeli border to confront the terror network in the Peninsula. (Algemeiner)
“Hamas cooperation with IS Sinai presents a double challenge: it undermines Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts, and it opens the door to IS gaining more ground among the Palestinians,” Yaari adds. “Indeed, further recruitment efforts could eventually turn IS into a powerful competitor against Hamas and Fatah, whose popularity keeps declining.”
“With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.’ With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you.” (Psalm 83:3–5)
Islamic State Tyranny Rises
The evil of ISIS is already proven. Its efforts and ideology remain uncontained in the Middle East, with the militants’ number of murders in Iraq and Syria topping 10,000, including women and children.
The “Islamic Caliphate” declared itself on June 29, 2014 to be “the Islamic State.” IS. leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself the “Caliph” on July 1, calling on Muslims worldwide to obey him.
IS’ goal to establish an Islamic caliphate is shared by other terror groups worldwide, which have acted under their own flag or have pledged allegiance to the Levant-based organization that has terrorized and displaced millions in Iraq and Syria.
Last September, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights jointly described Da’esh’s “intentional and systematic targeting of members of ethnic and religious communities in the areas it had seized.”
These groups included Yazidis, Shi’a Turkmen and Shabaks, Christians, Sabaeans, Kaka’e and Faili Kurds communities, according to the UNAMI/OHCHR report, which lists, in Iraq, 8,493 civilians killed between January and August 2014 (casualty numbers differ) and the displacement of 1.8 million people.
According to Juliana Taimoorazy, founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, Iraq’s 1.5 million Christians in 2003 have shrunk to 300,000 in 2015. Assyrians of Northern Iraq and Syria are pleading with the western Church to listen to their cries for help, and not “sing louder” in the manner of some church-goers during the Holocaust, as a new genocide confronts the Christians of the Middle East.
Every five minutes, a Christian is killed in Iraq by I.S. or other terror groups when they are unable to pay the weighty jizya tax — extortion money paid by conquered monotheists to their Islamist overlords. (CFI)
This past week, reports of an oral fatwa to kill babies born with Down’s Syndrome or other disabilities identified 38 infant murders linked to these criteria, via suffocation or lethal injection. This Nazi-like death sentence was given by Saudi native and Da’esh judge Abu Said Aljazrawi, with claims that babies with deformities were sired by “foreign fighters.”
ISIS kidnaps and dehumanizes young boys into “Caliphate Cubs” — training them with knives and guns; they are used to carry out Da’esh’s goals of merciless, bloody slaughter.
Minority groups such as the Christian Assyrians and Zoroastrian Yazidis are at a much higher risk for their lives, where their men are killed and their women and children are taken as sex slaves. The entrapped slaves are given to top Da’esh leaders, auctioned off or sold according to a circulated price list — often multiple times — and are used for sex by many different militants on a regular basis.
“Islamic State Militants in Iraq are using Christian churches as torture chambers where they force Christians to either convert to Islam or die,” the president of Christian Freedom International (CFI), Jim Jacobson told IBTimes.
Last December, four Iraqi Christian children all under 15 were beheaded in front of their parents after refusing to convert to Islam, states the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Andrew Canon White.
“They said, ‘No, we love Yasua. We have always loved Yasua. We have always followed Yasua. Yasua has always been with us,'” White told CBN. “[The I.S. militants] said, ‘Say the words!’ [The children] said, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ They chopped all their heads off.”
Other reports from this August tell of a Christian priest in Syria that the IS held for ransom for the price of $120,000. Upon receiving the ransom money from the priest’s family, Da’esh killed the priest, cutting his body into pieces and sending them to his family in a box. (IBTimes)
Assyrian Christians, the declared descendants of the Ninevites that repented to God after the intervention of Jonah, want the world powers to secure them a safe haven, ICRC says, preferably in the Nineveh Plains, their ancient home.
Meanwhile, as the conflict continued in the Middle East, the Islamist militants entered Europe with a multi-fold Parisian strike on November 13, killing 129 people; and have elsewhere terrorized and threatened communities across the world.
IS or IS-Inspired Attacks Increase Across the Globe
The poison of the Islamic State continues to spread. It has been directly involved in or has inspired 50+ attacks in 18 countries around the world. (CNN)
With Paris, CNN has tracked another five attacks in Europe believed to be inspired by the Islamic State, including the May 24, 2014, shooting of the Jewish Museum in Brussels; the January 9 seizure of a Parisian kosher grocery; and the February 14 killing of a Copenhagen-synagogue security guard.
The Islamic State also has inspired five attacks in North America since October 2014, including the San Bernardino shooting this December 2. In Australia, two attacks last year are thought to be I.S.-inspired as are three attacks in Bangladesh in 2015.
A separate September 2015 shooting in Bangladesh was believed to be conducted by I.S. contractors, and an April 2015 bombing attack in Afghanistan that killed 33 people was claimed by the I.S. affiliate Wilayat Khorasan.
In the Middle East and North Africa, where Da’esh is primarily active, CNN lists 30 attacks “believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates” in 2015 alone, including the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians; the shootings at Tunisia’s Bardo Museum and Sousse seaside resort; the bombings of mosques in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; and other bombings in Suruc, in Cairo at the Italian Consulate and in Ankara at a peace rally.