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BRIEFS

 Operation Pillar of Defense…In BRIEF

Rocket hits empty Ashkelon school
(JNS.org) A rocket from Gaza directly hit an empty school building in Ashkelon on Monday, Israel Hayom reported. Classes in Israel’s south have been canceled since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense on Nov. 14. More than 120 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday. On Monday, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three of four rockets fired at Ashkelon. IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai said IDF attacked 40 arms smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel facing cyberwar on top of rocket attacks
(JNS.org) Hackers attempted to launch more than one million cyber attacks against Israeli government websites over a 24-hour period from Sunday to Monday, with more than 1,000 sites being hacked, Israel Hayom reported. The most prominent attacks were against military industry websites, during which hackers apparently tried extracting information about the Iron Dome missile defense system, as well as other military systems.
The Israeli government’s teleprocessing unit, which operated on emergency alert status, also reported an unprecedented number of cyberattacks. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz visited the unit’s control center, where he was told that since the onset of Operation Pillar of Defense Nov. 14, more than 44 million attempts to disrupt government websites were detected. Steinitz said just one hacking attempt was successful on a site he did not want to name, but it was up and running after 10 minutes of downtime. While the attacks have come from around the world, most have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.

CAMERA: NY Times coverage whitewashed Hamas terror
(JNS.org) A Nov. 14 New York Times online news story that covered Israel’s “Pillar of Defense” operation, which came in response to an onslaught of rockets launched on the Jewish state by Hamas, in its headline (http://is.gd/MP4T8O) described the operation as a “Ferocious Israeli Assault on Gaza.” On its editorial page (http://is.gd/3KA6hY), the Times used similar language, saying Israel “launched one of the most ferocious assaults on Gaza since its invasion four years ago.” The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) noted that the newspaper described Hamas terror chief Ahmed Jabari, who was killed in the Israel operation, “deceivingly as simply a ‘military commander.’”
“Disregard that [Jabari] was involved in multiple terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, including a 1998 attack on a school bus that killed two children,” CAMERA wrote on its blog, regarding the Times editorial. “Ignore the fact he commanded the operation in which Gilad Shalit was abducted and two other IDF soldiers killed. Forget that he ordered the launching of rockets into Israeli cities. All the above facts went unmentioned.” The Times editorial also said Hamas “has mostly adhered to an informal cease-fire with Israel after the war there in the winter of 2008-09,” when in reality “the number of rockets launched into Israel had been steadily increasing to more than 650 fired during 2011 and more than 800 fired in 2012,” according to CAMERA.

Hamas appoint new terror chief
(JNS.org) Hamas announced the successor to slain commander, Ahmed Jabari, on Nov. 15, and promised deadly surprises for Israel.
The new commander of Hamas’s Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Marwan Abed al-Khareem Issa, 48, a native Gazan from Jabaliyya, was assassinated by Israel today. Issa served as Jabari’s deputy for years, and commanded special units in Islamic Jihad, according to Israel Hayom. In a televised speech on Hamas’s official TV station, faction leader Ismail Haniyeh warned that “After firing at Tel Aviv, Hamas has yet to show its full force …. In 2009 we held our ground until the enemy begged for a cease-fire. Our strength comes from Islam and we will show our ability to endure this time as well.”

Palestinian media praises terrorist leader Jabari as ‘martyr’
(JNS.org) The day after the targeted killing of Hamas terrorist chief Ahmed Jabari, the Palestinian media lead with headlines praising his “martyrdom,” despite his long history of involvement in terrorism against Israeli civilians. According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, referred to Jabari’s death as Shahada—martyrdom death for Allah—calling it “the crowning achievement of his life of struggle” and “his self-sacrificing actions (i.e., terror attacks) will be told for generations to come and will be eternalized in memory.” The PA’s support for Jabari comes despite his position as part of its rival, Hamas. The PA broke with Hamas in 2006 after Hamas forces ousted the PA from Gaza in a bloody coup. Meanwhile, in Gaza, tens of thousands took to the streets for Jabari’s funeral procession from Gaza’s Omari Mosque, according to the Times of Israel.
Jabari was arrested by Israeli forces in 1982 as a member of Fatah and spent 13 years in an Israeli prison, where he switched allegiance to Hamas. After his release in 1995, he rose through the ranks of Hamas’s terrorist wing—the Izz Adin al-Qassam Brigades—for his role in several terrorist attacks against Israel, such as a 1998 terror attack on a school bus that killed two Israeli children. In 2002, he took over as a Hamas commander. In 2006, he directed the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In a 2006 interview with Al-Jazeera on the targeting of civilians, Jabari said “The Jew who comes to the soil of Palestine… is fighting us, and we will fight him and kill him,” according to PMW.

IDF takes Pillar of Defense to social media
(JNS.org) The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is also taking the war to Twitter.
“The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites and operatives in the Gaza Strip, chief among them Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets,” said the IDF spokesperson’s unit, according to Globes. The IDF tweets regularly about the launch and interception of rockets, and it also tweeted the video showing the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari.
In addition to Twitter, the IDF is posting frequently on Facebook. One post, “Hamas rocket threat,” shows a map of rocket ranges and Israeli cities, and the statement, “Tonight, more than one million Israelis are going to sleep in bomb shelters. This operation will bring a better tomorrow. Share if you believe Israel has the right to defend itself.” Another post states, “Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 12,000 rockets against Israel in the last 12 years. Share if you believe Israel has the right to defend itself.”

Turkish PM labels Israel a ‘terrorist state’
(JNS.org) Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled Israel as a “terrorist state” during a speech on the Gaza conflict, harsh remarks signaling a new low between the former allies. “Those who speak of Muslims and terror side by side are turning a blind eye when Muslims are massacred en masse,” the prime minister told a gathering of the Eurasian Islamic Council. “For this reason, I say that Israel is a terrorist state, and its acts are terrorist acts,” he said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Ties between Israel and Turkey have been deteriorating for a number of years under the leadership of Turkey’s Islamist AKP party. Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians and strongly backs Palestinian statehood, especially following the 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident, in which Israeli commandoes killed nine activists—including eight Turks and one Turkish-American, who violently attacked the commandoes as they bordered the ship, Mavi Marmara, headed for Gaza. Later, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and froze military cooperation after Israel refused to apologize following a United Nations report that largely exonerated Israel. More recently, a Turkish court has begun a trial of four high-ranking Israeli officers in absentia for their involvement in the flotilla incident.
Erdogan’s harsh comments come amid pressure from the U.S. for Turkey and Egypt to do more to broker a ceasefire.

Lebanese army disarms two rockets aimed at Israel
(JNS.org) Two Katyusha rockets aimed at Israel from southern Lebanon were discovered and disarmed by the Lebanese army, a security official told the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star. “An Army patrol unit discovered this afternoon in the area between the village of Halta and Mari in the qada of Hasbaya two 107 mm Grad rockets set to launch,” the Lebanese Army said in a statement. According to the security source, the rockets at full power could have reached at least seven kilometers into Israel. Southern Lebanon is another potential flashpoint for Israel. In 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a bitter conflict there. While Hezbollah is the main threat from the region, other Palestinian or Islamic terrorist groups also operate inside Lebanon. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008, several rockets were launched by terrorists from Lebanon into northern Israel, provoking a brief Israeli response.

Rocket hits empty Ashkelon school
(JNS.org) A rocket from Gaza directly hit an empty school building in Ashkelon on Monday, Israel Hayom reported. Classes in Israel’s south have been canceled since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense on Nov. 14. More than 120 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday. On Monday, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three of four rockets fired at Ashkelon. IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai said IDF attacked 40 arms smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

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