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Ten Hamas Tunnel Terrorists Killed. Emergency Lifted Around Gaza

By DEBKAfile,, VOA News & Israel Hayom

Two bands of Hamas terrorists made it into Israel's Western Negev Monday through tunnels. They were on a mission for a mega-terror attack against at least one Israeli civilian target. One of the bands was spotted between two kibbutzim, Erez and Nir, and destroyed; the other launched anti-tank rockets at an IDF vehicle. A firefight developed, causing an unspecified number of Israeli casualties, before it was liquidated by Israeli assault helicopters. Altogether 10 Hamas terrorists were killed in this latest incident of Hamas tunnel terror.

OC. Southern Command Gen. Sammy Torjeman revealed that the Hamas terrorists who came out of tunnels early Monday 200m from Kibbutz Nir Am were clad in IDF issue uniforms and flak jackets and armed with Kalashnikovs.

When the heavily armed and camouflaged terrorists were detected, residents in nearby kibbutzim were told to lock themselves indoors, and traffic was halted on area roads and highways as troops engaged the terrorists in a firefight, killing ten of them. During the battle, the terrorists fired anti-tank missiles, and Israel Radio reported that there were casualties to Israeli security forces.

A barrage of seven rockets was fired from Gaza towards southern Israel on Monday evening, around 11 p.m. The rockets exploded in open regions in the city of Be'er Sheva, causing no physical injuries or damages.

Two rockets were also fired towards the city of Ashdod. One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and a second was exploded in an open region. Yet another rocket exploded in an open area in the Eshkol region, causing no physical injuries or damages. Sirens were also heard in the city of Ashkelon and the vicinity. Rocket attacks on Monday also targeted central Israel, including Holon, Bat Yam, Lod, and Rishon LeZion.

Heavy fighting continued Monday in Gaza, with Israeli war planes bombarding more than 50 Hamas targets, Hamas firing as many rockets back into the Jewish state, and the death toll topping 500. Israel reported hitting two weapons manufacturing sites and six underground rocket launchers on Monday.

Palestinian officials said more than 500 Gaza residents have been killed by the Israeli attacks, including 25 in one home in a Sunday raid, all but one from the same family.

"Twenty-five people! Doesn't this indicate that Israel is ruthless or not? Are we the liars? The evidence is here in the morgue refrigerators," said Sabri Abu James, one of the survivors, in condemning the Israeli assault. "The evidence is in the refrigerators." A total of 20 Israelis, including two civilians, have been killed since the offensive began July 8.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has published a translation of the social media guidelines of Hamas' Ministry of the Interior. The main goal in these guidelines is to portray Hamas as the victim of Israeli aggression.

"Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don't forget to always add "innocent civilian" or "innocent citizen" in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

"Begin [your reports of] news of resistance actions with the phrase "In response to the cruel Israeli attack," and conclude with the phrase "This many people have been martyred since Israel launched its aggression against Gaza." Be sure to always perpetuate the principle of "the role of the occupation is attack, and we in Palestine are fulfilling [the role of] the reaction."

"Do not publish photos of military commanders. Do not mention their names in public, and do not praise their achievements in conversations with foreign friends. Gazans were also warned not to post photos of rockets being fired, as that would give "a pretext for attacking residential areas in the Gaza Strip."

Gazans using social media were also given practical advice by Hamas: "Do not publish close-ups of masked men with heavy weapons, so that your page will not be shut down [by Facebook] on the claim that you are inciting violence."

President Barack Obama on Monday commented on the ongoing conflict in Gaza, saying that Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas but that he has serious concerns about the rise in civilian deaths. Obama stressed he does not want to see any more civilians killed in the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel is "making every effort" to avoid civilian casualties. But, he warned they would continue as long as Hamas sustained its rocket attacks on the Jewish state. "We are making every effort not to harm the residents, while Hamas is making every effort for the residents of Gaza to be harmed," Netanyahu said. "We are sorry about every innocent person hurt. But as they are getting injured, Hamas is to blame and Hamas alone. "

Two U.S. citizens, 24-year-old Max Steinberg and 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, were among the 13 IDF soldiers killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip early Sunday morning.

Steinberg, whose family lives in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, was a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade. His father, Stuart Steinberg, said Max visited Israel for the first time in June 2012 on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, which helped him realize where he belonged. After the trip was over, he told his parents that he was planning to return to Israel and join the Israel Defense Forces. Max Steinberg made good on that promise less than six months later, and lived in the southern city of Be'er Sheva.

"He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel," Stuart Steinberg said. "He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing."

Stuart Steinberg last spoke to his son at 4 a.m. (Los Angeles time, 2 p.m. in Israel) Saturday. Max Steinberg called his father to tell him that his group had been injured when two of their tanks collided, and had returned to Israel for treatment. Some soldiers had broken bones, and Max had sprained his back, his father said. "He called me up at 4 a.m. and said he'd be returning to Gaza, back to combat, to be with his friends."

Nissim Sean Carmeli, who also served in the Golani Brigade, was the son of Israelis who moved to the U.S. many years ago. His parents, Alon and Dalia, left their home in South Padre Island in Texas on Sunday to travel to Israel to bury their son. Carmeli returned to Israel from the U.S. in 2008 and completed high school in Raanana, where he lived with his two sisters, Gal and Or.

Thousands of people attended the funeral of fallen IDF soldier Nissim Sean Carmeli, who was laid to rest in Haifa on Monday night. Carmeli was a lone soldier who had no other family in Israel other than his two sisters.

As a result of his situation, officials of the Maccabi Haifa soccer team called on its fans to attend Carmeli's funeral "so that his funeral will not be empty." In the call to fans, the soccer club said that "Carmeli was a lone soldier, and we don't want his funeral to be empty. Come to his funeral Monday night to pay respects to a man who died so that we could live. This is the least we can do for him and for our nation," the message said.

Israeli media estimated that anywhere from 12,000 to as many as 20,000 people had heeded Maccabi Haifa's call and attended the funeral.

And the war has reached home, as this personal note from your editor relates: A nephew of my ex-wife posted this on my Facebook page after he was informed of the death of his nephew's friend.

"When I met my nephew, Aaron, he was about two years old. My sisters and mom took his older brother, Yonatan, to Disney and left (Aaron) sleeping... When he woke up I was sitting in the kitchen. He came to the kitchen and looked around. He looked at me and kept on looking around. He is another son to me. Words cannot describe how much I love this kid!

"My sister and her two kids moved back to Israel. I couldn't stop crying for days and was saddened by it for years. Yonatan was 5 and Aaron 3. Now they are 21 and 19. Aaron was here in the States to visit his father and older brother who reside in the U.S. He was supposed to stay here until Wednesday (but) his visit was cut short.

"He's on his way back to Israel today because one of his best friends, Daniel, was killed last night in Gaza. May God rest his soul in heaven. I pray to Hashem to watch over my Aaron and over all the children of Israel and the world. May none of us know the grief of losing our children and may this nightmare end now by some miracle and we all live in peace!

"My Aaron is definitely going directly to the line of fire (so) please pray with me for my boy and for all the young men who are in danger. Thank you"

Israel Reported to Hit Hamas-Bound Rocket Arsenal in Sudan


The Jerusalem Post cited reports Monday that the Israeli military struck a Sudanese weapons stockpile last week. Sources in Khartoum claimed on Monday that Israeli forces struck a weapons arsenal which held long range missiles for Hamas.

The Arabic-language UK-based newspaper Al-Arab reported that the government in Sudan is not confirming the incident in order to cover up relations with the terrorist organization in Gaza. Such ties could entangle the country's president Omar al-Bashir with an accusation of supporting terrorism from the US and Western nations. The attack, the Post reported, "came only hours after Israel accused the Sudanese government of storing long range missiles for Hamas."

Sudan has long been suspected of being a way station for arms being shipped from Iran to its client Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Arms shipments and factories in Sudan have reportedly been struck by Israel in the past. In 2009, it was reported that Israel struck a convoy of trucks bearing arms to Gaza. Another two weapons convoys were attacked in 2001. An arms factory was reportedly targeted by Israel in 2012.

In March of this year, Israel intercepted the Klos-C, a ship with arms destined for Gaza, just off of Port Sudan in the Red Sea.

Singing Familiar Songs Helps Alzheimer's Patients Speak

By Reuters &

With advanced Alzheimer's disease, language deteriorates and patients spontaneously speak less and less. In a small study from Israel, group music therapy sessions using tailored songs helped people with middle- to late-stage Alzheimer's strike up communication.

The study may be small, but it nicely demonstrates what music therapists and gerontologists have known for a while, said Alicia Ann Clair, director of the Music Education and Music Therapy Division at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, who wasn't part of the study. "It's one of those things that's kind of known but has not been researched so it's great this was done," Clair told Reuters Health.

In her experience, singing is a great way to engage with some people with advanced dementia. People who may not otherwise be able to communicate may start to spontaneously sing along, otherwise vocalize, make eye contact or simply calm down, she said.

"But (the new study) was done with people who had a history of singing and enjoying it and being part of a singing culture. If you try to do this with non-singers I don't know if they would engage," she noted. For the study, six patients ages 65 to 83 attended group music therapy sessions twice a week for a month. Four of the patients were born in Israel; the other two were born in Eastern Europe and immigrated to Israel in their early teens.

The patients were not able to consent to the study due to their cognitive state, so their legal guardians or main caregivers gave consent.

Ayelet Dassa, a music therapist and the lead author of the study, selected 24 songs popular in Israel between 1930 and the late 1950s for the sessions. "In Israel especially for this group, they came here or were born when the state was becoming independent," Dassa told Reuters Health. The songs she chose were part of the foundation of the patients' adult identity, which was tied to their country and their heritage, she said.

The music sessions led to spontaneous conversations about the songs, memories the songs triggered and about the act of singing as a group. Some participants talked about life on the Kibbutz many decades ago, or about learning certain songs in school with their music teachers. Others expressed pride at being able to remember lyrics to the songs and participating as part of a group.

Dassa published the study in the Journal of Music Therapy as part of her doctoral dissertation with the help of her advisor, Dorit Amir, in the music department of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.

"A large part of the conversation was about how they sang as individuals (and) as a group, and they gave compliments to each other," she said. Many were excited to continue singing even after the study was over, Dassa said. "The idea that they are part of something is very important to people with Alzheimer's," she said. "They lose their sense of self. Their self esteem is very low."

The major burden in Alzheimer's disease is losing communication, which distresses patients and can make families feel isolated or hopeless, she said. In her nearly 20 years of working with these patients as a music therapist, she noticed that singing could act like a bridge over that divide.

She has seen people who couldn't speak or communicate in any way suddenly start singing, she said. The study was inspired by one particular example: she sang to an older woman who was unable to communicate but would scream a mix of Hebrew and English. The woman couldn't sing along, but she quieted and made eye contact.

As Dassa finished singing, the patient said, "What a beautiful song."

"I instruct caregivers and families to use singing in their daily care," Dassa said. "It helps elicit memories and reduce agitation, and helps reduce the resistance to many activities, like taking a shower, eating (and) refusing to take pills on time."

Families only need basic instruction to get started, she said. But singing may not always help these patients, Clair noted. Though some patients may start talking and commenting on music or about past memories triggered by the music, they will likely still be unable to engage in most conversation about present-day topics.

And while some songs elicit happy memories from the past, others may be linked to unhappy memories. "If you happen to find a piece of music with which there are painful memories associated it could cause distress, so if you're singing to the loved one and they react by pulling away or grimacing, immediately stop what you're doing and switch to another song," Clair cautioned.

Reading aloud is another way to engage patients who may not have a musical background, she said. "What we get down to here is caregivers losing all contact and really being desperate for anything with which they can connect with people they love. They go to visit and there's nothing to do," she said. "Singing is something you can do."

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