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Israel deploys Iron Dome batteries against missile attack Nov 13, 2017 @ 22:33

Israel was on high alert Monday night and deployed Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries at key points in the center of the country as well as the south, following intelligence that two Palestinian terror groups, Hamas and the Jihad Islami, are preparing missile strikes against towns in southern and central Israel. Jihad has vowed to avenge the destruction of the tunnel it excavated between Khan Younis and the Israeli village of Kissoufim, and the deaths of 12 of its operatives who were trapped inside the tunnel.

Report: Islamic Jihad orders 'immediate attack' against Israel

Israel, Islamic Jihad continue trading barbs following the recent destruction of terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip - IDF nabs Tarek Kaadan, a senior Islamic Jihad field commander, in connection with a plot to carry out a terrorist attack against Israel. Daniel Siryoti and Lilach Shoval

Islamic Jihad says it has the ability "to strike Israel with painful measures" | Illustration: Reuters

Israeli military troops operating overnight in the Palestinian village of Arraba, 11 kilometers (7 miles) southwest of Jenin, arrested Tarek Kaadan, a senior Islamic Jihad field commander in connection to an alleged terrorist plot the Gaza Strip-based group is planning against Israel.

Kaadan was transferred to security forces for interrogation.

The arrest comes two weeks after the IDF destroyed an Islamic Jihad terror tunnel discovered under the Israel-Gaza border. Eleven Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in the operation, including several senior commanders.

Damascus-based Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah has reportedly ordered the al-Quds Brigades, the group's military wing, to "carry out a terrorist attack against Israel as immediately as possible."

On Saturday, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai warned Islamic Jihad against retaliating over the tunnel's destruction.

"We are aware that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is plotting against Israel. It is playing with fire on the backs of the residents of the Gaza Strip and at the expense of the internal Palestinian reconciliation and the entire region," he said in a video message.

"It must be made clear: For every response from the Islamic Jihad, Israel will respond with force and with determination, not just toward Islamic Jihad but also toward Hamas.

"We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and take control of matters … because you will be the ones who will bear responsibility."

An Islamic Jihad official described Mordechai's statement as "a declaration of war. We will know who to ward off any threat."

Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai quoted a senior Islamic Jihad official as warning that "we have the ability to strike Israel with painful measures."

Mordechai is "a criminal, a murderer with the blood of Palestinian children on his hands. His threats are meaningless and revenge will come," he said.

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srael deploys `Iron Dome' missile defense amid terror threats November 13, 2017
Israel deploys `Iron Dome' missile defense amid terror threats An Iron Dome battery intercepts rockets from Gaza. (Uri Lenzl/Flash90) Print Email 15 Comments

Israel has set up the Iron Dome defense system in the center of the country in anticipation of attacks by the Islamic Jihad and other terror groups.

By: World Israel News Staff

Amid warnings of planned terror activity in retaliation for IDF operations against the Islamic Jihad, Israel has set up Iron Dome batteries in several locations in the center of the country.

The IDF believes the terror group is planning an attack on the Jewish state following the Israeli military's demolition of a Gaza terror tunnel two weeks ago. A total of 14 terrorists were killed in the aftermath of the tunnel collapse, including two senior Islamic Jihad field commanders.

Major General Yoav Mordechai, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), issued a warning Saturday night in Arabic in a Youtube video to terrorist groups in Gaza and Damascus that Israel will respond to any act of terror.

"We are aware of the plot that the Islamic Jihad has been planning against Israel," Mordechai declared. "They are playing with fire."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also warned Palestinian terror groups not to attack Israel. "We will take a very firm stance against anyone who tries to attack us or attacks us from any area. I mean any source: rogue factions, organizations – anyone," he asserted Sunday morning at the weekly cabinet meeting.

In response, the Islamic Jihad vowed to carry out attacks, calling the Israeli threats an "act of war."

Adding to the tension, IDF forces on Sunday night apprehended a senior Islamic Jihad operative in the Palestinian town of Araba, in the Jenin area.

COGATIron DomeIslamic JihadPalestinian terrorYoav Mordechai Print Email 15 Comments
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New Trump-Putin deal on Syria grants Iran/Hizballah free movement in Israeli, Jordanian border regions Nov 13, 2017 @ 9:41 de-escalation zones, Donald Trump, Golan, Hizballah, Iran, Israel, Vladimir Putin

DEBKAfile: A major Israeli concession made it possible for Moscow to walk off with a big gain for its allies in the Nov.8 Trump-Putin memorandum for Syria, DEBKAfile reports. The strong pledges made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott – that Iran and Hizballah would not be permitted to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and come close to the Israeli border – have melted away in secret bargaining sessions. Israel was finally forced to agree to their presence as close as 20km from its northern Golan border with Syria, backing away sharply from its original demand of a 50km buffer zone. In consequence, a 20km deep area (see map) in the Quneitra region of the Syrian Golan will serve as a "de-escalation zone," in accordance with the second Syria memorandum agreed between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The zone will be monitored by Russian troops with Syrian forces available for their use.

Israel's unwilling consent to this arrangement was an unforeseen and major concession. Clause 2 of the memorandum affirms US and Russia consent to the continued operation of the de-escalation zone in the Daraa region (opposite the Jordanian border) and the Quneitra region (opposite the Israeli border) that were first set up by the Trump-Putin July 7 summit in Hamburg. That clause states: "The US, Russia and Jordan on November 8 called for the "reduction and ultimate elimination of foreign forces" – particularly Iran and Lebanese Hizballah – in southern Syria." The presence of Syrian forces in these regions is implicitly sanctioned. However, in realistic terms, "Syrian forces" anywhere in the country automatically entail Iranian officers and Hizballah – not to mention Shiite militias and Revolutionary Guards personnel. The simple fact is that, apart from a few scattered units, not much is left of the "Syrian army" after nearly eight years of civil conflict. DEBKAfile's military sources note that no date was set in either deal for the "reduction and ultimate elimination of foreign forces" in southern Syria. Therefore, there is nothing to stop the Iranian and Hizballah military presence just 20km from northern Israel from becoming an established fact for an indefinite period. Furthermore, there is no bar to the military forces present in the Daraa and Quneitra de-escalation zones from moving from point to point, under the protection of the Russian military monitors. An anonymous US State Department official said Sunday, Nov. 12, that Russia had agreed "to work with the Syrian regime to remove Iranian-backed forces a defined distance from the Golan Heights frontier with Israel." In the official's view, if Russia agrees to removing Iranian and Hizballah forces from the Israeli and Jordanian borders, that will be a sign "we are moving in the right direction." This hope suggested that Washington too was not exactly sure that the Russians would stand by every iota of the deal. Moscow has not reacted to the American official's comments, which sounded like an attempt to make the Trump-Putin memorandum easier for Israel to swallow, and may well take exception to it. Jordan welcomed the "important achievement" – and with good reason. The US and Russia agreed to expand the joint coordination command center they are running out of Amman, and for Jordan this is tantamount to a guarantee for its security. Israel only has a bilateral military coordination apparatus with the Russian command in Syria, under which it retains freedom of action against Iranian and Hizballah forces in Syria, which is limited to three spheres:

Aerial action in Syrian air space;
Surgical strikes against Iranian and Hizballah arms convoys and depts. Military response to Iranian and Hizballah forces coming dangerously close to its border. This distance has not been precisely defined since both the Americans and the Russians rejected Israel's proposals.

Israel's Minister of Regional Cooperation, Tzahi Hanegbi, who often speaks for Binyamin Netanyahu on foreign affairs, commented Sunday that the new memorandum "does not meet Israel's unequivocal demand to rule out developments that bring the forces of Hizballah or Iran to the Israeli-Syrian border." This statement is irrelevant in light of the Trump administration's tacit consent for Iranian and Hizballah forces to take up a presence and move freely near the Israeli border. Our military sources report that, at this moment, elements of Iranian and Hizballah command posts – although not troops – have set up shop opposite the Israeli Golan at distances of 4km to 15km from the border, with no sign of preparations to pull up stakes and move out.








Is Israel ready for the next big earthquake?

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WATCH: Knesset staffers zipline to safety in earthquake drill >
Israel sends 70 Home Front Command Soldiers to Mexico in quake aftermath

By Sarah Levi
November 14, 2017 00:53
Tamir Levy, chief engineer for the Association for Better Housing, warns that most homes would not withstand a powerful earthquake. 4 minute read.



A man rides past the remains of a building in Darbandikhanm, Kurdistan, after a 7.2 magnitude earthq

A man rides past the remains of a building in Darbandikhanm, Kurdistan, after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake there, November 2017. (photo credit:AKO RASHEED / REUTERS)

Sunday night's tremors not only gave Israelis a bit of a shake-up, it also served as a wake-up call to both the public and private sectors to get their acts together to ensure people's safety and reinforce structures and infrastructures.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the border of eastern Iraq and the northwest border of Iran on Sunday night and killed some 400 people in both countries, according to the US Geological Survey.

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Aftershocks were reported throughout the Middle East and could be felt in parts of Israel, even though it is some 1,300 kilometers away from the point of impact.

On Monday morning, as the death toll continued to rise, the State of Israel sent condolences to both countries on their losses.

Israel is also not immune to earthquakes, and since it's located along the Syrian-African fault line (a line that runs along the border between Jordan and Israel), a major earthquake is statistically due in the region, with a serious one arriving every 80-100 years.

The last major earthquake to hit Israel was in 1927, which claimed some 500 lives and registered 6.2 on the Richter scale.

In light of Sunday night's shake-up, Tamir Levy, chief engineer for the Association for Better Housing, warns that most homes would not withstand a powerful earthquake.

"A large number of the residential homes in Israel will be damaged by a large earthquake regardless of when they were built," Levy said in a statement released on Monday, adding: "It is not possible to prevent earthquakes, but it is possible to prepare for them and thus reduce the damage they cause. Since earthquakes cannot be predicted, we should be prepared at all times. Preparedness means, first and foremost, to ensure that the buildings in which we live and work meet the stringent building standards required to protect against earthquakes."

The association stated that it works in cooperation with the Home Front Command, providing civilians and families with workshops and emergency planning techniques to further prepare citizens for a possible natural disaster.

Every summer, security forces and emergency services conduct a four-day drill to improve cooperation among these groups in the event of a major earthquake.

Following the 2012 drill, then-OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg said that "an earthquake in Israel is more dangerous than war," as it would result in "damage to life and property on a much more significant scale."

The government has begun funding earthquake preparedness projects, and the Home Front Command in recent years released a software application for earthquake preparedness, but according to a report by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's Home Front Readiness Subcommittee, if Israel were to be struck by a 7.5 magnitude quake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed, another 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. In addition, the country could face damage to the tune of up to NIS 200 billion.

In addition to buildings being destroyed, the damage to critical infrastructures such as electricity, water and communication is expected to be great.

According to the National Emergency Authority, there are 80,000 buildings, including schools and hospitals, over three stories high that were built before 1980, meaning they were not constructed to meet current standards. And only 2,700 of those buildings have received approval for the government's Tama 38 reconstruction program.

The goal of Tama 38 is to reinforce buildings built after 1980, particularly those built along the Great Rift Valley, a location highly vulnerable to earthquakes. However, in a statement released by TamaFix, most of the work done for this project has been in major cities, thus leaving thousands of families in places like Arad, Tiberias and communities close to the Jordan River unprotected in the event of a natural disaster.

"The big one can happen anytime, and it is not good that the local governments are not doing enough to encourage people to reinforce their structures," Eliran Simani, CEO of TamaFix Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

As of August, only 13 buildings located in the periphery have been reinforced and brought up to code in the event of an earthquake, as opposed to the 4,385 in major cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem since Tama 38 was established in 2005.

According TamaFix co-CEO Lior Gozes, "The amount required to prevent the collapse of an apartment in the periphery is NIS 84,000."

He added that "this sum is based on calculating the cost of constructing a housing unit that holds 12 families at a rate of NIS 1 million, which includes construction costs, taxes, architect and engineer costs, and more."

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.


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