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IAF Levels Hamas Security HQ after Be'er Sheva Hit

By the Jerusalem Post & Reuters
The Israel Air Force struck multiple targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, after a rocket landed outside Be'er Sheva for the first time since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Close to 250 mortars and rockets were launched toward southern communities since Wednesday evening, leaving 28 injured. Shortly after the air strike on Thursday evening leveled a five-story building in the Al-Shati Camp in western Gaza City, more rocket sirens wailed in the Eshkol Region. The targeted building had been the headquarters for Hamas's interior security operations, considered an executive branch of Hamas's political leadership. Many of its members are military operatives, according to the IDF. The air strike was in retaliation for the Be'er Sheva bombing, "an expression of the IDF's intelligence and operational capabilities, which will expand and intensify as necessary," the military said. The sole long-range rocket which flew some 40 km. from the Gaza Strip landed in an open area outside Be'er Sheva shortly after 3 p.m. No damage was incurred, but it heralded an escalation in violence from the coastal enclave. Until now, Gaza's fire had been directed at bordering communities. Be'er Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich emphasized Israel must act more aggressively after the Grad rocket landed by his city. "No country would let the security of its citizens be harmed," Danilovich told Israel's Kan Radio. "It is legitimate for the country to conduct negotiations, but there must be red lines. It is likely that we'll need to take more drastic and aggressive action." The IDF said that the building serves as the command center for Hamas' internal security forces, which is responsible for and manages all internal security activities in the Gaza Strip. Some members of the internal security unit are also active in the military wing of Hamas and take part in armed activity against Israel. The head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi visited Sderot where four projectiles smashed into two homes, a factory and several cars on Wednesday evening. "We are prepared for any scenario, and we will continue to do everything necessary to maintain and strengthen the sense of security of the local residents," Halevi said. "I am sure the residents of the Gaza border communities are strong, and we call on them to continue to listen to the instructions of the Home Front Command." Authorities from the Eshkol Regional Council warned residents on Thursday evening to remain near sheltered areas as the IDF poised to strike Gaza. "IDF activity in the [Gaza] Strip is set to continue in the coming hours," said a municipality statement. "We remind [residents] of our instruction to remain close to sheltered areas." Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, has held several security assessments with senior military officials at the IDF Kirya base in Tel Aviv since the first rocket barrage began on Wednesday evening. Six people have been treated for wounds, and nine people were treated for shock, according to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. A 34-year-old was in light-to-moderate condition with wounds from glass shards, and a 20-year-old was in light condition with wounds from Iron Dome shrapnel. Civilians treated at the scene suffered from stress, and two pregnant women started having contractions. Since the onslaught began Wednesday evening, the IAF has struck more than 100 terror targets, including a tunnel manufacturing plant, and a tunnel intended for warfare along the coast. A number of terror targets in several military sites, including weapons and rockets, as well as a military compound that serves as a central logistic warehouse were also hit by IAF jets. "The Hamas terrorist organization continues to carry out acts of terror against Israeli citizens and the defense infrastructures that protect them, violates Israeli sovereignty and endangers the citizens of Israel and the security forces," the IDF said in a statement. The air force struck a vehicle in the northern Gaza Strip, which allegedly was used to launch rockets. One Hamas operative killed was identified as Ali al-Ghandour, a relative of senior Hamas commander Abu Anas al-Ghandour who has been designated by the US State Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. A pregnant Palestinian woman and her toddler were killed in the IAF's Wednesday retaliatory strikes, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. "We are delivering on our promise," Hamas said in a statement. "The resistance accepted the responsibility to even the playing field with the enemy and it is succeeding in doing so." The Al Jazeera network reported on Thursday evening that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire had been reached between Hamas and Israel and added that it came into effect at 10:45 p.m. An Israeli source clarified, however, that the report is incorrect.

Warning: Hamas App Targeting Israelis

Israeli cyber intelligence company ClearSky revealed on Thursday that Hamas terrorists are trying to plant spyware on Israeli mobile phones. According to the company, a fake website posing as the Israeli "Color Red" website, from which one can download an app which provides alerts on rocket sirens in the south, redirects users to the malicious application. ClearSky's security researchers believe the cyberattack is only in its early stages. The company stressed that users could be directed to download the spyware by fake profiles on Facebook and botnets on Twitter. ClearSky CEO Boaz Dolev said, "As part of our monitoring activity in the cyberspace, which provides our customers with warnings of attacks and helps them protect themselves from such attacks, we have discovered the phishing websites that lead to the downloading of malicious software. When you download the application, it takes over your cell phone and allows the operator to track the device, record its location, take photos, record audio, make calls, send messages and any other action that the device knows how to perform." Dolev added that "according to a series of data that was collected, we can see that Hamas scheduled the attack as the cyber arm of the current rocket attack on Israel." Dolev warned that from the moment the application is downloaded to the phone, there is no known way to remove it.

"Applications should be downloaded only from the official application stores. Unfortunately, it appears as though if the software has already been downloaded, deleting the application will not help and will not remove the malicious software from the devices, and the cellular phone will continue to transmit the data to the operator," he said.

Iran Tightening the Noose Around Israel (Analysis)

By Yochanan Visser
On Tuesday Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Syria was building an even larger army it had before the civil war started in 2011. "We see the Syrian army, which is not satisfied with taking control of all the Syrian territory, but is clearly building a new, large-scale land army that will return to its previous dimensions and beyond," according to Liberman who spoke to reporters during a massive drill by the Israeli army on the Golan Heights. Israel was following all the developments in Syria and was ready for every scenario, the Israeli DM added. Liberman didn't address the growing Iranian threat from Syria, but he no doubt knows what's happening on the other side of the border with Syria where the Iranian-Russian backed pro-Assad coalition seized the last pockets of Islamist resistance at the end of July. Iran is tightening the noose around Israel - not only in Syria where the Mossad reportedly killed the country's most important missile scientist last Saturday - but also via its odd proxy Hamas, the Sunni Islamist terror organization that rules Gaza. To understand what's going on in southern Syria on the other side of the border with Israel, one should read a research paper by the Institute for National Security Studies written by Orit Perlov, a social media analyst who focuses on Syria. Iran, not Russia, is the dominant actor in Syria, Perlov writes, while adding that the Islamic Republic "controls the Syria- Iraq and Syria-Lebanon border crossings, and tailors the re-organization of areas and communities based on an ethnic element." To help Assad regain control over territories he lost during the first phase of the now seven-year-old Syrian war, Iran established the Syrian National Defense Forces (NDF), which today has 90,000 fighters, most of them Shiites and Alawites. The NDF is the equivalent of the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite militias, established under the supervision of Qassem Soleimani, the shrewd commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps which has up to 5,000 soldiers in Syria. Iran was also responsible for bringing Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militias into the Syrian fray. The Afghan Fatemiyoun Liwa militia and the Pakistani Zeinabiyoun Brigade, which have up to 15.000 fighters in Syria were used by the Quds Froce of the IRGC as a striking force in the first phase of battles against rebels and later for strengthening the Alawite and Shiite community in Syria, according to Perlov.

Iran's Quds Force also uses Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite militias in its drive to advance its long-term goal of establishing a permanent foothold in Syria and to attack Israel from there in the future. These militias return to their country of origin once their mission is completed, but were a decisive factor in Assad's come-back. Then there is Hizbullah, the Lebanese terror organization, which has up to 9,000 fighters in Syria and has established a foothold in the so-called Q-zone in Syria, Quneitra, Qalamoun Mountains and Qusayr, where Iran is suspected of having an underground nuclear facility. Iran also uses Shiite Lebanese and Iraqi mercenaries who are not members of the various militias but help in areas where support is needed. Almost 3,000 members of Shiite militias have died in combat during the last phase of the Syrian war, according to the Arab news outlet Albawaba. Perlov confirmed that during the `liberation' of the Quneitra region, Iran's Shiite proxies in Syria were wearing Syrian army uniforms to cover up their presence along the Israeli border. The INSS researcher thinks that Israel is currently ignoring the Iranian presence along its border with Syria and prefers focusing on the prevention of "the consolidation of substantial Iranian military capabilities in Syria," but could attack the Iranian forces when they become a real threat to the country. The revelations about Iran's military build-up in Syria coincided with admission by a high-ranking IRGC officer about Iran's role in the latest escalation in the Gulf of Aden where the Islamist regime in Tehran ordered the Ansar Allah militia to attack two Saudi oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden. Gen. Naser Sha'bani, a top commander of the IRGC, told Fars News in Iran that the IRGC had ordered the Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia to attack the Saudi ships and confirmed that Iran is using its proxies as "homeland depth" which would continue to be used against Iran's rivals in the region (read Saudi Arabia and Israel). We now turn to Gaza where Hamas just launched its most wide-scale attack on Israel since the 2014 summer war, sending 180 (since updated to 250) missiles and mortar shells at Israeli towns and communities in the south of the country. An overlooked aspect of what is called the current `flare-up' is the sudden trip of the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, to the Gaza Strip. Al-Arouri, who lives in Lebanon, arrived in the Gaza Strip last Thursday, officially to participate in the talks about a ceasefire with Israel and Palestinian unity. The Hamas terrorist was the driving force behind another reconciliation which took place in October 2017. On Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 al-Arouri, who headed a large Hamas delegation, arrived in Tehran for talks about reconciliation with Iran. An Iranian official later said that renewed Iranian support for Hamas was conditional for their continuing the fight against Israel. Shortly afterward, Hamas put an end to the relative quiet that had been in place since the war in 2014 and began preparations for the so-called `Great March of Return' which later turned into what is dubbed `the Kite Jihad'. Israel's internal security service Shin Bet earlier revealed Iran was aiding Hamas in keeping the violence against Israel continuing.

Al-Arouri's sudden trip to Gaza could, therefore, be another Iranian attempt to prevent Hamas from entering into a five or ten-year long ceasefire with Israel. Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion.

Iman's Son Teaches Children to Commit School Shootings


The son of a Brooklyn Iman who was arrested for abusing 11 children at a filthy off-the-grid New Mexico compound attempted to teach the children to carry out school shootings, according to prosecutors. Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was one of five adults arrested for running the compound where the children were found. The children, whose ages ranged from 1-15, were severely malnourished and "starving," authorities said. Court documents showed that at least one child was trained "in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings," Taos News reported. Authorities raided the compound while searching for Wahhaj's missing three-year-old son Abdul-Ghani, who he abducted in December. Wahhaj was heavily armed at the time of his arrest. His son was not found. However, the remains of an unidentified child were discovered in the compound. Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe described the compound as "the ugliest looking, filthiest" living conditions he'd witnessed. He said he only saw some potatoes and a box of rice. Hogrefe said they found the "occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief." Siraj bears the same name as his father a controversial Iman who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

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