A Hamas terror cell plotting to assassinate Israel’s hawkish right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in a stated bid to “bring about the end to the war in Gaza” has been foiled by the country’s Shin Bet security service, it was announced on Thursday. Four Palestinian men have been arrested in connection with the plan to attack Lieberman’s car with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) while he travelled with his ministerial convoy. According to the Shin Bet statement all the terror plot suspects are from villages near to Bethlehem, close to Nokdim — a guarded Israeli settlement in West Bank where Lieberman owns a home.
The head of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force has claimed it is raising an army of “millions” to flood Gaza and Syria to support Tehran’s allies. Fars, Iran’s semi-official newspaper, reported that that Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander the Basij paramilitary force, as saying: “Millions of Basijis (volunteer forces) are ready in Iran to be dispatched to Syria and Gaza and they have come to us (for registration).
Hamas’s true objective in Operation Protective Edge – and negotiations that may follow – is in “liberating” Jerusalem from the Jews, a Hamas spokesman stated earlier this week. “The time has come for us to say that the true war is not aimed at opening border crossings,” Sami Abu Zuhri said. “Our true war is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem, Allah willing.
Palestinian officials have said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is planning to ask the UN to set a timetable for the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, with its capital in East Jerusalem. The official told the Associated Press that Abbas would present his proposal as part of a “day after” plan following the end of the current war in the Gaza Strip. According to the Qatari News Agency, an agreement over the matter was reached in Abbas’ meeting with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Hamas’ political chief Khaled Meshal, in Doha on Friday.
Tarek Fahmi, the head of the Israeli Unit at the Egyptian National Center for Middle East Studies, said that “the goal of the talks today is to neutralize the main crisis points, particularly [the question of] the Gaza airport and Israeli concessions regarding the sea, as well as the issue of the tunnels.” Fahmi said that the negotiating sessions that took place on Monday were “critical.” “Israel insists on demilitarizing the Gaza Strip from rockets and missiles, and the declaration of a cease-fire that would last between five and seven years,” he said.
In the 12-story apartment tower, the target was a fourth-floor apartment where Hamas ran an operations center, according to Israeli media. In the past, Israel has carried out pinpoint strikes, targeting apartments in high-rises with missiles, while leaving the buildings standing. However, this time a decision was made to bring down the entire tower, according to Channel 10, an Israeli TV station.
Since the collapse of the cease-fire, Palestinians in Gaza have launched dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel, pounding the western Negev. Ashkelon, Ashdod, and the smaller communities within just a few kilometers of the Gaza border have absorbed the worst barrages since before dawn on Wednesday. On Wednesday the IDF struck two terror operatives in Gaza who were responsible for earlier rocket fire on Ashkelon and Gaza frontier communities.