Several civilians slightly injured when three Qassam missiles from Gaza hit Sapir College and Sderot school playground. Israeli aircraft destroy launchers, kill 2-man Jihad Islami squad<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 24, 2007
All three missiles exploded after school hours - fortunately because neither school is fortified to withstand missile attack and casualties were light although the damage was heavy. The local council head invited PM Ehud Olmert to come and see for himself why it was necessary to fortify the schools.
At the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem earlier Sunday, July 22, Olmert scathingly dismissed what he called excessive concern over the fortifying of towns targeted regularly for Palestinian missile attack from Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 22, 2007
The Israeli prime minister said Friday that unilateral steps and the evacuation of communities are not on the agenda - only negotiations with the Palestinians on an agreed settlement. Negotiations with Arab governments, including Syria, must be direct and not subject to pre-conditions, he said. Olmert rejected the High Court's injunction to fortify Sderot schools opposite Gaza in time for the next school year as outside the court's brief.
The 255 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jail bused to West Bank Betuniya checkpoint near Ramallah Friday<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 22, 2007
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert freed them in a gesture of support for Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. Most were Fatah members convicted for terrorist acts. They also included Popular Front deputy leader Abdel Rahum Maloukh, whose organization was responsible for the assassination of Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001. One was held back for a further security check. A High Court majority of judges rejected a petition against the release filed by Almagor, an organization representing victims of Palestinian terror.
State Controller slams Israeli prime minister, ex-defense minister and former chief of staff for flawed management of homeland security in 2006 Lebanon War
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 22, 2007
The 600-page report submitted to the Knesset Speaker Wednesday, July 18, finds PM Ehud Olmert, ex-defense minister Amir Peretz, former chief of staff Dan Halutz and homeland security chief Yitzhak Gershon guilty of abandoning to their fate the population of northern Israel.
The controller, retired Judge Micha Lindenstrauss, singled out PM Ehud Olmert's decision-making processes as deficient.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Israel to permit Naif Hawatme and Farouk Kaddoumi, notorious figures from the blackest days of PLO terror, enter the West Bank<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 17, 2007
On the West Bank, Israel has further agreed to suspend arrest operations against 180 wanted terrorists of the Fatah-Al Aqsa Martyrs (Suicide) Brigades and radical Fronts - provided they renounce violence. The Olmert government has approved the two steps for the sake of propping up Mahmoud Abbas and his Ramallah-based government against Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip.
debkafile reports that security circles are aghast at these decisions.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: The Muslim authorities are again digging illegally on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, again with a tractor
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 14, 2007
An inspection carried out by Israel's Antiquities Authority on July 9 discovered a 1.5 m deep trench dug near the Dome of the Rock into the original landfill of the Jewish Second Temple. Remains of an ancient wall possibly dating to Solomon's First Temple have become visible. Heavy earthmoving equipment is barred by Israeli law at the shrine.
An Israel soldier, Staff Sergeant Arbel Reich, 21, from Yuvalim, Galilee, was killed, two others injured, during counter-terror operation in Gaza Strip. The operation continued<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 13, 2007
debkafile's military sources report that for the first time in the two years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, an Israeli force on a counter-terror mission was hit by a Hamas-Jihad Islami ambush using the tactics employed by Hizballah on Day One of the Lebanon War, July 12, 2006.
The Israeli advance was brought to a stop and a second Givati unit crossed into Gaza to continue the interrupted operation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2007
One year ago to the day, the Lebanese Shiite terrorist Hizballah sent a unit across the border into Israel and ambushed an Israeli patrol, killing eight of its members and kidnapping two. The raid, followed by a Katyusha rocket attack on northern Israel sparked the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and a 34-day war.
Today, debkafile's military sources report that Hizballah is in better military shape than ever before. its sponsors, Iran and Syria, have not only replenished the rocket stocks depleted by daily barrages against Israeli towns and villages, but topped them up by 50%. Whereas Hizballah started the 2006 war with 12,000 rockets of different types, today the Lebanese Shiite terror group has accumulated 18,000 in its arsenal.
The militia's fighting manpower, including its special intelligence and security agencies, totals between 15,000 and 16,000.
Shin Bet-Justice ministry can't recommend more than 120 Fatah prisoners for release - far short of Olmert's pledge to Abbas of 250<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 10, 2007
This is the domestic security agency's retort in its dispute with the prime minister over prisoner swaps for kidnapped Israeli soldiers. The Shin Bet reports that any number of Fatah convicts above 120 would set free hardened terrorist murderers dedicated to returning to killing Israelis. Their original list of 250 which Olmert rejected was therefore eked out with prisoners approaching the end of their jail time.
Read earlier debkafile Special report.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Israeli armed forces are short of funds for contending with potential Iranian threat, says departing Israeli Dep. Defense Minister <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 9, 2007
"We need more funds than we receive currently to deal with this threat," said Ephraim Sneh in a radio interview Monday, July 2.
Sneh also dismissed a popular notion: "There is no coordination on an operational level between the Israel and US militaries on Iran," he said. "If sanctions had been adopted more firmly and quickly, we may not have needed to talk about other options."
More about this in debkafile Special Military Report below.
Last Israeli troops pulling out of Gaza Friday brought with them eight Palestinian missile launchers
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 9, 2007
Some of the launchers were found with timers and one complete with a Qassem missile ready for firing into Israel. In Israel's two-day air and ground operation to curb Palestinian missile attacks, 11 armed Palestinians were killed, several injured and 109 were detained for questioning. Two Israeli soldiers suffered minor-to-moderate injuries from Palestinian fire. The dead terrorists belonged to Hamas and Jihad Islami. Helicopters struck two missile teams Thursday, after being guided to target from the ground. The Israeli incursion up to the outskirts of the central Gazan al Bureij and al Maghazi camps was 1-1.5 km deep.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 8, 2007
Last month, Ehud Olmert made a gesture of support for the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah government he installed for the West Bank in Ramallah in opposition to the Hamas government in Gaza: a pledge to release 250 terrorists of Abbas' Fatah party from Israeli jails.
But then, Saturday night, the prime minister tossed back to the Shin Bet the list of Fatah prisoners to be submitted for cabinet approval Sunday, July 8, and demanded a new list. Olmert complained most of the candidates were due for release soon anyway having served out their terms. This fact would belittle his gesture towards Abbas.
debkafile's security sources say Olmert's rejection landed on the desks of Shin Bet chiefs with a nasty thump. They accuse him of causing irreparable damage to the abducted Israeli soldiers' prospects of freedom by raising the exchange ratio to a level which is unsustainable without compromising national security.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 5, 2007
On June 26, Syria opened the Damascus-Golan road to Quneitra to civilian traffic for the first time since the Six-Day War of 1967. No announcement was made. The dozens of military roadblocks studding the 60 km high road connecting the capital with the Syrian part of Golan for 40 years were removed, except for two - one at the entrance to Qunetra from the Syrian end and one at the town's exit to Israeli Golan. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources report that this measure went mostly unnoticed, although it made Israeli military intelligence sit up.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources disclose that a year ago, in June 2006, Syrian military intelligence recruited several hundred Golan refugees for a new framework called the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights. They were trained for terror operations, blowing up roads and bridges, attacks on military camps and convoys and hostage-taking.
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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 3, 2007
Ephraim Sneh handed the post of deputy defense minister to his successor, Ret. Gen. Matan Vilnai, this week with some disturbing charges against the government he was quitting.
Israel is not prepared to handle threats from Iran [missiles and potentially nuclear weapons] because the government headed by Ehud Olmert is holding back form its armed forces the requisite funding. He maintained that international economic sanctions have failed to deflect Iran from its quest for the ultimate threat - a failure which has put the military option on the table.
"We need more funds than we receive currently to deal with this threat," he said in a radio interview Monday, July 2, as he handed the post over to an appointee of new defense minister Ehud Barak.
Sneh dismissed the popular notion that Israel and the United States were closely coordinated militarily regarding Iran. "There is no coordination on an operational level between the Israel and US militaries on Iran," he said.
Israeli forces kill 11 armed Palestinians, injure 40, in two counter-terror operations in Gaza Strip Wednesday. Two Israeli soldiers slightly injured<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 30, 2007
The Palestinians fired 6 Qassam missiles and a dozen mortar rounds into Israel during the fighting. At Sejaya near Gaza City, an Israeli tank force targeted Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades operatives involved in the manufacture and shooting of missiles into Israel.
Israel's president Moshe Katzav evades prison by signing plea bargain confessing to 7 indecent acts and sexual harassment<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 29, 2007
The state attorney, Menahem Mazuz, who signed the deal agreed to drop two charges of rape and authorize the prosecution to demand only a suspended sentence not time in prison.
Former Prisoner of Zion Ida Nudel petitions high court to withdraw from Hamas, Hizballah prisoners benefits they deny Israeli captives<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 27, 2007
She bases her petition against internal security minister Avi Dichter on the right to equal treatment. Israel permits family and Red Cross visits to Hizballah and Hamas prisoners which the two groups have denied Gilead Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in their year as captives. This situation is intolerable, says Ms Nudel, and increases the dangers they face.
Five Qassam missiles explode Wednesday night in Sderot and Kibbutz Nir Am. Two Israelis slightly injured, 7 in shock<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 24, 2007
Jihad Islami in Gaza took responsibility for the attack, the third in a day. Earlier, a missile landed in the Ashkelon national park north of Gaza and in the morning Sderot was hit. The Israeli air force targeted the Palestinian launchers in Gaza.
Missile attacks from Gaza on Sderot and its environs slowed down last week during the fraternal fighting between Hamas and Fatah. A new law passed by the Knesset Wednesday grants the towns and villages bordering the Gaza Strip the status and benefits of front-line locations.
Defense minister Ehud Barak orders IDF to urgently help distressed Palestinians stuck in Gaza's Erez crossing
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 23, 2007
Israel is allowing some Palestinians and foreigners to leave Gaza.
Defense sources say that unless hostile elements and terrorists are weeded out from genuine refugees, Israelis helping them do so at great risk. Only a few dozens remain in the Erez terminal. Egypt has sealed its border with Gaza to bar refugees' exit.
Tuesday, four Palestinians injured by Hamas fire were evacuated to Israeli hospitals.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Damascus ordered Sunday's Katyusha attack on N. Israeli Kiryat Shemona, causing no casualties. But there is more to come
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 22, 2007
The three 107mm rockets fired against Kiryat Shemona from Wadi Taiba Sunday, June 17, by a Palestinian radical group called Ansar Allah based in the Ain Hilwa refugee camp near Sidon was ordered by Syrian military intelligence as the first in a series, debkafile's military sources report.