Jerusalem – “Hamas’ operational capabilities keep on improving all the time. Hamas is building a major military force in the Gaza Strip, and this is discernible in its deployment along the fence,” Gaza Division Commander Brig. Gen. Moshe Tamir said on Monday in a briefing of military correspondents.
Brig. Gen. Tamir added, “Hamas is trying to entrench itself along the Gaza Strip fence. They’re digging tunnels beneath the fence, building bunkers, establishing mortar fire positions, observation posts, points of departure. The IDF activity is focused on an attempt to prevent Hamas from entrenching itself along the fence.”
Brig. Gen. Tamir defined the warfare as a “battle of wits.” He said that the “IDF uses a great many tactics and types of operations, but the other side has also learned. There can’t be 100 percent success.”
Brig. Gen. Tamir said that in the past week there had been seven engagements in the areas in question and that approximately 20 terrorists were killed and dozens of others were injured. Some of the successes were chalked up by the Paratroopers Brigade’s reservist patrolbattalion, to which First Sgt. Ehud Efrati, 34 of Beit Yehoshua, belonged. First Sgt. Efrati was killed on Monday in a battle with armed terrorists in the area of the Sufa border crossing.
The incident occurred in the course of activity that was being pursued by the reservist battalion inside the Gaza Strip. The purpose of the operation was to strike at terrorists cells that fired mortar shells at the Gaza periphery communities. In the course of their activity, the troops identified two armed terrorists. Exchanges of fire ensued between the two sides. A bullet struck a hand grenade that First Sgt. Efrati was carrying, causing it to explode. First Sgt. Efrati sustained critical injuries from the explosion and was taken to Soroka Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Two other soldiers sustained light injuries and were taken to a hospital for medical treatment.
The casualties notwithstanding, the troops completed their task. They killed one of the terrorists and hit a number of others. According to Palestinian sources, the Palestinian man who was killed was Ahmed Abu Ibrahim Abu Tahun, a 22-year-old terrorist member of Hamas’ Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades.
Gaza Division Commander Brig. Gen. Tamir praised the reservists: “The battalion operated in the course of these past three weeks to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. In that period of time the battalion had four engagements with terrorists in the course of which five terrorists were killed and many others were injured. This is an experienced battalion, with good combatants who have shown motivation and a willingness to fight.”
To Kidnap Israelis From Sinai To Gaza
Arab terror organizations are planning to kidnap Israelis in Sinai and to smuggle them into the Gaza Strip via tunnels, reported GSS [General Security Services] Director Yuval Diskin at the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Mr. Diskin said that the terrorists were highly motivated to execute terror attacks, including kidnapping either civilians or soldiers for bargaining purposes. He added that the Palestinians were continuing to arm themselves by means of smuggled weaponry that was brought in mainly through the tunnels in the Philadelphi Road area. Mr. Diskin said that the GSS had foiled 22 planned terror attacks out of the Gaza Strip and another 17 planned terror attacks out of Judea and Samaria since the beginning of the year. He said that in the course of this past year, a total of 1,247 rockets had been fired out of the Gaza Strip at Israel and that 757 rockets had been fired since the beginning of 2007.
On the subject of the scheduled Nov. 26 Annapolis conference, the GSS director said that if the conference failed this might raise Palestinian motivation to carry out terror attacks.
The Israel Football League (IFL) will open officially on Nov. 16.
In the meantime, at the Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem, the Big Blue Jerusalem team is holding its first practice session prior to the start of the league. Robert Kraft is the owner of the New England Patriots, the world champions in 2005. He happened to be a Jew who visits Israel often and he donated the money to build the stadium.
The living spirit behind establishing the Israel Football League is Steve Leibowitz, who is a veteran immigrant from the United States.
Among other things, he was one of the founders of the English news department of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and still serves as an editor and newscaster there.
“I like living here and everything is good,” he says, “except for sports.”
“As a journalist, I used to hang out with all the foreign correspondents and journalists at Beit Agron,” he told the Israeli media this week about the moment he first realized that football had a future in Israel “There was a satellite dish on the roof where they would pick up Armed Forces TV Network, which telecast football games live. I proposed to a cafeteria owner to open a kind of club with me on Monday nights and to broadcast the games. I hung up a few flyers in the center of town and as soon as we started, there was hysteria. Every Monday, the place would fill up with Americans of all kinds who came to see live football.
That was in 1989, and that’s how I realized that the sport has a future here.”
©The Bulletin 2007