UPDATES 6 pm Israel time Monday:
The Palestinian terrorist cell responsible for many of the recent shootings at communities in Gush Etzion has been captured by Shin Bet, Border Guards, and the Israeli police. The group is part of Fatah Tanzim–meaning that it takes its orders from Marwan Barghouti who is currently serving 5 life sentences in Israeli prison for murders committed. It is also directly answerable to Mahmoud Abbas, the head of its parent terrorist organization, the PLO.
Palestinian terrorists have been active throughout Judea and Samaria in the last 24 hours attacking IDF patrols (Beit Ummar), Israeli buses and cars (Azun), and even an Israeli kindergarten (Hebron). A major terror attack was averted when terrorists carrying seven large IEDs were captured near the Tapuach Junction.
Yesterday, your humble servant reported in disbelief that the IDF had moved two Iron Dome batteries out of southern Israel and repositioned them in northern Israel around Haifa. My disbelief was not that the batteries had been moved, but that the IDF had publicly announced the move.
Today, the reason for that repositioning is coming into sharper focus. A confluence of events is bringing war on Israel’s northern border ever closer.
1. The Assad regime continues to deteriorate and destabilize–especially on the northern Israeli border. Just a few days ago, eight Syrian security officials in Quneitra–including the head of Syrian regional security for the region–were killed in a twin car bomb explosion. For his part, Bashir Assad has always declared that if his regime’s survival is threatened, he will attack Israel.
2. As the regime destabilizes, its arsenal of chemical weapons comes ever closer to falling into the hands of Hezbollah. This blog has already reported that “small” chemical weapons have been transported by car from Syria into Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. As of yesterday, there are new reports that Hezbollah has set up camps directly adjacent to two of Syria’s largest repositories of chemical weapons. PM Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Hezbollah acquistion of Syrian chemical weapons is a red line that Israel will not permit.
3. Iran seems increasingly intent on expanding the conflict from Syria to Israel. The Assad regime is only being kept afloat by Iranian “revolutionary guards” fighting on its behalf–and those guards have been sustaining heavy losses. The thinking in Tehran may be that a pivot toward Israel is in order with attacks from Syria and Lebanon. There have been a number of reports in the last 48 hours that Iran has ordered Hezbollah to move some of its supportive population in southern Lebanon northward “out of the danger zone” in advance of a coming war with Israel.
4. The events at Iran’s second largest uranium enrichment plant of Fordo in the past week remain shrouded in secrecy.
Fordo is one of Iran’s most heavily guarded facilities–buried deep inside a mountain and thought to have been virtually impregnable. Nevertheless, the events, confirmed by unnamed Israeli officials this morning, are that a devastating explosion took place in Fordo about a week ago trapping around 200 Iranian, Russian, North Korean, and Ukranian scientists inside. Their fate is unknown. According to the Israeli source, it is unclear whether the explosion was the result of an accident or sabotage–but Iran is already accusing Israel this morning of carrying out “the attack.”
Iran, Hezbollah, Assad–the winds of war are circling on our northern border.