Daily TIP

Hamas terrorist electrocuted in tunnel as Gaza families await power

Posted by Tip Staff - August 15, 2016


 

A Hamas operative was electrocuted to death while working inside of a Gaza terror tunnel on Saturday. This latest incident comes on the heels of a tunnel collapse last Wednesday, which sent eight Palestinian militants to the hospital. Wednesday’s tunnel collapse was the fourth reported this month.
The increased tunnel activity represents an “ongoing effort [by Hamas] to be better prepared to launch a new attack and to fight again against Israel in the time that is considered to be right from their point of view,” Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of the research division of Israeli military intelligence and later the director-general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told reporters in remarks organized by The Israel Project. “They definitely invest a lot in making the necessary preparations so that in the next round, when they decide to start it, they will be able to inflict the heaviest damage on Israel, including through those tunnels,” he added. The Israel Defense Forces has discovered two Hamas tunnels extending into Israeli territory in the past year—one in April and another in May. Israel destroyed 34 tunnels during the 50-day conflict with Hamas in 2014, and has invested an estimated 1 billion shekels ($250 million) into tunnel detection technology since then.
Israel was forced to increase the amount of electricity it sends to Gaza in June after repeated shutdowns at Gaza’s only power plant due to a payment dispute between Hamas and Fatah. Because of this infighting, Gaza residents usually only have six to eight hours of electricity per day. The lack of power has also caused failures at Gaza’s new $100 million sewage treatment facility, which was built with financing from the World Bank. Blackouts and work stoppages have caused over 90 million liters of raw sewage to flow into the Mediterranean Sea and underground aquifers every day, Gidon Bromberg, CEO of the environmental group EcoPeace, told The Jerusalem Post in March.
At least three Gaza-based employees of international charities have been charged with aiding Hamas. The head of the Gaza branch of the Christian aid organization World Vision was charged with diverting tens of millions of dollars of charitable donations to Hamas coffers; an employee of the United Nations Development Program was indicted for assisting Hamas; and the global nonprofit Save the Children announced that it would be investigating Israeli claims that one of its employees had been recruited by Hamas.

 

A video released last week of a man convicted of smuggling military equipment to Iran has shed new light on the activities of the Iranian national and six Iranian-Americans who were released by the U.S. as part of a deal to free several of its citizens from Iranian captivity, ABC News reported on Friday.
The undercover video shows Arash Ghahreman and an associate, Ergun Yildiz, discussing the potential sale of sensitive equipment to Iran with two suppliers, who were actually undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Ghahreman was convicted in April 2015 and sentenced to six and a half years in prison for his involvement in the plot. He was one of seven convicted smugglers who were released by U.S. authorities in January for the release Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati, and several others by Iran. The U.S. transferred $400 million in cash to Iran at the time, despite the objections of the Justice Department, which warned that the payment looked like a ransom.
Ghahreman worked as a middleman to smuggle prohibited American-made military technology to Iran through a front company in Dubai. An Iranian company had contacted him in January 2013 and asked Ghahreman to find suppliers of “four Navigat-2100 fiber optic gyro compasses – used by ‘advanced high speed vessels’ – and dozens of Y-690 electron tubes – used in ‘military airborne radar and transponder applications.'”
In conversations with prospective suppliers, Ghahreman acknowledged that the items would likely be used by the Iranian government for aviation purposes, but acknowledged that other items were “sensitive” and could be used for “electronic warfare.”
In June 2013, Ghahreman and his business partner, Yildiz, met in Las Vegas to discuss the transaction with the two DHS agents who were posing as suppliers. Yildiz told the undercover agents  the sale could lead “for far bigger business in future” because “it’s very important to find reliable, trustable partners.”
Ghahreman was convicted of seven counts in April 2015, despite his defense attorney’s claim that his client was “a man in the middle” who had “no allegiance to Iran.” Ghahreman’s own words in the secret recordings “overwhelmingly [established]” that he had been “a knowing and critical member” of “a criminal network that … reached from Iran to Dubai all the way to the United States,” according to prosecutor Shane Harrigan.
Yildiz, who had testified against Ghahreman, was given a 23 month sentence. He was released before the prisoner swap, which saw Ghahreman released along with six others. The U.S. also agreed to stop pursuing charges against another 14 fugitives, including the owner of the front company. Reuters reported in January that the government also agreed to drop a $10 million claim against one of the seven convicted smugglers.
ABC reported that its investigation showed that “when it comes to Iran specifically, at least 130 people and another 33 companies have been charged under the Obama administration for trying to smuggle sensitive materials into the rogue state or conduct illegal business with people in Iran.”
While the U.S. did not release all of those involved in conducting illicit business with Iran, Assistant Attorney General John Carlin asserted at the time of Ghahreman’s conviction that “these violations of the Iran Trade Embargo have the potential to harm U.S. national security objectives, and we will continue to hold accountable those who seek to circumvent its restrictions.” This contradicted President Barack Obama’s declaration at the time of exchange that the release of the convicted smugglers “reflects our willingness to engage with Iran to advance our mutual interests, even as we ensure the national security of the United States.”
In February, a U.S. District Judge objected to the release of one of the seven jailed smugglers, suggesting that the release of Alireza Moazami Goudarzi was not in the public interest.
In June 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. expedited the release of four Iranians, including arms smugglers, in 2012 in order to facilitate the nuclear talks with Iran.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have arrested at least six dual nationals in the past year, Reuters reported last month, noting that it was “the highest number of Iranians with dual-nationality detained at one time in recent years to have been acknowledged.” (go to TheTower.org to watch the video)

 
Investors this week showed they are banking on Israeli video technology and blue-and-white sensors to enable autonomous vehicles with $59 million in investments. Kaltura, Israel’s leading video technology provider, announced earlier this week that it has secured a $50 million pre-IPO funding from Goldman Sachs’ Private Capital Investing group. “Video is booming.  It is the favorite data type for communication, collaboration, teaching & learning, marketing, and entertainment.  Kaltura is in a unique position to capitalize on this huge market opportunity since it provides the broadest set of video products and capabilities to customers across all industries,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman and CEO. “We are excited to be working with Goldman Sachs as we continue our journey to videofy companies and organizations all around the world.” Kaltura — named ‘One of 2016’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Video’ by FastCompany — says it will use the new capital to extend its footprint across all six continents. Meanwhile, Innoviz Technologies, a startup developing advanced sensors and systems enabling fully autonomous vehicles, emerged from stealth mode and announced it raised $9 million in Series A financing round. Investors include Zohar Zisapel, Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures and Delek Investments. (via Israel21c)

 


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