Israeli officials intercepted a shipment of metal pipes and motors bound for Hamas in Gaza that can be used in the production of rockets and for constructing tunnels,according to Israel’s Defense Ministry. The shipment contained “hundreds of pipes with a diameter under four inches, with a special kind of screw that is used for the production of mortars and rockets.” Additionally, the electric motors, according to the Defense Ministry, “are used by terror groups for different build-up purposes, including the construction of underground networks.” Following the revelation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahutweeted: “This is why Israel inspects what enters Gaza. Hamas hid rocket & tunnel supplies in a textile & jewelry shipment.”
Hamas routinely attempts to smuggle materials into Gaza for military purposes under the guise of goods used for the civilian population. In early May, Israeli authorities uncovered a shipment of four tons of ammonium chloride that was concealed in over 30 tons of salt. The compound is primarily used as a fertilizer but can be used in the production of rockets. The Israel Tax Authority stated that those four tons could have resulted in the production of hundreds of long-range rockets. The Tax Authority concluded, “This case underscores the activity of Gaza-based terrorist organizations in smuggling dual-use materials disguised as goods destined for the civilian population and reconstruction projects.”
Additionally, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold announced on Tuesday that Hamas is confiscating 95% of cement that enters Gaza, stating: “From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza Strip [from Israel], only five or six are transferred to civilians.” Hamas uses the cement to expand and build its network of terror tunnels. Over the past two months, the IDF has uncovered two of Hamas’ tunnels that led into Israel. Hamas used its network of terror tunnels during the summer 2014 war and has continued its efforts to reinforce and expand its infrastructure. Yossi Kuperwasser, former director-general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, explained in a TIP conference call three weeks ago that the tunnels were part of Hamas’ “ongoing effort 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.” He stressed that Hamas has made significant investments in 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.” Hamas reportedly spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each month and employs more than 1,000 operatives “working 24 hours a day, six days a week” building tunnels.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese terror group to fight a war of “comprehensive resistance” against Israel in a speech on Tuesday, the 16th anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
On May 24, 2000, Israel withdrew from its security zone in southern Lebanon, bringing it intocompliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 425. “By withdrawing from Lebanon, Israel removes any alleged ‘legitimacy’ for continued terrorist attacks against the ‘occupiers’ soldiers and civilians,’” Etyan Bentsur, then the director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, wrote in an op-ed at the time. But instead of the Lebanese army and UN observers taking charge of security in southern Lebanon, as the Security Council resolution prescribed, Hezbollah took over instead. Over the next six years, residents of northern Israel were subjected to a series of cross-border terror attacks, eventuallyprecipitating a war in 2006.
In his speech, Nasrallah called Israel the “real enemy” and the biggest threat to the Middle East. He appealed to the so-called “resistance axis,” which includes Iran, its allied countries, and proxy militias, to continue its fight against Israel’s “occupation.”
IDF deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said last month that the next war between Israel and Hezbollah would be “devastating” due to Hezbollah’s widely-reported tactic of hiding military assets in civilian areas. An Israeli defense official told The New York Times last year that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk. A few days later, a newspaper linked to Hezbollah confirmed the Israeli assessment.
In February, Nasrallah threatened an attack on ammonium tanks in Haifa, which could kill tens of thousands of people.
Reports emerged two years ago that Hezbollah was offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to hide rocket launchers in their homes. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was passed unanimously to end the 2006 war, forbids the transfer of weaponry to Hezbollah. However, Iran has continued to arm Hezbollah and the Security Council has refused to act to enforce the resolution.
As the Cofix café chain continues to expand across Israel, the cut-rate coffee house stirred up headlines this week in announcing its plans to open 1,000 branches in Russia. Cofix opened its first storefront in Tel Aviv in October 2013. Since then, the coffee house that prides itself on selling everything on its menu for NIS 5 ($1.30), has opened hundreds of branches across the country. In 2014, Cofix opened cheap, fixed-price bars in Israel. All beer, wine and liquor costs $1.30. In 2015, the Super Cofix — grocery stores selling produce at $1.30 or less – launched in the Israeli market. In June of 2015, Cofix became the first café chain to be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The successful business plan is now being copied to Russia. According to a statement released by Cofix, the company will open 300 storefronts in Moscow and 700 branches across the rest of the country. The Cofix Group’s subsidiary, Urban Cofix, will run the Russian foray. The subsidiary recently signed an agreement with a private company led by Satesh Melwani and Mikhail and Grigory Perchersky to set up the Cofix cafes in Russia. According to the deal, Cofix will sell coffee, other drinks, pastries and sandwiches, all at the same price. According to reports, Cofix is also eyeing the UK market. (via Israel21c)