Israeli analysts assessed Monday that Hezbollah will seek to retaliate for the killing of several top commanders in a helicopter attack Sunday afternoon, which was widely attributed to Israel.
Later in the day Likud’s Tzipi Hotovely pushed Avi Dichter out of the 20th slot on the list, following a recount of the votes in the party primary. Yisrael Beytenu presented its list for the Knesset, adding two newcomer women in the top ten.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas prevented Salafi activists waving ISIS flags from breaking into French cultural center. Protests against the Charlie Hebdo cartoons continued in several hotspots around the world.
Late Monday evening the IDF deployed Iron Dome batteries in the North of the country. The northern front was quiet, but tensions remained high and the possible repercussions of the airstrike dominated the day’s news. The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded.
Safed to prep for possible Hezbollah revenge
Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat holds a meeting with senior officials at the municipality on Monday where he outlines the possible scenarios that may develop if Hezbollah decides to retaliate for the targeting of the terror group’s field commanders on Sunday.
Official Israel did not take responsibility for the attack, in which Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah senior official Imad Mughniyeh, was killed along with several other senior Hezbollah officials, but Hezbollah has accused Jerusalem.
“We have updated our procedures, checked that our employees have been briefed and we hope the quiet will continue,” Shochat tells the NRG website.
He adds that the army did not issue instructions for changing the level of alertness.
Strike on Syria said to also kill 6 Iranians
A strike on Syria that killed six members of Hezbollah and was attributed to Israel also killed six Iranian solders, including commanders, a source close to the Lebanese Shiite group tells AFP.
“The Israeli strike killed six Iranian soldiers, including commanders, as well as the six members of Hezbollah. They were all in a convoy of three cars,” the source says, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Massive anti-Hebdo rally in Chechnya
Several hundred thousand people on Monday join a state-organized rally in the Chechen capital Grozny against cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
“More than 800,000 people took part in the event in the center of Grozny,” Russia’s interior ministry says.
Revolutionary Guards general killed, Iran confirms
Iran confirms that a Revolutionary Guards general is among the dead in an attack yesterday that Hezbollah and Iran accuse Israel of perpetrating.
The general, named as Muhammad Ali Allahdadi was killed in an airstrike in Quneitra attributed to Israel, along with five other Iranian soldiers and six Hezbollah members.
The toll of the attack now stands at 12 dead.
Hezbollah names 6 killed in Quneitra strike
Hezbollah officially announces the names of all six of its members killed in Quneitra yesterday.
Following is the list as it appears on the website shiitenews.org, quoting the official Hezbollah statement:
1- Martyr Leader Mohammad Ahmad Issa, “Abu Issa”
Born in Arabsalim in 1972 / Married / Has four children
2- Martyr Jihad Imad Mughniyeh “Jawad”, son of Martyr Leader Hajj Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in Syria in 1998
Born in Teirdiba in 1989 / Single
3- Martyr Abbas Ibrahim Hijazi, “Sayyed Abbas”
Born in Al-Ghaziyeh in 1979 / Married / has 4 children
4- Martyr Mohammad Ali Hasan Abu Hasan “Kazim”
Born in Ain Qana in 1985 / single
5- Martyr Ghazi Ali Daoui “Daniel”
Born in Al-Khiam in 1988 / Married / one child
6-Martyr Ali Hassan Ibrahim “Ihab”
Born in Yohmor in 1993 / single
May Allah have mercy on our infallible martyrs and grant them the highest of paradise.
Butchers filmed marking ‘treif’ meat as kosher
Local employees at a butchery in Paraguay were filmed packing meat for shipment to Russia and then to Israel when kashrut supervisors were on break, in an attempt to sell treif meat as kosher, Ynet reports.
The employees were allegedly avenging dismissals in the factory which they believe were unjust.
The Chief Rabbinate announces it removes the kashrut status from the butchery. Damage to major food producers in Israel, such as Neto and Of Yerushalayim, is estimated at millions of shekels.
Iranian general was trainer of ‘raid force‘
Abu Ali Tabatabai, an Iranian general among those killed in a strike near Quneitra in the Syrian Golan yesterday, was in charge of building and training a Hezbollah force that intended to conduct raids on the Galilee in any future war with Lebanon.
The Iranian general, NRG reports, is the most senior military official, and possibly the most dangerous to Israel, killed since the Second Lebanon War.
Israel, according to the report, has been watching closely and with concern the development of this special force.
Haredi women-only party launches in Tel Aviv
Israel has a new party catering to a demographic not much seen in the Knesset: Bizchutan (In Their Merit) will consist exclusively of ultra-Orthodox women.
The party is announced formally in Tel Aviv’s Zionist Organization of America building by its three founders.
Ruth Kolian, a social activist who focuses on advancing the role of women in society, will head the list; No. 2 is Noa Erez, an intern at the State Attorney’s Office; and No. 3 is Keren Mozen, 21-year-old business management student.
IDF names Protective Edge medal winners
The IDF publishes its list of 53 soldiers who will receive medals for displays of heroism during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge.
In five cases, the merits were granted posthumously. Three women are among the soldiers to be given special medals.
Lieutenant Eitan Fund, 24, will receive the Medal of Valor, the highest distinction given by the IDF. Only 40 such medals have been given since the Knesset established the medal in 1970. Fund was the soldier who ran after Sergeant Hadar Goldin into a tunnel after Goldin was taken fugitive by Hamas terrorists.
Rockets hit Ukraine hospital
Witnesses say a hospital is hit by multiple rockets in the center of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian government troops are still battling pro-Russian rebels for control of Donetsk airport.
The rebel military command says its forces halted a government offensive at a key bridge between the airport and the city. The Putylivskiy bridge was destroyed in the fighting, BBC reports.
Yisrael Beytenu to reveal full candidate list
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman will present his list for the Knesset this evening. A new name on the list is Oded Furer, former director general of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.
Following Liberman at No. 2 is Orly Levy-Abecassis. No. 3 is Sofa Landver and No. 4 is right wing TV anchor Sharon Gal, another newcomer.
Following Gal will be Robert Ilatov, a current Yisrael Beytenu MK and chairman of the faction. The sixth candidate is Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat and Furer will be placed in the seventh place. Alex Miller, Hamed Amar and Shimon Ohayon, current MKs in Yisrael Beytenu, will be in slots 7-10.
Hotovely trumps Dichter after Likud recount
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely overtakes Avi Dichter in the Likud primary more than two weeks after the vote, after the Likud election committee recounts the votes.
This places Hotovely at the 20th slot and Dichter at 26, which is not considered a likely slot to get into Knesset.
“I commend the committee’s decision to act justly for the voters and correct irregularities that occurred during the vote,” Hotovely says. “There is no rivalry between me and Avi Dichter and I am sure he will be able to serve in the next Knesset.”
Canada has clarity, courage, PM tells Baird
In Jerusalem, Netanyahu tells Canadian FM John Baird in Jerusalem:
We’re all engaged in a great battle against the terrorism of militant Islam. Israel has been continually attacked by this scourge and so has Canada recently. Indeed many parts of the world are suffering from this violent attack. To fight Islamist terrorism, we need clarity and courage. Canada has both.
Baird tells Netanyahu:
Todah rabah […] The great struggle of our generation is terrorism and far too often the State of Israel and the Jewish people around the world are on the front lines of that struggle. And as I’ve said before, Canada doesn’t stand behind Israel; we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it.
Thousands attend Jihad Mughniyeh‘s funeral
Thousands of Hezbollah supporters in Beirut march behind the yellow-draped coffin of Jihad Mighniyeh, pumping their fists angrily in the air and chanting, “Death to Israel.”
EU terror-list move shows Israel bias – Hamas
Hamas slams as “immoral” an EU appeal to keep it on the bloc’s terror blacklist, a month after a European court ordered its removal.
“The European Union’s insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU’s total bias in favor of the Israeli occupation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri tells AFP.
“It provides it (Israel) with the cover for its crimes against the Palestinian people,” adds Abu Zuhri.
Dichter appeals loss of Likud’s No. 20 slot
Former minister Avi Dichter appeals to the top Likud court over the party committee’s decision to change the result of the primary and grant MK Tzipi Hotovely the realistic 20th slot, relegating Dichter to the less probable 26th slot.
“In light of the judge’s decision, the party’s top court will discuss tomorrow the request to examine the documents from ballots where there is serious suspicion of irregular voting. This comes after the request was not granted by the committee itself,” Dichter says. “Since the difference in the number of votes is so small, even the slightest difference can change the results,” he adds.
Cabinet to discuss possible escalation in north
The security cabinet will hold a special meeting tomorrow amid concerns of escalation in the northern front over yesterday’s strikes in Quneitra, which killed six Hezbollah members and six Iranian soldiers, including a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards general, an unnamed official tells the Haaretz newspaper.
In Iran, protesters chant ‘Death to France’
More than 2,000 Iranians protest outside the French embassy in Tehran, chanting “Death to France” and urging that the ambassador be expelled because of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
The demonstration comes in response to French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s use of the cartoon in an edition published a week after 12 people were killed by Islamist gunmen at its Paris offices.
The image has angered many Muslims as depictions of Muhammad are widely considered forbidden in Islam, and has triggered protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, some of which turned deadly.
Hamas said to test new slew of rockets
Hamas is testing a new generation of domestically-made rockets and has begun rebuilding terror tunnels in the three months since the end of Operation Protective Edge, the UK’s Times reports, citing Israeli intelligence assessments.
Since September 16, “iron dome” radars monitored test-firing of several dozen high-trajectory projectiles. The rockets all fell into the Mediterranean.
Read the full story here (paywall).
Iranians protest at French embassy in Tehran
Iranian protesters near the French Embassy in Tehran, next to a sign reading “I am Muslim and I Love Good Moral [sic] because my prophet is Muhammad.”
Anti-Hebdo protesters in Gaza wave IS flags
Hundreds of Salafi activists waving Islamic State flags march in the Gaza street protesting the Charlie Hebdo magazine. They convene outside the Centre Culturel Francais in Gaza City and wave photographs of the terrorists who attacked the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices and were later killed.
On Sunday the building of the cultural center was spray-painted with slogans like “you will go to hell.”
Hamas members are said to prevent the protesters from breaking into the building. According to Reuters, many of the protesters were wearing uniforms identical to those worn by IS fighters.
Israel to allow sex change on IDs without surgery
Israel’s Interior Ministry will allow citizens to change the gender designation on their national identity cards without having a sex-change operation.
The decision comes after the Supreme Court orders the ministry to change the gender designation from male to female on the identity cards of two citizens. They had been allowed to change their names prior to the court’s intervention.
The Interior Ministry agreed to change its procedure last week after meeting with officials from the Health and Justice ministries, during which the Health Ministry officials informed the participants that other countries have recognized criteria for determining that a person has changed his or her gender outside of surgery, according to the Haaretz daily.
Gantz at Glilot totally mum on Syria strike
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz speaks during a ceremony in Glilot honoring excellent units in the military, in his first public appearance since the airstrike on Sunday in Syria in which 12 people were killed, including the son of Imad Mughniyeh and a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards general.
Even though Israel refuses to comment on the airstrike, some Israeli officials hinted that Israel may be behind the attack. During a 15-minute speech this evening, however, Gantz makes no mention of the attack.
Palestinian ICC bid a ‘huge mistake’ – Baird
Canada’s foreign minister John Baird says the Palestinians “made a huge mistake” by pursuing war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Prior to meeting Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Baird says the Palestinians crossed a “red line” and that he “communicated that in no uncertain terms” in his meetings with Palestinian leaders.
Canada has been one of only a few Western countries to stand by Israel as it has come under fierce international criticism over deadlocked negotiations with the Palestinians, the recent Gaza war and settlement construction. It has also vocally opposed the Palestinians’ attempts to reach statehood without direct negotiations with Israel.
Baird says Canada will not stay silent with Israel under fire.
2 female newcomers in Yisrael Beytenu top 10
Two women get into the top ten of Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party and some veteran MKs are surprisingly relegated to lower – possibly unrealistic – slots.
The top 16 in the party are:
1) Avigdor Liberman
2) Orly Levi-Abecassis
3) Sofa Landver
4) Ilan Shochat (Mayor of Safed)
5) Sharon Gal (newcomer, TV anchor)
6) Hamed Amer
7) Robert Ilatov
8) Oded Furer (former director general of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry)
9) Yulia Malinovsky (former city councilwoman in Holon)
10) Shira Mistriel (former head of the student union at Ariel University)
11) Alex Miller
12) Leon Litinsky
13) Arkady Pomeranz
14) Shimon Ohayon
15) Shadi Halul (members of the IDF’s Christian Officers’ Union)
16) Moshe Matalon
McCain happy to meet ‘good friend’ Netanyahu
John McCain, US senator from Arizona, tweets how it is “good to meet with our dear friend and ally” — PM Netanyahu.
McCain is in Israel with a delegation of US senators.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) January 19, 2015
EU to fight terror with Turkey, Arab nations
The EU wants to launch counter-terrorism projects with Turkey and Arab nations in coming weeks to boost cooperation following the Paris attacks, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says.
“We are looking at specific projects to launch in the coming weeks with some specific countries to increase the level of cooperation on counter-terrorism, and I would name Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria and the Gulf countries,” she told a news conference.
Lebanese TV shows cars mangled by airstrike
The Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV network shows images of the aftermath of the strike in Quneitra Sunday.
The actual attack is not shown, but in the footage one can see the remainder of the cars in which the Hezbollah members and Iranian soldiers and generals were traveling.
PLO trial gives terror victims stage for redress
A trial unfolding in Manhattan federal court is showcasing a federal law letting victims of terrorism seek compensation.
The civil case against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority is also revealing painful wounds not close to healing for scores of terrorism victims in Israel from 2001 to 2004. Some are Americans.
The trial is one of three major cases proceeding through New York federal courts under the Anti-Terrorism Act. A Brooklyn jury in September found the Jordan-based Arab Bank liable for a wave of Hamas-orchestrated suicide bombings. And a 2005 Brooklyn case against the United Kingdom-based National Westminster Bank is proceeding as well.
In the Manhattan trial, the defense denies officials were privy to attacks, and has cautioned jurors to not let emotional victims’ stories cloud their judgment.
Bird flu discovered on turkey farm in Jenin
Bird flu is discovered on a turkey farm in Jenin, according to test results the Agriculture Ministry received from the Palestinian Authority.
Officials at the ministry say the epicenter of the virus infection is more than 10 kilometers from any Israeli community.
The NRG news website says that the ministry increased coordination with professionals in the PA and gave them instructions on correctly handling the outbreak. This includes treatment of all farms within three kilometers from the farm where the virus was found, as well as destroying all contaminated birds.
IDF deploys Iron Dome in north
The IDF deploys several IDF batteries in the north of Israel, amid fears of a retaliation by Hezbollah for an airstrike Sunday in which six Hezbollah members were killed along with six Iranian soldiers, according to a report on Channel 2.