It all began on May 2, when the Islamic Jihad sent 104 rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel. One week later, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched Operation Shield and Arrow. Three senior commanders in the Islamic Jihad, who were responsible for the terrorist group’s air barrage, were targeted and killed. Later, three more would be taken out.
In return, the Islamic Jihad fired 1,469 rockets and mortars at Israel. Of those weapons, 291 failed and fell in Gazan territory and 39 dropped into the sea. The Iron Dome took out 437 and two more were intercepted by the David’s sling system. Most missiles that made it through fell harmlessly. However, there were two Israelis who lost their lives in the attack, and 77 who were injured. In Gaza, there were 33 killed in the response.
Quite a few houses belonging to terrorists were demolished by the IDF and many weapons factories and caches were destroyed. All eyes are now on today’s annual Jerusalem Day Flag March after Hamas issued threats against it, while demanding it not be held.
Israel and Cyprus to Build Gas Pipeline and Production Plant
Cyprus Energy Minister Giorgos Papanastasiou will soon travel to Israel to work out the details of a joint gas venture between the two countries. A pipeline will be built capable of transferring both Israeli and Cypriot gas from their sizable offshore fields. Also in the works is a liquefaction plant off the coast of Cyprus which will prepare the gas for export by tanker to Europe. The hope is to have the pipeline completed in 18 months, and the liquefaction plant in 2 ½ years.
Warming Relationship Between Sweden and Israel
When Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Sweden on Monday, it was tangible evidence of the warming relations between the two countries. For years, the relationship has been tense, primarily over a very disparate view of the Palestinian situation. However, in the last two years, economic and technological ties have started to bring Jerusalem and Stockholm back together. This official visit by Cohen, the first by Israel in 22 years, speaks strongly of this reconciliation.
Russia Freezes Finnish Bank Accounts
Not all is happy in the Nordic regions. Russia has frozen the bank accounts of the Finnish embassy in Moscow and the consulate in St. Petersburg. According to Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, this action, which he called “bullying”, was enacted in late April. Both the embassy and consulate have enough cash reserves to continue operating for a time. Thus far, Moscow has not explained their action.
Russian Military Possibly Destroys American-Made Patriot Missile System in Ukraine
It comes down to who you talk to. The Russian defense ministry claimed Tuesday that early that morning one of their hypersonic missiles had destroyed a U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system. The U.S. said, “Wait a second. Sure, it was damaged, but we wouldn’t say ‘destroyed.’” Then, the Ukrainian air force spokesperson downplayed the whole incident, saying, “Do not worry about the fate of the Patriot.” Who’s telling the truth? I guess we’ll find out the next time there is an airstrike on Kyiv.
Ukraine Intelligence Considers Striking Drone Factories in Iran
It has been another devastating week in Ukraine. Russia has hit them time and again on the ground and, especially, in the air with missiles and drones. It is the latter weapon that has Ukrainian intelligence considering a philosophy that we in Israel know very well. When the weapons keep coming, you hit the source. Where is the source of these drones? Iran. So, don’t be surprised if sometime in the future you hear of a Ukrainian-backed strike of some kind on drone factories in Iran.
Britain Commits Drones and Missiles to Ukraine
When Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to have the U.K. join a “fighter jet coalition,” Sunak declined, offering instead to supply long-range attack drones and hundreds of missiles. While it may not have been exactly what Zelenskyy wanted, what he is getting is enough to send Moscow into a rage. “It leads to further destruction,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “It makes this whole story for Ukraine much more complicated.” Sometimes the lack of self-awareness among Russia’s leadership is staggering.
Hungary Blocks EU Money Transfer to Ukraine
The EU has been supporting Ukraine’s military efforts through their European Peace Facility (EPF). This time, however, when time came to approve the next portion of EPF money, Hungary said no. Their excuse was essentially that Ukraine was hogging all the funds, and more should be left for other places that need it. But Budapest has shown where their leanings lie from the beginning of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, disapproving of sanctions and refusing to send military equipment to aid Kyiv.
Turkey’s Presidential Election Goes into Runoff
Less than one percentage point kept incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from reaching the majority he needed to avoid a runoff. Final numbers saw Erdogan at 49.24%, his primary rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, at 45%, with another 6%-plus of the vote split between two other candidates. Many see an Erdogan reelection as giving the already authoritarian president a mandate for an even stronger grip on the government. Kilicdaroglu, on the other hand, is promising a return to democracy. The strong possibility that the incumbent will remain in office caused the Turkish lira to drop to a two-month low of 19.70 to the U.S. dollar. The next round of elections is May 28.
Azerbaijan Makes Arrests in Alleged Plotting of Iran-Supported Coup
At least seven people were arrested in Azerbaijan on Tuesday as part of an alleged coup plot. Using assassinations and armed riots, the cell, organized by Rufulla Akhundzadah and his son Almursal, hoped to bring down the government and replace it with a state under Sharia law. Akhundzadah was in touch with Iranian intelligence, who planned to bring the cell across the border for military training and religious education.