Wednesday, April 04, 2018

04-Apr-18: In the war against the Gazan terrorists, the sea and "fisherman" have new significance

Israeli security video of naval forces seizing the attack ship

Think for a moment of all the news reports over the years of honest, hard-working, innocent-as-hell Gazan Palestinian Arab fishermen arrested for no reason whatsoever by mean Israeli naval forces.

The IDF and Israel's security establishment in general devotes massive resources to field intelligence. Israel's critics tend to relate to that sort of claim with cynicism, just because. That will probably continue today but for Israelis today brings some very disturbing news that, thankfully, includes something a positive outcome.

A Gazan Palestinian Arab plot to attack an Israeli naval vessel by missile, to then seize the survivors and do bad things to them or with them, was revealed today. It has ended well, at least so far. Here's how one report ["Shin Bet, IDF thwart Islamic Jihad attack on navy boats off Gaza coast", Times of Israel, April 4, 2018] tells it.
Security forces arrested a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group off the Gaza coast suspected of planning to sink an Israeli naval patrol boat and kidnap any survivors last month, Israel revealed on Wednesday. The plan was to use three boats to lure in a navy ship, fire a missile at it and then seize the wounded and slain soldiers, according to a joint statement by the Shin Bet security service and Israel Defense Forces. This plot was foiled on the night of March 12, when the navy’s 916th Patrol Squadron stopped a Palestinian boat that had left the designated Gaza fishing zone.
The video clip embedded above shows the nighttime seizure with well-armed IDF naval special forces boarding the fishing boat and arresting the 10 on board. The boat was impounded in Ashdod's sea-port.

It's likely that more information will emerge in days to come:
The crew was brought into Israeli custody for questioning, including Amin Saadi Muhammad Jumma’a, 24, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who told interrogators that he had received instructions from his commanders to prepare to carry out the attack on Israeli Navy ships... Jumma’a, a resident of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, told interrogators that the plan was for one boat to act as a diversion by leaving the fishing zone so that a navy ship would approach it...  “A second boat would attack the ship, firing a Kornet (anti-tank) missile at it, with the intention of causing injury and death to the soldiers on board,” the statement said. A third boat would then arrive on the scene and take the wounded soldiers hostage and steal the bodies of those killed, the security forces said.
Jumma’a (some reports spell his name as Juma) was indicted in a Beer Sheba court today (Wednesday) on multiple charges including planning to conduct a terror attack, acquiring weapons and belonging to a terrorist organization. The charge sheet says he was recruited into Islamic Jihad in 2016 and a year later agreed - after being promised $5,000 - to conduct the attack.

Of the ten men arrested, seven were released after interrogation by the Shin Bet. Two others are believed to be part of the plot and were not freed. The tenth is Jumma'a who is not going anywhere for now.

Over at Haaretz ["Israel Indicts Gaza Resident for Plot to Attack Navy Vessel and Abduct Troops", today] they say that
Intelligence services believe the plot reflects a desire by terrorist organizations in Gaza to shift their attention to sea in light of Israel's successes against the threat of underground tunnels. The military has deployed a number of methods meant to counteract this growing threat, and is preparing for the possibility that these groups may attempt to target Israel's offshore gas fields
In an Associated Press interview with a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, Daoud Shehab, he "had no information about the Israeli announcement" but offered the not-so-startling insight that PIJ terrorists are involved in "open confrontation" with Israel:
"It's also our right to look for suitable ways to force Israel to release Palestinian prisoners," he added.
And Israel's right to do everything necessary to thwart them.

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