Fighting among Palestinians in Lebanon May Benefit Hamas

Last month, after weeks of clashes in the Palestinian city of Ein el-Hilweh in Lebanon, the parties reached a ceasefire. The fighting, which left 31 dead and led thousands to flee, pitted the Fatah faction of the PLO—which is led by Mahmoud Abbas and governs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank—against Islamist groups. Nada Homsi explains:

The clashes began when a Fatah gunman attempted to assassinate a leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jund al-Sham group, according to security sources within the camp. The next day, Islamist militants killed the Fatah security commander Abu Ashraf al-Armoushi and four bodyguards. Fatah retaliated with force and attempted to expel militant groups from the camp.

By longstanding convention, the Lebanese state does not have jurisdiction over Palestinian refugee camps, leaving residents to handle security. In Ein el-Hilweh, radical Islamist groups like Jund al-Sham have exploited the lack of state oversight and loose internal security to establish their influence, which Fatah has been unable to subdue. According to Fatah and Hamas officials, the groups are made up of Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians, and are divided ideologically.

Hamas’s status as a relatively moderate Islamist party has allowed it to play a mediating role between hardline militants and Fatah. . . . But some in Fatah—including the senior official Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the group’s central committee—have accused Hamas of playing a role in the fighting, which Hamas denies.

Meetings between Fatah and Hamas to discuss the clashes seem to have given Hamas a larger role in administering security in Ein el-Hilweh, which was traditionally primarily the job of Fatah’s National Security Forces.

Read more at The National

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Lebanon, Palestinians

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security