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Update: Militants “Blow Up UNRWA Clinic,” Killing 3 IDF Soldiers

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Yesterday we reported on the deaths of 3 IDF soldiers who were killed when the building in which they had uncovered a terror tunnel exploded, having been booby trapped by Hamas. Now The Times of Israel‘s Mitch Ginsburg provides further details about the incident, including the fact that the structure was either a UNRWA clinic or a building disguised as one:

“And then we enter with our people, and they [the militants], from the very same terror tunnel, they blow up half the clinic on our troops.”“They blow [up] the UNRWA clinic on our troops.”

UNRWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment …

The three soldiers, members of the elite Maglan unit, were taking precautionary measures in efforts to limit damage to the structure before eliminating the tunnel, when the explosives detonated in the small building.

The soldiers had sent in sniffing dogs and a small tractor to minimize damage to the structure, but explosives rigged to the building detonated, toppling a section of the building on the soldiers.

Fifteen soldiers were injured. IDF soldiers evacuating the wounded came under fire from Palestinian fighters …

Edelstein used the alleged clinic as an illustration of the difficulty inherent in fighting an enemy willing to exploit both civilians and non-governmental organizations. “Once you enter such a clinic and you see the UNRWA sigh on it and you know there is a terror tunnel there, you know it’s a very very sensitive building, and you’re thinking of the not-terrorist Palestinians living there all around, and you’re trying not to harm this place,” Edelstein said.

Again, we pray that God comforts the loved ones of the three soldiers lost, and that He provides strength and healing to all those wounded.

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 9:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: 3 IDF Soldiers Killed in Explosion, 27 Wounded

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As the IDF works to find and destroy Hamas’ remaining terror tunnels in Gaza, Arutz Sheva reports that an explosion during an operation today killed three soldiers and wounded 27 more. A tunnel hidden inside a home had been booby-trapped and exploded as the soldiers worked to secure it:

In a statement, the army said they had been killed “while uncovering an offensive tunnel shaft in a residence in the southern Gaza Strip.”

“The house and the tunnel were booby trapped with two explosive devices that were detonated against the soldiers,” it said.

The attack was claimed by Hamas’s “military wing,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which claimed to have killed a group of soldiers during the bombing of a house in Khan Yunis where they were operating, in a statement that was issued earlier in the day.

Twenty-seven (27) additional soldiers were wounded.

We pray for the families of the soldiers who were killed, and for the recovery of all those injured in the explosion.

Update on this incident – 7/31/14

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 12:36 PM  | Stand For Israel

10 IDF Soldiers Fall in Battle

(Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

(Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

As Operation Protective Edge continues, Israel Hayom reports that yesterday was the deadliest day the IDF has experienced since the beginning of the campaign against Hamas, with 10 Israeli soldiers killed:

On Monday night, a group of Hamas terrorists infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel under the border near Nahal Oz. The terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF position, killing five soldiers. In an ensuing exchange of fire, one of the terrorists was killed, while the rest escaped back to Gaza …

Earlier on Monday, a mortar shell fired from Gaza struck an IDF staging area near the border in the Eshkol region. Four soldiers, all from the Armored Corps, were killed …

Also on Monday, Staff Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, was killed in southern Gaza when terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a D9 bulldozer. The terrorists subsequently entered a nearby house. An IDF bulldozer then toppled the house, killing eight of the terrorists. Two other terrorists were arrested by Givati Brigade soldiers.

In both Gaza and the West Bank on Monday evening, Palestinians held joyous demonstrations after learning of the Israeli deaths.

We pray for the families and friends of these 10 brave soldiers who gave their lives protecting their nation and people. May God comfort them.

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 11:50 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: Precious in the Sight of the Lord

(Photo: flickr/ healinglight)

(Photo: flickr/ healinglight)

Precious in the sight of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful servants. (Psalm 116:15)

As brave IDF soldiers have laid down their lives this week in the service of Israel and her people, many now join the fallen warriors laid to rest at the military cemetery at Mount Herzl. They are all precious in His sight. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 2:19 PM  | Stand For Israel

Our Young Heroes

Funeral of Max Steinberg (Photo: ASHERNET)

Funeral of Max Steinberg (Photo: ASHERNET)

Two American warriors serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fell in battle this week as the IDF continued its effort to destroy Hamas’ ability to terrorize the Jewish state. Max Steinberg, 24, was born and raised in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, and served as a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade. Sean Carmeli, 21, was from South Padre Island, Texas, and also served in the Golani Brigade.

Over the years, thousands of American volunteers have come to Israel to serve in the IDF. These admirable young men and women – unwilling to sit idly by while Israel fights for its survival – leave their tranquil American life to help defend the Jewish state against multiple enemies. My nephew, Noam, who was born and raised in Chicago, was one of these volunteers, and during his time in the IDF he served in the same unit as Max and Sean.

About 20,000 people attended the funeral service of Sean in the northern city of Haifa, while 30,000 paid tribute to Max as his family buried his body in Jerusalem’s military cemetery. These thousands of Israelis – most of whom did not know Max or Sean – paid their respects at these young men’s funerals, funerals that symbolized who the Jewish people are and how we deal with adversity and tragedy as a nation.

Israelis from every sector of society came in droves to show support and solidarity for our young heroes. And they came to say “thank you” to two young men who did not have to serve in the Israeli military, but who chose to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in order to fight side-by-side with their brothers and sisters in Israel.

It is unfortunate that we need such painful reminders of who we are, but in no other nation would tens of thousands of strangers  come together in such unity and love to honor a fallen solider.

More than anything else, God desires us to show such unity and love…

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 8:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF’s Lone Soldiers Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Stand for Israel has reported on the two American “lone soldiers” who were killed battling terrorists in Gaza this past week, as well as the tremendous response of gratefulness and grief shown by the Israelis these young men gave their lives to protect. Today, Israel’s i24 News on yet another young soldier from elsewhere who gave his life protecting his beloved adopted homeland:

Like the hundreds of young people from abroad that come to Israel to fight in the Israeli Defense Forces, Jordan Bensemhoun was committed to Israel’s security, his sister said the day after learning of his death in Gaza while fighting with the IDF.

Bensemhoun was a 22-year-old “lone soldier” who came to Israel to serve from France without his family …

“Your son is also our son, your brother is also our brother” Jewish Agency President Natan Charanski told Bensemhoun’s family during his funeral at Ashkelon’s military cemetery on Tuesday.

Bensemhoun’s family from France were accompanied at the cemetery by thousands of Israelis who did not know him, but wanted to honor his memory and sacrifice for the State of Israel regardless …

“The only thing we can tell you, is thank you” said one of his fellow soldiers. “Thanks for your love for Israel. Our victory will be also yours, you can be sure that you played a main role in Israel’s security.”

The loss of this brave young man is especially poignant as Staff Sergeant Bensemhoun was a graduate of the first class of the Fellowship-sponsored One of Us IDF-preparation program. After making aliyah from France and graduating from the One of Us program, Bensemhoun volunteered for the Golani Brigade, eager to protect the Holy Land. We pray for God’s comfort and peace for his family and loved ones.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Terrible Cost of Thwarting Hamas

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

While the terrorist rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel and her people are terrifying, David Horovitz of The Times of Israel writes that the nation is in anguish over another threat – the terrorists’ tunnel systems, and the mounting death toll of Israel’s finest young people tasked with finding and destroying them:

Our soldiers are our future. They’re the youngsters among us, who have been required because of Israel’s unique geographic and geostrategic peril to place themselves on the front line for years of service before their young lives have really begun. We feel guilty that we’ve pitched them into war. We, the safe civilians, draw our strength from the sky-high level of their determination and motivation to protect us. We wish it were us, the grownups, who were on the front line. We’d have much preferred for the rockets, targeting all of us, to have been the chief threat …

The prime danger, the second half of the terror strategy that has required us to send our troops into Gaza, has turned out to be Hamas’s cross-border tunneling, the scale of which was not publicly known until the last few days.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 8:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Thousands Pay Their Respects at Funeral of Lone Soldier

(Photo: facebook/ Sean Carmeli)

(Photo: facebook/ Sean Carmeli)

Yesterday we reported on the two American IDF soldiers who were killed during weekend fighting in Gaza. Nissim Sean Carmeli, from Texas, was one of the two. At The Times of Israel, Jessica Steinberg writes about the life of this “lone soldier” and the outpouring of support shown by Israelis who mourned his death:

Carmeli was buried in Haifa’s Neve David cemetery on Monday night. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, with some estimates putting the number at a staggering 20,000.

There had been concerns that the lone soldier, who split his time between Ra’anana and South Padre Island, Texas, where his Israeli parents live, wouldn’t have enough people paying their final respects at his funeral …

“There were people from all walks of life … Religious, secular, Chabad, a Ra’anana crew, a lot of people from Haifa. Soldiers from the navy, air force and infantries. It was really impressive to see it. And there were a lot of people walking around wearing flags, Israeli flags.”

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 8:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

Seven IDF Soldiers Killed on Monday

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Seven IDF soldiers were killed fighting Hamas terrorists on Monday, bringing the number of Israeli dead to 25. Four were killed during Hamas’ attempt to infiltrate Israel disguised as friendly soldiers. The head of the IDF’s operation in the area noted that their sacrifice helped avert greater tragedy:

Four of the seven were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade, fired by Hamas gunmen who emerged from a tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel near Kibbutz Nir Am. The Hamas cell, clad in IDF uniforms, emerged from the tunnel, and waited for an approaching IDF jeep before opening fire, killing the IDF officer and the three other soldiers in the vehicle …

Troops from the Nahal Brigade converged and killed 10 of the Hamas gunmen. Two of the gunmen may have escaped back into Gaza …

“We paid a heavy price, but we averted a grave disaster,” said Sami Turgeman, the general in charge of the IDF’s Southern Command. “There is no Iron Dome protection against tunnel infiltration.”

Again, we ask that you, our friends who stand with Israel during peaceful times and troubled ones such as these, pray for God’s comfort on the families of those lost in battle, and for His protection on those who continue to protect the Holy Land.

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 1:54 PM  | Stand For Israel

Terrorists Wearing IDF Uniforms Try to Infiltrate Israel

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

Hamas terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel today. Yediot Achronot reports that while the attack was stopped by Israel’s military, the attackers sneaked in wearing correct IDF uniforms:

The terrorists, 9 of which had been killed, were carrying army bullet-proof vests, wore IDF boots with rubber bands to keep pants from snagging at anything, as well as helmets with camouflage covers very similar to the ones used by the army.

The terrorists crossed the border fence from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and came across an IDF force near kibbutz Nir Am.

Observation units identified the terrorists in the bushes, but the army did not open fire at them at first because they were wearing correct IDF uniforms, and the troops feared these were IDF soldiers, since many different units operate in the area.

The troops were ordered to open fire only after the terrorists started firing at them with AK-47s.

Comments (4) »

Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 12:17 PM  | Stand For Israel
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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
Heartbreak, Courage - and Unity

The news from Israel has been heartbreaking. Ten more IDF soldiers were killed yesterday, five while fighting Hamas terrorists who crossed into Israel through tunnels…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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