March 15, 2017 | | — The IDF spokesperson’s office announced on Friday that Israeli warplanes carried out strike missions in Syria overnight and were targeted by anti-aircraft missiles which missed the planes but later landed in Israeli territory. The missiles prompted an alert siren in Aravot HaYarden Regional Council in Israel’s Jordan Valley, while witnesses in Jerusalem said they heard the explosion from the impact. There were no reports of damage or injuries in Israel.

It is presumed that the Israeli strikes in Syria were targeting, as they have in the past, shipments of strategic weapons meant for the Lebenese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah.

Later on Friday, it emerged that one of the anti-aircraft missiles fired at the IDF jets was intercepted by the Arrow air defense system, the first such operational use of the system publicly acknowledged by the IDF. Analysts speculated that the IDF released the information in order to enhance its deterrence posture in the wider Middle East region.

Lieberman Labels Palestinian National Fund Terrorist

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a statement on Thursday labeling the Palestinian National Fund as a terrorist organization due to “its continuous and sustained support to entities responsible for serious terrorist activity against Israel.” The statement continued by explaining that the Fund, which calls itself a charity, actually pays money to the families of suicide bombers and terrorists serving prison terms for murdering Israelis.“As of the date of the declaration, necessary steps will be taken, in Israel and abroad, to seize and forfeit the property and money belonging to the fund. Security officials will continue to act firmly against any entity that supports terrorist activities against Israel,” the Defense Ministry statement concluded.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the statement as a violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords, adding that it would “blow up the agreement that defines [our] legal relationship with Israel.”

Ghattas To Resign from Knesset Under Plea Deal

Balad MK Basel Ghattas agreed to a plea bargain Thursday, confessing to smuggling cellphones to security prisoners in Ketziot Prison in the Negev during visits there, for which he will spend two years in prison himself and give up his seat in the Knesset. MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) lamented the sentence, saying “This light punishment harms the deterrence effect and will encourage shameful acts like these in future.”However, Deputy Knesset Speaker Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) expressed relief that the deal would spare the Knesset the expense and headaches associated with impeaching Ghattas, and prosecutors added that they would insist on proceeding with a charge of moral turpitude against Ghattas, which would prevent him from serving in the Knesset for at least seven years after his release from prison.

Jerusalem Marathon Enjoyed by Thousands

Around 30,000 people from around Israel and the world participated Friday morning in the annual Jerusalem Marathon. Kenyan Shadrack Kipkogey was the first to cross the finish line of the full marathon, recording a time of 2:17:36. Hundreds of police officers were on hand to protect the event from threats to disrupt it by Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) Jewish groups as well as anti-Israel protesters who held up signs declaring that the route of the race was “occupied land”.
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