New Delhi: At the center of the Middle East, on the shores of the Mediterranean in the Levant (the area bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea), lies the country of Israel.
It is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria, and Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south.
Since Israel became a state in 1948, it has endured repeated wars and attacks. The people have constantly faced the threat of a hostile Arab world that wants them gone. The regional instability in the Middle East and the rise of regional terror groups pose a significant threat to the Jewish state.
According to a report by The Brookings Institution, “The main driver of instability and threats in the Middle East today is the civil violence in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and increasingly in Iraq… Ending those civil wars should be a top priority for the United States and others concerned with regional stability.”
Israel is seen as an oasis of stability in a volatile region and has often been at the receiving ends of radical extremists who routinely target the Jewish state.
Through this article, we put together a list of the terrorist groups that constantly target Israel and its people.
ISIS in the Sinai
In 2011, a number of Salafi Islamist groups in the Sinai Peninsula banded together to establish Jama’at Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, or “Supporters of the Holy House (Jerusalem).” Positioned on Israel’s southern border, they carried out numerous terror attacks, many of them against Israeli civilian and military targets. In November 2015, they pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, rebranding themselves “Wilayat Sinai,” or “The Sinai Province” of ISIS.
The Caracal Battalion, a coed combat unit stationed on the Sinai border, acts as the frontline against the ISIS threat.
Last attack: On February 2017, ISIL-linked operatives launched four Grad rockets from Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula on the Israeli southernmost city of Eilat, prompting Israeli Iron Dome system to intercept three of the rockets, with no physical casualties or damage reported.
One of the world’s most active terror groups Hezbollah is based in southern Lebanon. The group receives financial support and weapons from Iran. Their laundry list of global terror includes hijackings, large-scale bombings, firing missiles at civilian targets, and weapons smuggling. They’ve carried out terror attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets from Israel to Argentina, from Bulgaria to Turkey. Currently, their major focus is the ongoing civil war in Syria, where they’re supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The group boasts of an arsenal of at least 100,000 rockets directed towards Israel.
Last attack: The group threatened to open fire on IDF soldiers building a border fence along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Founded in 1987, this Islamist Palestinian terror group rules over the Gaza Strip, on Israel’s southwestern border, and aspires to take over Judea and Samaria. They took power in 2007 after a violent struggle with the Palestinian authority and have been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover. During this period it fought several wars with Israel. It is regarded as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, most notably by the United States, the European Union, and Israel.
Last attack: On February 18, 2018, a rocket launched from Gaza exploded in an open territory of southern Israel’s Sha’ar Hanegev regional council. Zero casualties reported.
Khalid ibn al-Walid Army
The Khalid ibn al-Walid Army is an armed Salafi jihadist group active in southern Syria. It was formed by a merger of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the Islamic Muthanna Movement, and the Army of Jihad, all affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, on 21 May 2016. The group controls a strip of territory southeast of the Golan Heights.
The group is an active arm of the terror group ISIS and operates in the triangular region of the southern Syrian Golan that shares a border with Israel, and Jordan. They gained notoriety when they took 21 Filipino UN Peacekeepers hostage in March 2013.
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham
Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra known as the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham after July 2016, and also described as al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant, is an extreme terrorist organization fighting against Syrian government forces in the Syrian Civil War, with the aim of establishing a self-proclaimed Islamic state in the country. The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012.
They have massacred army hostages, innocent villagers, and infidels who don’t follow Islam.
(With inputs from IDF)