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Israel under fire

Israel under fire

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Israel under fire

Families in southern Israel awoke to the sounds of red alert sirens calling them into their bomb shelters
Men, women, and children, had 15 seconds to run and seek shelter in the middle of the night. These rockets were continuously launched at these communities and have remained ongoing.
Hamas has launched more than 100 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilians.

The IDF carried out the largest wave of daytime strikes since Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. The IDF struck more than 40 terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including 2 terror tunnels, 2 large logistic centers, and a Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza.

“All the Iron Dome batteries and other elements were deployed in the last few weeks and prepared for this situation and we are ready for all possible scenarios,” said Chief of the Aerial Defense Array Brigadier General, Zvika Haimovich.

Before the strikes began, the IDF Arabic Spokesperson, Maj. Avichay Adraee sent out warnings to the civilians in the Gaza Strip in Arabic, warning them to stay away from areas where they know that terror activity is taking place. So far, there are no known casualties on the Gazan side.

“A combination of terror along the security fence, arson terror, and rockets are what eventually caused us to retaliate against Hamas,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International and Social Media Branch. “The purpose of the strikes was to stop the terror against Israeli civilians, stop the terror on the fence, and to stop the arson terror.”

Since March 2018, the State of Israel has endured Hamas terror in the form of weekly violent riots, arson kites, incendiary balloons, and most recently, rockets. For months Hamas has targeted Israeli civilians on a weekly basis. The riots on the fence are becoming more violent, as an IDF officer was injured yesterday when an explosive device was thrown at him. He was wounded in the chest and is currently recovering and stable. This officer’s injury represents the increasingly violent nature of the riots along the security fence and Hamas’ true intentions behind the “Great Return March.”

The IDF holds Hamas responsible for everything occurring in and emanating from the Gaza Strip. The IDF will continue to defend Israeli civilians and sovereignty against those who seek to harm either.

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Two days of Terror - In Jerusalem, Jaffa and Petah Tikva

Today March 9, 2016, In Jerusalem a resident of Beit Hanina was seriously wounded when two terrorists tried to run over policemen and civilians and open fire near the light rail stop opposite Damascus Gate. They were shot and killed by police.

Yesterday March 8, 2016: In Jerusalem at the Old City: A Palestinian woman approached Border Police officers on Hagai Street, drew a knife from her back, and tried to stab them. The assailant was shot and killed.

In Jerusalem two Border Police officers were wounded, one critically, when a terrorist on a motorcycle opened fire with an automatic weapon on Salah a-Din Street, near Damascus Gate. The assailant was shot and killed.

In Petah Tikva: One Israeli was moderately wounded in a terror stabbing. The victim removed the knife from his neck and killed his assailant.

In Jaffa a 29-year-old American student Taylor Force was killed and 10 others wounded in a stabbing attack which began near the Jaffa port. The assailant fled on foot along the Tel Aviv beach promenade, stabbing passersby and motorists before he was shot and killed by police.

Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attacks: "Hamas congratulates the three heroic operations this evening, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Jaffa, and considers this proof of the failure for all these theories to abort the Intifada, which will continue until the realization of its goals. Hamas celebrates the martyrs that have ascended through these operations, and confirms that their pure blood will, God willing, be the fuel for escalating the Intifada."
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Parents of Slain Israeli Teens Spoke in NY

Parents of two of three Israeli teens whose killings by Hamas last summer sparked Gaza conflict joined Jerusalem Mayor Barkat and Rabbi Lord Sacks at UJA-Federation of New York event

NEW YORK, The parents of two of the three Israeli teens who were murdered by Hamas last summer preceding Operation Protective Edge spoke at a UJA-Federation of New York event on Thursday celebrating the Jerusalem Unity Prize.

Racheli Fraenkel, the mother of Naftali Fraenkel, z”l, and Ofir Shaer, the father of Gilad Shaer, z”l, joined Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, in a discussion, moderated by The Forward’s Jane Eisner, to discuss how the tragedy led to the creation of the Jerusalem Unity Prize.

The prize was conceived in partnership with the families of the three boys and the Jerusalem-based organization Gesher as a way to perpetuate the spirit of unity across Israel and around the world during the days following the boys’ kidnapping.

“The support the world has shown us has been incredible,” said Fraenkel. “During those tense days I felt a sense of unity that transcended my anxiety and the desperation of the search for my son. People called from all over Israel and, then, from all corners of the world.”

“After our son’s tragic murder, the most important decision my family made was to open our hearts,” said Shaer. “We feel an obligation to ensure that the personal pain that we have experienced be channeled for the betterment of people all over the world and this is what we all hope this prize will accomplish.”

“The unity that has developed from this tragedy is one of the most important and empowering things I’ve seen in the last decade,” added Barkat, who has been one of the driving forces behind the Unity Prize. “If Hamas had known how its act of terror would bring us together, they wouldn’t have dared kidnap our boys. Unity is a central value in our identity as a people and this prize will afford us the chance to advance these ideals across Israel and around the world.”

The Jerusalem Unity Prize will be presented in three separate categories, each with a prize of up to 100,000 NIS ($25,000). A committee chaired by Barkat, the parents of the three boys, and dignitaries from Israel and the Diaspora will choose the winners.

Eric. S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York said: “These past months have shown us how well we bear each other up in the worst of times. The Jerusalem Unity Prize, which was developed by the families of the three boys— together with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Gesher, and with support from UJA-Federation and others, reminds us to find common ground and raise each other up, not just in crisis — but always.”

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FM Liberman meets US Secretary Kerry in Washington

FM Liberman: Ultimately, the aim of all Islamic terror is one and the same: the destruction of Western civilization. Hence, just as we cannot negotiate with ISIS, we cannot negotiate with Hamas.


Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met in Washington D.C. with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Minister Liberman told Secretary Kerry that Israel deeply appreciates America's support during Operation Protective Edge and that the Israeli leadership and people know that the United States is Israel's greatest friend. FM Liberman asked Secretary Kerry to have the State Department's travel warning to Israel changed in the wake of the end of Operation Protective Edge, so that American citizens will know that there is no reason not to visit Israel, and they will not be in any danger.

FM Liberman told Secretary Kerry that Israel supports the United States in its efforts to form a broad international front against ISIS, and stands ready to help in this task should it be asked, taking into consideration the sensitivities of the states taking part and the needs of the United States.

Minister Liberman noted that the war against terror, in all its forms, is the most important taks of the free world today. We cannot differentiate one form of terror from another. The Hamas terrorist activities against Israel and against the people of Gaza are no different from the terror of ISIS. The difference is only semantic and in the media approach adopted by the organizations. Ultimately, the aim of all Islamic terror is one and the same: the destruction of Western civilization. Hence, just as we cannot negotiate with ISIS, we cannot negotiate with Hamas. As long as Hamas rules in Gaza, there will not be peace or security. Anyone who seeks to advance an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians must bring an end to the rule of terror within the Palestinian Authority.

FM Liberman also told Secretary Kerry that the need to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state is part of the same struggle, because Iran is the number one exporter of terror in the world. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the world will be a much more dangerous place and the Middle East will enter a nuclear arms race that will convulse the region even more than today. The world powers must stand firm in their negotiations with Iran and continue the sanctions, because there can be no compromise with terrorism.
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President Rivlin meets with Norwegian FM Brende

​President Rivlin: The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should be linked to the demilitarization of Gaza, because otherwise Hamas will use the financial aid to further military aims and enhance their ability to attack Israel once again. 


President Reuven Rivlin, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and told him at the start of their meeting, "I would like to welcome you once again to our state and to the region. We appreciate very much your concern and your idea to come to us once again and the appreciation goes with the understanding that you are very much worried about the situation with the people of Gaza."
President Rivlin added that, "The reconstruction of Gaza is one of our interests as much as it is of the all the free world. The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should go along with the demilitarization of Gaza because otherwise we can see the next round in no time because the Hamas people once again will spend all the money that the whole world is trying to help them with in order to reconstruct Gaza, and will put it into military aims and the ability to attack Israel once again. We can come to a dead-end once again and we could find ourselves in a very, very serious situation." The President concluded his remarks by saying, "I very much appreciate the idea that you are trying to help all those people who need humanitarian help."
Norwegian Foreign Minister Brende thanked President Rivlin for his kind words and said, "I know that this has been a very difficult summer for Israel. I was here in July and I saw this. It has been tough on Israel and tough on the Palestinian people." He added, "I know now that there are important negotiations on a more permanent ceasefire and the conditions in Gaza under Egyptian leadership and I think that this is important." The Norwegian Foreign Minister also said, "We cannot discuss the Israel and Palestinian situations without looking at in a broader context," and referred to ISIS and the situation in Iraq.
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Operation Protective Edge: Egyptian FM announces ceasefire

On Tuesday evening, August 26, the Egyptian Foreign Minister announced a ceasefire, which entered into effect at 7 pm.​ Israel has agreed to Egyptian proposal for ceasefire that will be unlimited in time.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, 4,562 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza - 1,042 since the violation of the ceasefire on August 19 - killing six civilians and wounding 127.

A rocket hit an Ashkelon home Tuesday morning, wounding over 20 people, including six young children.Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. In the afternoon, a rocket exploded in the playground of a kindergarten in Ashdod.
Shortly before 6:00 pm, Ze'ev Etzion, 55, and Shahar Melamed, 43, of Kibbutz Nirim were killed and four wounded in a mortar attack on the Eshkol region.

On Tuesday evening, the Egyptian Foreign Minister announced a ceasefire, which entered into effect at 7 pm. Until then, rocket alerts sounded throughout Israel's south. Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket fired towards Tel Aviv.


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Israel's UN envoy says Qatar is a 'Club Med for terrorists' destabilizing the Middle East

WJC, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Ron Prosor, has lambasted the Persian Gulf emirate Qatar for bankrolling terrorist groups such as Hamas and called it a "Club Med for terrorists".

Qatar's then emir Hamad ben Khalifa Al Thani with Hamas leader Haniyeh in Gaza in 2012In an opinion piece for the 'New York Times', Prosor urged the world to work forcefully to halt Qatar’s ability to bankroll the terror groups, specifically Hamas. “Today, the petite petroleum kingdom is determined to buy its way to regional hegemony, and like other actors in the Middle East, it has used proxies to leverage influence and destabilize rivals,” the ambassador wrote. “Every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read ‘Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar,’” Prosor added.

He also accused the Qatar-based news network 'al-Jazeera', which is funded by the emirate’s ruling house, of spreading “radical messages that have inflamed sectarian divides” across the Middle East.

“In the early days of the Arab Spring, al-Jazeera’s coverage of popular uprisings earned the network millions of new followers and solidified its status as a mainstream global news network,” Prosor continued. “Qatar capitalized on this popularity by advancing its own agenda — namely, using the Arabic network to promote the views of extremists who were undermining the region’s more pragmatic elements,” he said, later singling out the Muslim Brotherhood as the main group enjoying Doha’s support.

Prosor said that Qatar was deliberately undermining Israel’s efforts to end Hamas’s ongoing rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip by “pulling the strings” of the Palestinian organization and forcing the group to reject cease-fire proposals.

It was “all because Doha wants a starring role in any cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel,” Prosor asserted.

According to Prosor, Qatar "harbors leading Islamist radicals like the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who issued a religious fatwa endorsing suicide attacks, and the Doha-based history professor Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, whom the United States Department of Treasury has named as a 'terrorist financier' for Al Qaeda. Qatar also funds a life of luxury for Khaled Meshal, the fugitive leader of Hamas. Mr. Meshal’s uncompromising stance — he has vowed never to recognize Israel — has long been an obstacle to reaching a peace deal. But behind Hamas, Qatar is pulling the strings...It is time for the world to wake up and smell the gas fumes."

The Israeli diplomat suggested that “in light of the emirate’s unabashed support for terrorism,” FIFA should reevaluate its decision to name Qatar the host of soccer’s 2022 World Cup.

The international community had to realize that while “Qatar has spared no cost to dress up its country as a liberal, progressive society,” it was in actuality “aggressively financing radical Islamist movements” and destabilizing the region, Prosor wrote.

“Qatar’s continued sponsorship of Hamas all but guarantees that, whatever happens in this round of hostilities, the terrorist group will rearm and renew hostilities with Israel,” he said. “The only way forward is to isolate Hamas’s last major backer.”
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Statement by PM Netanyahu


Operation Protective Edge has not ended, because this is a continuing campaign. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations has continued for many years. Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit very hard.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

"First, I would like to personally turn to the IDF soldiers and commanders, to the bereaved families who lost their dear ones in Operation Protective Edge, to the wounded who are recovering in hospital, to the residents of communities close to the Gaza Strip, to the residents of the Negev, the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and the coastal plain, and to all citizens of the State of Israel.

I would like to commend you and to thank you for the steadfastness and extraordinary unity that the citizens and soldiers of Israel have shown during the past weeks. I want you to know that the ultimate responsibility for your security and peace is mine, as Prime Minister. I am concerned for the security and peace of all Israelis, both the sons that we have sent to the front and the families that are strong and determined in the home front.

Our goal is that the residents of Kerem Shalom, Sderot and the other communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Ashkelon and Tel Aviv will be able to sleep quietly and that the children of Ofakim, Netivot, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva won’t have to run to the protected areas at school.

Along with my colleagues, especially Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who is currently attending a memorial ceremony for IDF soldiers, we are taking all measures to complete the campaign and achieve the goals that we set for ourselves: The restoration of quiet and security for you all. We are doing this in full cooperation, with sagacity, responsibility and determination, and thus shall we continue until the goal is achieved.

One consideration stands before me - the good of the State of Israel. And this consideration is the only one that guides my decision-making, as well as that of the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, no other object, no harsh words from either the Right or the Left, and I condemn all harsh words, and no other interests, only the responsibility for the security and peace of all Israelis. Accordingly, I will continue to act with determination, responsibility and sagacity.

Operation Protective Edge has not ended, not even for a moment, because this is a continuing campaign and I am not speaking only about recent weeks. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations is long and has continued for many years - against Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza, which is part of an Islamic terrorist network the newest member of which is a murderous gang, another terrorist organization, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and it has also attacked Lebanon.

In recent weeks we have hit Hamas very hard on the battlefield. All of the networks that it built in order to attack us have been foiled.

First of all, we prevented - via Iron Dome - attacks by thousands of rockets against our communities. We have killed hundreds of terrorists. We have destroyed thousands of rockets and launchers. We broke up the network of assault tunnels that Hamas built over the years in order to launch simultaneous attacks against our communities and we foiled all of its attempts to attack us from land, sea and air.

This is the harshest blow that Hamas has taken since it was founded. And I remind you that we have already dismantled its capabilities in Judea and Samaria and blocked its attempts to carry out a coup. We did all this before and during the operation. We have hit Hamas very hard. We are determined to continue the campaign by all means for as long as it takes. We will not stop until we have assured full security and a quiet life for the residents of the south and for all Israelis.

Hamas thinks that it can wear us down. It is mistaken. The Israeli people are strong. Instead of attrition, Hamas will be crushed - its infrastructures, terrorists and commanders.

Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit, and not just hit but hit very hard. And if Hamas does not understand this today, it will understand it tomorrow. And if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow because in the Middle East, one needs not just military power but stamina and patience.

My grandfather came here in 1920, here to Jaffa. Several months after he came here, thugs burst into the Jewish immigration office in Jaffa and murdered Jews, in this area, including the well-known author Yosef Haim Brenner. This was almost 94 years ago.

Since then we have been fighting against terrorism - with considerable success. In this time we built our state, developed our cities, developed our economy and created a magnificent army.

Our spirit has not fallen, not even for a moment. On the contrary, it has grown, as has our unity, and we must continue to maintain our internal unity, as well as the courage and resilience of the nation and the home front.

All of these are vital components of our national strength. All of these are foundation stones as we fulfill the mission we have set for ourselves - restoring quiet and security, and I would like to add, in light of the very dramatic changes taking place in our region, not all of them negative, I also add achieving a new diplomatic horizon for the State of Israel."

Following are remarks in English by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the press conference:

I hope President Abbas plays a constructive role. He has an opportunity to do so. I think he has to understand obviously that no one, and least of all Israel can accept the kind of terror attacks that are coming from Hamas. I think that were acting well within our rights, probably more rigorously than any, I would say. No other country has acted more rigorously than Israel in defending itself within legitimate means. And I expect President Abbas to do that.

I will look forward to restarting peace negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace with Israel, to the end of terror, to fulfilling the previous obligations that we have. And I think this is part and parcel of the larger picture that I'm talking about. We have to think carefully how we tie in the new circumstances to the advantage of peace and against terror.

Hamas is like ISIS. ISIS is like Hamas. They're branches of the same tree. And I can say that the entire world has been shocked by the atrocities of Isis. You saw this, the beheading of an American journalist, Foley. It shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people. Well, we face the same savagery. The people who wantonly rocket our cities and want to conduct mass killings, and when they can they murder children, teenagers; they shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor - their own people; and use their people as human shields.

Hamas is ISIS; ISIS is Hamas. They're the enemies of peace; they're the enemies of Israel; they're the enemies of all civilized countries. I believe they're the enemies of the Palestinians. And I'm not the only one who believes it.
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Hamas admits to kidnapping Israeli teenagers

WJC, A senior Hamas official has acknowledged that the organization’s military wing was behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.

In a video posted by Israeli media, Hamas spokesman Salach Al-Aruri told a conference organized by the World Association of Muslim Scholars that the armed wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, was behind the kidnapping of Israeli teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. According to the 'Jerusalem Post', Al-Aruri praised the “heroic action of the Qassam Brigades who kidnapped the three settlers in Hebron.”

Hamas’s leadership had formerly denied any involvement with the kidnappings. Previous reporting in American and Israeli media had suggested that Hamas was either not involved or that the kidnapping was carried out by a rogue group within Hamas.

However, Israeli officials have long insisted that the Hamas organization in Gaza had ordered and financed the attack. Al-Aruri’s statement appears to validate that claim.


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Ceasefire once again violated by rocket fire


Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, over 3,500 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza. PM Netanyahu: "Israel will not negotiate under fire. We will achieve the goal of Operation Protective Edge either militarily or diplomatically, or by a combination of both.​​​​

August 19

At about 3:30 pm, three rockets fired from Gaza hit Beersheva and Netivot, violating the ceasefire.​
PM Spokesperson: This is a “grave and direct violation of the ceasefire to which Hamas committed itself.”
The IDF is targeting terror sites in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire.​


August 18

PM Netanyahu: "The Israeli team in Cairo has been instructed to insist on Israel's security needs and the IDF is prepared for very strong action if fire is resumed."
DM Yaalon: "Operation Protective Edge is not over. As we promised, we will not stop until we bring quiet and security. We are prepared for the results of the discussions in Cairo whether it brings quiet or if someone tries to challenge us with escalation."


August 17

PM Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting: "From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings... If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken."


August 14

Despite the firing of eight rockets towards the end of the 72-hour ceasefire at midnight on Wednesday, 13 August, the ceasefire has been extended for five days, until midnight on Monday, 18 August.


August 11

The Kerem Shalom Crossing, closed on Sunday due to rocket fire, was reopened.


August 10

Since the end of the ceasefire (8:01 on Friday, August 8), Hamas has fired over 130 rockets at Israel.

At 12:30pm a barrage of rockets struck inside the Kerem Shalom Crossing through which humanitarian supplies are transfered from Israel to Gaza, forcing its temporary closure until workers can safely operate in the area, and preventing 280 trucks of humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, from reaching the people of Gaza.

PM Netanyahu to Cabinet: "Operation Protective Edge is continuing. At no stage did we declare its conclusion. The operation will continue until its goal is met - the restoration of quiet for a long period... Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens..."

PM Netanyahu to Pres Rivlin: "We said at the start of the operation that Israel would not negotiate under fire and we have proven that we stand behind these words. Since Hamas violated the ceasefire on Friday, the IDF has struck it very hard. We are determined to achieve the goal of Operation Protective Edge - the restoration of quiet for the residents of Israel for a lengthy period while striking significantly at the terrorist organizations. I said at the beginning of the operation: We will achieve this either militarily or diplomatically, or by a combination of both."

An Egyptian-brokered 72-hour ceasefire came into effect at midnight on Sunday, after Israel said it would not negotiate in Cairo unless the rockets stopped. Minutes before the declared ceasefire, rockets were fired at Beersheba and Tel Aviv, following a day of rocket fire directed at Israel's south.


August 8

Israel agreed to Egypt's call to extend the 72-hour ceasefire. Shortly after 4 am, with the ceasefire still in effect, two rockets struck in open areas near the Eshkol Regional Council.
At 8:01, two rockets were fired towards Ashkelon, marking the renewal of rocket fire from Gaza, as Hamas refused to extend the 72-hour ceasefire.

By 10 am, over 18 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel: 2 were intercepted over Ashkelon, 14 hit open areas and 2 landed in Gaza.​ At 10:30 rockets were fired at Sderot.
After 2.5 hours of rocket fire from Gaza, PM Netanyahu and DM Yaalon ordered the IDF to respond with force.
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