Created on Saturday, 18 January 2014 15:24
Members of Fatah
, the party of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, have reportedly raided Arab villages in "Area C
", just north-west of Jerusalem, opening fire with automatic rifles
. The clashes are reportedly part of internal power struggles within the party
"Area C" refers to areas within Judea and Samaria which are under full Israeli security control, in contrast to Areas A and B which are under full and partial PA control respectively.
The Arab news source Ajnad News reports that residents of the villages Katane, Bidu, and Beit Anan, which lie just outside of Jerusalem, feel "insecure" after automatic gunfire rent the still night air.
Residents relate that the fire from automatic weapons was different from recent celebratory gunfire commemorating the founding of the Arab-nationalist Fatah at the beginning of the secular year. This time, they said, the gunfire stemmed from conflict between two rival Fatah factions in the villages
Fatah is coming under increasing scrutiny, after a recent incident in which members of the group armed with automatic weapons were filmed in Kalandiya
, in northern Jerusalem, and after a PA police officer was arrested
for involvement in the bombing of a bus in Bat Yam two weeks ago.
Under the Oslo Accords, armed Palestinian Arab groups are forbidden from operating in Area C, and the growing presence of armed terrorists may be an ominous sign of things to come.
Israelis are already skeptical about the intentions of the Fatah-led PA, given ongoing incitement and conflicting messages during the current talks.
In a clip exposed last week, a senior member of Fatah told Syrian TV that any peace agreements are merely the "first stage
" in realizing the group's ultimate goal of destroying Israel.
Created on Thursday, 26 December 2013 09:15
One person has been killed and at least four people have been injured after a bomb was thrown at a bus in outside the Azhar University in Cairo Thursday morning.
The site of the explosion has been cordoned off and is being investigated by police, according to Egyptian media reports.
The apparent terrorist attack comes just one day after the interim Egyptian government blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization
, following a deadly attack
on a security installation on Tuesday.
That attack was claimed by a Salafi group
, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, but Egyptian interim authorities have longed accused the Muslim Brotherhood of playing an active role in fomenting deadly violence in response to the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi - charges the Brotherhood denies.
Thursday's attack is likely to inflame tensions further, as Muslim Brotherhood members vow to continue their demonstrations in protest of Morsi's ouster.
Created on Wednesday, 25 December 2013 18:19
The Egyptian government has designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, one day after a deadly attack on a security building in the city of Mansoura killed 14 people and wounded more than 100 others.
"The Cabinet has declared the Muslim Brotherhood group and its organisation as a terrorist organisation," Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa announced on behalf of the Egyptian cabinet Wednesday.
Tuesday's attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, including the unsuccessful September 5 car bomb against interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo.
The Salafi group has also claimed responsibility for firing rockets from the Sinai Peninsula at the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
Nevertheless, interim Egyptian authorities have long claimed a link between the Brotherhood and the string of bloody attacks which followed the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi. The former president is currently facing trial along with several other prominent Islamists over an alleged "terrorist plot" which involved Iranian-backed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Muslim Brotherhood is already the subject of a court ban by an Egyptian court, following the military-led ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.
The ban on the group accompanied a campaign by security forces to crush the Islamist movement in which hundreds of its members have been killed and thousands arrested.
Egypt has also frozen the assets of senior leaders of the movement and has arrested dozens of its members since Morsi’s ouster, including most of its leadership.
The terrorist designation will enable Egyptian authorities to crack down even harder on the Brotherhood and its supporters.
The Brotherhood, for its part, has denied any connection to terrorism in Egypt. In an email to Al Jazeera, the group stated that "The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be brought to justice".
Created on Wednesday, 25 December 2013 17:56
A car bomb targeted a church in the Iraqi capital Wednesday as worshippers left after a Christmas service, killing at least 35 people, most of them Christians, security officials said.
The blast in the Dura area of south Baghdad also wounded dozens of others.
"The attack targeted the church, and most of the martyrs are Christians," a police colonel told AFP. "The attack happened when worshippers were leaving the church" after a service.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
"Attacks distort the image of Islam and religion, if they are carrying them out in the name of religion," said Monsignor Pios Cacha of Baghdad's St. Joseph church.
"The church is a place of love and peace, and not for wars," Cacha said.
Earlier in the year, Cacha had said that "maybe we will follow in the steps of our Jewish brothers," referring to Iraq's once-thriving Jewish community that was all but wiped-out due to persecution, discrimination and violence at the hands of the country's Muslim majority.
Approximately one million Jews were forced to flee Muslim-majority countries during the twentieth century, wiping out entire Jewish communities, whose presence in the region predated Islam. Today, the Middle East's Christian population is facing similar challenges, with Christian communities - many of whom also predate the rise of Islam - targeted by Islamists throughout the region. Israel is currently the only Middle Eastern country with a growing Christian population.
Iraq has seen its Christian population sharply decline in the years since 2003.
In that year, the US-led invasion of Iraq ended dictator Saddam Hussein's rule, but also turned the country into a battleground between insurgents and foreign troops, unleashing a wave of bombings and killings by terrorists in which Christians were not only caught in the crossfire, but targeted themselves.
The bloodiest single attack on the community happened on October 31, 2010, when terrorists killed 44 worshippers and two priests in Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church.
Estimates of the number of Christians living in Iraq before 2003 vary from just over one million to around 1.5 million; but now there are only around 400,000, according to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, head of one of the world's oldest Christian communities. Some 61 churches have been attacked in the decade since the US-led invasion, Sako said, with more than 1,000 Christians killed in violence, albeit not all in targeted attacks.
Violence in Iraq has surged this year to levels not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian unrest.
More than 6,650 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 10:42
Algerian officials killed a high-ranking Al Qaeda leader Wednesday in a high-speed chase through the Southern Algerian desert, Al Arabiya reports.
An official from the city of Tamanrasset spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity and claimed that two four-wheel-drive vehicles - one of which was carrying Khalil Ould Addah, also known as Abu Bassen - were hit on their way from Mali to a regional meeting of North African Al Qaeda leaders.
"The trail of the two all-terrain vehicles was being followed closely by the army that wanted to take them alive but at the last minute the decision was made to use helicopters to bomb their vehicles," he told the Associated Press.
Addah's precise role in the group is unclear, but he was clearly a prominent figure. Al Qaeda’s branch in the Sahara - known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is led by Yahya Abou el-Hammam, an Algerian, and Ould Addah was likely one of his trusted commanders, according to Jean-Paul Rouillon, an expert on the group.
AQIM branch emerged out of the radical Islamist groups trying to overthrow the Algerian government during the 1990s. Its top officials are believed to be in hiding in the northern Kabyle mountain region, near Algiers.
In January, Al Qaeda-linked groups attacked a southern Algerian natural gas facility at Ain Amenas, taking hundreds hostage before the army attacked, killing nearly all the terrorists. Canadian nationals were reported to be involved, including 24 year-old Aaron Yoon, who was recently extradited by a Mauritanian court.
At least 40 hostages, many of them from Western countries, died in the standoff. After French forces assembled in Mali, the group threatened more attacks on Algerian citizens if Western involvement in the hostage crisis would not stop.
Created on Friday, 06 December 2013 21:02
An attack by suspected Al Qaeda terrorists has left at least 29 dead and more than 70 wounded in attack on Yemen's Defense Ministry Thursday.
In a familiar tactic, Islamist gunmen stormed the building in the Old City of the capital Sana'a, after a suicide car bomber blew open the gates to the compound, triggering a fierce gunbattle with security forces.
A correspondent for pan-Arab Al Arabiya news station said that gunmen had also stormed the military hospital, which is attached to the Defense Ministry building.
Officials say that "most" of the gunmen have now been killed, but it is not clear whether the remaining terrorists are still at large or were captured alive.
"The explosion was very violent, the whole place shook because of it and plumes of smoke rose from the building," an eyewitness told Reuters news agency.
Though no one has officially taken responsible for the attack, it has been blamed on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the US government designates as the "most dangerous" branch of the Al Qaeda franchise to American interests. Its operatives have frequently been targeted by US drone-strikes, but the organization has managed to take control of parts of the Middle East's poorest country, capitalizing on the political instability which followed the ouster of long-time Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.
Government and military installations are regularly target by AQAP as authorities engage in a prolonged, attritional struggle to root-out terrorists from areas they control.
Created on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:45
Ten Egyptian soldiers were killed Wednesday when a bomb exploded as they were traveling near El Arish in central Sinai. Over 100 soldiers were injured.
The soldiers were riding in two trucks when a roadside bomb went off. Ambulances rushed to the scene to transport the injured to the hospital. No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Egyptian officials strongly suspect radical Islamist terrorists as being responsible.
The soldiers were part of the many patrols the Egyptian army has sent to Sinai to rout out the last vestiges of Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic groups that have taken refuge in the area. However, the Egyptian campaign has been less than a resounding success. Terror cells have repeatedly attacked Egyptian soldiers and army units, killing dozens in the months since the Egyptian army booted former President Mohammed Morsi from office.
The Islamist groups have a strong presence in Sinai, which is almost impossible to patrol thoroughly. Last month, the army arrested 27 members of a group the government said was planning to murder Egypt’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, in September. The group was affiliated with the Sinai Peninsula-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, Arab media reported, and had also involved in a church bombing in the capital last week, in addition to other terrorist attacks in the country, the report said.
Sources in Egypt said that in recent weeks, Muslim Brotherhood members had begun cooperating with members of Al Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups. The Brotherhood members have been receiving training and arms from Al Qaeda and other groups, the sources said.
Created on Thursday, 14 November 2013 21:20
A video offering a rare look at the two Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups operating in Syria offers some of the most compelling evidence yet of the involvement of western citizens in the country's ongoing civil war - and raises fears over the threat posed by these radicalized Muslims towards western countries "the day after" the conflict.
Vice News has released footage of Westerners who have joined with Jabhat Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) to fight for Islamic rule - not only over Syria, but over Western countries.
"I say to the United States that your time will come," says one of the men, who gives his age as 26, "and we will bleed you to death and, Inshallah [with the help of God], shall raise a flag in the White House."
Other fighters declared that new Caliphate will "pave the way to Al-Aqsa" through Syria, confirming fears in Israel that Islamist rebels plan to turn on the Jewish state in the event they succeed in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
One British national declares that the UK has decided to side with the "enemies" of the Syrian people - which he identifies as the US and Iran, leaving Sunni Muslims "no choice" but to fight in Syria, "Palestine". And he warns that Britain is next.
The channel also notes that about 10% of Syrian rebels are foreign nationals - and that after the consolidation of rebel forces, that number will only continue to grow.
Just last week, BBC reported that hundreds of British citizens have left to fight in the bloody conflict.
The video comes as Islamist rebels in northern Syria - where the video was allegedly taken - have suffered a series of setbacks, both at the hands of regime forces and against independent Kurdish militias, who oppose both the Assad regime and predominantly-Arab rebel movement.
Created on Sunday, 27 October 2013 14:40
Attacks in Iraq killed 10 people on Saturday, seven of them from the same family, security and medical officials told the AFP news agency.
In the Dura area of southern Baghdad, gunmen armed with silenced weapons shot dead a father, mother, four sons and the wife of one of them at their home, the officials said.
The father was a member of the Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda militia, who joined forces with the United States from late 2006 and are frequently targeted by Sunni terrorists, who view them as traitors.
In another attack in the Mansur area of west Baghdad, a lawyer was killed by a magnetic “sticky bomb” attached to his car.
In a third incident, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims in Balad, north of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 11. It was unclear if they were Iraqis or not.
Shiites are also often targeted by Sunni terrorists, who consider them apostates.
More than 580 people have now been killed in Iraq this month, and 5,300 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
A study released this month by academics based in the United States, Canada and Iraq found that nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
The past few months have seen an upsurge in terrorism, with the recent wave of bloodshed triggered after authorities in April forcibly cleared a protest tent-village erected by Sunni Muslims, who were demonstrating against what they see as the marginalization of their community by the Shiite-led government.
The uptick in violence, particularly towards the Shiite population - rivals the anti-Shiite campaign waged by the founder and former leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in the years immediately following the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Zarqawi was eventually killed in a U.S. air force bombing raid, but the brutality of his attacks against Iraqi civilians - contributed towards a backlash against Al-Qaeda which seriously hampered the group's operations and forced it to "tone-down" its anti-Shiite campaign somewhat.
Now, a resurgent Al Qaeda has drawn on the wave of sectarian hatred fueled by the Syrian civil war to increase its operations in Iraq and Syria, merging various Islamist factions in the regions to become the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Levant) or ISIS.
Last month, sixteen members of the same Shiite family were killed south of Baghdad.
Unknown terrorists blew up two adjacent houses belonging to brothers from a Shiite family in Latifiya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, after shooting dead sixteen members of the same family, according to eyewitnesses.
Eight women and six children are believed to be among the dead.
Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 19:27
Four men have been arrested in London in a counter-terrorism operation, the Metropolitan Police have said, according to the BBC.
Scotland Yard said they were held under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
Armed officers were involved in the arrests, which took place Sunday evening in the Whitechapel, Bayswater and Peckham areas, according to the report.
Police said searches were taking place at six addresses.
In a statement the Met said the arrests were made during a "pre-planned, intelligence-led operation." The men have been taken to a south London police station.
A man who saw an arrest taking place in told the BBC said he saw three men being held by against a wall by officers.
"There was quite a lot of police," he said. "There was quite a scene as I approached."
The arrests come just several days after MI5 chief Andrew Parker warned that there are thousands of Islamic extremists living in the UK who see the British public as a valid target for attack.
Parker also said Islamic terror had become more complicated to track than ever before.
Recently, Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group which carried out the recent attack in a mall, said it was planning to target Britain next.
A hate preacher wanted for recruiting terrorists to the group warned in a newspaper interview that Britain was the next target for the Somali Al-Qaeda affiliate.
In May, a 25-year-old British soldier was brutally beheaded by Muslims in the middle of a London street.
Created on Saturday, 05 October 2013 14:43
A joint US-Australian citizen has been jailed for 18 years for his part in an Al Qaeda fundraising ring.
Between the years 2007 and 2009, 37 year-old Sabirhan Hasanoff helped funneled around $67,000 to Al Qaeda affiliates in various countries, including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni franchise of the Islamist terror group considered its most dangerous branch by US authorities.
He and another man, Wisam El-Hanafi, also sent bomb-making equipment to terrorist operatives overseas.
In addition, Hasanoff, originally from Uzbekistan, made plans to travel to Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia to engage in "jihad" or holy war. He also carried out surveillance of the New York Stock Exchange at the behest of an unnamed Al Qaeda leader, in preparation for a potential attack there.
He was arrested back in 2010 in the United Arab Emirates, and subsequently handed over to US authorities.
In 2012, both Hasanoff and El-Hanafi pled guilty to one count of providing and attempting to provide material support and resources to Al Qaeda, and an additional count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to Al Qaeda.
Both men were residents of Brooklyn, New York, and were apparently influenced by another American Islamist, Anwar al-Awlaki, a former AQAP leader who regularly called on Muslims in the west to carry out "lone-wolf" style terrorist attacks, independent of any formal Al Qaeda network if need be.
Awlaki is believed to have incited or inspired a number of such attacks and attempted attacks by Muslim extremists in western countries, including the infamous "Fort Hood Massacre," in which US Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in a shooting spree at an army base in Fort Hood, Texas.
Awlaki was himself killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Created on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 06:17
As Kenyan security forces continue to battle Somalian Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, more stories have emerged, shedding light on the horrific events of the assault on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, which have killed at least 62 people and left more than 170 wounded.
Gunmen - and, it is emerging, at least one female terrorist - stormed the mall, hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately with AK 47s as the building was packed with both locals and tourist, as visitors enjoyed the end of the weekend.
Chillingly, eyewitnesses have told of how the gunmen selected many of their victims deliberately - forcing people to prove whether or not they were Muslims by reciting Islamic prayers or by answering questions from the Qoran. They then executed those found to be non-Muslims, and allowed Muslim shoppers to escape.
Other escapees said that the terrorists mutilated the bodies of their dead victims, chopping off hands and even burning their faces to mask their identities.
But there are also stories of remarkable bravery.
One such story is that of four year-old Elliot Prior from Berkshire in Great Britain who, in an astonishing show of courage, confronted and even chastised one of the gunmen - and escaped with his life.
According to the Daily Mail, Elliot had been hiding with his sister Amelie and their mother Amber under a table in a grocery store, with Amber sheltering her children under her own body for an hour and a half, when they were discovered by the terrorists, one of whom shot her in the thigh.
But when the terrorists asked if there were any children still alive in the store, Amber stood up and answered in the affirmative, in the hope that they would be spared.
It was at that point that little Elliot confronted the terrorists, telling them that they were "bad men."
Bizarrely, upon learning that Amber was of French origin, the gunmen began to plead with her for forgiveness, insisting that Islam "is not a bad religion" and urging her to convert.
"He told me I had to change my religion to Islam and said 'do you forgive us? Do you forgive us?'," she told The Independent newspaper.
"Naturally, I was going to say whatever they wanted and they let us go."
Then, in an act which stood in stark contrast to the brutal massacre they had just committed, the terrorists handed the brother and sister chocolate bars before they fled with two other children, including a 12-year-old boy who initially refused to leave his dead mother behind.
Kenyan security forces are still battling terrorists as they move to clear the mall, amid claims that at least some of the attackers are citizens of western countries, including two Americans and a British woman.
In an interview with PBS Newshour, Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed said that "two or three" of the attackers were American, and that another was a British woman who had "done this many times before."
That has raised speculation in the UK of the potential involvement of Samantha Lewthwaite, a British convert to Islam and the widow of one of "7/7 bombers" who attacked London's transportation system in July 2005.
She has been on the run in Africa for two years after she was accused of plotting to bomb tourist sites in Kenya, and has evaded capture on a number of occasions, mocking her pursuers on social media.
Mohamed claimed that the Americans were 18 or 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin, and lived "in Minnesota and one other place".
Created on Monday, 23 September 2013 16:55
An Egyptian court has outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, in a Monday ruling banning "all activities" by the group in Egypt and its assets.
The court had been asked to review the Brotherhood's application for non-governmental status back in March, and returned its verdict this afternoon.
The move is the latest in a string of blows leveled by interim Egyptian authorities against the Islamist movement which once ruled northern Africa's most populous nation.
The Brotherhood's successful presidential candidate, Mohammed Morsi, was ousted from power by the Egyptian army in July following rising protests and demands he step down, as his administration sought to rewrite the constitution in a way that would give him absolute power - something many Egyptians saw as an attempt to undo the revolution which overthrew long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and on the back of which Morsi was voted into power.
Morsi's ouster saw weeks of violent clashes between his supporters on the one hand, and security forces and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood on the other, which left scores dead. Armed Islamist groups also stepped up attacks against Egyptian military and government positions, and targeted members of Egypt's Coptic Christian community as "punishment" for their support of the interim government. In response, the Egyptian army launched an unprecedented military operation in the Sinai Desert, as well as more recently in central Egyptian towns seized by armed Islamists.
On August 14th, the army moved in on two large protest encampments in Cairo, triggering violence which killed more than 1,000 people. That marked the start of a deliberate crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood as an institution; much of its leadership has been arrested and others killed or forced into hiding.
But the decision to effectively outlaw the group - and inevitably force its activities underground - sees the Muslim Brotherhood come full circle, having previously emerged from a decades-long ban to take power in June 2012.
Created on Sunday, 08 September 2013 20:29
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement refuses to surrender to the intense pressure being brought to bear upon it by the regime headed by Maj. Gen. Abdel Fatah Sisi, who deposed the Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, in early July.
The Brotherhood's spokesman, Jihad al-Hadad, wrote on his Facebook page that the Muslim Brotherhood's position has not changed and that it continues to demand a full return to the previous constitutional situation.
This includes putting Morsi back in power, a reactivation of parliament and acceptance of the constitution that was approved in a plebiscite.
Al-Hadad stressed that the Brotherhood would not recognize "the traitors who carried out a coup against the leadership," nor would it recognize the functions they are carrying out or their pretense to represent the people. The people, he said, will continue to protest by going out to the streets and squares until their goal is achieved.
Created on Friday, 23 August 2013 18:53
A vow by Al-Qaeda to carry out an attack that would "change the face of history" was behind this month's closures of Western embassies, the president of Yemen revealed Friday, according to Reuters.
In the first public disclosure by a government leader of details of the intercepted call that prompted the U.S. alert, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said that Nasser al-Wuhayshi, head of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, made the pledge to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 29.
Many U.S. and other Western diplomatic missions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia closed temporarily as a precaution.
Wuhayshi spoke by phone with Zawahiri, who is believed to be based in Pakistan, while attending a meeting of 20 Al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen's Maarib province, Hadi said.
"When I was in Washington, the Americans told us that they had intercepted a call between Ayman al-Zawahiri and Wuhayshi, in which Wuhayshi told Zawahiri that they would carry out an attack that would change the face of history," the president told police cadets in remarks which state television aired on Friday.
"I told the Americans this would be in Yemen," he said, apparently reflecting a belief among some analysts that AQAP lacks the ability to launch big attacks outside the country.
Hadi added that two cars, each carrying seven tonnes of explosives, were later identified in Yemen by security forces.
The first, intended to attack the Mina al-Dhabba oil terminal in southeast Yemen, was destroyed.
The second car was headed for the capital Sanaa and is still unaccounted for, though Hadi said authorities had arrested the cell which was in charge of smuggling it into the city.
"This made them (the Americans) scared and they closed their embassies in the whole region, because they heard Wuhayshi say he would carry out an attack that would change the course of history," Hadi said.
The New York Times reported recently that the Obama administration’s decision to close the diplomatic missions resulted from intercepted electronic communications in which Zawahiri ordered Wuhayshi to carry out an attack a Middle East embassy.
U.S. sources have said that while some type of message between Zawahri and AQAP was intercepted recently, there were also other streams of intelligence that contributed to the security alert.
The U.S. embassy in Sanaa reopened on August 18. It was one of about 20 U.S. embassies and consulates that closed.
Created on Friday, 16 August 2013 07:19
The Egyptian Health Ministry has revised the death toll in deadly clashes from 278 to 525, as the country emerges from its most violent and bloody period since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Officials said that 43 of the dead were police officers.
More than 3,500 people have also been wounded in the clashes triggered when the interim government finally made good on its promise to forcibly clear protest camps set up by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, who are demanding the reinstatement of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Morsi was ousted by the army on July 3rd and has been held in detention since, facing a number of criminal charges.
The main camps were located in the capital, Cairo, but violence quickly spread to the rest of the country.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have claimed the bloodshed is far greater than the government admits, saying that at least 2,000 people have been killed in what they termed a "massacre" by security forces against "peaceful demonstrations" by their supporters.
In a bid to quell the violence, the interim Egyptian government announced a state of emergency yesterday, but the situation has continued to escalate regardless. The continuing bloodshed led to the resignation of Egyptian Vice President Mohammed El-Baradei, who said in a statement that he could not "continue in shouldering the responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and I fear their consequences. I cannot shoulder the responsibility for a single drop of blood."
Speaking to CNN, senior Muslim Brotherhood official Essam Elerian struck a defiant tone, declaring that he was undeterred by the violence or by calls for his arrest, as well as those of other senior Brotherhood leaders:
"We will continue our sit-ins and demonstrations all over the country until democracy and the legitimate rule are restored in Egypt," he said.
"They can arrest me and 100 of us, but they can't arrest every honorable citizen in Egypt. They can't stop this glorious revolution."
Despite claims of the "peaceful nature" of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations, security forces claim to have come under fire by armed supporters of Mohammed Morsi.
A series of gruesome images and videos have emerged since last night which seem to corroborate claims of Muslim Brotherhood violence, showing the lynching of Egyptian police.
In one video, seen by Arutz Sheva, the body of a man - apparently a member of the security forces - is dragged through through a baying mob as supporters of Morsi hurl insults and physically attacks the body. At the end of the clip, someone off camera points a rifle at the body and opens fire to "confirm the kill."
Islamist supporters of the ousted president are also accused of upping their campaign of violence against the country's indigenous Coptic Christian population.
Since yesterday at least 17 churches and a number of Christian-owned homes and businesses were torched by Muslim mobs. Coptic Christians have been a target for violence - sometimes deadly - since Morsi's ouster, amid fears that they are being scapegoated by frustrated Islamists.
But government forces are also being blamed for using deadly violence, calling in "special forces" to use deadly force to put down the protests, according to CNN.
Created on Saturday, 10 August 2013 21:43
New evidence reveals that jihadi entities, such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia (ASL), are holding training camps in Libya.
Al-Wasat, an academic/policy research blog, reported on Friday that credible sources within Libya have confirmed such camps exist.
The blog based its report on a Facebook post by Moaoya EL Wrffli, who posted two videos of two separate Tunisians who had been detained by locals in the Darnah region and later interrogated.
The two videos provide fascinating insights into Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and its non-publicized activities as well as facilitation networks as it relates to the war in Syria.
Based on the information given in the videos, even though they were just posted online, it is likely that they are from late spring/early summer 2012, notes Al-Wasat. Highlighting that ASL was already at that point very active with training fighters for Syria as well as other likely nefarious activities in light of would eventually happen in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
The first individual mentions that his name is Usama al-Jufayr and admits that he is of Tunisian descent. He says he entered Benghazi, Libya in May 2012 and his purpose was for training to go fight in Syria. Al-Jufayr states that the group running these camps is Katibat Ansar al-Sharia, which was the name used by ASL prior to the consulate attack and which was changed afterwards for rebranding purposes, notes Al-Wasat.
The detainee claims that the regime in Tunisia needs reform, but the set up in Libya is “al-hamdullilah,” suggesting good or permissive to the activities they are undertaking. It is likely that al-Jufayr is indeed a jihadi because he notes that parliamentary systems are contrary to the Islamic sharia, which in his eyes is the only acceptable system of governance. Further, he notes that those training with him had not been involved in military jihad previously and come from civilian backgrounds. The program takes twenty days and only included up to that point weapons training and no religious schooling.
The second individual does not give his name, but claims he is Tunisian as well. This man entered Benghazi, Libya by plane on April 20, 2012 and also joined the ASL camp in Benghazi.
He notes that the camp is more like army training than police training. He also highlights that he was recruited to this camp by a man named Abd al-Rahman from Tunis and had previously not known about it.
Unlike Al-Jufayr, noted Al-Wasat, the second detainee suggests that there is other types of training going on Libya, noting that he had been involved with learning guerilla warfare, booby traps, and surprise attacks. This training was supposed to last for about a month. In the end, his goal was to go to Syria and fight with the Free Syrian Army.
These two videos, notes Al-Wasat, show that although ASL’s public image has been tied to its missionary work over the past eleven months, it is likely that they are also still active in training individuals to fight in Syria. Moreover, it shows in the case of the second detainee that there are active facilitation networks between recruiters in Tunisia and training camps to get fighters prepared for Syria before they head off to the front lines.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the United States Justice Department has filed sealed criminal charges against a number of suspects in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
One of those charged, according to the sources, is Ahmed Abu Khattalah, founder of Ansar al-Sharia.
Abu Khattalah was seen at the compound when it was overrun, according to intelligence officials. In interviews with reporters, Abu Khattalah has admitted being at the scene but denied involvement in the attack.
U.S. authorities have released pictures of three other men they said were present during the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in eastern Libya, but did not say whether the three men are suspects in the attack.
The attack led to accusations from Republicans that the Obama administration had issued public talking points designed to hide the likelihood that the attackers were linked to Al-Qaeda, and thereby insulate political figures from blame in the months before a presidential election. The White House has long denied those accusations.
Senior administration officials initially described the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam Internet video that had sparked violent demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere.
Officials later admitted that there had been no protest outside the consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, and U.S. media have reported that a nearby annex -- which was also attacked -- was part of a secret CIA mission.
In highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for the attack in Benghazi and cited a "personal" commitment to improving security provisions for U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.
Created on Saturday, 10 August 2013 19:16
Saudi Arabia arrested two men suspected of plotting terror attacks on Thursday, and a Saudi official said the arrest is connected to the recent closure of Western embassies in the region.
According to the official Saudi Arabian SPA news agency, the two suspects were planning suicide attacks in the Kingdom. They were arrested for exchanging information about imminent suicide attacks in the region.
The two, one from Chad and the other from Yemen, are being interrogated after their arrest in relation to conversations they had on social media forums with terrorists abroad, a Security Spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior told SPA.
One of the suspects, the Chadian national, was deported from the country but had returned to Saudi Arabia with a passport from another country, according to SPA.
Local authorities had monitored the e-mails of the two suspects on social networking websites, which included messages of hatred and incitement, according to the report. It became clear from the items seized from them, including computers and mobile telephones, that they were communicating with groups abroad either through coded e-mails or identifiers through social networking websites.
They exchanged information on suicide operations that were to take place in the region, according to SPA.
A spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, told Al Arabiya later Thursday that the arrests were connected with the general warning for the Middle East issued by the United States this week, which saw 20 embassies in the region closed over concerns that a terror attack was imminent.
The official said the investigation of the suspects was still ongoing.
Reports this week indicated that the Obama administration’s decision to close the diplomatic missions and issue a worldwide travel alert resulted from intercepted electronic communications in which the head of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan ordered the leader of its affiliate in Yemen to carry out an attack.
Yemen said on Wednesday it had foiled an Al-Qaeda plot to blow up oil pipelines and seize some of the country's main ports. It also emerged on Wednesday that the intercepted communication was, in fact, a conference call between Zawahiri and the heads of several Al Qaeda branches in the Middle East and North Africa.
At least 12 terrorists were killed on Thursday in American drone strikes in Yemen.
Created on Friday, 09 August 2013 08:05
A drone strike - the sixth such strike in two weeks - has killed at least six people travelling in a convoy in Mareb province, in southeastern Yemen.
Four of the dead are believed to be Al Qaeda terrorists, and the remaining two are civilians.
Speaking to CNN, an unnamed security official explained that "Mareb was a previous stronghold for al Qaeda, and a number of members of the group still live in the province."
According to Yemeni security sources, terrorists from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) shot down an army helicopter in the same province this past Tuesday, underlining the continued threat posed by the group.
Drone strikes in Yemen have killed at least 29 people in recent weeks, according to "official sources" in the country.
It is unclear whether today's strikes are related to a recent decision by the US government to shut down 24 of its embassies across the Middle East, as a response to an imminent threat of attack by Al Qaeda terrorists.
That attack was apparently ordered directly by Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Al Qaeda's central leadership in Pakistan, in a conference call with the heads of several Al Qaeda branches in the Middle East and North Africa, it emerged Wednesday.
Zawahiri was said to have issued direct orders to AQAP - which the US government designates as the most dangerous branch of Al Qaeda - to attack western targets in Yemen.
Also on Wednesday, Yemeni authorities claimed to have foiled another major AQAP attack.
A Yemeni government spokesman was quoted as saying the plot involved blowing up oil pipelines and taking control of certain cities – including two ports in the south, one of which accounts for the bulk of Yemen's oil exports and is where a number of foreign workers are employed.
Created on Friday, 09 August 2013 08:02
Egyptian military forces have captured over 100 Islamist terrorists in recent days – one third of them from Gaza. All were carrying phony Egyptian identity cards. They were arrested in northern Sinai, near Gaza, with some arrested south of Eilat.
The false identity cards were probably produced in Gaza, Egyptian officials said, using machinery that had been smuggled into Gaza through underground smuggling tunnels, with the tacit approval of Egyptian authorities. Now, the machinery is being used to manufacture ID cards for use in Sinai and Egypt.
The Islamists, many of whom belong to Al Qaeda and affiliated groups, and have been charged with rioting and fomenting violence during thr recent upheavals in Egypt. Several also are said to have participated in attacks on Egyptian security agents.
Last month, Egypt requested permission to send thousands of soldiers to Sinai, in order to battle Islamist groups that have ensconced themselves there after fleeing Egypt's major cities. According to the Camp David Accords, in which Israel surrendered Sinai, liberated in the Six Day War, to Egypt, only police and other peace officers are allowed in Sinai without the permission of Israel and the U.S., also a signatory of the agreement. That tenet of the Accords essentially demilitarized Sinai, although Egypt has several times in the past sent in army troops to deal with specific security situations.
Currently there are more Egyptian troops in Sinai than since the Yom Kippur War, and their mission is to clamp down on Islamists, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, who have fled Cairo and Alexandria since the deposing of former president Mohammed Morsi.
Created on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:20
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on an IDF position on the border with the Sinai Desert Sunday evening.
The two masked gunmen reportedly opened fire before escaping into the desert in an all-terrain vehicle, according to Channel 10 News.
No one was injured in the clash, and it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack - Bedouin tribesmen, Palestinian terrorists from Gaza or other Islamist elements who are currently active in the Sinai Peninsula.
Sinai-based terrorists have in the past committed terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, including the firing of rockets at Israeli civilian centres and other shooting attacks. In the bloodiest such attack, eight Israelis were killed by terrorists who infiltrated the Israel-Egypt border and attacked a civilian bus.
This latest attack comes as the Egyptian military continues its campaign to root-out Islamist terrorist groups from the region, which has become increasingly lawless since the fall of veteran Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Nearly 40 terrorists have reportedly been killed in that operation, including several Hamas members, according to Egyptian military sources.
Created on Monday, 08 July 2013 15:23
As the death toll rises in clashes between Egypt’s army and pro-Morsi protesters, Muslim Brotherhood-linked Gaza terrorists are infiltrating the Sinai to attack Egyptian army outposts.
Although the army has sealed at least 50 tunnels in the past two weeks, hundreds remain open and active under the border between Egypt and Gaza.
A senior Egyptian official told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday that at least 150 Izz a-Din al-Qassam operatives – members of the Gaza-based Hamas military wing – were seen heading into Sinai via the tunnels. “They were wearing uniforms associated with the military police before joining jihadists in Sinai, the source was quoted as saying.
Egyptian army forces also told the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency that 14 members of jihad groups were arrested in Sinai on Sunday during an operation in El-Arish. Army sources told the news agency that among those arrested was one Palestinian Authority terrorist who allegedly confessed that he intended to cooperate with other jihadists in Sinai in order to assassinate Egyptian army soldiers.
Hamas, which was started by the Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile denounced in a statement on Monday an attack against supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and sent condolences to the victims’ families. At least 42 people were killed and 322 wounded in an attack on protesters outside an elite army base in Cairo, Ahmed al-Ansari, deputy head of emergency services, told the AFP news agency.
Armed Morsi supporters also kidnaped two soldiers in Cairo, according to the state news agency MENA, quoting an army official. Both were dragged into a vehicle and forced to make pro-Morsi and anti-army statements via a loudspeaker, the official said.
In further violence, at least one Egyptian soldier was killed Monday in an attack on an Egyptian army outpost near the El Arish beach in northern Sinai, according to Ma’an. Terrorists opened fire at a security checkpoint, where Abed al-Wahid al-Sayd was shot in the head by a sniper, a security source told the Palestinian Authority-linked news outlet. The source said it was likely the terrorists belonged to a jihadist organization.
Three security checkpoints and a police station were also attacked on Monday, leaving 22-year-old police officer Samih Mohammad with a gunshot wound in the leg. One of the terrorist groups fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) towards El-Arish in a ten-minute firefight.
The Israeli government has warned its citizens not to travel to the Sinai Peninsula at this time, not even to the Taba resort area near the Red Sea, near the border -- and those Israelis who are already in Sinai, to leave immediately due to concrete warnings of terrorist attacks.
Created on Saturday, 06 July 2013 11:52
Egypt's new transitional government has received thanks from Rokaya Sadat, the daughter of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
“I thank the Egyptian people for the demonstrations of June 30 that led to Morsi’s downfall. I thank you, because you have helped to avenge my father’s blood,” she said.
Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by the Islamic Jihad in Egypt.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi are not sitting silently by following his removal from power following mass demonstrations. Supporters are now calling for counter-rallies to show support.
The Islamic coalition lead by the Muslim Brotherhood issued a call to Egyptians to come to a mass demonstration Friday.
“Come out and protest peacefully against the military coup of the arrests of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders,” organizers said. “Say no to military curfew, say no to a military coup.”
The coalition further called to “break the ties with corrupt figures from the Mubarak regime.”
On Thursday, Egypt’s transitional leaders denied that Morsi’s ouster at the hands of the army had been a military coup.
“This is not a military coup in any way. This was actually the overwhelming will of the people," said Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.
Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour has been officially sworn into office as the new transitional president of Egypt.
Created on Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:29
Bulgaria’s foreign minister said Wednesday that evidence that Hizbullah was behind a bomb attack last July on its soil that killed five Israelis was "circumstantial" and "not categorical" at this stage.
The minister, Kristian Vigenin, said that as a result, Sofia would not back the European Union labeling the Lebanese organization’s military wing a "terrorist" entity without proof from other cases, the AFP news agency reported.
"For us it is important that this case is not based only and solely on what happened in Burgas as, in my opinion, the evidence is not categorical," Vigenin told state BNR radio Wednesday.
He said that this was the case "even if there are indirect reasons and traces that could lead to the impression that this organization is behind the attack."
"There are indications that it is possible (Hezbollah was behind the attack)."
"But we cannot take hard decisions with consequences for the politics of the European Union in the region based only on circumstantial evidence," he added, according to AFP.
The July 18 attack saw a lone bomber blow himself up near a bus of Israeli tourists at Bulgaria's Black Sea airport of Burgas, killing five Israelis, their Bulgarian bus driver and himself.
Israel has maintained that the attack, the deadliest on Israelis abroad since 2004, was perpetrated by Iran and its "terrorist" proxy Hizbullah.
It however took over six months for Bulgaria's previous conservative government to come to what it called a "justified conclusion" that two aides of the bomber belonged to the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement.
The announcement led to renewed calls for the European Union to join the United States in adding Hizbullah's military wing to its list of "terrorist" groups.
Last month the EU opened the door to such a move following a formal British request, but the decision will require unanimous approval from all members of the bloc.
"If of course the evidence from other cases is serious enough, then we would not hesitate to support such a decision," Vigenin said, according to AFP.
"At this stage the discussions will continue as well as the gathering of information and evidence."
He added however that Bulgaria would not go against such a move if there was "common consensus" among other EU nations.
Created on Saturday, 08 June 2013 22:39
Iraqi officials have claimed that they have uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to carry out poison gas attacks in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
The attacks could have possibly been carried out by remote-controlled toy planes, which were seized at two workshops in Baghdad, the BBC reported.
Mohamed al Askari, a spokesman for Iraq's defense ministry, said on Saturday that five suspects were detained over operations at the two facilities, where they were allegedly planning to produce sarin and mustard gas using instructions from another Al Qaeda group, according to Sky News.
The suspects had materials and formulas to make the gases, Askari said, adding that they had a network to smuggle the toxins out of Iraq, but had yet to produce any weapons.
All of the arrested men had confessed to the plot and said they had received instruction from another al-Qaeda offshoot, Askari said.
Their arrests were due to cooperation between Iraqi and foreign intelligence services.
According to the BBC, Al-Qaeda detonated 16 crude chlorine bombs in Iraq between October 2006 and June 2007.
Created on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 08:53
Raw footage released on Friday shows the aftermath of this week’s brutal murder in London of 25-year-old Lee Rigby.
The video shows the two terrorists who carried out the murder charging at a police car that was called to the scene, before the officers shoot them and wound them.
There was shock and fury in Britain on Thursday following the gruesome murder. In the hours following the attack, around 250 supporters of the anti-Islamist English Defense League (EDL) gathered at Woolwich Arsenal train station. The group reportedly hurled bottles and became involved in minor skirmishes with the police, but later dispersed without any arrests being reported.
In addition to the two suspects who carried out the murder, British police made two further arrests on Thursday. A man and a woman, both aged 29, were arrested for conspiracy to murder.
Created on Friday, 10 May 2013 07:10
The Obama administration is ignoring the link between radical Islam and terrorism, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Thursday.
In an interview with Fox News, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) tied the terrorist attack in Benghazi to the Boston Marathon bombings, saying that in both cases, the Obama administration had ignored the connection to radical Islam.
"There's a wider thing here, some narrative throughout the administration where they just don't want to admit who the real enemy is and confront the enemy head on, and that's radical Islam," McCaul said.
On Wednesday, three State Department officials testified that they were disappointed with the department's response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Created on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 08:10
The Shabak, along with the IDF, discovered and halted a major terrorist conspiracy that was being formed in the Binyamin region. The conspiracy was being organized from Gaza, via the Internet. Several members of the conspiracy, including two leaders, were arrested, preventing the group from carrying out its plans.
According to the Shabak, the group was preparing to carry out several types of attacks, including setting bombs, kidnapping soldiers or residents, and the manufacturing of rockets and missiles.
Among those detained in the case was 26 year old Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad Abu Fahida, a resident of the village of Ras Karkar in the Binyamin region. Fahida is a Hamas activist, arrested and jailed in the past for participating in Hamas terror activities. Also arrested was 27 year old Ahmad Yassin Abd alFatah Shabroui, a resident of the village of Silwad. He, too, is a Hamas terror activist, and has been jailed in the past for his activities on behalf of the organization.
According to the Shabak, both were recruited in the past months to Hamas, and were prompted to plan terror attacks. They were guided by a senior Hamas terrorist in Gaza via the Internet, and used disposable cellphones to cover their tracks. They recruited several workers to help them plan attacks, while the senior Hamas agent guided them in how to prepare bombs and rockets, and how to mark potential kidnap victims.
The Shabak added that the two had been in touch with their Gaza handler just days before the arrest, informing him that they were prepared to carry out their first attack, which was to take place within the week.
The two were indicted in March, the Shabak said. They are currently in jail, where they will remain untol the end of proceedings against them.
Created on Monday, 22 April 2013 22:32
The as-yet unidentified victim of a car-jacking by the two "Boston Bombers" has recounted his brief but harrowing time in the hands of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as the two brothers fled from US authorities. According to an FBI affidavit obtained by Reuters news agency, Dzhokar, the younger of the two, is said to have boasted openly of his roll in the attack, which killed 3 people and injured more than 130, many of them seriously. A week after the bombing, 50 people remain in hospital, at least 2 of them in critical condition.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19) is the only surviving suspect in those attacks, and is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds sustained during a gunbattle and high-speed chase in which his older brother Tamerlan (26) - and the suspected mastermind of the attack - was shot dead by police on Friday.
There is speculation that at least one of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's wounds was self-inflicted, a result of a botched suicide attempt as the young terrorist lay cornered in a boat in a residential area, during an intensive police manhunt to catch him. He is currently in a serious but stable condition under police custody in a Boston hospital, and is said to be responding to interrogation.
Spared because "he wasn't American"
According to the New York Times, which cited "a senior US government official", after seizing the car the two brothers forced their victim to withdraw money from an ATM machine, but promised him that they wouldn't kill him as he "was not American." The pair also apparently stated their attention to travel to New York, potentially corroborating police fears that they planned to commit further attacks.
Although American officials have been extremely cautious in assuming any motive, this apparent anti-American statement seems to fit in with extremist Islamist material posted by the brothers on social media, as well as apparent warnings by Russian intelligence agencies as far back as 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become radicalized, and could be involved with terrorist activities. The FBI apparently interviewed him at the time, but concluded that there was no evidence to connect him to any illegal acts.
Created on Friday, 19 April 2013 07:52
Terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel on Thursday evening.
The rockets exploded in an open area of the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no physical injuries or damages.
On Wednesday morning, the Color Red rocket alert siren blared throughout the city of Eilat shortly after 9 a.m. It is believed that terrorists fired three rockets at the city. No casualties were reported.
A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said the rocket fire had been traced to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a region which has become a hotbed of terrorist activity since the fall in 2011 of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
A Salafi jihadist group, the Mujahedeen Shura Council, later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Created on Saturday, 13 April 2013 20:14
The highly anticipated New York trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law could be delayed because his court-appointed lawyers have been hit by U.S. budget cuts, they said Monday.
Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan called the revelation that a package of United States federal government cuts known as the sequester could imperil a start to the trial this year "stunning," the AFP news agency reported.
Martin Cohen, an attorney for Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, allegedly a senior propagandist in the Al-Qaeda network, said he doubted he could be ready by Kaplan's suggested trial date in September.
"The lawyers for the federal defenders are to be furloughed for five-and-a-half weeks," he told a hearing, saying it would be "very difficult to be ready for September."
Cohen suggested a January date for the trial as an alternative.
Kaplan said it was "extremely troublesome to contemplate the possibility of a case of this nature being delayed because of sequestration."
Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill U.S. nationals.
He was brought in and out of the Manhattan court with his hands cuffed behind his back and wearing a blue prison smock. He did not speak during the hearing, but listened to proceedings through an English-to-Arabic interpreter, according to AFP.
Defense lawyers have questioned whether the bearded former comrade of the late Bin Laden could get a fair jury trial in a courthouse just a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, where nearly 3,000 people died in the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks.
Cohen said his team was considering asking Kaplan to move the trial elsewhere because of "the prejudicial nature of the trial in New York."
Asked later by journalists if a fair trial was possible, Cohen said: "These are questions that we're mulling over."
Once a trial does get underway, it could take as much as five weeks, with up to four weeks spent on the prosecution case, lawyers for both sides told the court, according to the news agency.
Created on Monday, 08 April 2013 08:58
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Palestinian Authority leaders Sunday, on a fresh mission to forge a new path forward after a years-long impasse in Middle East peace negotiations, AFP reported.
Flying in from Istanbul, the first stop on a 10-day overseas trip, Kerry went to Ramallah, where he held talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for the third time in a little over a month. A top State Department official called the talks "a constructive meeting," according to AFP.
The two first met for about 20 minutes with several PA and U.S. officials present, before Kerry and Abbas met for a one-to-one lasting almost an hour during which they "agreed to continue working together to determine the best path forward."
But Abbas, who has imposed endless preconditions on peace negotiations, came up with another one, saying that the release of terrorist prisoners held by Israel was a "top priority" for resuming peace talks.
"President Abbas stressed that the release of the prisoners is a priority that creates an appropriate climate for the possibility of moving the peace process forward," his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.
In a public speech last week, Abbas said that the freeing of terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons was a "priority" for his leadership.
"The Palestinian leadership gives priority to the prisoners issue and ending their suffering," Abbas said in a speech to a meeting of his Fatah party in Ramallah.
"We cannot be silent about their staying behind bars... (we) have demanded the freeing of all prisoners, especially those arrested before the Oslo accords, and sick, child and women prisoners," he said.
The “free the terrorists” precondition comes just two days after Abbas demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu present a map for a future Palestinian state before any peace talks can resume.
Abbas "wants to know, through a map to be presented by Benjamin Netanyahu to (U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry, what the prime minister's view of a two-state solution would be, especially the borders," his political adviser Nimr Hammad told AFP.
The PA chairman has continuously demanded that Israel freeze Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. When Israel froze construction for a ten-month period in 2010, however, he refused to come to the table.
Earlier Sunday, Kerry said that he was very anxious for Turkey and Israel to restore ties as fully as possible. Good relations were essential for stability in the Middle East, as well as for making progress in negotiations between Israel and the PA, he said.
Kerry will Monday join a ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day before meeting PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and then Israeli President Shimon Peres.
He will meet Netanyahu on Tuesday morning before leaving for London for a meeting of G8 foreign ministers.
Created on Sunday, 07 April 2013 15:55
The US Embassy in Cairo deleted a controversial tweet about attacks on freedom of expression in Egypt following complaints by President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The embassy temporarily shut down its account and deleted the tweet, which had linked to a clip by popular US funnyman Jon Stewart denouncing the arrest of Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef.
Youssef, dubbed Egypt's Stewart, is on bail facing accusations of insulting Morsi and Islam, and is under investigation for "threatening public security."
Egyptian judicial sources said Youssef was being investigated along with the head of the CBC television channel, which airs his weekly program "Albernameg" (The Show), modeled on Stewart's satirical "The Daily Show."
In his Monday night show on Comedy Central, Stewart mocked Morsi for cracking down on dissent, pointing out that the former senior Muslim Brotherhood figure was swept to power in the revolution that ousted long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
But Morsi's office took issue with the clip tweeted by the US embassy, saying on its @EgyPresidency account that "it's inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the embassy's Twitter feed @USEmbassyCairo was back again Wednesday afternoon, after what she called "glitches with the way the Twitter feed has been managed."
Embassy staff, who are responsible for maintaining the feed as part of their digital diplomacy outreach, were now "reviewing" their procedures on "how they decide what they want to tweet from their embassy site."
The Twitter incident comes amid heightened U.S.-Egyptian tensions as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood seek to consolidate power.
Nuland called Youssef's arrest “evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on the freedom of expression” on Monday, prompting the Freedom and Justice Party to denounce her “unreserved audacity” and “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Egypt.”
Created on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 17:35
A Syrian Sunni cleric who was killed last week in a suicide bomb attack on a central Damascus mosque has in the past expressed support for Hizbullah and advocated for bombing American and Israeli targets around the world.
The cleric, Mohamed al-Bouti, was one of 42 people who were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque last Thursday. Bouti was the most senior pro-regime Sunni cleric in Syria.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted to YouTube two clips in which Bouti is seen supporting terrorists.
In the first clip, which aired on the Hizbullah terrorist group’s Al-Manar TV in August 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, Bouti said, “The enemy in this war appears to be Israel, but, as everyone knows, the fighting enemy is actually America. Israel is merely the claw of America in this war.”
He then stated, “I hold that people who cannot stand with the Islamic resistance, but can carry out, in their countries and in other places actions that would in some way paralyze this enemy - they should indeed paralyze the enemies’ interests and destroy their facilities wherever they may be.”
In a second clip which aired on Al-Azhari TV in 2010, Bouti said, “Many Western European societies – and the American leadership, in particular – characterizes Jihad that was ordained by Allah as terroristic. They link terrorism to crime. They have instilled within the word ‘terrorism’ the meaning of crime, extremism, and deviation from humanity, and so on.”
He added, “We discovered that there is a form of terrorism that is legitimate – a terrorism that is necessary and may even be described as sacred. Indeed.
“We have examined cases of the terrorism practiced by America, which purports to be fighting terrorism. In contrast to the first type of terrorism, which is acknowledged by the legal and educational principles, and which we have termed ‘sacred terrorism,’ the [American] terrorism is undoubtedly filthy and impure,” said Bouti.
Created on Monday, 25 March 2013 09:59
An alleged al-Qaeda terrorist who fought against US soldiers in Afghanistan and went on to plot a bomb attack against American diplomatic facilities in Nigeria was charged Wednesday in New York.
Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, also known as "Spin Ghul," was charged by a grand jury with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to bomb US diplomatic facilities, as well as providing material support to al-Qaeda, AFP reported.
Harun was born in Saudi Arabia but claims Nigerian citizenship, according to court documents.
The charges allege that Harun traveled to Afghanistan in 2001 with plans "to fight violent jihad."
After receiving "military-type training at al-Qaeda training camps," he allegedly went to war against US-led forces that invaded the country in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"Harun allegedly attempted to kill United States military personnel in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2003," the Brooklyn federal prosecutor's office said.
In 2003, Harun allegedly underwent training to attack US diplomatic facilities in Nigeria, where he also conspired to bomb the sites.
After an alleged co-conspirator was arrested in 2005, Harun left Nigeria, spending several years in custody in Libya, then after his 2011 release attempting to enter Italy aboard a ship filled with refugees, according to AFP.
It was then that he fell into the hands of Western authorities following an altercation with Italian authorities on the refugee ship, the prosecutor's office said.
"As alleged, Harun not only intended to, but did commit acts of terrorism against Americans. Now he is subject to the American justice system," FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said in a statement.
"The defendant was a prototype al-Qaeda operative, trained by al-Qaeda in terrorist tradecraft, deployed to fight American servicemen, and dispatched to commit terrorist attacks throughout the world," said the chief prosecutor, US Attorney Loretta Lynch.
Created on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 17:17
Three terrorists who were suspected of planning an attack around the anniversary of last year’s terrorist attacks in Toulouse were arrested in southern France last week, it was reported Monday.
French prosecutors said that police found weapons and explosives in one suspect’s home in a town near Marseille. Police also intercepted communications between the men, suggesting they were planning on going into action.
The arrest of the suspects comes as the Jewish community in Toulouse marks the first anniversary of the terror attack carried out by Mohamed Merah, who killed three Jewish children and a rabbi.
Merah murdered Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Aryeh and Gavriel and Miriam Monsonego at the Otzar HaTorah school in Toulouse. Before that, he murdered three Muslim paratroopers of North African heritage. Merah was ultimately killed when he tried to flee a police raid on his apartment.
“It was clear they were training themselves in making explosives based on a jihadist radicalization, a glorification of Mohamed Merah, and an affirmed desire to go into action,” a French prosecutor said Monday.
On Sunday, President Shimon Peres attended memorial events in France to mark one year since the terrorist attacks in Toulouse.
Peres met with the heads of the Jewish community of France and with a delegation of Imams including and heads of central mosques.
France has seen a surge of 45% in the number of anti-Semitic incidents over the past year, since the Toulouse terror attack.
French police several weeks ago arrested two men in Toulouse in connection with Merah's killing spree.
The pair, aged 23 and 20, were being held in detention and questioned over their links to the self-proclaimed, Al-Qaeda inspired shooter. They are suspected of providing "logistical help" to Merah.
Created on Friday, 08 March 2013 13:42
Osama bin Laden's son-in-law has been detained by U.S. authorities and is due to appear in court in New York on Friday on charges he plotted with the Al-Qaeda leader to stage attacks on Americans, AFP reports.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, reportedly a 47-year-old Kuwaiti and allegedly one of the chief propagandists of the Al-Qaeda network, stands accused of conspiring "to kill nationals of the United States," the U.S. State Department said.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the arrest showed that the United States would never relent in its pursuit of the militants who launched the attacks of September 11, 2001.
"No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America's enemies to justice," Holder said, according to AFP.
"To violent extremists who threaten the American people and seek to undermine our way of life, this arrest sends an unmistakable message," he said.
"There is no corner of the world where you can escape from justice because we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Abu Ghaith’s capture is unusual as President Barack Obama's administration has focused on killing Al-Qaeda figures in bombing raids using unmanned drone aircraft, primarily in the tribal belt of Pakistan.
A Turkish newspaper had reported earlier that Ghaith was seized by U.S. authorities at a hotel in Ankara last month and was deported to Jordan, before being taken to the United States.
FBI and CIA officials declined to comment on how Bin Laden's son-in-law ended up in behind bars on American soil.
Republican lawmakers immediately denounced the Obama administration for not sending the suspect to the U.S. military's prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he could be held indefinitely and prosecuted under special military tribunals.
"When we find somebody like this, this close to bin Laden and the senior Al-Qaeda leadership, the last thing in the world we want to do, in my opinion, is put them in a civilian court," said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, according to AFP.
"This man should be in Guantanamo Bay," Graham added.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, agreed.
"Al Qaeda leaders captured on the battlefield should not be brought to the United States to stand trial. We should treat enemy combatants like the enemy -- the U.S. court system is not the appropriate venue," Rogers said.
U.S. authorities accuse Ghaith of assisting Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda chief who was killed in a 2011 raid by American commandos, and of taking to the airwaves to promote Al-Qaeda's war against America after the 9/11 attacks.
According to the indictment, he allegedly threatened Americans, warning them that a "great army is gathering" and "the storms shall not stop, especially the airplanes storm."
The indictment also stated Ghaith was "smuggled successfully from Afghanistan into Iran" in 2002.
Ghaith is one of a number of Al-Qaeda terrorists who were known to be in Iran after the 9/11 attacks but their precise status -- and whether they were placed under house arrest by the Iranian authorities -- has remained unclear.
Created on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 22:19
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced Sunday that the French government will be taking steps in the coming days to deport several radical Muslim clerics from the country in an effort to counter the rising tide of radical Islam and prevalent threat of “global jihadism.”
"Many radical preachers of foreign origin will be deported in the coming days." Valls said, addressing an international conference in Brussels, as reported by the Franch Le Nouvel Observateur.
“I do not confuse this radical Islam with Islam as practiced in France generally,” he said, “but there is a religious environment, there are groups who adhere to Salafism, which is a political process, which quite simply aims to monopolize, at the same time, associations and the educational process and which has taken a firm grip in the minds of many families.”
His remarks come shortly after the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Choukri Belaid, an outspoken critic of the country’s Islamist government.
“We will expel all these imams, these preachers, these foreigners who prey on women, hold beliefs contrary to our values and who advocate the need to fight France. From this standpoint, there is a need to be extremely resolute, and I will be,” Valls asserted.
“There is an Islamic fascism rising everywhere, but this obscurantism must, of course, be condemned because it denies the democracy for which the Libyan, Tunisian and Egyptian people have fought,” Valls told Europe 1 radio.
On Saturday, thousand supporters of Tunisia’s ruling Ennhada Islamist party rallied in the capital Tunis to protest “French interference” in Tunisian interior affairs.
The demonstrators waved flags of the Ennahda party and shouted "Get out, France!"
Tunisians overthrew the autocratic but secularist president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, sparking the “Arab Spring” revolutions.
Referencing the brutal March 2012 murders in Toulouse, Valls said the perpetrator , Mohamed Merah, who killed seven people including three Jewish children before being shot dead by armed French police, was not a “lone wolf”.
“The actions of Merah were the result of careful preparation, a learning process involving many contacts. Clearly, he was not acting alone. He carried out the killings on his own but he had travelled in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He had contacts and he lived in an environment where he undoubtedly received rudimentary weapons training,” Valls asserted.
Created on Friday, 11 January 2013 05:45
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has allowed armed terrorists to publicly march and fire into the air within the areas he controls in Judea and Samaria.
Kol Yisrael radio reported Thursday that about 20 members of Abbas's Fatah movement marched in the Balata area of Shechem on Thursday afternoon, firing into the air. A source in the PA told the station that PA security forces were not on hand and did not deal with the armed terrorists.
The source indicated that some of the terrorists had been released from Israeli or PA prisons, after serving time on charges of terrorism, and that they are currently unemployed.
Kol Yisrael noted that Fatah has avoided allowing masked terrorists into the streets over the past several years but has done so three times in the past month: in the Dehaisha refugee camp near Bethlehem, in Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah, and on Thursday in Balata.
PA Arabs have rioted and attempted to carry out terror attacks in Hevron and throughout Judea and Samaria in recent weeks, while Abbas's security forces have failed to stop them as they had done in the past.
The incidents have led some to warn that a third Arab intifada (uprising) is in the works.
A recently released video showed a group of Arab terrorists announcing the formation of a new military brigade, which would start a new intifada against Israel beginning in Hevron.
In addition, Abbas has gotten closer to the Hamas terror group after years of fighting. During Israel's recent counterterrorism Operation Pillar of Defense, the two factions announced they have decided to end infighting. The PA later announced it will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts.
Last week, for the first time since its violent takeover of Gaza, Hamas allowed the Gaza branch of the Fatah party to mark its anniversary in the region.
Created on Sunday, 16 December 2012 17:18
A video released on Friday shows a group of Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists announcing the formation of a new military brigade, which would start a new intifada (uprising) against Israel beginning in Hevron.
According to a report in the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, the video, posted on YouTube, shows eight people covering their faces with scarves and holding a Quran.
One of the men then says the eight have established what is called “the National Unity Brigades”.
"We announce that our brigades include supporters of al-Yasin (Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin), al-Yasser (Fatah leader Yasser Arafat), al-Shiqaqi (Islamic Jihad leader Fathi al-Shiqaqi), and (PFLP leader) Abu Ali Mustafa," he says.
"Our brigades support the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' decision to announce a Palestinian state, and we will not cede a grain of sand of the Palestinian land from the sea to the river."
"Our message to the whole world and to the Zionist enemy is that our brigades declare the beginning of a third Palestinian Intifada from the heart of [Hevron] to extend to the rest of Palestine," the speaker says.
"You should know Zionists that if you detain our people, we will kidnap your soldiers, and if you kill our people, we will kill. We will use an iron fist against you using all the power we have if you don't bring an end to this arrogance against our Palestinian people."
PA Arabs have rioted and attempted to carry out terror attacks in Hevron and throughout Judea and Samaria in recent days.
The latest terror incident occurred late on Thursday night when members of an IDF unit stationed near Hevron shot an Arab terrorist as he prepared to throw a firebomb at them.
Arab reports claimed that the terrorist was seriously wounded and taken to hospital in the city.
Earlier on Thursday, terrorists threw a firebomb at an IDF position in the city. There were no injuries or damages.
Palestinian Authority Arabs rioted Thursday in Hevron, where they hurled rocks and bottles at Israeli soldiers. IDF troops responded with mob control methods that included the use of tear gas.
There were no reports of serious injuries, according to local sources, who said that nearly a hundred protesters had attempted to storm the IDF troops.
The Arab rioting occurred several hours after a female officer shot and killed a 17-year-old PA Arab terrorist who pulled a gun on Border Police officers near Hevron.
A police sapper who arrived subsequently to check out the gun determined that it was a fake gun.
Created on Friday, 23 November 2012 06:17
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is calling for a jihad (“holy war”) to liberate the Palestinian Authority areas. "Jihad is obligatory” for Muslims, top Islamic cleric Mohammed Badei said, adding that peace deals with Israel are a “game of grand deception".
Badei added that there have been enough negotiations and that the “enemy knows nothing but the language of force.” The Muslim Brotherhood and its members – of which Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is one – do not recognize and refuse to hold direct talks with the State of Israel.
The call came just one day after the Brotherhood's former presidential candidate, who won the national election in June, sealed a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
Brokered by Morsi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the agreement officially went into effect at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night.
Under the ceasefire, no terrorist group is to fire any rocket, missile or mortar shell at southern Israel. The Israeli army is to cease air strikes, and open the Gaza border crossings.
The crossings have been opened daily for extended hours on most days for nearly for a year, with some exceptions, in any event. They have been closed on major holidays and during high security incidents in which major threats are detected.
Although terrorist groups continued their rocket fire at southern Israeli cities and towns for several hours after – wounding a number of civilians and traumatizing countless others – by morning the skies were mostly quiet.
There were some sporadic terror attacks around the country, and alleged “erroneous activations” of Israel's Color Red incoming rocket alert siren in southern Israeli communities.
Created on Thursday, 22 November 2012 16:34
Egyptian protesters firebombed the office of satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera in Cairo on Wednesday, as the third day of violent anti-government demonstrations rages on in the volatile Egyptian capital.
Hundreds of protesters reportedly attacked the studio overlooking Tahrir Square with Molotov cocktails, engulfing it in flames.
"At about 11 o'clock (1100 GMT) a group of protesters gathered near the office," Abdulla Ebeid, the operations manager of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr said, according to the RT news agency.
"They started to throw rocks at us and after all the windows were broken they threw a Molotov (petrol bomb) inside the studio so that it caught on fire. And, as you can see, all the components got ruined – the cameras, lighting systems and all the equipment got burned," he said.
After the attack, a crowd beat up Cairo Police Chief Osama el-Saghir, who had traveled to Tahrir Square to diffuse the situation, a security official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Protesters have accused Al-Jazeera of being biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that was swept to power following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
The attack came after the arrest of 118 people since clashes broke out on Monday during a protest to mark the first anniversary of deadly street battles that ousted Egypt's then ruling military power.
Created on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 09:52
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election victory and said he hoped it would strengthen the “friendship” between their two countries.
Mursi hoped for a “strengthening of the friendship between the two countries to serve their common interests, namely justice, freedom and peace,” in a telegram of congratulations released by the official news agency MENA.
Despite the fall of U.S. regional ally President Hosni Mubarak in last year’s popular uprising, Egypt remains the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, totaling $1.5 billion a year, mostly for its military, AFP reported.
In September, however, Obama sparked intrigue over the state of U.S.-Egyptian relations after he said the country, which is now ruled by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, was neither a friend nor a foe.
"I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama said in an interview at the time. "They're a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident."
Obama’s comments came after a mob raided the U.S. embassy in Cairo, in a protest that was allegedly blamed on a film made on U.S. soil and deemed anti-Islam.
Created on Sunday, 04 November 2012 09:46
The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has raised its terror threat level in Egypt from “general” to “high”, following reports of an al Qaeda-inspired plot to attack western tourists.
In recent days, Egyptian police reported they had foiled a terror attack aimed at tourists in northern Sinai, close to the border with Gaza.
The Foreign Office said there was now a "high threat of terrorism throughout Egypt, including Sinai.”
Its travel advice for tourists staying at the well-guarded resorts in Sharm el Sheikh remains unchanged, as it said the situation in that particular area is calm and stable.
“Demonstrations happen regularly across Egypt,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on its website. “You should avoid all political demonstrations and large gatherings, especially those in Tahrir Square. If you become aware of any nearby protests you should leave the area immediately.”
“There has been an increase in the number of reports of sexual assaults on women during demonstrations in and around Tahrir Square. Attacks have been experienced by both foreign and Egyptian women,” it continued. “We strongly advise women to avoid Tahrir Square and immediately surrounding areas during demonstrations.”
In October, Sonia Dridi, a French female television reporter for France 24, was surrounded by a group of young men, who began to sexually assault her during a live television broadcast. The attack lasted several minutes before a male colleague managed to pull her away from the mob.
Such assault have become commonplace in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
The raising of the terror also came as more than 1,000 Islamists rallied in Cairo calling for the implementation of sharia Islamic law.
Created on Sunday, 04 November 2012 08:53
A former neo-Nazi who joined the Taliban and attacked an American base near the Afghan-Pakistan border has told a German court that he regrets his decision to become a terrorist saying he “made a terrible mistake”.
The 27-year-old German, identified only as Thomas U, converted to Islam and enrolled in the German Taliban Mujahidin, (DTM) before travelling with his wife to the war-torn region, The London Times reported.
The aspiring jihadist, who is being charged with being a member of the DTM from December 2009 until July 2010 and taking part in an attack on an American base, testified in court that he lamented his fellow combatants' drug habits, lack of hygiene, contracting hepatitis A and seeing his friends get killed on the battlefield.
He also said that his wife missed comforts such as her cell phone and shopping at the supermarket.
The couple fled to Istanbul, Turkey, in 2010 after his wife became pregnant but were immediately arrested.
According to the report in the London newspaper, Thoman U paid 5,000 euros to travel to the Afghan-Pakistan border in 2009, and was trained to use firearms and explosives. He even appeared in a Taliban propaganda video, boasting that the attack "disrupted the Christmas spirit" on the American base.
After DTM's co-founder Eric Breininger and Dutch national "Danny R" were killed by Pakistani forces in April 2010, however, he became disillusioned with the terror mission.
“I admit that I made a terrible mistake,” he said in a statement to the Berlin court. “It was a terrible experience. I was shocked at the lack of hygiene, people were spitting and vomiting. My wife was very unhappy because traditionally women are treated badly.”
“I had only seen one dead body before, of my grandmother. The sight of their mutilated bodies really affected me,” he added. “From then on I no longer wanted to take part in violence, I had been completely wrong.”
Created on Friday, 02 November 2012 20:08
IDF forces were able to foil a terror attack on Friday morning when they opened fire towards a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist, as he was trying to plant explosives near the security fence in central Gaza.
The terrorist was seriously wounded and evacuated to a hospital in Gaza.
The incident came ten days after IDF soldier Ziv Shilon was seriously wounded during an operation in the Gaza area. Soldiers were engaged in counter-terror activity near the security barrier dividing Gaza from southern Israel, when Shilon was hurt.
An IDF investigation revealed that he was hit by a roadside bomb.
Shilon was later visited by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and expressed his desire to return to command and lead his company. The Chief of Staff replied that the only thing Shilon should worry about is his recovery and that he will be able to continue his military service once he is fully rehabilitated.
In an inspiring interview he gave to Channel 2 News last week, Shilon said that he “feels great” and added that if he is able to rehabilitate himself he will return to the army.
"I love my soldiers," Shilon said. "They have nothing to worry about. The IDF is strong and it will be victorious."
Created on Monday, 29 October 2012 20:10
The Shabak, along with the IDF and Israel Police, have uncovered extensive Hamas activity in the Binyamin area. A large group of Hamas terrorists have been working in recent months in the villages around Ramallah recruiting members, and terrorists, for the organization, it was released for publication Monday.
The Shabak has been conducting a wide-ranging and long-term investigation of this group; so far, about 30 terrorists have been arrested. Among the more notable detainees is Muhammad Khaled Abu Baha, head of the terror group; Mahmad Hassan Abed Allah Dahla, Hamas regional director for central and western areas of Judea and Samaria; and Maher Ayoub Abd al-Jalil Delasha, the regional finance director for Hamas.
The detainees told Shabak investigators that the purpose of the group was to revive Hamas activity in the Binyamin region, especially around Ramallah, considered the last stronghold of Fatah in Judea and Samaria. The objective was to recruit, if not terrorists, then at least voters who would elect Hamas representatives in local elections, and to strengthen the Hamas student group at universities in PA controlled areas. The group received financial and other assistance from Hamas in Syria, officials said.
Among the detainees are two individuals who have admitted their involvement in the 2000 lynch in Ramallah, in which two IDF reservists, Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami, were murdered when they made a wrong turn into Ramallah. Indictments have been handed down against them and the other arrested terrorists on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit acts of terror, illegal collection of money from terrorist sources, and collaborating with enemies.
Created on Monday, 29 October 2012 10:57
Al-Qaeda has formed an all-female 'Burkha Brigade' to infiltrate and hit Western military bases and targets, as they are less likely than men to attract suspicion.
A film posted online shows the all-female unit of al-Qaeda using an alarming array of weapons, including machine-guns, grenade rocket launchers and sniper rifles during their training session at an unknown location.
The women are thought to have been recruited from the war-torn Russian republic of Chechnya by an al-Qaeda-linked group, with bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, The Sun reported Sunday.
The report has raised concerns that the global terror network has formed all-female units because they are less likely to attract suspicion than men and can more easily infiltrate security barriers.
Women also remain less conspicuous as they generally hide the explosives beneath the abaya — the black cloak worn from head to toe, according to The Sun.
In September, a female suicide bomber in Afghanistan rammed an explosive-laden car into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing at least 12 people, including eight South Africans.
In August, a 30-year-old Russian actress who converted to Islam killed Dagestan’s top Muslim spiritual leader Sheikh Said Afandi and six others in a suicide attack.
Created on Sunday, 28 October 2012 08:44
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Muslims to increase efforts to kidnap Westerners in exchange for imprisoned jihadists, citing the success in the abduction of American aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan.
In an undated two-hour video posted on jihadist websites, al-Zawahiri called for the abductions as part of a vow not to "spare any efforts" to free Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
"God the great and almighty granted us success to capture the Jewish American Warren Weinstein," al-Zawahiri said according to the terror monitoring group SITE intelligence.
"We are seeking, by the help of God, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives," he said.
Al-Zawahiri also called for Egyptians to rise up against Israel.
"I call on every free and honorable (person) in Egypt to participate in every protest against the Israeli Embassy, against the peace treaty with Israel, against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and against every siege of Gaza," al-Zawahiri said.
"Islamic movements and masses must be at the forefront of those protests and the first to sacrifice for their sake," he added.
The video is the latest in a series released by al-Zawahiri, who was al Qaeda's No. 2 leader under Osama bin Laden. He took over leadership in June 2011 following bin Laden's death, according to statements posted on jihadist websites.
Al-Zawahiri is believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan's tribal region that borders Afghanistan.
He was indicted in absentia for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others, according to the National Counterterrorism Center, part of the U.S. federal government.
The FBI is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture, the same amount as the reward for bin Laden.
Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the August 2011 abduction of Weinstein from his home in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
Months later, al-Zawahiri made a number of demands of the United States in exchange for Weinstein's release, including the release of Abdel-Rahman. Washington has maintained it will not negotiate with terrorists.
Created on Saturday, 27 October 2012 17:28
Egyptian jurists and politicians have issued calls to "liberate" the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, and to restore Egypt's leading role in the Arab world.
Participants in a news conference in Cairo on October 25 said that the "liberation" of Jerusalem by Muslims will be accomplished "without a doubt" by the present generation, which brought about the change in Arab regimes, and that the peace treaty with Israel was just an act of deception that led to the "loss of the homeland."
Ambassador Abdullah al-Ashal, a former aide to the foreign minister, took part in the news conference held by the Diplomatic Committee of the Egyptian Bar Association. He said that "talk of peace with the Zionists must not be believed," and that "no ties between Egypt and Israel are taking place under the present government," because "the Palestinian question is a national one for Egypt."
Bar Association Council member Mamdouh Ismail said that recent Islamist revolutions herald the beginning of the process that will lead to the liberation of Al Aqsa and Jerusalem. He said that it is obvious that weakness and fear have overcome Israel since the "stabilization" of the Arab regimes in the region. The loss of Jerusalem to Israel, he said, was the result of the weakness of the Arab regimes and their collaboration with the West.
Created on Friday, 19 October 2012 18:52
A top security official linked to the anti-Damascus camp in Lebanon was among those killed in a powerful car bomb in Beirut on Friday, officials told AFP.
The rush-hour bombing in the predominantly Christian district of Ashrafieh killed at least two other people and wounded 96, Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told reporters at the scene.
A government official said the intelligence chief of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, General Wissam al-Hassan, was among the dead in one of the highest-profile killings since the 2005 murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri.
Hassan was close to Rafiq's son, Saad, who is leader of the opposition and hostile to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, AFP noted. He had been tipped to take over as ISF head at the end of this year.
Opposition politician Samir Geagea said Hassan "moved around with exceptional security measures" and had sent his wife and children to Paris because he "knew he was a target."
The ISF played a central role in the arrest in August of former Lebanese information minister Michel Samaha, who has close links to Damascus and was charged with planning attacks in Lebanon and transporting explosives.
The agency was also deeply involved in seeking the arrest of those responsible for a host of attacks and assassinations between 2005 and 2008, starting with the Hariri assassination.
Friday's blast occurred only 200 meters from the headquarters of the Christian party, the Phalange, which is also anti-Damascus.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Phalange MP Nadim Gemayel quickly accused Syria of orchestrating it.
"The Syrian regime is no stranger to such explosions. This is a political blast par excellence," Gemayel told LBC television. "This regime, which is crumbling, is trying to export its conflict to Lebanon."
Geagea, head of the right-wing Lebanese Forces, also pointed the finger at Damascus, saying Hassan was targeted "because he arrested Samaha."
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi, meanwhile, condemned what he called a "terrorist, cowardly" attack, saying such incidents "are unjustifiable wherever they occur."
State prosecutor Hatem Madi said the car "was blown off dozens of meters” from where it was parked on a street off Sassine Square. Bomb experts told AFP the car was packed with 66 pounds of explosives.
Created on Thursday, 18 October 2012 08:07
Egypt's Interior Ministry has raised the alert level for its security forces in southern Sinai due to a warning over possible jihadist operations in the area.
The ministry warned local police stations and security personnel Tuesday to be alert to potential attacks on tourists in the area by terrorists from the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group.
The organization announced it would seek revenge for the recent targeted assassination by Israel of two of its operatives in Gaza, Abu al Waleed al Maqdisi (Hisham al-Saedini) former emir of the Tawhid wal-Jihad group in Jerusalem, and Ashraf al-Sabah (Abu al-Bara'a al-Maqdisi), former emir of Ansar al Sunnah.
In a statement obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the organization, also known as “Ansar Jerusalem,” said, “We in Ansar Jerusalem say to the Jews that the blood of our brothers in Palestine is our blood and their revenge is ours, and the blood of Abu al-Waleed and Abu al-Bara'a will not go in vain without repayment. It is retaliation and just punishment against your blood and security, so wait for our response and the pain of our revenge.”
The group is also thought to be responsible for numerous attacks over the past year against Israel, including one on September 21, 2012, and on August 18 2011 near Eilat, as well as many rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, fired from Gaza.
Terror and kidnapping attacks frequently are carried out around holiday times, and against unwary tourists. The Egyptian Interior Ministry said its security measures come as a precaution in advance of the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the celebration of the near-sacrifice of the Biblical Ishmael by the patriarch Abraham. Muslims believe that it was Ishmael, and not his brother Isaac, who was offered as a sacrifice to G-d by Abraham, and who was saved at the last minute by an angel.
Police turned to local Bedouin in deeper valleys in the area who could spot suspicious individuals. according to a report published in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, translated by the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA). They asked for cooperation in identifying potential jihadist activity in the area that might be emanating from northern Sinai.
Although no jihadists have been detected, a security source said information had indeed been received that terrorists planned an attack.
The state of alert was announced in El-Arish three days prior, according to Sinai activist Mohamed al-Tablaoui, who added that Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis' threats should be taken seriously. The group has previously carried out its vows of revenge in the wake of targeted assassinations against its leaders, he said.
Egyptian presidential adviser Mohammed Ismat Seif Al-Dawla on Monday urged his government to amend the peace treaty signed in 1979 with Israel. The Cairo aide claimed that changing the peace treaty is important to help Egypt restore control over the lawless Sinai Peninsula, where terrorists have established training and operational bases from which to carry out attacks against Israel as well as against Egyptian and Jordanian citizens and interests.
Last month Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told reporters in New York during the United Nations General Assembly that Egypt has the troops it needs in the Sinai to restore security, and "will continue until success is achieved."
Created on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 20:46
Egyptian presidential adviser Mohammed Ismat Seif Al-Dawla has called to urgently change the peace treaty signed in 1979 with Israel.
Al-Dawla, an aide to President Mohammed Morsi, issued the call during a speech he delivered Monday at a conference on “Camp David and its Impact on Egypt's National Security.” The presidential adviser said that in its current form, the historic treaty maintains the national security of the “Zionist enemy” more than it helps Egypt's national security.
The Cairo government aide claimed that amending the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is important to help restore Egyptian control over the lawless Sinai Peninsula, where terrorists have established training and operational bases from which to carry out attacks against Israel -- and sometimes against Egyptian and Jordanian citizens and interests as well. The Egyptian natural gas pipeline has been attacked and natural gas supplies to both Jordan and Israel were disrupted due to terrorist sabotage from the Sinai no less than 15 times in a little over a year.
Al-Dawla was quoted last month by the independent Dostor daily newspaper as saying he was soon present Morsi with a proposal to amend the 1979 treaty, based on “popular demand and a strategic and security need.”
In response, a spokesman for the Egyptian president said there is currently no need to amend the peace treaty with Israel. Speaking from New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at the time, spokesman Yasser Ali said Egypt has the troops it needs in the Sinai to restore security and will continue until success is achieved.
"With all due respect to all political and intellectual luminaries on the presidential advisory panel, only the president and his spokesman speak for the presidency,” Ali said, according to the state news agency MENA.
A week prior, Al-Dawla had also told the el-Gareeda newspaper that Cairo gives Washington more than it receives, according to the Egypt State Information Service (Cairo). He was also quoted as saying that Egypt has never been an ally of the United States.
The Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement which Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi belongs to, called last Thursday for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. Although Morsi has repeatedly said he would respect international treaties previously signed by Cairo, there have been multiple calls from his own Muslim Brotherhood backers, and others in the country, to "revise" the accords.
Created on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 19:26
A firebomb was thrown on Tuesday evening towards a bus carrying IDF soldiers near the community of Ofra in Binyamin. No one was injured and no damage was caused to the bus. IDF troops began searching the area to locate the perpetrators of the attack.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Palestinian Authority Arabs pelted an Israeli vehicle with rocks near the community of Tekoa in Gush Etzion. No one was injured but the vehicle was damaged.
On Monday evening, Israeli vehicles were targeted by PA Arabs hurling rocks near Talmon in the Binyamin region. Skillful drivers managed to escape the attackers, however; no one was physically injured and no damage was reported.
There were also numerous reports of rock attacks in Judea, which are intended by the perpetrators to kill those they target. The frequency and number of such attacks has increased over the past several months.
Earlier this week, Zuriel Barzilai, a resident of Modi'in, recalled in a conversation with Arutz Sheva how his vehicle was targeted by a firebomb as he was making his way from Talmon to Jerusalem.
“We were at a family event Talmon. At nine in the evening we headed to a different event in Jerusalem, and as we went down from Talmon and started slowing down to make a turn we saw fire coming towards the vehicle,” recalled Barzilai. “The fire hit the windshield on the right. We did not understand what was happening. Those moments were very traumatic. The intersection was dark but when the firebomb flew everything lit up. I thought I was driving into burning tires and may have stumbled on an Arab demonstration.”
He added, “It is a sense of helplessness. There was no security, no patrols. We do not know how to behave in moments like this.”
Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 20:51
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) terror group vowed to retaliate against Israel on Sunday after announcing that two men killed earlier in an IAF air strike were members of the group, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
The group confirmed that Izz Addin Abu Nuseira, 23, and Ahmad Abu Fatayir, 22, were affiliated with its Nasser Saladin Brigades. Both were killed when the IAF struck targets in the terrorist haven of Gaza for the fourth time in 24 hours Sunday afternoon.
The IAF said the targets were part of a terror squad that had fired a rocket at Israel a short time earlier, and was about to do so again.
"We hereby announce that it’s time to pay the toll and the occupation will have to bear the consequences of its crimes," the PRC said in a statement quoted by Ma’an.
The statement added that Abu Nuseira and Abu Fatayir fired five mortar shells at the Kissufim Israeli military site east of Khan Younis on Saturday.
IAF strikes Saturday killed a leader of a Salafist group, Hisham a-Saedini, as well as another Salafist terrorist.
All together, five people have been killed in IAF strikes on Gaza in the past 24 hours.
Hisham al-Saedini was one of the founders of the Mujahideen Shura Council, said the IDF, noting that this organization is affiliated with Global Jihad and was involved in extensive terrorist activity against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers over the years.
The Mujahideen Shura Council had issued a statement earlier, saying it was behind a Grad missile attack on Netivot Friday night.
The rocket exploded in the yard of a residential building, causing one person to suffer from shock.
Gaza-based terrorists have fired dozens of rockets at southern Israel this past week, most of which have fallen in open areas. The escalation in rocket attacks began after an Israeli air strike on Sunday in Gaza hit two Global Jihad terrorists.
The terrorists responded by firing over 50 rockets at Israel during the holiday of Simchat Torah alone, with more being fired in the days that followed.
Created on Saturday, 13 October 2012 11:16
The calm of the Sabbath was disrupted on Friday evening as two Grad missiles fired by Gaza-based terrorists exploded in the city of Netivot, Channel 2 News reported.
At around 7:30 p.m., residents of the city, some of whom were in the midst of their Shabbat dinner, heard the “red alert” siren. Shortly afterwards the two missiles exploded, one of them exploding in the yard of a home.
There were no physical injuries or damages, but one woman suffered shock and was treated by paramedics.
Gaza-based terrorists have fired more than 60 rockets at southern Israel this past week, most of which have fallen in open areas. The escalation in rocket attacks began after an Israeli air strike on Sunday in Gaza hit two Global Jihad terrorists.
The terrorists responded by firing over 50 rockets at Israel during the holiday of Simchat Torah alone, with more being fired in the days that followed.
On Wednesday night, IAF aircraft struck a center of terrorist activity in northern Gaza. On Tuesday night, IAF aircraft hit a terror tunnel in northern Gaza, after terrorists fired three Kassam rockets at southern Israel.
Created on Thursday, 11 October 2012 15:20
The supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement which Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi belongs to, called on Thursday for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule.
"Jerusalem is Islamic ... and nobody is entitled to make concessions" on the Holy City, said Sheikh Mohammed Badie in his weekly message to supporters, according AFP.
"The jihad for the recovery of Jerusalem is a duty for all Muslims," he said, stressing that the liberation of the Holy City "will not be done through negotiations or at the United Nations."
Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, has watched with concern as Islamists were catapulted to the forefront of politics following a popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak last year.
Morsi has repeatedly said he would respect international treaties signed by Cairo. But there have also been multiple calls from Cairo to "revise" the accords.
The United States under Barack Obama appeared to throw Mubarak under a bus and to almost welcome the Muslim Brotherhood's takeover, a fact that has served to heighten Israel's anxiety over the future stability of the region.
Created on Sunday, 16 September 2012 09:30
Amid all the cacophony of protest and violence across portions of the Middle East and North Africa, there has been little serious effort to look for deeper meanings or explanations.
To be sure, the contemptible attacks on American diplomatic persons and premises were animated by the usual array of Islamist fears and Jihadist goals.
The same can be said, of course, about certain hyper-sensitive and conspicuously adrenalized public reactions to the anti-Islam video.
Still, to genuinely understand what is happening today in this fractionated part of the world, we may learn substantially more from the psychologists and anthropologists than from the pundits and political scientists.
After all, the cascading and inter-penetrating problems of religion, war, and terror in sections of the Islamic world represent utterly primal kinds of social behavior. Such behavior, in turn, is the inevitable result of readily identifiable private needs, and also of corollary collective expectations.
Sometimes, even more than the usually overriding need to avoid death, human beings want to belong. This often desperate need can be manifested quite harmlessly, as in sports hysteria or rock concerts, or more perniciously, as in rioting, war, and terrorism. Yet, in all cases, the critically underlying motivations are pretty much the same.
Aristotle had already understood that "Man is a social animal." Typically, even the "normal" individual person feels empty and insignificant apart from his or her membership in the "Mass," the "Crowd," or the "Herd." Often, that Herd is the State. Sometimes it is the Tribe. Sometimes it is the Faith (always, the “one true faith”). Sometimes it is the "Liberation" movement, or, in a plainly kindred relationship, "The Revolution."
Whatever the particular demanding collectivity of the moment, it is the persistent craving for membership that hastens to bring forth a catastrophic downfall of individual responsibility, and a corrosive triumph of combined will.
Today, in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, unless millions of our fellow humans can learn to temper their overwhelming desire to belong, the prevailing military and political schemes to control regional violence, war, and terrorism will fail.
To best understand what is really at work in the anti-video riots and anti-American embassy assaults, analysts must first locate the pre-political causes. Ultimately, these "molecular" explanations stem from the celebrated fusion of susceptible individuals into popular crowd-centered collectives. Not every Mass or Crowd or Tribe or Herd is pernicious, we can acknowledge, but war and terrorism simply cannot take place in the absence of "omnivorous" collective identifications.
Whenever individuals crowd together and form a Herd, the annihilatory dynamics of the mob may be released, thus lowering each person's moral and intellectual level to a point where absolutely anything, even mass killing, can be encouraged.
Publicly, all current Arab/Islamic rioting, war, and terror are fueled by certain effectively incontestable presumptions of Divine Will. In reality, of course, the net result of homicide bombings, chaotic riots, and mass denunciations must always be to drown out any residual hint of sacredness or godliness. Once empathy and compassion outside the Islamist Herd go intentionally unrewarded, they become extraneous, and, as virtues, completely beside the point.
In the presumed name of divinity, Arab/Islamist war, terror, and the murder of "others" impose upon the wider world neither salvation nor holiness, but "groupthink."
Reciprocally, and predictably, the hideously intolerant rhythms of such a suffocating ethos make it increasingly futile to advance any meaningful efforts at coexistence
To mount now urgent investigations of an already widening Arab/Islamic jihad against the United States and its allies, our scholars and policy makers should begin to look more closely at human meaning. Before we can prevent further expanding violence against innocents, certain Arab/Islamic states and terrorist groups will have to be shorn of their insidious capacity to bestow reinforcing significance upon complicit individuals.
To affect those individuals who now turn ritually to rioting, war, terror, and killing for affirmations of significance, we will first have to identify more benign and similarly attractive sources of belonging.
An underlying cause of present Islamist violence in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, and elsewhere in the region, is the enduring incapacity of individuals to draw authentic meaning from within themselves. In the Middle East and North Africa, at least among large swaths of enthusiastic Islamist adherents, true redemption still requires Muslims to present "proof of membership."
Moreover, in any such presentation, evidence of recent participation in anti-American or anti-Western activities is prima facie "valid."
At its heart, the cumulative violence that we presently face in the Middle East and North Africa is a problem of displaced human centeredness. Ever anxious about drawing meaning from their own inwardness, large numbers of Islamist adherents draw closer and closer to the faith-based Tribe.
In too many cases, this collective voice spawns hatreds and excesses that may make even genocidal forms of mass killing appear desirable. Fostering a visceral refrain of "us" versus "them," it may eventually prevent each affected person from becoming fully human.
This prevention is accomplished by encouraging motivated adherents to inflict mortal harms upon selected “outsiders," and then by subsequently celebrating such egregious harms as a proper expression of religious "sacrifice."
At birth, each person contains the possibility of becoming more fully human, an empathetic possibility that could reduce potentially destructive loyalties to any manifestations of groupthink. It is only by nurturing this indispensable possibility that we can seriously seek promising remedies to our current difficulties.
So, futile as it may seem, or be, our immediate task must be to encourage certain amenable masses in the Arab/Islamic world to discover the way back to themselves, as genuinely feeling and caring individuals, and as members of an entire species that would seek only an authentically universal, or non-exclusive redemption.
It would depict an infinite circle of membership, a geometry in which the whole would become more than the sum of its parts, into which everyone could "fit," and from which no one would be denied entry.
We should not misrepresent our real enemy.
Now, the core challenge that America faces in a sorely afflicted region is not one of criminal justice for terrorist killers ("we will find and punish those responsible..."), but of acquiring a far deeper understanding of our pertinent foes.
Always, for meaningful national defense, genuine analytic understanding is a net. Only those who cast will catch.
Louis René Beres, born in Zürich, Switzerland, was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). He is the author of many books and articles dealing with war, terrorism and counter-terrorism, including Terrorism and Global Security: The Nuclear Threat (Westview, 1979), and Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (The University of Chicago Press, 1980). Professor Beres has examined WMD terrorism for more than forty years, earlier in consultation with the Nuclear Control Institute, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Defense Nuclear Agency (DoD), and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center/U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. His recent articles have appeared in Parameters: The Journal of the U.S. Army War College; Special Warfare (Department of Defense); The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; International Security (Harvard); and The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence.
The Chair of Project Daniel (Israel, 2003), Dr. Beres' work is well-known to certain Israeli intelligence and military communities.
Created on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 10:34
Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Tzvi Mazel told Arutz Sheva Tuesday that he does not believe the Egyptian government will take effective action against the terrorists who operate in Sinai.
"We must remember that the person running Egypt today is the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi," he explained. "The Muslim Brotherhood is the group that laid the foundations for today's radical Islam and Islamic terrorism. The Muslim Brotherhood developed a theory that favors a return to 'the good old days' of the prophet Mohammed and establish a Muslim empire. Islamic law would be the constitution and then they would make an effort to conquer the world."
"The terrorists who came to carry out the attack from Sinai were raised upon the Muslim Brotherhood's fanatical theory," he said. "Morsi and the terrorists who carried out the attack have the same ideology and the same goal – to impose Islam on the Middle East and the entire world."
"Will the Muslim Brotherhood become pragmatic? Forget ideology and concentrate on Egypt? I do not believe that will happen. The radical Islamic ideology has been running in the blood of the Muslim Brotherhood for 80 years."
Mazel said that tough effective action by Egypt against the Sinai terrorists is unlikely. "Egypt thinks that Israel is responsible for Sinai and they do not want to take responsibility for what happens in Gaza as they clean up Sinai. If the Egyptians clean up Sinai, [Gaza] will become isolated and under Egypt's responsibility and therefore Egypt would prefer not to do that."
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 09:08
The Justice and Development Organization for Human Rights in Egypt has called to release Gaza from under the rule of Hamas, which violently seized power in a 2007 coup.
The organization released a statement on Monday in the city of Minya, in which it argued that Hamas is an illegal entity and is the main reason for the split in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority as well as for the failure to achieve Palestinian statehood.
The organization also said that the strategic purpose of planting Hamas in Gaza is to realize Iran’s goal for the region, which is to establish a Shiite state extending all the way to Lebanon and Syria. The organization said that it is for this reason that Iran provides Hamas with financial and logistical support.
Nadi Atef, who heads the organization, condemned the frequent visits by Hamas’ leaders, headed by Khaled Mashaal, to Cairo after the recent election victory of Mohammed Morsi. Atef noted that Hamas was one of the allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, along with Hizbullah.
Atef warned against the transfer of weapons and missiles from Libya by the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas via the Sinai Peninsula and called to prevent a situation whereby the Sinai Peninsula would become Hamas's military base. According to Atef, vigilance is required against a scenario in which the Muslim Brotherhood will cooperate with the United States and with the consent of Hamas to settle PA Arabs in Sinai.
Ever since Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, won the presidential election in Egypt, he has been tightening relations with Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi has met with Mashaal, his deputy Musa Abu Marzouq and other members of Hamas’s politburo. During the meeting, Morsi stressed the importance he places on Egypt's support “for the Palestinian nation’s struggle to achieve its legitimate rights”, unifying the lines between Hamas and its longtime rival Fatah, supplying Gaza with fuel and electricity and easing the restrictions on the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
Last week Morsi met with Gaza’s de-facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas has been asking Morsi to open up Egypt’s border with Gaza, but Morsi has yet to agree.
For the time being Egypt has eased the visa requirements for Gazans under 40 who want to travel to Egypt through the Rafiah border crossing into the Sinai.
Until now, residents of Gaza within that age bracket have been unable to travel without a visa due to security concerns.
Created on Monday, 30 July 2012 09:28
In what appears to be another expression of the strengthening of Islam under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, Channel 2 News reported on Sunday of a new initiative in Egypt which encourages “sharia tourism.”
The new project, initiated by local businessmen, is directed at the religious sector in Egypt and allows it to take a vacation which follows the rules of Islam.
Two businessmen have launched the initiative as part of a local company called Shouq Travel, and they invite vacationers to arrange their vacation according to Sharia law.
The company’s website says that those who seek a “sharia” vacation may stay in a special hotel and visit specific tourist sites. Women visitors to the sites are required to wear modest clothes and may only be accompanied by a first-degree relative.
Channel 2 News noted that when visiting the company’s website, one may see photos of such vacations, including pictures of family riding a jet ski with a bearded father and a mother who is covered from head to toe.
During his election campaign, Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi reiterated his commitment to jihad and to the Islamic sharia law.
“The Koran was and will continue to be our constitution,” the Muslim Brotherhood candidate said in a speech broadcast on Egyptian television. “The Koran is our constitution. The prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”
Morsi also said, “This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic sharia. I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text (of the constitution), Allah willing, the text will truly reflect (the sharia).”
Created on Sunday, 29 July 2012 07:31
The identity of the terrorist who blew himself up near a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last week, killing five Israelis, remains a mystery as a Bulgarian news website published photos of his body on Friday.
The website, Bivol, reported that the terrorist was unaware that he was going to explode and that the organizers of the terror attack blew up the terrorist using a remote control.
While this report has not been confirmed, the British Daily Mail reported on Saturday that British agents are examining the DNA of the suicide bomber to determine if he came from the UK.
The report said that security service officials travelled to Bulgaria and took samples and dental records from the terrorist’s body.
According to the Daily Mail, officials are now playing down CCTV footage released after the attack which showed the suspected bomber as a white man dressed in Bermuda shorts, T-shirt and cap.
Suggestions that it was an Algerian-Swedish Islamist who spent two years in Guantanamo Bay have also been dismissed, said the report.
CCTV footage initially released of the suspected bomber pictured moments before the explosion showed a casually dressed tall, white man carrying a large black backpack.
However, the Daily Mail reported, Dr. Kosyo Yankov who took part in the autopsy of the attacker said the body parts suggested a heavy man who “has nothing to do with the slim man caught by the security cameras at the Burgas airport.”
Israel has fingered Hizbullah and its supporter Iran as being behind the terror attack in Bulgaria. Hizbullah and Iran have both denied involvement, with Iran turning the tables on Israel and blaming the Jewish State for orchestrating a terror attack against its own citizens.
Created on Saturday, 28 July 2012 10:29
Terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel on Friday night, shattering the calm of the Sabbath.
Both rockets exploded in agricultural areas in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no physical injuries or property damage.
On Wednesday, a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza, striking an open area in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. The Color Red early warning siren sounded in the region. There were no reports of any physical injuries or property damage.
On Tuesday evening, after weeks of relative calm, Ashkelon was attacked by two Grad-style missiles that were fired by terrorists in northern Gaza.
One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile shield, while the other exploded in an open field.
In June, Hamas terrorists fired more than 100 rockets at Israel within several days, eventually announcing it has agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. However, the Gaza-based terrorist groups take advantage of the ‘ceasefires’ to periodically send a reminder to Israelis that they have the ability to fire rockets.
Between 2001 and January 2009, over 8,600 rockets were launched, leading to 28 deaths and several hundred injuries, as well as widespread psychological trauma and disruption of daily life.
Since Israel's Operation Cast Led in late 2008 and early 2009, an estimated 1,964 rocket and mortar attacks have been launched on Israeli communities from Gaza, with four fatalities and scores of injuries recorded.
Created on Monday, 23 July 2012 08:41
Iran and Hizbullah have tried to carry out terrorist attacks in over 20 countries around the world over the past two years, Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Director Yoram Cohen said on Sunday.
Pardo and Cohen made the remarks during a meeting with the Israeli Cabinet, during which they briefed its members on the intelligence agencies' actions against Iranian and Hizbullah terrorism around the world.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the exposure of those behind the attacks, saying, “There is great significance in the ability to prove to the world that Iran and Hizbullah are responsible for terrorist attacks that cross continents.”
Netanyahu also sought to thank the Mossad and Shin Bet personnel for the hidden actions they take throughout the world in order to defend the citizens of the State.
“The wave of Iranian terrorism that is also perpetrated through Hezbollah has met with, and will yet meet with, determined actions,” he said.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Netanyahu repeated his assertion that Iran and Hizbullah are behind the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, last week.
Netanyahu said his assertion that Hizbullah is behind the attack last week that killed five Israeli tourists is based on “rock solid” intelligence and on its resemblance to other recent attempted attacks across the world, including one in Cyprus last week.
“It’s the same modus operandi,” he said. “It’s them and we know it.”
Bulgarian authorities said on Sunday they have reached the same conclusions as Netanyahu, denying claims of responsibility for the suicide attack by a small Muslim terrorist group.
The group, which calls itself Qa'adat el-Jihad, claims to be linked to the international Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
Bulgarian media reported on Sunday that it is believed the suicide bomber received assistance from a man who was seen in the resort city of Varna in the country.
Created on Saturday, 14 July 2012 19:05
Cyprus authorities have detained a man on suspicion of being involved in planning a terrorist attack on the east Mediterranean island, a police spokesman said Friday.
The Associated Press quoted spokesman Andreas Angelides as having said that police have “an individual in custody on possible charges pertaining to terrorism laws.”
Angelides declined to identify the suspect, the level of his involvement in the plot and what the intended target would have been. He said disclosure of any details about the case could compromise an ongoing investigation.
However, state radio CyBC quoted an unidentified senior police official as saying that “Israeli interests” in the southern coastal town of Limassol were to be targeted.
CyBC said the suspect, a foreign national, was arrested a week ago.
An official at the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia refused to comment on the matter. Cyprus’ government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou also declined to comment.
Terrorists who planned to strike Israeli targets have been arrested in several locations around the world recently. Earlier this month, officials in Nairobi reported that two Iranian terrorists who were arrested in Kenya were planning to attack Israeli, American, British and Saudi targets in the country.
According to the officials, 15 kg of RDX-type explosives, designed to carry out powerful terrorist attacks, were found to be in the possession of the terrorists.
In March, Azerbaijan arrested 22 citizens suspected of plotting on behalf of Iran to attack the American and Israel embassies in Baku.
A month earlier, Azerbaijani authorities arrested a terrorist cell whose members belonged to the Hizbullah terror group and held Iranian passports.
On February 13, a motorcycle-borne terrorist planted a magnetic bomb on the car of Tal Yehoshua-Koren, wife of Israel's military attaché in New Delhi.
Yehoshua-Koren was moderately wounded as she narrowly escaped the blast. Her Indian driver and two other embassy staffers were also lightly wounded.
Arrest warrants have been issued for three Iranians in connection with the attack.
Created on Monday, 09 July 2012 17:05
Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has reminded the president-elect, Mohamed Mursi, of its own powerful position in the country.
The military issued a statement saying it expects all state institutions to respect the constitution – a barely-disguised warning to the newly-elected Muslim Brotherhood member.
The move followed a decision by Mursi to revoke the military council's executive order which last month dissolved the Islamist-majority parliament. The dissolution had been backed by a June 14 Supreme Court ruling that said a third of the legislators were elected illegally.
On Monday, Egypt's highest court said that its rulings are binding for all state institutions, after Mursi decided to reconvene the dissolved parliament.
The decisions came one week after a meeting and photo ops between the president-elect and Egypt's SCAF council of generals, headed by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
In its warning, the military council defended the decree in which it had declared for itself sweeping new powers.
The “constitutional declaration” stated that the SCAF retains the power to make laws and budget decisions for Egypt until a new Constitution can be written – a task to be accomplished by summer's end – and until a new parliament can be elected. The Council also retained for itself the power to “decide all matters related to military affairs, including the appointment of its leaders.”
In its warning to Mursi, the Council said it would continue to support “legitimacy, the constitution and the law” – making it unlikely the generals would allow the new president any room to reconvene the current Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament.
Created on Sunday, 08 July 2012 15:49
United States President Barack Hussein Obama has invited his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Morsi to conduct an official visit to the U.S. in September. Deputy Secretary of State William Perez said he delivered the invitation to Cairo during his meetings with the president on Sunday.
This would be the first visit ever to the U.S. by a member of the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood in an official capacity.
Obama previously made a congratulatory phone call to Morsi when his victory in Egypt’s presidential elections was made official. Obama also confirmed the United States' commitment towards democratic development in Egypt and offered his country’s support for the Egyptian economy.
According to Bikya Masr, Morsi sent a thank you message to the American president through Perez.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned from political work for the past 60 years, captured the presidency after prolonged violent protests ousted former strongman Hosni Mubarak. The rebellion that has swept through the Arab world in the last two years was encouraged, among other things, by Obama's speech in Cairo in 2009, in which he sought a "new beginning" in relations between the U.S. and adherents of the Muslim religion.
Obama's invitation to Morsi would seem to indicate he is not overly concerned about a negative reaction by Jewish voters in the election two months later. Polls show that while his support among American Jews is not as high as it was in 2008, he still commands a clear majority among them.
Adding to the complexity of the situation is tthe prospect of a war with Iran that looms overhead, with Israel hinting an attack will take place within months and that it may go it alone if the U.S. does not lead the strike.
Video of a rally that launched Morsi's campaign shows clearly that the Muslim Brotherhood seeks violent annihilation of Israel.
Created on Friday, 29 June 2012 21:04
During his election campaign, Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi reiterated his commitment to jihad and to the Islamic sharia law.
Morsi made the remarks in a speech broadcast on May 13 on the Egyptian Misr 25 television network. His remarks in Arabic were uploaded to YouTube, and were later translated to English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“The Koran was and will continue to be our constitution,” the Muslim Brotherhood candidate said. “The Koran is our constitution. The prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”
Morsi also said, “This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic sharia. I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text (of the constitution), Allah willing, the text will truly reflect (the sharia).”
Created on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:10
Dennis Ross, former senior adviser to U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, says he believes the Muslim Brotherhood will win Egypt's presidential election.
Ross made the statement Wednesday at the fourth annual Israeli Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow 2012,” being held this week in Jerusalem.
Ambassador Ross said he believes that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi will emerge victorious tomorrow in Egypt's presidential run-off election.
Ross specifically mentioned the requirement for Egypt to keep its peace treaty with Israel, and to build a society where women – and for that matter, all citizens – enjoy equal rights.
"If the Muslim Brotherhood wants to deliver,” he said, it has to play by the rules.”
The conference, jointly organized with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is being held under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres.
"This is the first time in the Middle East that people see themselves as citizens, they see themselves as solid. Mubarak had created a situation in which he was the only option.
It is in our interest to emphasize to the Muslim Brotherhood that they need to build the Egyptian state, and realize they need outside help,” he said. But if they want outside help, they will have to abide by international rules – and for example, to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt.
"The necessity of external assistance to help rebuild Egypt can influence the behavior of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it will not be easy,” he warned.
Created on Monday, 18 June 2012 19:34
The Israel Air Force struck Gaza a second time Monday evening, killing at least two terrorists in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.
The targeted terrorists were engaged in launching a rocket attack at civilians in southern Israel at the time they were attacked, the IDF Spokesperson's Office said in a statement.
The strike followed by several hours a sniper attack by Gaza terrorists in which a 36-year-old Haifa contractor and father of four was shot and killed as he worked on the security fence along the border.
An earlier attack targeting operatives riding a bicycle through the region eliminated two Islamic Jihad terrorists.
According to the IDF, the two were involved in a number of shooting attacks near the security fence that runs along with Israel's southern border with Gaza.
The Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, which often acts as a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority, reported that two Arab civilians were killed and three others were wounded in the Beit Hanoun air strike.
Created on Monday, 18 June 2012 07:16
The Muslim Brotherhood declared early Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential election.
The Associated Press reported that at a pre-dawn press conference declaring their win, officials from the fundamentalist group, banned for decades and repeatedly subjected to crackdowns under former President Hosni Mubarak's rule, were ebullient and smiling.
Final official results are not expected until Thursday, AP noted. The Brotherhood's declaration was based on results announced by election officials at individual counting centers, where each campaign has representatives who compile the numbers and make them public before the formal announcement. The Brotherhood's early, partial counts proved generally accurate in last month's first round vote.
The group said Morsi took 51.8 percent of the vote to rival former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq's 48.1 percent out of 24.6 million votes cast, with 98 percent of the more than 13,000 poll centers counted.
Earlier on Sunday night, just two hours after polls closed, the Brotherhood claimed that Morsi was leading in several provinces, the Al-Arabiya network reported. Morsi campaign official Yasser Ali told a news conference that Morsi had 61 percent of the 1.4 million votes counted so far, compared to 39 percent for Shafiq.
Al-Arabiya reported that a Shafiq campaign official dismissed the Brotherhood's count, saying his candidate was ahead, but gave no numbers.
Voter turnout on Saturday, the first day of the second round of the presidential elections, was low compared to the first day of the first round.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Egypt’s ruling military issued an interim constitution defining the new president's authorities, The Associated Press reported.
With parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals granted themselves considerable authority and the main role in charting the country's future..
According to a copy of the new constitution document obtained by AP, the generals would be the nation's de facto legislators and control the budget. They also will name the 100-member panel tasked with drafting a new constitution, thus ensuring the new charter would guarantee them a say in key policies like defense and national security as well as shield their vast economic empire from civilian scrutiny.
Created on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 10:37
Iran, with Hizbullah compliance, is behind plots to kill U.S. officials and Jews with sniper fire and bombs, The Washington Post reported Monday in its lead article.
The information on the plots is another thread in the growing web of apparent international terrorism backed by Iran against Americans and Jews and which so far has produced attempted assassinations and several reported plots. “There is not yet a smoking gun, but the pattern is clear, and each day the volume of evidence grows,” said a Western diplomat, quoted by the Washington Post.
India has determined that Iran was behind an assassination attempt on the wife of an Israeli embassy official several months ago, and plots in Baku as well as a bomb blast in Bangkok have been traced to Iran.
The Washington Post stated that U.S. intelligence officials knew in November that Iran was behind plans for snipers to use silencer-rifles and a car bomb to kill American embassy employees in Azerbaijan
Shortly afterwards, Azerbaijan arrested more than 20 suspects, but the newspaper added, “U.S. and Middle Eastern officials now see the attempts as part of a broader campaign by Iran-linked operatives to kill foreign diplomats in at least seven countries over a span of 13 months.”
Half a dozen Israelis, as well as two officials from Saudi Arabia, were among those who were on the terrorists’ hit list.
Recent information implicates Hizbullah, heavily financed by Iran, in the plots, but there is no conclusive evidence.
As Iran engages the international community in talks over its nuclear program, the threats have taken a lower profile, but a Western diplomat told the Washington newspaper, “What happens if the talks fail — that’s anyone’s guess.”
Azerbaijan and its neighbor Iran are on difficult terms, with Iran accusing its neighbor of being an ally of Israel, which allegedly has struck an agreement allowing Israel to use its air space, and possible its territory, to stage an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
Azerbaijan revealed several months ago that 10 Iranians were involved in plots for smuggling weapons and explosives into the country to kill Jews in Baku.
Other terrorist plots include the foiled assassination of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington earlier this year and plots to kill diplomats in several Asian countries, including Turkey and Pakistan.