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149 items tagged "terrorism"

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Iran says it foiled the 'biggest terror plot ever'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 23 June 2016 08:21
01-17-12Iranian intelligence officials said Monday they had broken up "the biggest terrorist plot" to ever target Tehran and other provinces in the Islamic Republic, The Associated Press reported.
 
An anchor on state television read off a statement attributing the information to Iran's Intelligence Ministry. Officials could not be immediately reached for comment to elaborate, according to the news agency.
 
Several suspects have been arrested and are under interrogation over the plot after agents seized ammunition and bombs, state TV said.
 
The report didn't identify those arrested, though it called them "takfiris," a term in both Arabic and Farsi referring to Muslims who accuse others of being "nonbelievers."
 
Iranian authorities often refer to followers of the Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS) as "takfiris," though it isn't clear if this case involved the extremist group that holds territory in Iraq and Syria.
 
Shiite Iran has been helping both the Syrian and the Iraqi government in their battles against the Islamic State group. It has warned of possible attacks targeting the country, which largely hasn't seen such attacks since the immediate aftermath of its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
 
In May, Iran's Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi announced that 20 "terrorist groups" that planned to detonate bombs and cause insecurity across the country had been dismantled but it remains unclear whether that included the plot announced Monday by state television, noted AP.
 
Iran is well-known for its own backing of terrorism in other countries, mainly through its terrorist proxy Hezbollah.
 
A recent report by the U.S. State Department identified Iran as the world's leading sponsor of terrorism.
 
Iran rejected the report, calling it "false" and saying it is further evidence of the "lack of credibility of reports by the U.S. State Department."

Foreign tourists wounded in attack on Egyptian hotel

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 09:41
HurghadaGunmen on Friday opened fire at the entrance of the Bella Vista hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Hurghada, Reuters reported.
 
Two foreign tourists were wounded, according to security sources who also added that the assailants had arrived by sea to launch the attack. Some unconfirmed reports said the gunmen waved Islamic State (ISIS) flags.
 
Egyptian state TV reported that there were two attackers, one of whom was killed and the other wounded.
 
Friday’s attack comes one day after a shooting attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists outside the Three Pyramids Hotel in Cairo.
 
There were no casualties in the attack, but some damage was caused to the hotel's facade.
 
One of the shooters was arrested at the scene by Egyptian security forces, while a second was apprehended shortly after escaping the scene on a motorbike.
 
Earlier on Friday, ISIS claimed Thursday’s shooting in Cairo, saying a "security detachment" had targeted a "tourist bus carrying Jews" and that there were "killed and wounded in the ranks of the Jews and hotel security forces".
 
Security sources in Egypt have made clear, however, that the tourists on the bus were Israeli Arabs and not Jews.
 
The security forces also said the attack was criminal in nature and was apparently a response to a dispute between the two shooters and one of the employees at the Three Pyramids Hotels.

Two Israelis among tourists targeted in Cairo shooting attack

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 08:40
egypt-tourists violenceTwo Israelis were among a number of tourists targeted by masked gunmen in Cairo Thursday morning, as they boarded a bus outside the Egyptian capital's Three Pyramids Hotel.
 
There were no casualties in the attack, but some damage was caused to the hotel's facade.
 
One of the shooters was arrested at the scene by Egyptian security forces, while a second was apprehended shortly after escaping the scene on a motorbike.
 
Egyptian security forces later said the attack, which took place at a popular tourist hot spot, along a road leading to Egypt's famed pyramids, was criminal in nature. 
 
It was apparently a response to a dispute between the two shooters and one of the employees at the Three Pyramids Hotels. 
 
The attack comes on the same day as Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas according to the Orthodox Christian calendar.
 
Egypt has seen a rise in Islamist terrorism in recent years, targeting security forces, tourists and minorities - particularly Christians - in the Arab world's most populous country.
 
The lawless Sinai Peninsula in particular has become a hub for jihadist terror, with an official branch of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group - known as "Sinai Province" - still carrying out regular attacks, despite a massive military offensive to root them out.

Hamas, Fatah Welcome Samaria Terrorist Attack

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 11:06
hamas membersBoth the Fatah and the Hamas organizations on Thursday night praised the terrorists who carried out the attack in Samaria, in which Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in front of their four children.
 
According to Kol Yisrael radio, a Hamas spokesman said the group "welcomes the heroic attack and calls for more quality attacks. The Zionists will pay the price for Netanyahu’s criminal policy everywhere.”
 
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, often touted as a “peace partner” for Israel, welcomed the terror attack as well.
 
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior member of the group’s leadership, was quoted by Kol Yisrael as having told Hamas’s Al-Quds TV: “The attack is a natural response to the crimes of the settlers and every action has a reaction.”
 
The Henkins were murdered when terrorists opened fire at their car as they travelled between Elon Moreh and Itamar. Security officials later said that it is unknown as of yet which terror organization was behind the attack, though they did say the terrorists verified that the two victims were dead before fleeing the scene.
 
Hamas’s welcoming of the attack comes days after Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Palestinian Arab world absolutely wants a new intifada to fight the "crimes of the occupation."
 
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) called on the PA to encourage even more violence against Jews and Israelis following the remarks, to halt security coordination with Israel and to unleash an armed struggle against the Jewish state.

Hamas Official: There's No Room for Jews in 'Palestine'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 13 August 2015 10:53
Hamas supporters hold copies of the Koran during demonstration in Khan Yunis GazaHamas continues to incite young people to violence and jihad against Israel.
 
On Tuesday, the group concluded a course entitled “Al-Quds Army for Girls”, which trains young female Hamas activists on basic combat skills and assistance to fighters.
 
Rajaa al-Halabi, who heads the Hamas women's movement, said at the closing ceremony of the course that "the liberation army, the pioneers of the liberation, the Al-Quds Army, will liberate Palestine from the defilement of the occupation ... and the next battle will be the decisive one."
 
Halabi added, "The Israeli occupation has begun to realize that it has no place on Palestinian land ... and the primary mission of the military camps of Al-Quds for girls is to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, and to restore the rights to their owners, as Palestine, all of Palestine belongs to us, and we will never give up a single grain of its land. Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Palestine are indivisible."
 
Hamas has continuously incited youths in Gaza towards violence against Israelis. One of its trademarks is the annual military-style summer camp for 25,000 Gazans, in which young children are encouraged to commit jihad against Jews.
 
Past clips of footage from the group’s youth camps have shown young cadets learn how to use weapons and simulate the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier.
 
Another clip shows a televised graduation ceremony for a similar Hamas youth camp in Gaza. At the ceremony, suicide terror attacks against the “Zionist enemy” were glorified by Hamas officials.
 
Hamas has also in the past released a cartoon honoring its “military wing,” and last year began a program to teach “resistance” to Israel in Gaza’s public school system.

Jordan Arrests Iranian Agent Plotting Major Terror Attack

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 08 July 2015 22:26
Jordan Arrests Iranian AgentJordanian security forces arrested a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards planning attacks in Jordan, foiling what they said was the most serious terror plot in the country in the past decade, state media revealed Monday.
 
According to the Al Rai newspaper, the suspect - who belonged to the Guards' elite Qods Force and is a dual Iraqi-Norwegian national - was arrested two weeks ago in the city of Jerash, north of the capital Amman, in possession of 45 kilograms of high explosives.
 
He had been smuggled in to Jordan via the Syrian border, security sources said.
 
The report was published just a few hours before the suspect is due to appear before a military court in Amman.
 
A security source told Al Rai that had the attack been carried out it would have been the most serious terrorist attack in Jordan in 10 years, both in terms of the amount and quality of the explosives.
 
The precise target of the planned attack was not revealed in the report, but the Hashemite Kingdom would in theory present a range of targets for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Jordan has good relations with both Israel and the Sunni Arab gulf states - sworn enemies of the Iranian Shia Islamist regime - and is currently hosting Syrian opposition leaders, including rebels fighting the pro-Iranian Assad regime.
 
It is just the latest in a series of terrorist plots by the Qods Force over the past several years, most of which have focused on Jewish or Israeli targets.
 
Iranian agents, often working together with Hezbollah terrorists, have attempted to attack Israeli and Jewish targets in Thailand, Georgia, Azerbaijan and India, among other places. Most of the attacks have been foiled in time or were botched by the terrorists, although a bomb attack in Delhi in 2012 injured the wife of an Israel diplomat.
 
Iran is also suspected of involvement in the deadly 2012 bombing of an Israeli tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria.

Why Does Ramadan Inspire More Terror?

Category: Islam
Created on Tuesday, 07 July 2015 22:35
Ramadan sparked terrorismDr. Mordechai Kedar on Friday explained why the Muslim fast month of Ramadan has sparked a worldwide terrorism spike, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva. 
 
Kedar noted that during Ramadan, the rituals of fasting and prayer bring many Muslims to feel closer to Allah.
 
This is in stark contrast, he said, to how many rulers of Islamic countries took power, conducted themselves, or treated their people - and the leadership's lack of adherence to religious law or lack of merciful rule often led to a sense of righteous indignation during Ramadan.
 
As a result, he said, there have been tensions between Muslims and leaders of Arab countries during the month-long holiday in many different periods of history. 
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"This is why, by the way, the Ottoman Empire in many places and at many times would announce the start of Ramadan in the morning, or at dawn, by the shot of a cannon," Kedar noted.
 
Not only was it to notify the people of the beginning of the fast, he said, but "also to remind the people who is behind the cannon - and that they should be very careful not to say something against the ruler or especially to do something against the ruler." 
 
Kedar added that, today, Ramadan "adds to the religious adrenaline" of Muslim holy wars in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as the fervor of terror groups who vow to increase attacks on the West - and this "definitely motivates people to launch more attacks against the infidels and all those who are viewed as enemies of the Islamic world." 
 
He also related to recent tensions in the Sinai, where Islamic State (ISIS) launched a coordinated attack on the Egyptian Army earlier this week which left at least 50 soldiers dead. 
 
"In Sinai there is a war, there is an all-out war," he reflected, noting "this is not a new thing." 
 
"Sinai became a vacuum of lawlessness, and many jihadists came from Egypt and from other parts of the world into Sinai, found there a safe haven, and they are acting against the regime big-time," he said. "The regime tried to ignore this for a long time - but when you ignore small problems, they become big problems." 

Egypt Passes Anti-Terror Law Hours after Sinai Attack

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 July 2015 18:52
Egypt Passes Anti-Terror LawEgypt's government on Wednesday night adopted a controversial anti-terror law and requested a faster court appeals process, AFP reports.
 
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who vowed to adopt tougher measures following the killing of state prosecutor Hisham Barakat on Monday, is expected to swiftly ratify the law, the report said.
 
Wednesday's draft law will provide "means to drain the sources of terrorism financing," a cabinet statement said.
 
Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim Henaidy told the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that the new law will "stipulate harsher punishment" to those convicted of "belonging to a terrorist group...committing terrorist acts or had used violence".
 
The law will also widen the powers of "investigators of terrorist crimes," grant new authorities to the prosecution, and "facilitate procedures to inspect and examine bank accounts," of suspects, Henaidy said.
 
The new law was adopted hours after a multi-pronged jihadist attack against the Egyptian military in the Sinai Peninsula left up to 50 Egyptian soldiers dead.
 
The attacks, which were claimed by a terrorist group linked to the Islamic State (ISIS), included a suicide car bomb detonated against a military checkpoint at Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai, which caused most of the casualties.
 
There were also apparently multiple attacks on other military checkpoints and an explosive device was detonated on a major highway.
 
In July 2013, then army chief Sisi deposed his Islamist predecessor Mohammed Morsi and has overseen a brutal crackdown against his supporters, leaving hundreds dead and thousands jailed.
 
Since Morsi’s overthrow, Egypt has been facing a Sinai-based insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.
 
Sinai Province, a group affiliated with ISIS formerly known as Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks in the Sinai over the last few years.
 
Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi's ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 
 
In another recent attack, members of the group killed two Egyptian judges and a prosecutor in the Sinai, in an attack which came hours after a court in Cairo sentenced Morsi to death for his role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.
 
The leader of Sinai Province later called on the group’s followers to continue to attack local judges.

Tunisia Searching for More Suspects in Beach Attack

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 12:30
Searching for More SuspectsThe student who carried out Friday’s terrorist attack on a Tunisian beach acted alone during the attack but had accomplices who supported him beforehand, an Interior Ministry official said Sunday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
Police were searching nationwide for more suspects after the slaughter of at least 38 people in Sousse on Friday, in Tunisia’s deadliest ever such attack.
 
The attacker’s father and three roommates were detained and being questioned in the capital, Tunis, Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told AP.
 
The attacker has been identified as Seifeddine Rezgui, a 24-year-old graduate of Tunisia’s Kairouan University where he had been living with the other students. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
 
“We are sure that others helped, but did not participate,” Aroui told AP on Sunday. “They participated indirectly.”
 
Investigators believe the suspected accomplices provided the Kalashnikov assault rifle to Rezgui and helped him get to the scene, he added.
 
A security official close to the investigation said the student frequented an “unofficial” mosque in the Tunisian holy city of Kairouan for the past two years.
 
The official said a swimmer had found the attacker’s cellphone in the Mediterranean. The phone showed the attacker spoke with his father just before his assault, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
 
Friday’s attack was one of three attacks that took place in France, Tunisia and Kuwait. In France, a Muslim terrorist decapitated one man and injured several others in an attack on a French gas company. In Kuwait, a suicide bomber struck a Shiite mosque and killed at least 10 people.
 
At least 15 Britons were among the 38 killed in the Tunisia attack, and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it was highly likely that “a significant number” of the victims yet to be identified would be British.
 
Britain has deployed senior detectives and forensic teams to Tunisia, noted AP.
 
The attacks occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and ISIS group had urged its followers to step up attacks during the fasting month against Christians, Shiites and Sunni Muslims fighting with a U.S.-led coalition against the group.
 
But the State Department said there was no evidence so far that the three attacks were coordinated.
 
"I don’t believe investigators are at a level now that they know precisely what motivated each one of these and the degree to which Ramadan itself was a factor," spokesman John Kirby said.

Terrorists Kill 27 in Tunisia Beach Assault

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 27 June 2015 08:43
Tunisia Beach AssaultAt least 27 people have been killed after terrorists attacked a beach in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse.
 
Authorities say at least one of the gunmen involved in the attack has been killed and another is currently being pursued by security forces.
 
The death toll is expected to rise, according to the interior ministry.
 
The victims are tourists, authorities say. The town is a popular tourist resort both for Tunisians and western travelers.
 
Tunisia is on high alert following a March attack on the country's national museum by Islamist terrorists which killed 22 people.
 
Friday's attack comes just hours after a Muslim terrorist decapitated one man and injured several others in an attack on French gas station.
 
It also came shortly after a suicide bomber struck a Shia mosque in Kuwait, killing at least 10 people.
 
The Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group has urged its supporters to carry out attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks in France and Tunisia yet, but in Kuwait the attack has been claimed by an ISIS-affiliated group.

ISIS Threatens to Destroy 'Heretical Hamas'

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 02 June 2015 10:28
ISIS Threatens to Destroy Heretical HamasA group that is operating in Gaza and which says it is associated with ISIS has claimed that it killed a top Hamas commander. According to the group, which calls itself the Army of the Islamic State, Saber Siam was killed when ISIS operatives placed a bomb on his car, blowing it up with him inside.
 
Siam was killed, the group said, because he was “a partner in a declared war against religion and against Muslims, working for the heretical government in Gaza.” ISIS warned Hamas to immediately “end its war against religion in Gaza” or “face the consequences.”
 
The group also sent out warnings on social media to Gaza residents to stay away from Hamas offices and buildings, lest they find themselves swept up in attacks against the group.
 
It was not possible to verify whether the group was associated with ISIS, or whether it even actually exists. However, Israeli sources confirmed that Hamas has been conducting actions against a group of Salafist rebels it accuses of trying to take over Gaza.

ISIS Threatens Egyptian Judges Over Morsi Sentence

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 21 May 2015 13:18
ISIS Threatens Egyptian JudgesIslamic State has threatened judges in Egypt with death after issuing a decision last week to have former president Mohammed Morsi executed. The terror group issued the threat on Thursday, just days after three Egyptian judges were killed in Sinai.
 
An audio recording on an ISIS site which was said to have been issued by the “Islamic State in Sinai” group featured what the site said was voice of group head Abu Osama al-Missri. 
 
"The Egyptian tyrants cannot jail our brother Morsi. Poison their food, follow them to their homes and neighborhoods, destroy their homes with bombs, if you can,” al-Missri said in the message.
 
An Egyptian court sentenced Morsi to death on Saturday, along with a number of other Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
 
Current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has made it his mission to crack down on Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas. The cabinet designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist group in December 2013, "indefinitely" closed the Rafah border crossing to Gaza, and is now building a separation barrier between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.
 
The sentence was condemned by the European Union and the U.S.
 
"The court decision to seek the death penalty... was taken at the end of a mass trial that was not in line with Egypt's obligations under international law," the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini said in a statement. "The EU opposes capital punishment under all circumstances. The death penalty is cruel and inhumane."
 
The United States also expressed alarm Sunday at the death sentences, saying it has "consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences.”
 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday night blasted Egypt for the death sentence, saying it meant that "Egypt is turning back into ancient Egypt. The West, unfortunately, is still turning a blind eye to Sisi's coup."

ISIS Video Shows Two Mass-Executions of Christians in Libya

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 23 April 2015 12:13
isisethiopianISIS has released yet another graphic video showing the mass execution of Christians in Libya, and has vowed to continue killing Christians until the world submits to Islam.
 
The grisly footage appeared at the end of a 30-minute video by the Islamic State terror group's Al Furkan media arm, showcasing its treatment of Christians under its control in Syria and Iraq.
 
Several Christians are interviewed in the film, and explained how they accepted "dhimmi" status upon themselves as an alternative to being killed by the jihadists. 
 
Under Islamic law (sharia) dhimmi status is granted to Jews and Christians ("the people of the book"), who opt not to convert to Islam or die. It allows them to practice their religion but with several restrictions designed to humiliate them into recognizing the "superiority" of Muslims, and in addition to paying a special tax to Muslim authorities known as "jizya." 
 
In the video, ISIS claims its jizya tax amounts to four grams of gold for the rich, two grams for "average" people and one gram for the poor.
 
But the worst segment of the video came at the end, when two separate groups of black Christians are shown being frogmarched by masked gunmen, in carefully choreographed scenes bearing a chilling similarity to the execution of dozens of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya last year.
 
Like the Coptic Christian victims, one group is marched along a beach in Libya; the other group is filmed in a desert somewhere inland.
 
The captured men - most likely migrant workers - are introduced as "Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church," before a masked terrorist speaking perfect English addresses the camera.
 
Repeatedly pointing his pistol at the camera, and speaking with what is possibly an Arab-American accent, he declares the impending spectacle will prove that "the Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap" - likely a reference to operations by Ethiopian forces against Al Shabaab Islamist terrorists in Somalia.
 
Speaking to the Christian world in general, he adds: "you won't have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam."
 
The video ends showing the kidnapped Christians executed in two groups, apparently in different parts of the country. While one line of captives is mowed down by gunfire, another group are seen screaming in pain and terror as the jihadists saw off their heads, their blood mixing with the sea waves.

Haniyeh: Hamas Will Continue 'Armed Resistance' Against Israel

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 23 April 2015 08:54
Ismail HaniyehFlashHamas deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh has declared that his movement would continue to use “armed resistance” against Israel, reports the Ma’an news agency.
 
"Hamas negotiates with the enemy with arms, not talks," Haniyeh said during a press conference, held Thursday, in honor Palestinian Prisoner's Day and the death of Hamas co-founder Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi.
 
Al-Rantisi was killed by Israeli forces in 2004 along with his 27-year-old son, a body guard, and four bystanders in Gaza.
 
Hamas is committed to its principles and visions and prisoners will not be forgotten, Haniyeh added, according to Ma’an.
 
His remarks came after senior Hamas official Khalil al-Haya called for the abduction of Israelis, who would be used to release terrorists held by the Jewish state.
 
"We tell the Zionist enemy: you are all a target for us and the resistance, we will fight you until we finally get rid of you and take as many captives as possible to free our heroes," he said.
 
"Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are," he added, "and it is our right because we have no other way to free our heroes, and it is the Zionist enemy responsible for this state of affairs."
 
 Haya said jailed terrorists should "rest assured" because terror groups led by Hamas's military wing Al-Qassam Brigades "will release you as they did your brothers" in 2011.
 
The year refers to when Israel released 1,027 Arab terrorists, many with blood on their hands, is in return for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of those terrorists immediately returned to murdering Israelis.

Tunisia Discovers Large Arms Cache

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 12:42
Large Arms CacheTunisian troops have captured a large arms cache including Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and explosives, a security source said on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.
 
The discovery of the arms cache comes as the government struggles to keep track of jihadists after a bloody attack last month.
 
Last month gunmen stormed the national Bardo museum in the capital Tunis, killing 21 foreign tourists in the deadliest terrorist attack in more than a decade, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
 
"Special troops arrested on Thursday a dangerous terrorist in possession of a Kalashnikov and an explosive belt in Sidi Bouzid," a security source said, without giving details, Reuters reported.
 
After this special forces found an arms cache in the central town of Sidi Bouzid including Kalashnikovs, grenades and explosives, he added.
 
Tunisia has launched a campaign against hardline Islamist groups who emerged after a 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, which was seen as the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring” protests.
 
The Islamist party Ennahda eventually won the first free election after the overthrow of Ben Ali, but was accused by the opposition of seeking to entrench itself in power, disregarding the interests of a large secular urban population and being lenient toward radical Islamists.
 
Tunisia was roiled by social unrest and political crises during Ennahda’s time in power, but things really got out of hand after two secular opposition leaders were assassinated by Islamists. Ennahda was eventually forced to step down from power.
 
After last month’s Bardo attack, Tunisian police arrested dozens of jihadists and killed terrorists including senior Algerian terrorist Lokman Abou Sakhr.
 
Last month, Tunisia seized two large arms caches, including Kalashnikovs, rockets and landmines, in the southern city of Ben Guerdan near the Libyan border, noted Reuters.
 
Tunisia is worried that violence will spill over from neighboring Libya, where Islamic State has expanded, exploiting widespread turmoil as two rival governments battle for control.

How Fatah Celebrated 50 Years of Terrorism

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 21:37
Fatah Celebrated 50 Years of TerrorismFatah, the leading faction of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's party, has long been touted in the international arena as a "moderate" potential peace partner for Israel.
 
But in a video featuring songs and posted to Fatah's official Facebook page for it's 50th anniversary last December, which was translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the group made clear that their peace partner impression is far from the truth, as the faction celebrated bloody terror attacks it has conducted since its inception.
 
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In the video, five suicide bombings and a shooting attack against Israeli civilians were celebrated. A total of 55 people were murdered by Fatah terrorists in the course of the attacks lauded in the video.
 
While honoring the suicide bombers the clip shows images from the attacks combined with footage of Fatah terrorists launching rockets, as they did against Israeli citizens from Gaza in Hamas's terror war last summer.
 
Among the terrorists lionized in the video were suicide bomber Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber who murdered one Israeli; Muhammad Al-Qasir who murdered three; and Ayyat Al-Akhras, who was the youngest female suicide bomber at age 17. She murdered two and was called "a woman worth a thousand men" in the video.
 
The attacks shown and praised in the video include the Café Moment suicide bombing in which 11 were murdered, the Beit Yisrael Yeshiva suicide bombing in which 11 were also murdered, and the Park Hotel suicide bombing that saw 30 murdered.
 
That message of terrorism seen in the video was reflected again by Fatah just this Saturday, when it posted a photo of Fatah terrorists in uniforms and armed with automatic weapons with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag as a background.
 
The photo featured the text: "my enemy, I swear you will not escape the people and the revolution."

Egypt Names 18 Muslim Brotherhood Members as Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:49
Brotherhood behind barsEgypt's top prosecutor on Sunday named 18 Muslim Brotherhood members, including the group's leader and his deputy, as terrorists, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
 
In a statement, chief prosecutor Hisham Barakat said the decision follows a February court ruling that convicted Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, his deputy Khairat el-Shater, the head of the group's political party Saad el-Katatni and others of orchestrating violence in 2013 that killed 11 people and wounded over 90 outside their office.
 
The clashes were at the start of mass protests against President Mohammed Morsi, also a member of the group, and days before the military ousted him.
 
Badie, el-Shater and el-Katatni along with senior leaders Mohammed el-Beltagy, Essam el-Erian and nine others were sentenced to life in prison. Another four were sentenced to death. The sentences can be appealed, noted AP.
 
But the new law, passed in February, allows prosecutors to freeze assets of the designated terrorists, barring them from public life or travel for renewable three-year periods based on the preliminary verdict and with the approval of a panel of judges.
 
The law also broadens the state's definition of terrorism to include anyone who threatens public order "by any means."
 
Since the Egyptian army ousted Morsi in July 2013, there has been a crackdown on Brotherhood supporters in the country.
 
Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of alleged Brotherhood supporters to death in recent months, many in mass trials condemned by foreign governments and rights groups as violating international law.
 
The law passed in February drew criticism from rights groups who charged that it expands the state arsenal of legislation empowering authorities to go after political opponents with few, if any, options to redress miscarriages of justice.
 
The government says it needs the law in its campaign against an expanding insurgency by terrorist groups, including one that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group fighting in Iraq and Syria.
 
The government blames the Brotherhood for the violence, saying the group is seeking to destabilize the government after Morsi's ouster. The group denies the charges.
 
Brotherhood leader Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A video of him released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Pledges Allegiance to ISIS

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 07 March 2015 18:50
boko-haramThe leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) group in an audio recording released Saturday.
 
"We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi," said the voice on the message, which was believed to be that of Shekau and was released through Boko Haram's Twitter account.
 
Qurashi is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS which has proclaimed a "caliphate" in parts of Syria and Iraq.
 
Shekau spoke in Arabic, but the message contained French and English subtitles.
 
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the message.
 
Shekau was not pictured, a contrast from most of Boko Haram's past messages in which the Islamist leader has been shown, often in close up shots.
 
But Shekau did identify himself in the recording, which was accompanied by the subtitles and a graphic including an image of a radio microphone.
 
There have in recent months been signs of closer ties between the Nigerian jihadists and the Islamic State group, with both using similar ways of communicating with the outside world. Boko Haram has notably begun releasing videos that resemble those made by ISIS.  
 
Boko Haram has been waging a six-year uprising against the Nigerian stat to implement an Islamic state of its own in the country, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives.  
 
Analysts have long debated the extent of Boko Haram's ties to other jihadist groups, but the evidence was never clear.

Explosion in Cairo Kills Two, Wounds Nine

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 05 March 2015 18:46
Cairo explosion Kills Two Wounds NineTwo people were killed and nine wounded, including seven policemen, in a bomb explosion on Monday outside the Egyptian supreme court in Cairo, AFP reported.
 
Health Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told the news agency that a 22-year-old man "died of injuries sustained in his backbone" in the attack.
 
Another man, aged 24, who had suffered head injuries and internal bleeding, also died of his wounds, he said.
 
Abdel Ghaffar said nine people, including seven policemen, were wounded in the attack.
 
The explosion appeared aimed at a police checkpoint near the court, a hospital official said.
 
The latest attack came a day after two civilians died in a bombing outside a police station in southern Egypt.
 
Egypt has been dealing with endless terrorist attacks in recent years, but those attacks have intensified since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
 
Most of the attacks have taken place in the restive Sinai Peninsula and have been claimed by the jihadist Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
However, Cairo has been hit several times as well. Monday’s blast was the second such attack near the supreme court, after an explosion wounded 12 people in October last year.
 
Monday's explosion came days after a series of bombings in Cairo in which one person was killed.
 
Five bombs struck within hours, four of them near mobile phone service companies and a police station.
 
Most of the bombings in the capital have been rudimentary and caused no casualties, but several have killed policemen, including two senior officers who died while trying to defuse bombs outside the presidential palace in June last year.

Gaza Terror Group Trains Women to Become Jihadists

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 01 March 2015 11:55
ISIS-west-virginiaHezbollah’s Al-Manar TV recently aired a report which featured Gazan women training in the use of weapons and explosive devices in the Al-Nasser Salah Al-Din Brigades, the “military wing” of the Popular Resistance Committees.
 
The report aired on February 20, 2015, and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
In the report, the women are described as learning the art of war “in order to become one day mujahid women fighting the occupation”.
 
The report also says that some 40 women “graduated” from the war training after the last Gaza war, meaning Israel’s anti-terrorism Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer. 40 others are currently in training.
 
The  Popular Resistance Committees is one of the three groups that participated in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006.
 
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The terror groups in Gaza have been recruiting women and children to their ranks. MEMRI released a video earlier this month which shows footage from a youth camp organized by the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s so-called “military wing”.
 
The video shows young cadets demonstrating military skills, such as use of weapons, and simulating the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier.
 
A clip released by MEMRI last year shows a televised graduation ceremony for a similar Hamas youth camp in Gaza. At the ceremony, suicide terror attacks against the “Zionist enemy” were glorified by Hamas officials.
 
Hamas has previously released a cartoon honoring its “military wing,” and last year began a program to teach “resistance” to Israel in Gaza’s public school system.
 
In a previous video exposed by MEMRI, principals in Gaza schools and Hamas officials defended the paramilitary training that children are forced to undergo in schools as “chivalry” class and “sports training.”

'America Softer on Islamist Terrorism than Egypt'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 01 March 2015 06:58
future-must-not-belong-to-those-who-slander-prophet-islam-mohammad-barack-hussein-obama-muslimThe recent U.S.-hosted Conference on Countering Violent Extremism that brought together the representatives of 60 nations in Washington "did not give birth to a global strategy on terror," states an article in the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram. It "served instead to underline differences between various points of view, especially those of Cairo and Washington."
 
As explained by political science professor Gamal Abdel-Gawad of the American University in Cairo, the disagreements between Egypt and the U.S. are stark. The Americans "still see political Islam as a present and legitimate player, not a synonym for extremism,” according to Abdel-Gawad.
 
Furthermore, the U.S. differentiates "between extremist Islamists and moderate Islamists, and believe that the moderates can be effectively integrated in politics as part of an acceptable political system… U.S. officials believe that the integration of political Islamic currents, including those suspected of extremism, in political life would be beneficial.”
 
Egypt, whose government has labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terror group, and which faces terrorist threats in Sinai, neighboring Libya, and elsewhere, does not agree.
 
Egypt has been pro-active in fighting these threats, including striking by air against ISIS forces in Libya for slaughtering 21 Egyptian Copts. Egypt had expected that the international coalition operating in Syria and Iraq would include Libya on its agenda, but this did not materialize.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told conference participants that the West “is not in a war against Islam” and that terrorist groups do not act in the name of the world’s one billion Muslims. Many Arab countries do not agree. Jordan's foreign minister told the conference that the current confrontation with terrorist groups should be viewed as “World War Three,” while Saudi Arabia called for drying up terrorism sources through concerted global action.
 
Some believe that the U.S. is "hedging its bets" regarding the ongoing struggle between the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt and the Egyptian government. Kamal Al-Helbawi, a former top Brotherhood official, said as much, noting that an American national security document of a few weeks ago calls for continued talks with both the government and opposition.
 
“The moderate Islamism Washington is talking about is the one it wishes to create, not the one it ascribes to the Brotherhood or other so-called moderates," said Al-Helbawi.
 
The analysis concludes that Egypt’s best option for now is to turn to its Arab partners for help. "Its diplomats will try either to dust off the Arab Joint Defence Agreement, or form a coalition with other nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Jordan… [and is even] talking to Russian diplomats in Syria about a possible political deal."

Libya: ISIS Bombers Threaten to Invade Europe

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 February 2015 09:41
isis-attackA video released by ISIS in Libya and published by the Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat shows the two perpetrators of a deadly attack on the Corinthia Hotel in January threatening that ISIS's newly-established presence in the country would be used as a springboard to invade Europe.
 
The footage itself is believed to have been taken in western Libya, where a rival parliament has been set up in the city of Tripoli amid ongoing violent unrest between various warring factions in the country, which has been without an effective central government since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.
 
The two terrorists - who were killed during the deadly attack on January 17 which left 10 others dead, including an American and two French citizens - are identified as foreign fighters "Abu Ibrahim" from Tunisia and "Abu Salman" from Sudan.
 
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The masked Sudanese jihadist begins the video with a call for Libyans to "rise up" against the western-backed Libyan government, which is based in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk.
 
His Tunisian partner - whose face is uncovered but blurred out - claims that ISIS intends to use its bases in Libya to "open the gates" to the "Maghreb," or northern Africa. 
 
Although ISIS - or the Islamic State, as it refers to itself - is mainly based in Syria and Iraq, affiliates have been active for some time in parts of northern Africa, particularly in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis jihadist group last year pledged its allegiance to ISIS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
 
But just last month the Islamist terrorist group's presence in Libya hit headlines, when it broadcast the brutal mass-execution of 21 Coptic Christians, triggering reprisal air-raids from Egypt and a mass-exodus of Egyptian workers from the country.
 
It highlighted concerns over ISIS's ability to recruit and set up bases beyond its Syrian and Iraqi strongholds, raising the prospect it could export its religious war throughout the region.
 
But the presence of an active Libyan cell - where several Islamist militias pledged allegiance to the group back in late 2014 - is viewed as particularly worrying due to Libya's close proximity to Italy. 
 
Libya is a regular smuggling route for illegal immigrants and refugees into Europe, something the Tunisian terrorist is clearly aware of, as he vows that the group plans to use Libya as a base to spread into the European continent.
 
Thousands of western-born Muslims are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, most of whom are from Europe, leading European and other western intelligence agencies to warn of the potential for radicalized and battle-hardened ISIS recruits returning home to carry out attacks.
 
Although no western fighters are known to be operating in Libya, the establishment of an ISIS presence so close to Europe will be viewed with considerable concern by European security agencies.

PA to Appeal Court's Decision on its Liability for Terrorism

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 08:01
Bus destroyed in Burgas attackThe Palestinian Authority (PA) announced late Monday it plans to appeal a ruling by a New York court which found it and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) liable for their role in encouraging and inciting terror attacks during the Second Intifada, and ordered them to compensate the victims of six of those attacks.
 
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's office issued a statement quoted by Reuters saying both defendants would appeal and calling the allegations in the case "baseless."
 
Hamdallah also cited a decision this month from U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., who ruled she did not have jurisdiction over two similar Anti-Terrorism Act cases against the PA.
 
Legal rights group Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) helped represent the 11 families who charged the PA and PLO of inciting, supporting, planning and executing the seven terror attacks which killed American citizens between 2000 and 2004. 
 
The 12-member jury decided unanimously that the PA and PLO were liable on 25 separate counts connected to the six attacks.
 
They apportioned individual damages ranging from $1 million to $25 million to Americans who were injured or lost loved ones.
 
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman hailed the ruling as a "moral victory".
 
"This decision constitutes above all a moral victory for the state of Israel and for victims of terrorism," Liberman said of the ruling.
 
It "confirms the opinion of those who know what happened in the early 2000s but which many in the world refused to recognize because of hypocrisy, known vested interests or anti-Semitism," he said.
 
"Terrorism is an integral part of the very structure of the Palestinian Authority," Liberman charged.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later welcomed the ruling as well and called on the international community to continue to punish those who support terrorism.
 
"The U.S. federal court decision determines the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for the murderous terrorist attacks of the previous decade. Instead of drawing the requisite lesson, the Palestinian Authority is advancing steps that endanger regional stability such as the hypocritical application to the International Criminal Court even as it is allied with the Hamas terrorist organization,” he said.
 
“We expect the responsible elements in the international community to continue to punish those who support terrorism just as the U.S. federal court has done and to back the countries that are fighting terrorism. Today as well we remember the families that lost their loved ones; our heart is with them and there is no justice that can console them," concluded Netanyahu.

Slain Hostage's Father Slams American No Ransom Policy

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 22 February 2015 23:55
ISIS flagThe father of American hostage Kayla Mueller, who died while held by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, on Sunday accused the Obama administration of putting its policy of not paying ransoms "in front of American lives", reported AFP.
 
ISIS fighters claimed Mueller, who was seized in the Syrian city of Aleppo in August 2013, was killed in a February 6 coalition air strike that buried her in rubble.
 
American officials have pushed back, saying the circumstances of the 26-year-old aid worker's death remain unclear.
 
The girl's father expressed strong reservations about the longstanding U.S. policy of refusing to negotiate with or pay ransom to foreign groups that have kidnapped Americans, as the Mueller family broke its media silence.
 
"We understand the policy about not paying ransom," Carl Mueller told NBC television's "Meet the Press."
 
"But on the other hand, any parents out there would understand that you would want anything and everything done to bring your child home. And we tried. And we asked. But they put policy in front of American citizens' lives," he added.
 
Other Western countries, in contrast, are known to have paid large ransoms to free hostages.
 
The United States did make one controversial swap in the past year, when it swapped five Taliban terrorists in exchange for soldier and longtime captive Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
 
In addition, an ex-diplomat last month claimed that Washington considered swapping a known Al-Qaeda terrorist imprisoned in the U.S. for jailed Americans in Qatar.
 
The interview with Mueller, his wife Marsha and his son Eric was conducted Saturday. Excerpts aired Sunday, with the full interview set for broadcast Monday on other NBC programs.
 
Asked whether President Barack Obama's administration did enough to free her daughter, Marsha Mueller said, " I think they wanted to. But I think again, it's the policy. And I don't think anyone had any idea this group would be as powerful as they were."

Dozens Killed in Series of Terrorist Attacks in Sinai

Category: News
Created on Friday, 30 January 2015 21:43
egypt-sinai-attacks-soldiersAt least 26 people were killed on Thursday in a series of terrorist attacks targeting army and police positions in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the website of the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
 
Reportedly the Islamic State (ISIS) branch in the Sinai has taken credit for the attacks.
 
The attacks included car bombs and mortar rounds, and civilians were among those killed, according to the report. Reports also indicated that a senior captain may have been among the dead.
 
36 people were injured in the attacks in the town of El-Arish, in North Sinai, where the army is battling an Islamist insurgency that has spiked since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
 
The terrorists fired mortar rounds and used car bombs in the attacks that targeted the headquarters of the North Sinai security directorate in El-Arish, a nearby army base, a hotel and several security checkpoints.
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Walls of surrounding buildings were cracked and windows were smashed, as troops combed the area in search of suspects, according to Al-Ahram.
 
The El-Arish office of the newspaper, located near the targeted police building, was slightly damaged in the attack.
 
The military said in a statement that the violence came in response to the "successful" security campaign against terrorists in the restive province.
 
The Egyptian army has been waging war against jihadists in the restive Sinai, and has killed hundreds of terrorists.
 
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has have declared responsibility for most of the attacks in the area. Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi's ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 
 
The army imposed a curfew on the region  on October 25, following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
Following the attack, the government decided to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, explaining the move was necessary because Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai.

ISIS Urges New Attacks Against Western World

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 18:42
Terrorist gestures after Charlie Hebdo attack - ReutersThe Islamic State terrorist group urged Muslims on Monday to carry out new attacks after the targeting of France's Charlie Hebdo magazine, in a recording by its spokesman posted online, AFP reports. 
 
Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, referring to attacks in France, Australia, Canada and Belgium, encouraged "Muslims in Europe and the infidel West to attack the Crusaders where they are" with any means available to them. 
 
The ISIS leader recommended Muslims to carry out attacks through suicide bombs, or to commit shootings, stabbings, rock-throwing, and even plain kicking and punching.
 
"We promise that in the Christian bastions they will continue to live in a state of alert, of terror, of fear and insecurity... You have seen nothing yet," the recording said.
 
He added that the group would consider as "enemies" those Muslims who were able to carry out such attacks but failed to do so.
 
al-Adnani also promised that Muslims would soon meet again in Jerusalem and Rome, having successfully won back these holy cities. 
 
The threat is just the latest instance in which the terrorist group has urged Muslims to carry out attacks in the West.
 
It comes after 17 people were killed in deadly assaults on January 7-9 in Paris against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket.
 
Of the three attackers, only one appeared to have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, but the group endorsed the killings in the message.
 
It also made reference to attacks last year in Australia, Canada and Belgium.
 
Western intelligence agencies have regularly raised the alarm about the possibility that Western sympathizers of ISIS and other jihadi terrorist groups could carry out attacks in the West.
 
Their concerns have been heightened by the thousands of Western recruits who have flocked to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS.

France Arrests Russians over New Terror Attack Plot

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 25 January 2015 20:57
Suspected Paris attack accomplice Fritz-Joly Joachin - ReutersFrance arrested five Russians Tuesday accused of plotting a new attack as four men suspected of helping the gunmen behind the Paris shootings were brought before anti-terrorist judge.
 
European nations, on high alert after the attacks that shook France to its core, have launched a wave of raids targeting suspected jihadist cells.
 
French prosecutors said five Russians from the restive Muslim republic of Chechnya had been detained near the southern city of Montpellier suspected of plotting an attack.
 
No further details about their plans were immediately available.
 
Counter-terrorism experts have warned that "thousands" of Russian-speaking Muslims from former Soviet Central Asian countries have joined ISIS - at least some of whom have returned home.
 
Meanwhile, prosecutors have called for charges against four men suspected of helping supply weapons and vehicles to the Islamist gunmen who killed 17 people in three days of carnage around Paris.
 
The four, who are appearing before a anti-terrorist judge, would be the first to face charges over the January 7-9 terrorist attacks, the worst in France in decades.  
 
There has been a flurry of activity by police and prosecutors across a jittery Europe, including raids by some 200 German police hunting a jihadist network they believed was planning an attack in Syria.  
 
The Germans searched 13 apartments in Berlin and other locations, seeking people linked to the alleged leader and financier of the group who had been detained on Friday.
 
Greece also ordered the extradition of a 33-year-old Algerian man with suspected links to yet another jihadist cell dismantled by Belgian security forces last week over claims it was plotting to kill police officers.
 
The suspect, who has said he is willing to be sent to Belgium because he wants to prove his innocence, will be extradited later Tuesday or Wednesday, according to a Belgian security source.
 
The man was arrested in Athens on Saturday, two days after Belgian police had carried out a raid in the eastern town of Verviers and shot dead two suspects.
 
Belgian investigators believe the group were preparing to attack police officers and police stations in Belgium.
 
According to police, the suspect in Athens has served a jail term in Greece for a robbery conviction but was released nearly a year ago  Another man who was arrested with him in the Greek capital was released.
 
The suspected mastermind of the plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent, remains at large.  
 
And in Bulgaria, a court ruled that a Frenchman who knew two of the Paris attackers should be returned to his home country.  
 
France had issued an arrest warrant for Muslim convert Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, who denies being an extremist but was detained after trying to cross from Bulgaria into Turkey before the attacks.
 
France's 'ethnic apartheid'
 
The jihadist attacks in Paris on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket and police officers triggered global outrage and fears of a resurgence of Islamist terrorist attacks in Europe.
 
A Muslim employee in the Jewish supermarket, who was hailed as a hero for trying to save customers during the attack in which four people were killed, was set to gain French citizenship on Tuesday.  
 
About 273,000 people had signed a petition calling for France to naturalize Lassana Bathily, 24, from Mali.  
 
The attacks have forced France to face up to its failure to integrate poorer, migrant families, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls admitting on Tuesday that the country suffered "social and ethnic apartheid".
 
He also sought to douse the anger sweeping many Muslim countries after Charlie Hebdo once again published a cartoon of the founder of Islam Mohammed on its cover.
 
Responding to the murder of eight of its journalists by the jihadists, it featured Mohammed crying, under the headline "All is forgiven".
 
President Francois Hollande insisted his country "insults no one when we defend our ideas, when we proclaim freedom".  
 
But Valls sought to nuance the message, saying "'Je suis Charlie' is not our only message to the world.  
 
"France carries freedom of expression everywhere, but it also defends other values it holds dear: peace, respect for beliefs, dialogue between religions," he said.
 
His words followed giant anti-Charlie Hebdo marches in a number of Muslim countries.  
 
Several hundred thousand people marched in Chechnya on Monday. Authorities in the tightly-controlled region said more than one million people - almost the entire population of the republic - took part.
 
Thousands also rallied on Monday in Afghanistan, Gaza, Iran and Pakistan, with many burning French flags and threatening attacks against France.  
 
Europe has seen its own rallies, with anti-Islamic groups and anti-racist groups trying to out-number each other.
 
The Danish wing of Germany's anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement staged its first rallies on Monday, drawing several hundred people in the capital and other cities, but was outnumbered by counter-demonstrators.
 
In Germany, too, more than 17,000 anti-racism demonstrators took to the streets across the country on Monday in opposition to PEGIDA, which had been forced to cancel its own rally following a terrorist threat.

Fatah Lauds Tel Aviv Stabbing as 'Self-Sacrificing Operation'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 23 January 2015 21:14
Abbas honors dead terrorists ReutersAn Arab terrorist from Tulkarem in Samaria stabbed at least 12 people on a bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas lost no time warping it into a "self-sacrificing operation."
 
Fatah referred to the terrorist attack, which left three critically wounded, as an amaliya fida'iya meaning "self-sacrificing operation," in a post on its official Facebook reporting the incident, revealed Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
 
"Urgent! Self-sacrificing operation in Tel Aviv: A knife attack inside a bus. Reports of the wounding of 10 Israelis and the wounding of the man who carried out the operation from Israeli police fire. The area has been sealed off and the Israeli police is conducting an extensive search in the area," read the Fatah post on Wednesday.
 
The PA's unity partner Hamas was more open in praising the attack, in a post on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza's Facebook page.
 
"A morning of homeland and freedom, a morning of the knife's point of the rebel for Palestine," rejoiced Hamas.
 
 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and numerous other Israeli politicians responded to the attack by blaming Abbas for causing it, citing the PA's incessant incitement and praise of terrorism as instigating the stabbing and other incidents like it.
 
However, official PA TV flipped things on their head in reporting the attack, calling it a "stabbing operation" in an aggrandizement and justification, and accusing Netanyahu of "incitement" for pointing the finger at the PA and Fatah for its incitement.
 
In fact, just hours after the stabbing Fatah again incited terrorism on its Facebook page, posting images of various weapons and calling for violence.

Hamas's Deif Tells Hezbollah's Nasrallah: Let's Join Forces

Category: News
Created on Friday, 23 January 2015 08:29
Muhammad Deif -NosrallahMuhammad Deif, leader of Hamas's military wing, published a letter Thursday morning sending his condolences to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. 
 
The Al-Qassam Brigades chief commander has not been seen publicly since Operation Protective Edge last summer, in which he was reported to have been killed. 
 
In the letter published on the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar website, Deif sends comfort and blessings to Nasrallah and other top Hezbollah leaders following the deaths of six of their members by an Israeli air strike in Syria on Monday. 
 
Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the late Imad Mughniyeh who was Hezbollah's former military commander, was among those killed, as was a Hezbollah commander. Six Iranian soldiers and commanders, including a general were also killed in the strike. 
 
Deif stressed that the blood of these martyrs is a "resounding call and stinging blow to those who are demoralized and wish to surrender," likely a reference to the Palestinian Authority and their Chairman Mahmoud Abbas who are not engaged in a military struggle with Israel.
 
Additionally, Deif noted called for "all weapons to be directed toward Israel." 
 
"There is an obligation on all opposition forces to challenge the Zionist enterprise and put up a strong unified hand against the Zionist enemy and its partners."
 
During Operation Protective Edge an Israeli air strike struck Deif's house killing his wife and child. Fox News reported Deif had been killed as well - a claim Hamas has consistently refuted. 
 
In a recent video released for Hamas's 27th anniversary, an old recording of Deif from Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 can be heard. A short time later, the shadow of a man, similar in appearance to Deif, can be seen, despite blurry photography.
 
Deif has reportedly survived five Israeli air strikes. His location remains unknown. 

Paris Attacks Challenge 'Lone Wolf' Terrorist Theory

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:44
Amedy CoulibalyThe attacks in Paris and the radical Islamist cell dismantled in Brussels have challenged the idea of the "lone wolf" terrorist who works alone, without the help of a jihadist organisation, analysts say.
 
Every terrorist that has attempted or carried out attacks in the West in recent years - down to the Kouachi brothers who struck the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris this month - has had some level of ties to extremist groups engaged in global jihad, according to experts.
 
For Jean-Pierre Filiu, of Sciences Po university in Paris, the events in France and Belgium had shown "once again" that the idea of radicals acting in isolation was "an inane myth".  
 
"This largely fantastical figure is an intellectual creation that appeared in the United States as part of the Bush administration's 'global war on terror' in 2001", he argued.
 
Although they may have acted without direct instructions from above, the Kouachi brothers had training from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), its Yemen branch, and struck a top target on Al Qaeda's "most-wanted" list.
 
The concept of "lone wolves" emerged at a time when Western observers were still struggling to understand the apparently diffuse threat from global jihadists - that operated with less clear-cut structures than the major terrorist organisations of the 20th century.
 
The idea was also politically useful for governments trying to sell tougher security measures to the public, said Filiu.
 
"Constructing the idea of an internal enemy, who is elusive and everywhere, justified draconian policies like the Patriot Act in the United States."
 
The Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of 9/11, gave the US government wide-ranging powers to snoop on its own citizens, but Filiu said its effectiveness has been "questionable at best".  
 
"Playing up the specter of a 'lone wolf' only serves to sow confusion and undermine attempts to pinpoint those who are really responsible for terrorism - the people giving the orders in the Middle East."
 
His claims echo those made by a leading British counter-extremism campaigner in a recent interview with Arutz Sheva.
 
Inspiration from abroad
 
 The confusion comes from the fact that many jihadists in the West have only very loose bonds to known jihadist groups.
 
Amedy Coulibaly - the third gunman in Paris who murdered a policewoman and attacked a Jewish supermarket, killing four - claimed he was working on behalf of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) group in Syria and Iraq, though he never traveled there.
 
But some experts argue it is nonetheless wrong to label them lone wolves. Even if they act alone, or as part of small local cells, they are following a clear blueprint set out by groups with global name recognition.
 
"Even if Coulibaly does not appear to have had direct contact with IS, he was inspired by their threats against France," said Louis Caprioli, former counter-terrorism head at French intelligence agency DST.
 
"That is the power of the jihadist discourse: they push people into suicide missions they would not have even contemplated two months earlier."  
 
That sets jihadists apart from individuals, who develop their own ideology and choose their own methods and targets.  
 
Apparent lone radicals have often turned out to have had direct contact with the leadership of a terrorist group.
 
Nidal Malik Hassan, the US army psychologist who killed 13 soldiers in the Fort Hood military base in Texas in September 2009, was found to be in contact with AQAP leader Anwar Al-Awlaki.
 
"Behind Islamist attacks, there is always someone giving the orders," said Filiu.
 
Still, those orders may not be very precise and the limited costs involved in mounting attacks mean there is no apparent direct financing.  
 
Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that Coulibaly bought the weapons for all three Paris gunmen - including assault rifles and a rocket launcher - in Belgium for less than 5,000 euros ($7,000). The rocket launcher was never even used.
 
The Soufan Group, a New York think tank, said a better term for "lone wolves" would be "known wolves", given how many are already known to Western intelligence agencies before they strike.  
 
"These individuals, acting alone or in small groups ... have been on the radar of various agencies and organisations, highlighting the difficulty of effectively monitoring and managing people at the nexus of criminality and terrorism," it said in a report this week.  
 
For the Soufan Group, the most serious threat came from people with known associations with radicals and a string of past offences.
 
"It is counter-productive to speak of France's five million Muslims as a sign of a potentially enormous target pool, when it's likely only several dozen people ... should be the highest priority target set".

3 Jihadis Reported Killed in Belgium Anti-Terror Raid

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 January 2015 17:15
Belgium-jihadisBelgian police launched a "jihadist-related" anti-terrorism operation in the eastern town of Verviers on Thursday, with reports saying there were three deaths.
 
Public broadcaster RTBF reported three deaths and said explosions were heard at the scene, but there was no immediate confirmation.
 
The incident comes as Europe is on high alert after 17 people were murdered in Islamist attacks including on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris last week.
 
"An operation is under way," a source in the mayor's office told AFP without giving further details.
 
Another official said separately that the incident in Verviers, which is close to the German border some 125 kilometers (70 miles) from Brussels, was "jihadist-related".
 
Belgian media reported that no police were injured in the incident. Residents reported gunfire and blasts in Verviers.
 
The men targeted in Verviers were under surveillance having returning from Syria a week ago, Belgian media reported.
 
Intelligence indicated they were planning an attack, the reports said.
 
Prosecutors were due to give a press conference at 1900 GMT.
 
Several reports said a series of other anti-terror raids were under way across Belgium, including in the capital Brussels, where the European Union is headquartered.
 
Three Islamic State terrorists threatened attacks on Belgium in a video broadcast on Wednesday, the Belga news agency reported.
 
"I heard a sort of explosion, followed by several gunshots," one local told RTBF. "For the moment, I cannot tell you any more because I don't dare go out to see what is happening."
 
Another local resident said "machineguns were firing for about ten minutes."
 
A third witness said he saw two young men apparently of North African origin "dressed all in black carrying a bag of the same color," adding that the pair looked terrified.
 
Belgian investigators said earlier Thursday they are probing whether an arms dealer sold weapons used in the Paris attacks, after confirming supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly sold the man a car belonging to his partner Hayat Boumeddiene.
 
There was no immediate confirmation of any link between the Coulibaly investigation and Thursday's raid.
 
The man, Neetin Farasula, from the airport city of Charleroi in French-speaking southern Belgium, is in detention on suspicion of a possible link to the weapons used in the Paris attacks.
 
Belgian prosecutors are working with French authorities to establish any "possible link" to last week's attacks at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.
 
Coulibaly, who was killed by police on Friday, is also believed to have shot dead a policewoman in another Paris attack.
 
Prosecutor spokesman Eric Van der Sijpt said that the Belgian suspect "bought the car belonging to Coulibaly's wife."
 
Spain meanwhile opened an investigation Thursday into Coulibaly and Boumeddiene's visit to Madrid shortly before the attacks.
 
Karasular handed himself into police on Tuesday, saying that he had been in contact with Coulibaly in recent months and had tried to "swindle" the Frenchman over the car deal, but was scared after the Paris attacks.
 
Turkish authorities say Boumeddiene crossed into Syria on January 8 from Turkey. She had arrived in Istanbul on a flight from Madrid before the Paris attacks took place.

Sisi: The Fight Against Terror Needs New Muslim Discourse

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 18:41
Al-Sisi at Al-Azhar UniversityEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday said the fight against "terrorism" needs a new Muslim religious discourse in addition to security and military measures, AFP reported.
 
"The rise in terrorism... requires a thoughtful response from the international community," Sisi told the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
 
"The fight must not only be restricted to security and military aspects... but should include a reformed religious discourse from which false ideologies that could lure some into adopting violence to impose their ideas have been removed," he added.
 
Sisi’s comments on Monday follow ones he made in a speech to Islamic clerics at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, in which he said Islam had become “a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction” for humanity.
 
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoy a close relationship and cooperate in various fields besides military activities.
 
Both governments are hostile towards Islamists and have blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood, branding it a terrorist organization.
 
Gulf security is "a red line" for Egypt, Sisi said, affirming his country's unwavering support for efforts by the UAE "to preserve its national security" and urged "increased" action to "confront all attempts to breach the security of Gulf countries."
 
The UAE last year jailed a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians for terms of three months to five years for forming a Muslim Brotherhood cell.
 
They were part of dozens of other Islamists jailed in the UAE since the Arab Spring uprisings erupted in 2011, even though the country itself has not seen any anti-regime movements.
 
Crackdowns against the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt led to a months-long diplomatic spat pitting Qatar, an active supporter of the Brotherhood, against Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, which all supported the ouster of Morsi.
 
In an unprecedented development, the three nations had recalled their ambassadors from Doha last March, in protest against Qatar's support for the Islamist movement, then returned their diplomatic staff to Qatar in November.
 
Recently, however, relations between Qatar and Egypt have improved, as Sisi met with an envoy from the Gulf emirate.

3,000 in Turkey Linked to ISIS

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 11:42
Jihadis from ISIS in Mosul Iraq fileAround 3,000 people in Turkey are believed to be linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, a Turkish intelligence report said on Saturday, warning of possible attacks by extremists.  
 
The report called for enhanced surveillance of the 3,000 people, including identifying their rank within the extremist group or whether they were active within it, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Saturday.
 
A "red alert" had also been sent to security units warning of possible attacks on the embassies of Western countries by ISIS terrorists following last week's deadly Islamist attacks in France, the report said.
 
Security at the diplomatic missions had been increased to the maximum level, the report said, adding that NATO facilities and Western nationals were also potential targets.
 
And it warned of possible bomb attacks "anywhere and anytime" in Turkey by "sleeper cells."
 
Most vehicles stolen in Turkey ended up in the hands of ISIS jihadists, it said, warning that they could be used in car bomb attacks in the country.  
 
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said up to 700 Turkish nationals had joined ISIS.
 
He added that Turkey had barred entry to around 7,250 people from abroad who were planning to join ISIS and said 1,160 would-be jihadists were also deported.  
 
Turkey has long been accused of not doing enough to stem the flow of jihadists seeking to join ISIS, which has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. It has also been accused of actively aiding Al Qaeda's Nusra Front.
 
The Turkish government said on Monday that Hayat Boumeddiene, the wanted partner of one of the  gunmen involved in last week's Paris attacks, crossed into Syria via Turkey days before the assaults, amid reports that she may have joined ISIS.
 
A female suicide bomber killed herself and a policeman last week in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district, home to the city's greatest concentration of historical monuments.
 
Turkish authorities have so far refrained from naming the suicide bomber but reports in Turkey and Russia on Friday identified her as Diana Ramazanova, 18, from the northern Caucasus region of Dagestan.
 
She was said to have been the widow of a Norwegian jihadist who died fighting for IS in Syria.

Paris Hit and Run Yet Another Terror Attack?

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 18 January 2015 19:12
hit and runParis could be facing yet another terror attack Thursday, officials said, after a policewoman was run down and injured outside French President Francois Hollande’s residence, according to French media.
 
While police have not said whether they are treating it as a terror attack, witnesses told French media that the driver had run the policewoman down intentionally.
 
Paris – and all of France – is on high alert after one of the most difficult weeks in the country in recent years. A total of 17 people were killed in separate attacks last week – 12 at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, and four at the Hyper Cacher kosher market. The killer who invaded the market, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a French policewoman a day earlier as well.
 
In protest, millions of people gathered in protest Sunday, expressing solidarity with the victims.
 
As such, there was a heavy police presence outside the palace, even in the early morning hours of Thursday, when the incident took place.
 
After hitting the policewoman, the four people in the vehicle immediately jumped out and fled. Two got away, but police arrested two others, who are being questioned. Police are searching for the other two as well.
 
According to eyewitnesses, the attack was deliberate.
 
Speaking to radio network Europe 1, a police spokesperson said that the policewoman “says that the driver looked at her in the eye and did not pull on the brakes, and that he voluntarily hit her. Three witnesses nearby say the same thing.”

Charlie Hebdo 'Reborn' Amidst Islamic World's Anger

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 18 January 2015 18:36
Cover of latest issue of Charlie HebdoReutersFrench President Francois Hollande has declared Charlie Hebdo "reborn" after its new edition sold out in record time. 
 
"Charlie Hebdo is alive and will live on," the president said Wednesday, after many Parisians joined long queues to get their hands on a copy which, true to controversial form, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.
 
"You can murder men and women, but you can never kill their ideas," Hollande said.
 
The president is due Thursday to address the Arab World Institute in Paris, a cultural institute that promotes closer ties between France and the Arab world, while funerals will be held for two of the magazine's slain cartoonists.
 
The January 7 attack by Islamist gunmen at Charlie Hebdo's Paris offices left 12 people dead, including some of the country's best-loved cartoonists.
 
Private family funerals will be held Thursday for two renowned cartoonists - Georges Wolinski, 80, and Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac, 57. 
 
Debate is growing, meanwhile, over where freedom of expression begins and ends.
 
Millions rallied in support of free speech after the assault, while French prosecutors, under government orders to crack down on hate crimes, have opened more than 50 cases for condoning terrorism or making threats to carry out terrorist acts since the attack.
 
They include one against controversial comedian Dieudonne, who was arrested Wednesday over a remark suggesting he sympathized with one of the Paris attackers.
 
A 21-year-old in Toulouse was also sent to prison for 10 months on Monday under France's ultra-fast-track court system, for expressing support for the jihadi terrorists while traveling on a tram.
 
In Wednesday's new edition of Charlie Hebdo, the prophet is depicted with a tear in his eye, under the headline "All is forgiven". He holds a sign reading "Je suis Charlie" (I am Charlie), the slogan that has become a global rallying cry for those expressing sympathy for the victims and support for freedom of speech.
 
Around 700,000 copies were released and sold Wednesday as part of a print run that will eventually total five million - dwarfing the usual 60,000 copies for a magazine that had long been threatened by a loss of readership.
 
Distributors quickly boosted Charlie Hebdo's planned print run from an initial three million to five million after Wednesday's sales rush. The
commemorative issue will also be available in English, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish, with proceeds going to the victims' families.
 
The magazine, which last month did not have enough money to pay staff wages, could raise as much as 10 million euros in sales and donations since the attack.
 
Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch (AQAP) released a video Wednesday claiming responsibility for the attack, saying it was "vengeance" for the magazine's cartoons of the prophet.
 
Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who carried out the attack, are known to have trained with the group.
 
Amedy Coulibaly, who shot dead four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris and a policewoman the day before in attacks he said were coordinated with the Kouachi brothers, has claimed links to Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
 
New edition stirs anger in Islamic world
 
Many Muslims consider images of Mohammed - not least ones satirizing him - to be blasphemous, and anger over the Charlie Hebdo's defiant new issue has been growing in the Islamic world.
 
The Afghan Taliban on Thursday condemned its publication of further Mohammed cartoons and praised the gunmen, saying they were "bringing the perpetrators of the obscene act to justice".
 
Angry opponents in countries from Pakistan and Turkey, the Philippines and Mauritania have staged protests over the new cartoons.
 
A Turkish court ordered a block on websites featuring images of the cover, while Senegal said it was banning the dissemination of Wednesday's editions of Charlie Hebdo and the French daily Liberation, which also put a cartoon of the Mohammed on the front page.
 
But many have taken a nuanced stance and tried to calm tensions, with French Muslim leaders urging their communities - which have been targeted with attacks on mosques in the wake of the shootings - to "stay calm and avoid emotive reactions".

Five Canadians Killed in Syria Fighting with ISIS

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 18 January 2015 10:52
The face of ISISFive Canadians have died fighting alongside Islamic State terrorists in Syria, including a man who called for lone wolf attacks in Canada, local media reported Wednesday.
 
The National Post said Ottawa-born John Maguire, who joined ISIS terrorists in Syria in January 2013, died Wednesday in the flashpoint town Kobane.
 
In a video message last year, the former University of Ottawa student warned Canada it faces retaliation for participating in United States-led airstrikes against ISIS.
 
Calling himself Abu Anwar al-Canadi, Maguire urged Muslims to follow the example of a driver in a hit-and-run killing of a soldier near Montreal and of a gunman who killed an unarmed soldier in Ottawa.
 
Meanwhile, broadcaster CBC said that four other Canadians from a single family of Somali origin died in recent months while fighting with the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria.
 
Three of the cousins are thought to have left Canada in October 2013, the CBC reported.
 
Ahmed Hirsi said his 20-year-old son Mahad was killed last fall along with cousins Hamsa and Hersi Kariye.
 
The CBC said another cousin from Minnesota, Hanad Abdullahi Mohallim, was also killed.
 
Hirsi said his son had called him from Egypt to say he was traveling to Syria.
 
Hamsa and Hersi's brother confirmed the two men had died, but did not say how or where. He denied they had traveled to Syria and said instead they went to Egypt to study Islam.
 
"That is the path my brothers wanted to take from day one," he told CBC. "These people left their country to go study their religion."
 
Canada has joined the US-led campaign against Islamic State, which has taken over large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
 
Last week, three were arrested in Canada over "serious" potential threats, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said Tuesday.

Syria: Turkey is Allowing Terrorists to Freely Cross the Border

Category: News
Created on Friday, 16 January 2015 05:34
IHH 00The Syrian government on Monday accused Turkey of allowing "terrorists" to freely cross the border, after Ankara said the wife of one of the Paris attackers entered Syria from Turkey earlier this month, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
 
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that the woman, Hayat Boumedienne, arrived in Turkey from Madrid on January 2 before crossing into Syria on January 8, the day after the attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
 
In response, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that Turkey had aided terrorists who "shed the blood of Syrians and innocent people worldwide".
 
Damascus called on the international community "to stop Turkey's destructive policy," as it put it.
 
Boumeddiene, 26, is the lone remaining suspect wanted in connection with the France terrorism spree, which included a shooting rampage at the Charlie Hebdo satirical news magazine on Wednesday, the killing of a French policewoman Thursday, and a dual hostage crisis in a printing company and a kosher supermarket Friday. 
 
CCTV footage which surfaced on Monday corroborates remarks from Turkish officials Saturday night, who said that Boumeddiene had arrived in Turkey and then made her way to Syria - and that during routine screening of passengers, the couple were flagged by Turkey's Risk Assessment Center and a decision made to maintain surveillance on their movements after landing. 
 
Syria’s comments are a reflection of the deterioration of ties between Syria and Turkey ever since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
 
Turkey is a strong backer of Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad, whose government views all of its armed opponents as "terrorists."
 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has several times called on Assad to resign. In August of 2013 Erdogan, then the Prime Minister of Turkey, said that the goal of any military intervention in Syria should be to topple Assad’s regime.
 
The heightened tensions between Turkey and Syria have led to several cross-border incidents, including the explosion of a Syrian mortar in Turkish territory, which killed five civilians.
 
The Turkish army responded by attacking several targets in Syria. Turkey's parliament later gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.
 
In another incident, Turkey intercepted a Syrian Airbus A320 flying from Moscow to Damascus and escorted it to the Esenboga Airport in Ankara.
 
Turkey later claimed it had seized "objectionable cargo" aboard the Syrian passenger plane. Syria, in turn, accused Turkey of lying.

Hamas-Linked Publication Praises 'Heroic' Paris Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Monday, 12 January 2015 09:14
Paris terroristsA Hamas-linked publication has praised the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, and hailed those responsible as "martyrs".
 
An image posted on Friday evening to the Facebook page of the Al-Rasalah publication featured the faces of the three Islamist terrorists eliminated by French security forces Friday, with a caption reading: "The shahidim [martyrs] who were dispatched by God, the heroes of the raid in Paris."
 
Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, Muslims of Algerian descent, murdered 12 people and wounded 11 others on Wednesday in an attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in central Paris. They claimed to be acting on behalf of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which released a statement celebrating their attack and warning of more to come.
 
They were killed after a standoff at a warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, 22 miles north of Paris, after they burst out of the building firing at police.
 
Amedy Coulibaly, who claimed to be a member of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, was shot dead after taking shoppers hostage at the Hyper Casher kosher store in the French capital. Coulibaly murdered four shoppers before armed police killed him in a surprise raid.
 
On Saturday, Hamas's official leadership released a statement condemning the Charlie Hebdo attack - but notably did not similarly condemn the murder of French Jews on Friday.

Hamas Condemns Charlie Hebdo Attack - But Not Murder of Jews

Category: News
Created on Monday, 12 January 2015 08:39
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terroristsHamas released a statement on Saturday condemning the killing of 12 people in an attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's offices - but was notably silent on the murder of four French Jews in a terrorist attack on Friday.
 
A statement in French said Hamas "condemns the attack against Charlie Hebdo magazine and insists on the fact that differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder."
 
It also rejected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's comments, in which he compared the Paris attack to Hamas firing rockets from the Gaza Strip at civilians in Israel.
 
"Hamas condemns the desperate attempts by... Netanyahu to make a connection between our movement and the resistance of our people on the one hand and global terrorism on the other," it said.
 
The statement made no mention of Friday's attack on a Jewish supermarket by a third Islamist, in which four hostages were killed.
 
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas called France's Francois Hollande to express condolences, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP.  
 
He said that Abbas assured the French president of "the solidarity of the Palestinian people and leadership with France after this terrorist attack." It was unclear whether the statement was also referring to the kosher supermarket attack.
 
Malki said Abbas would have liked to attend Sunday's rally in Paris but must stay home to manage the responses to brutal storms that have hammered the Middle East.  
 
Malki said that a delegation of Palestinian Muslim and Christian clerics would pay a solidarity visit to France "in the coming days."    
 
The Palestine Liberation Organisation called for a public rally to be held in Ramallah on Sunday "in solidarity with France against terrorism."

French Officers Warned of Active 'Sleeper Cells'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 11 January 2015 18:48
A woman wearing a niqab walks at Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in ParisFrench law enforcement officers have been told to delete their social media accounts and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country, a French police source who attended a briefing Saturday told CNN.
 
According to the report, Ahmedy Coulibaly, who attacked the kosher supermarket in Paris and took hostages, had made several phone calls about targeting police officers in France before he was killed.
 
The alert came amid word that the lone remaining suspect wanted in connection with the France terrorism spree - Hayat Boumeddiene - entered Turkey on January 2, a Turkish prime ministry source told CNN.
 
Boumeddiene was tracked by Turkish authorities to a location near the Turkey-Syria border, according to an official in the Turkish Prime Minister's office.
 
Boumeddiene arrived at the Istanbul airport on a flight from Madrid with a man. During routine screening of passengers, the couple were flagged by Turkey's Risk Assessment Center and a decision made to maintain surveillance on their movements, the official said.
 
The official in the Turkish Prime Minister's office would not elaborate as to when Boumeddiene was tracked to the border province.
 
That means Boumeddiene may not have been in France at the time of Thursday's deadly shooting of a policewoman in Paris, as authorities originally believed. Authorities offered no immediate explanation of the discrepancy, but have said she is wanted in connection with a terrorist attack.
 
Investigators in France and the United States have been looking for evidence tying the Kouachi brothers, who carried out the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and who were killed in a separate police raid on Friday, to associates in terror networks such as Al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate and the Islamic State (ISIS).
 
CNN reported on Thursday that one of the two brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with Al-Qaeda in that country.
 
An American official said the United States was given information from the French intelligence agency that Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen as late as 2011 on behalf of the Al-Qaeda affiliate there.
 
A Yemeni journalist and researcher, Mohammed al-Kibsi, told CNN that he had met and spoken with Said Kouachi in Yemen in 2011 and 2012.
 
Before he was killed by French security forces on Friday, Coulibaly told a French station that he belonged to ISIS.

Denmark Vows to Stay 'On Frontline' against ISIS Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 11 January 2015 17:58
Frontline against ISIS JihadistsDenmark's commitment to fighting Islamic State jihadists will not be swayed by attacks like the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the country's defence minister said Saturday at a rally to commemorate the Paris victims.
 
"Denmark's hands are not shaking because some terrorists are trying to scare us," Defence Minister Nicolai Wammen told local news agency Ritzau in Copenhagen.
 
"We are attacking ISIL in Iraq and that continues completely unchanged," he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.
 
One of the three Paris attackers - Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages in a Jewish supermarket on Friday - told French TV that he belonged to ISIS.
 
His presumed accomplice Cherif Kouachi - one of two gunmen suspected of killing 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday -  claimed to be part of the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda.  
 
NATO-member Denmark is part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group and has carried out air strikes against ISIS in Iraq since August.  
 
It is also home to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the first to controversially publish caricatures of the founder of Islam Mohammed a decade ago, later republished by Charlie Hebdo. Both publications received threats from extremists as a result.
 
The Danish minister refused to comment on the groups potentially behind the Paris attacks but he vowed that "terrorists will never determine Denmark's efforts abroad".
 
"We have a clenched fist when it comes to ISIL in Iraq. We are on the frontline, and we will remain so going forward," he told Ritzau.
 
Denmark has not raised its terrorist threat level since the attacks in Paris, which claimed 17 lives over a three-day period.  
 
But security was raised at media outlets and the country's Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen promised extra resources to the national security and intelligence agency.
 
Meanwhile, intelligence services in neighboring Norway told TV2 News that they were investigating a terrorist threat to Norway and Denmark posted on a French-based Arabic website.

Wife-Accomplice of Paris Kosher Store Attacker Could be in Syria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 11 January 2015 12:16
Hayat Boumeddiene released by French police-Prefecture de Police de ParisA French police source has revealed that the "armed and dangerous" wife of Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who murdered four Jewish shoppers at a kosher store on Friday, was not in France.
 
According to the Le Monde newspaper, the source claimed that 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, was not in France at the time of the killings.
 
Coulibaly shot dead a young policewoman on Thursday and then took the shoppers hostage Friday, and while police had suspected Boumeddiene may have had a role in her partner's violent acts, she was likely in Turkey then, the anonymous source said.
 
The source, who declined to be named, said investigators were checking whether she was now in Syria. He said a woman matching Boumedienne’s description took a flight on January 2 from Madrid to Istanbul. Turkey is a popular route for foreign fighters traveling to Syria, and the source added she is believed to have crossed into Syria on January 8, the same day a policewoman was shot dead by Coulibaly in Montrouge.
 
Meanwhile, More than 700,000 people on Saturday took to streets across France in tribute to the 17 people killed in three days of violence by Islamist extremists, the French interior minister said.
 
From Nice and Marseilles in the south to Besancon in the east and Lille in the north, people poured onto the streets to express their solidarity following Wednesday's attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead. The massacre was followed by the fatal shooting of a police officer on Thursday and the murder of four hostages during a siege at a Jewish supermarket on Friday.
 
"700,000 people have marched" in cities around France, Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on the eve of a huge Paris rally planned due to be attended by a string of world leaders.  
 
Cazeneuve did not give a detailed breakdown of the figure, but according to an AFP tally of demonstrations many thousands turned out across the country.
 
In the southern city of Toulouse, police said around 80,000 people took part in a march, with the "enormous" procession stretching up to two kilometres (1.2 miles).  
 
"Live together, free, equal and in solidarity," read the banner behind which at least 30,000 people also marched in the western city of Nantes.
 
In Marseille, 45,000 people expressed similar sentiments with a rally banner that said "For democracy, equality, freedom, let's fight fascism".
 
Individual marchers held up placards with the words "Not Afraid!"
 
In Pau, a further 30,000 to 40,000 people staged a silent march with school pupils leading the way holding a banner emblazoned with the words: "We are all Charlie".  
 
"It's a great popular movement... it's beautiful and significant, infinitely precious," the southwestern city's mayor Francois Bayrou told AFP.
 
In Besancon, another 20,000 took to the streets, while in northern Orleans around 22,000 rallied, according to a police source.
 
In Nice, at least 23,000 demonstrators were counted, police sources said, in a demonstration which snaked for around a kilometre along the famous seafront Promenade des Anglais, ending at the war memorial where a wreath was laid in the presence of representatives of different faiths.
 
A further 22,000 people turned out in northern Lille and thousands more in several other towns and cities across France.
 
Outside France, several thousand people, including many Muslims, rallied in Milan with many carrying signs that said "I am Charlie" or "Not In My Name".
 
The rallies come ahead of a march expected to draw up to a million people on Sunday in which French President Francois Hollande will be joined by a host of world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
 
Others due to participate include Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and US Attorney General Eric Holder.
 
The prime ministers of Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands will also attend along with the presidents of Mali, Niger and Ukraine.  
 
Hollande will also be joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, president of the European Union Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
 
"This will be an extraordinary demonstration... which must show the power and the dignity of the French people who are going to proclaim their love of freedom and tolerance," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.  
 
Ahead of that mass rally in Paris, hundreds of troops were on Saturday deployed around the city, which is already on the highest possible alert.  
 
Following a crisis meeting, the French government announced that all necessary measures would be taken to ensure the safety of those attending.    The three-day killing spree by three Islamic militants ended on Friday following a massive police operation.    All three gunmen died in final confrontations with police.
 
After Friday's dramatic events, Hollande warned grimly that the threats facing France were not over - comments followed by a chilling new threat from the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula group.  
 
AQAP top sharia official Harith al-Nadhari warned France to "stop your aggression against the Muslims" or face further attacks," in comments released by the SITE monitoring group.
 
'Appalling anti-Semitic act'
 
The three-day killing spree began Wednesday with an assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris that saw two brothers massacre 12 people including some of the country's best-known cartoonists and a day later, Coulibaly shot dead the policewoman.
 
The massive manhunt for the two Kouachi brothers developed into a car chase Friday and then a tense standoff as they took one person hostage in a printing firm northeast of Paris.
 
The small town of Dammartin-en-Goele was transformed into what looked like a war zone, with elite forces deploying snipers, helicopters and heavy-duty military equipment as they surrounded the pair.
 
With all eyes on the siege outside Paris, suddenly explosions and gunfire shook the City of Light itself as Coulibaly stormed a Jewish supermarket on the eastern fringes of the capital.
 
In what Hollande called an "appalling anti-Semitic act", Coulibaly took terrified shoppers hostage hours before the Jewish Sabbath, killing four.
 
As the sun set, the brothers in Dammartin-en-Goele charged out of the building with guns blazing in a desperate last stand, before being cut down.  
 
Within minutes, elite commando units moved in Paris against Coulibaly, who had threatened to execute his hostages unless the brothers were released.
 
He had just knelt for his evening prayer when the special forces struck. Explosions rocked the neighbourhood - one lighting up the shopfront in a fireball - and shooting erupted as the commandos burst in.
 
"It's war!" shouted a mother as she pulled her daughter away.
 
Up to five people - including a three-year-old boy - survived hidden inside a refrigerator for five hours, with police pinpointing their location using their mobile phones, prosecutors and relatives said.
 
In the printing firm, the brothers took the manager hostage, later releasing him after he helped Said with a neck wound, while a second man hid beneath a sink upstairs.
 
'Clear failings'
 
Leaders have urged the country to pull together in grief and determination, but questions are mounting over how the three men - Cherif and Said Kouachi, and Coulibaly - slipped through the security net after it emerged that all three were known to intelligence agencies.
 
As the drama reached its climax, links emerged showing the brothers and Coulibaly were close allies and had worked together.
 
All three had a radical past and were known to French intelligence.
 
Cherif Kouachi, 32, was a known jihadist who was convicted in 2008 for involvement in a network sending fighters to Iraq.  
 
His brother Said, 34, was known to have travelled to Yemen in 2011, where he received weapons training from AQAP.
 
It also emerged that the brothers had been on a US terror watch list "for years".
 
Coulibaly, 32 - who met Cherif Kouachi in prison - was sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 for his role in a failed bid to break an Algerian Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, out of jail.  
 
Boumeddiene and Cherif's girlfriend spoke "more than 500" times by phone in 2014, said Paris's chief prosecutor Francois Molins.
 
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the carnage they left in their wake showed there had been "clear failings" in intelligence.

MI5 Busted Three UK Terror Attacks in the Past Month

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 10 January 2015 08:14
Generic-policeThe Syrian Civil War and Wednesday's attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris are connected, the head of London's MI5 security agency stated Thursday, saying unchecked Islamism is threatening the West on the large scale. 
 
"We know... that a group of core Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West," MI5 head Andrew Parker told AFP Thursday. "Although we and our partners try our utmost, we know that we cannot hope to stop everything."
 
Parker stated that Islamists from Syria are intent on bringing their "twisted ideology" to the West, and plan to carry out major terror attacks at European and North American landmarks. 
 
"We still face more complex and ambitious plots that follow the now sadly well-established approach of Al-Qaeda and its imitators - attempts to cause large-scale loss of life, often by attacking transport systems or iconic targets," he said.
 
Parker concluded that the attacks were a "terrible reminder" of the Islamist threat, and went on to reveal that MI5 had stopped three attacks on British soil in the last month alone. 
 
Twelve people were killed in Wednesday's jihadist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo - five cartoonists, three contributors, a guest at the magazine's editorial conference and a maintenance worker, along with two police officers.
 
The three Islamists who are the prime suspects in the attack - named by French police as 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad who voluntarily handed himself over to authorities on Wednesday night, and brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who are still at large - stated to cartoonist Corrine Rey before the shooting that they were working on behalf of Al-Qaeda.
 
Both Kouachi brothers had reportedly trained with Al-Qaeda, one in Yemen and one in Iraq. 

Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Sentenced to Life in Prison

Category: News
Created on Friday, 09 January 2015 18:20
Hook-handed Abu Hamza al-MasriA judge in the United States on Friday sentenced British hate preacher Abu Hamza to life behind bars for 11 terrorism and kidnapping convictions, calling his crimes that spanned the globe "evil" and "barbaric", reports AFP.
 
The hook-handed imam, blind in one eye and a double-hand amputee, became a tabloid bogeyman in Britain for preaching vitriolic, anti-American sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London.
 
The sentencing on Friday comes eight months after he was convicted by a jury on May 19, after a four-week trial.
 
Abu Hamza would be "committed to a sentence of life imprisonment in the custody of the United States attorney general and U.S. marshals," the judge announced at the end of a three-hour hearing.
 
Blind in one eye and with both hands blown off by an explosives experiment in Pakistan, he alarmed the jury by speaking of his love for Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden and compared himself to Irish republican leader Gerry Adams.
 
Abu Hamza showed no remorse for his crimes, and again pleaded his innocence in court and demanded to be sent to a federal prison hospital, where he said he would be better treated as a double amputee suffering from diabetes.
 
"With all honesty I do maintain my innocence," he was quoted as having said, dressed in navy scrubs and gesticulating with his raw, red stumps. His face was pale behind a grey and white beard.
 
The judge said she had thought long and hard about the severity of the sentence but ultimately concluded the world would not be safe with him a free man.
 
"Evil comes in many forms but doesn't always show itself immediately in all its darkness," she said. There is "a side of you that this court views as evil."
 
She called his crimes "barbaric" and "obviously unacceptable in a civilized society."
 
It took the jury just 12 hours to convict him of facilitating the 1998 abduction of 16 Western tourists in Yemen, providing material support to Al-Qaeda, assisting the Taliban and sending terror recruits to Afghanistan.
 
Abu Hamza, whose full name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, provided the kidnappers with a satellite phone, acted as an intermediary and dispensed them advice.
 
Four of the kidnapped tourists were killed.

Egypt's 'Gush Katif': Sinai Border Residents Evicted

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 08 January 2015 08:50
Egyptian soldiers in RafiahThe only way to put an end to terror in Sinai, according to Egyptian official Abdel Fattah Harhour, is to completely raze the Egyptian side of Rafiach.
 
In an interview Thursday, he said that weather conditions in recent days had slowed the rate of evacuation, but that the government must redouble its efforts to remove residents from the area – otherwise it would be impossible to destroy all the terror tunnels from Gaza into Sinai.
 
The Egyptian army is doing just that, with over 1,000 families to be evicted in the coming days in the interest of fighting terror.
 
It turns out that just as Sinai terrorists use the tunnels under Gaza to get into the Hamas-controlled area to bring in goods, Hamas terrorists use them to get into Sinai, where they carry out bombings and shootings against Egyptian police.
 
Just this week, four Egyptian policemen were wounded by a bomb planted at the entrance to an apartment building in the provincial capital of El-Arish. Credit for that attack, like others in recent months, was claimed by Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, the country's deadliest terrorist group which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (ISIS).
 
Regardless, Egyptian officials say, many of the terrorists participating in these attacks come from Gaza – and to close off access to Sinai, a secure buffer zone with the Gaza border fence of at least five kilometers will be needed. To accomplish that, said Harhour, who is governor of northern Sinai, Egyptian Rafiach is going to have to go.
 
Families have been given eviction orders, and over 1,000 houses are to be destroyed in the current phase of the evacuation. Each family will be compensated 1,500 Egyptian pounds in addition to “basic” compensation.
 
Rafiach is a border town of 14 districts and 11 villages, with an estimated population of 75,000, according to the city’s official website. Speaking last month, Harhour said that ideally Egypt will build a “new Rafiach” behind the buffer zone line, but work on that has not begun yet.

Worldwide Suicide Attacks Nearly Double in 2014

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 07 January 2015 19:26
Worldwide Suicide Attacks Nearly Double in 2014Muslim slaughter of fellow-Muslims and "infidels" reached new modern heights in 2014. Though car bombings still likely have the lead in worldwide attacks, the number of suicide murderers – virtually all them Muslims, and mostly from Sunni Salafist jihadi organizations affiliated with global jihad – appears to be the next-most lethal weapon.
 
The Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) has found that there were 592 attacks in 2014, causing some 4,400 deaths. During 2013, there were just over 300 attacks, with 3,200 casualties.
 
INSS research finds that the skyrocketing trend in Muslim suicide murders is due largely to three factors: Middle East turmoil and governmental instability; the meteoric rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and its influence in the region and the world; and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
 
Most of the attacks, of course, took place in the Middle East. Some 370 suicide attacks there killed about 2,750 people, compared to 163 attacks and 1,950 victims in 2013.
 
There were 271 attacks in Iraq (most of which are assumed to have been perpetrated by ISIS), compared to fewer than 100 the year before, 41 in Syria, 29 in Yemen, and 13 in Lebanon. Libya suffered 11 such attacks, compared with only one the year before, and there were four in Egypt. 
 
In the non-Arab Muslim world and Africa, suicide bombings were also up. Most notably, there were 124 suicide attacks in Afghanistan, practically double the number in 2013, 36 in Pakistan (only one more than the year before), and 32 in Nigeria, over ten times more than the previous year. 
 
Only one suicide terrorist attempted an attack against Israel in 2014, INSS found: During the recent Hamas war with Israel in Gaza, the Egyptians thwarted an attempt by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis – a Sunni jihadist group - to send a suicide bomber from Sinai to the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel.
 
The Israeli media reported that Hamas used several suicide bombers during the fighting; Israeli military sources did not confirm these reports.
 
INSS concludes that terrorist organizations affiliated with global jihad now have a stronger presence in the countries bordering Israel, and Israel must prepare for the possibility that some of their attacks will be directed against it. 
 
Such a development could spur Israel’s traditional enemies, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other local groups inspired by global jihad and Islamic State, to join in the growing suicide attack phenomenon.

Paris: 12 Dead in Terror Attack at Paper that 'Mocked Mohammed'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 07 January 2015 18:08
Police in front of Charlie Hebdos Paris headquarters12 people have been killed in a shooting attack at the offices of French satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo in central Paris.
 
Two of the dead are reportedly police and ten are journalists; some reports say two of the journalists are the paper's cartoonists.
 
Ten people are reported injured, five of them critically.
 
At least two or three gunmen are believed to have been involved, according to Le Figaro. They were said to be firing Kalashnikov semi-automatic assault rifles. According to the paper, the gunmen are on the run after a shootout with policemen.
 
Rocco Contento, a spokesman for the Unité police union, told reporters that three attackers got into a getaway car driven by a fourth man and drove to Porte de Pantin in north-east Paris, where they abandoned the first car and hijacked a second – turning the driver out into the road.
 
He also said the Charlie Hebdo offices were under guard and that police protection had increased in recent weeks because of fresh threats against the magazine.
 
Channel 2 is now reporting (update: 3:30 pm) that the staff had been in the middle of its weekly meeting when the shots rang out. Four of the caricaturists are among the dead - named as Charb, Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous, according to Le Monde. 
 
This is reportedly the deadliest terror attack in France in 50 years. 
 
Videos uploaded to Youtube show the attack as it took  place. 
 
Warning: the first video contains disturbing images.
 
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France Info radio has been speaking to eyewitnesses, several of whom are journalists from a press agency located in the same building as the Charlie Hebdo offices.
 
“We heard shouting in the street,” one of them, Benoit Bringer, told the station. “We saw hooded men carrying Kalashnikovs enter the building. We called the police. After a few minutes we heard heavy firing, a lot of firing. We went upstairs onto the roof.
 
“And then after about 10 minutes we saw two armed men come out into the street. Three policemen arrived on bikes but had to leave because the men were armed, obviously … There was a lot more shouting in the street, a lot more gunshots. The attackers took off in a car.”
 
Britain's Telegraph quoted Luc Poignard, a union official, as saying the attackers had escaped in two vehicles.
 
"Several men in black cagoules [balaclavas] were heard to shout 'the Prophet has been avenged'", wrote Pierre de Cossette, a broadcast journalist with Europe1 News.
 
Reports say President Francois Hollande was on his way to the scene and would later hold an emergency government meeting.
 
The Associated Press news agency cited a witness who said multiple gunmen were involved in the attack. CNN reported that two gunmen had entered the building and that shooting lasted for about five minutes. 
 
The magazine is based in Paris's 11th arrondissement. The latest tweet published by the magazine's official twitter account appeared to be a cartoon of Abu Bakrk Al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State (ISIS).
 
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Previous attacks
 
Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed in 2012, leading France to temporarily close its embassies and schools in more than 20 countries amid fears of Islamist reprisals. 
 
The offices of Charlie Hebdo were also burned down on November 2, 2011. A firebomb was lobbed into the offices of the paper at about 1 a.m., igniting a blaze.
 
The attack in 2011 came a day after the paper had announced it was naming Islam's founder, Prophet Mohammed, as its “editor-in-chief” for this week's issue. A statement by the paper said: “In order fittingly to celebrate the Islamist Ennahda's win in Tunisia and the NTC (National Transitional Council) president's promise that sharia would be the main source of law in Libya, Charlie Hebdo asked Mohammed to be guest editor.”
 
The back page of the paper was to feature a picture of Muhammed wearing a red nose, with the caption, “Yes, Islam is compatible with humor.” The front page, renamed “Sharia Hebdo,” was to likewise feature a picture of the Muslim prophet, captioned, “100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!”
 
The real editor-in-chief, meanwhile, who goes by the name of “Charb,” told France Info radio at the time, “We no longer have a newspaper. All our equipment has been destroyed or has melted.”
 
In 2005, Danish cartoons of Mohammed sparked a wave of violent protests across the Muslim world.

Horrifying ISIS 'Guide for Jihadi Mothers' Surfaces Online

Category: News
Created on Friday, 02 January 2015 12:32
Horrifying ISIS Guide for Jihadi MothersA guide for jihadi mothers on how to raise children to become terrorists has surfaced online, the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported. 
 
The handbook titled "Sister's Role in Jihad" recommends showing children jihadi websites, reading jihad tales before bed, practicing sports that require good hand-eye coordination, like darts, and going on camping trips to teach the children how to survive outdoors. 
 
Women are expected to start training children "while they are babies" as waiting longer than that "may be too late." The guide adds: 'Don't underestimate the lasting effect of what those little ears and eyes take in during the first few years of life!'
 
The guide's original authors remain unknown, as the text is usually posted on file-sharing sites anonymously. However, the handbook is believed to be used regularly by Islamic State and other terrorist groups. 
 
Other advice includes encouraging children to play and practice target-shooting with toy guns and making the training "fun" for youths, though the text stresses, "fun does not mean music and dancing, as is portrayed by Western children's TV."
 
Parents are also expected to ensure their children know how to differentiate between "who their target should be, and who their target should not be." 
 
The guide is known to have at least one definite follower - British extremist Runa Khan, who was convicted and jailed for five years for dressing her six children in jihadi uniforms and posting the images online. 
 
MEMRI released the information of the guide ahead of an upcoming report condemning how children become indoctrinated into radical Islam. 
 
"It is important for the West to understand that all these groups want the world to know that this indoctrination is taking place," MEMRI said in a statement. 
 
"No matter what happens in Iraq and Syria in the near future, the next generation - the children of Baghdadi and grandchildren of bin Laden - have already been brainwashed to hate the West and to strive for jihad and martyrdom." 
 
"They have been trained on the battlefield and know how to create bombs and suicide belts and to behead and crucify the innocent. This is something we must be prepared for and understand."
 
MEMRI researchers believe this guide, and others like it, is being used by ISIS fighters bringing up their children in the Middle East. 
 
Indeed, Twitter accounts linked to ISIS regularly feature images of children holding weapons - like knives and machine guns. These pictures are often accompanied with the caption "Generation Caliphate" or "Ashbal," meaning lion cubs. 

PA Minister: Killing Babies Part of 'Resistance' Against Israel

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 30 December 2014 08:54
Killing Babies Part of ResistanceA Palestinian Authority (PA) "minister" has justified the murder of a one year-old Israeli baby as legitimate "resistance" against Israel, Palestinian Media Watch reports Monday. 
 
Israel fined Ali Sa'ada, a terrorist prisoner who murdered the child and his father, with 3.5 million shekel ($896,355) earlier this month.
 
According to PMW, Prisoners' Affairs Authority Director and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake protested the move, saying it is "delegitimizing the [Palestinian] national resistance" against Israel. 
 
"[Israeli] courts have been... passing sentences on prisoners that force them to pay large sums in financial compensation to Israelis who have been exposed to resistance by Palestinians," Karake told the WAFA news agency two weeks ago. 
 
Sa'ada was convicted last year of murdering 25 year-old Asher Palmer and his son Yonatan in a rock attack in September 2011. 
 
Karake's remarks follow the praise of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for the murder of three-month-old baby Chaya Zisel Braun hy"d in a "car rampage" attack by an Islamic Jihad terrorist in October. 
 
Hamas openly praised the baby's murder in the wake of that attack, whereas PA negotiator Saeb Erekat was slightly more subtle, claiming the PA "regrets" all loss of life while equating the murder with the "violence and instability" caused by the "occupation of Palestine." 

Hamas Leader Praises Turkey for Support

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 27 December 2014 19:45
Khaled Meshaal0Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal on Saturday praised Turkey as a "source of power" for all Muslims in gratitude to Turkey's leaders for supporting the "Palestinian cause".
 
"A democratic, stable and developed Turkey is a source of power for all Muslims," Meshaal said in an address to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) annual congress in the conservative central Anatolian city of Konya.
 
Meshaal said a "strong Turkey means a strong Jerusalem, a strong Palestine," voicing hopes to "liberate Palestine and Jerusalem," according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.
 
His brief address was interrupted repeatedly by cheering crowds in the hall waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting: "Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)" and "Down with Israel!"
 
The Hamas chief often shows up at the ruling party's events. He also attended the AKP's congress in 2012 when Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was serving as prime minister.  
 
Current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in his speech said Turkey's red flag featuring a crescent with a star was a "symbol of the innocent in the world."  
 
"God is witness... we will make this red flag a symbol of the innocent. This red flag will fly side by side with the flags of Palestine, free Syria and all other innocents' flags anywhere in the world," he told the congress. 
 
Turkey's leaders, in particular Erdogan, are known for their angry outbursts against Israel. A staunch supporter of the Islamist Hamas terrorist group, Erdogan has often blasted the Jewish state over its military operations against terrorists based in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas.
 
Under Erdogan's rule, and particularly in recent years, Turkey has become home to one of the most active Hamas branches in the world. Among the Hamas terrorist masterminds currently based there is Salah al-Arouri, who claimed responsibility for ordering the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June of this year.
 
In response, Israel has turned to NATO - which Turkey is a member of - to take steps against Ankara for its open support for terrorism.
 
AFP contributed to this report.

Abbas Threatens 'Palestinian People Will Explode'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 December 2014 18:18
AbbasPalestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was quoted Sunday as saying diplomatic means are his weapon of choice in the battle against Israel instead of inciting terrorism - and then went on to threaten terrorism.
 
"I won't talk about using weapons against Israel and I will only use diplomatic means, but if the Palestinian people loses hope, in the end they will explode and no one can prevent that," Abbas said according to Reshet Bet journalist Gal Berger.
 
Ironically, Abbas has called for terrorist violence in a strikingly similar manner to those used by his predecessor, terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. Abbas's religious adviser, PA Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Judge Mahmoud Al-Habash, clarified last month that Abbas is inciting religious war.
 
After the terrorist turned PA minister Ziad Abu Ein died of a heart attack this month, Abbas threatened to cut the security cooperation with Israel - a threat which hasn't been carried out, but which Abbas said Sunday is still on the table along with joining a host of international conventions if the PA's unilateral attempt at the UN fails.
 
The PA last week submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council demanding an Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem by 2017, with Abbas explaining the second stage of the plan is to force millions of "Palestinian refugees" on Israel.
 
Both the unilateral bid to the UN and the unilateral joining of international conventions, which the PA already started in April as it torpedoed peace talks with Israel, are in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords.
 
In explaining the UN resolution last Thursday, Abbas said it calls for borders based on the 1949 Armistice lines, adding "Jerusalem will be the capital of the two states with eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state."
 
He claimed the resolution aims at "formulating a just and agreed solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with the Arab peace initiative, the complete cessation of settlement activities, formulating security arrangements that will ensure the presence of a third international party, an agreement for an international conference to launch negotiations, on the condition that the negotiation period not exceed one year and that the end of the Israeli occupation of the state of Palestine will be before the end of 2017."
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Thursday to the PA’s unilateral move at the UN, saying Abbas "thinks he can threaten us with unilateral steps. He does not understand that they will result in a Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria, just as previously occurred in Gaza."

What Does it Sound Like When Abbas Really Condemns Terror?

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 December 2014 15:54
Abbas honors dead terrorists ReutersPalestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued condemnations of two terrorist attacks within the span of a month - an investigation of the texts reveals there is a world of difference between apparently sincere condemnations he makes, and insincere ones when Jews at prayer are the victims.
 
In the first of the two cases, both of which were reported on by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Abbas responded to the gruesome slaughter of four Jews at prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue in Har Nof committed by two Arab terrorists from Jerusalem armed with hatchets, knives and guns.
 
"The President's (Abbas's) Office has always condemned the murder of citizens on any side, and today, it condemns the murder of the worshippers in the synagogue in West Jerusalem," Abbas said at the time. In the same breath he justified the attack, saying "in addition, it condemns all acts of violence regardless of their source, and demands an end to the invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the provocations of the settlers, and the incitement on the part of several Israeli ministers."
 
Leaving absolutely no doubts as to the insincere nature of the condemnation, an MP in Abbas's Fatah movement explained it was made for "diplomacy" and that Abbas "is forced to speak this way to the world." Abbas's PA celebrated the "heroic" attack and explained the condemnation was a lie, going on to warp the attack to be an "Israeli attack."
 
So what does it sound like when Abbas sincerely condemns terror?
 
An example was given on Tuesday when Abbas wrote to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to condemn an attack by an Islamist terrorist, who took a Sydney cafe hostage and ended up murdering two citizens before being killed.
 
Abbas wrote "it is with great anxiety that we learned of the loathsome terror attack in Sidney in which dozens of innocent civilians from among your nation, our friend, are being held (hostage). In the name of the State of Palestine and its people and in my name personally, we condemn such loathsome and criminal acts, and (hereby) express our absolute rejection of them."
 
Continuing, he added "(such acts) are contrary to all human values, conventions and morals, as well as to monotheistic religions. We emphasize to your country, government and nation that we stand beside you in these difficult circumstances, which we hope will be resolved through the liberation of the hostages and their return to their families in full health."

Most Palestinian Arabs Support Recent Terror Wave

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 07:04
Palestinian Arabs Support Terror WaveAn overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs support the recent spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis, an opinion poll released Tuesday finds, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The poll also found that more than half of Palestinian Arabs support a new “intifada” (uprising) against Israel, and that Hamas would win presidential elections if they were held today.
 
Palestinian Arab pollster Khalil Shikaki said the results reflected anger over Israeli statements about Jerusalem, as well as a loss of hope following the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks and Israel's recent war with Hamas in Gaza.
 
Shikaki heads the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which interviewed 1,270 people in the Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and Gaza last week. The poll had an error margin of 3 percentage points.
 
"There is an environment in which violence is becoming a dominant issue," Shikaki told AP. "This seems to be one of the most important driving forces."
 
There has been a spate of attacks in Jerusalem over the past month and a half, at a time of rising tensions over the Temple Mount. The wave of attacks has come to be known as the “silent intifada”.
 
The poll found 86 percent of respondents believe the Al-Aqsa mosque is in “grave danger” from Israel. It said 80 percent supported individual attacks by Arabs who have stabbed Israelis or rammed cars into crowded train stations.
 
Islamists have been regularly clashing with Israeli police on the Temple Mount and escalated a campaign of harassment against Jewish visitors, who are already under severe restrictions due to Muslim pressure. The violence reached a peak with the recent attempted murder of prominent Jewish Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick.
 
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has blamed Israel for the ongoing tensions in Jerusalem.

PA Minister of Religion Incites with Temple Libel

Category: Islam
Created on Monday, 22 December 2014 07:21
Preacher in Al AqsaWhile many have claimed Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is trying to "calm" the string of Arab terrorism plaguing Jerusalem, Abbas's own Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is offered further proof that isn't the case by giving lip service to a libel on official PA TV to incite more violence.
 
In the comments, which were made last Wednesday and translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Ida'is made the old claim that Israel plans to "take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, destroy it and build the alleged Temple."
 
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"All that Israel wants is to Judaize the Holy City, take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, destroy it and build the alleged Temple. Under Jerusalem there is a city of tunnels belonging to Israel. Yesterday, I was told that Israel has an underground market beneath the Jaffa Gate, which draws many (Arab) residents who shop there," Ida'is claimed erroneously.
 
Making the claim all the more perplexing is the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made great efforts to promise Jordan and its Waqf (Islamic trust) that he will not change the discriminatory status quo imposed by the Waqf, by which Jews are forbidden to pray at the holiest site in Judaism - let alone rebuild their Holy Temple.
 
Ida'is's claim adds fuel to a major drive behind the recent wave of Arab riots and terror attacks engulfing the capital, which has been built on accusations that Israel is somehow subverting Muslim access to the Temple Mount - when in fact serial Arab riots have blocked Jewish visits to the site.
 
The claim by the minister of religious affairs appears to have particular appeal, given that a poll in April by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), a member of WIN/Gallup International, found that 90% of Palestinian Arabs described themselves as religious to some extent.
 
Abbas himself, aside from having his party consistently praise terrorist attacks, was revealed by PA Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Judge and Abbas's adviser Mahmoud Al-Habbash on official PA TV last month to be personally inciting religious war known as "ribat."
 
"First of all, allow me to say that we kiss every forehead, every hand and even every foot that carries out ribat at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem...We are behind them. The leadership is with them...we are with them in every movement, in every action and every deed, and we welcome what they are doing at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque," said Al-Habbash.
 
He added "the campaign being waged in Jerusalem today - I think it is the final chapter. The final chapter after which our banners will be raised, with the aid of the one, exalted and omnipotent Allah, over the towers of the muezzin (person who sings the Muslim call to prayer - ed.) of Jerusalem, the churches of Jerusalem, the domes of Jerusalem, and its hills, mountains, alleys and houses."

Deadly Attacks Spur New Wave of Online Palestinian Incitement

Category: Media
Created on Wednesday, 03 December 2014 03:54
Online Palestinian IncitementAs high-profile terrorist attacks escalate in Israel, particularly around the Jerusalem area, a new Palestinian Arab video uploaded to YouTube last week shows the idolization of terrorism and propaganda fueling the current wave of attacks.
 
In the video, one Arab terrorist wrapped in a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag and with a hand grenade strapped on his belt can be seen passing out handguns, knives, swords and hatchets to six other terrorists.
 
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The terrorists then stand in front of the security barrier in either Judea or Samaria and bearing their weapons in a menacing stance in a clear call for attacks, as a threatening song in Arabic is heard in the background with the following lyrics:
 
O my people in the (West) Bank, rise up, I'm coming, I'm coming
 
Strike with a knife, destroy your enemy, be the one to overcome them
 
I the suicide bomber, I won't give enemies quiet, I will rout them
 
My weapon today is my flesh, I will collapse the foundations of the tyrant
 
Hello heroes from the land of Gaza, (home) of men of freedom, we will send to Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
 
Rise to the acts of liberation, O my people, burn your enemy in fire
 
Heroes of Palestine, awake, the time of the volcano has arrived
 
We will chop off the hands of the thief and crush the strongholds of the criminal.
 
The video comes in the midst of a wave of attacks on Jews using many of the various weapons displayed, included guns, knives and hatchets, all of which were used lethally in the brutal attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in Har Nof last month.
 
Just this Monday a female Arab terrorist of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction stabbed a Jew at Gush Etzion Junction in Judea and was shot and critically wounded while trying to flee; reportedly she had been jailed for a year in the past for a stabbing attack at the same exact location.

Boko Haram Attack Kills At Least 45 in Nigeria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 November 2014 11:37
Boko Haram Attack Boko Kills 45At least 45 people were killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, AFP reported on Thursday.
 
The attack happened in the village of Azaya Kura in the Mafa area of Borno state on Wednesday, the caretaker chairman of Mafa local government area, Shettima Lawan said, calling it "wicked and despicable".
 
Village chief Mallam Bulama said, "We counted 45 bodies at the end of the attack."
 
He noted that other residents said more may have died after they fled into the bush.
 
Mafa, which is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east by road from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and the surrounding area has been repeatedly attacked by the Islamist insurgents.
 
On October 26, suspected Boko Haram fighters abducted about 30 boys and girls, some of them as young as 11 and 13, while locals complained of almost daily raids that had forced many to flee.
 
Some 29 people were killed in March this year after flyers were sent warning of an impending attack -- a tactic used by the extremists elsewhere in the region in their quest for a hardline Islamic state.
 
In the latest attack, heavily armed terrorists arrived on motorcycles at about 12:00 pm local time on Wednesday as villagers were at work.
 
"So far, 45 men have been killed and there are others that died in the bushes as a result of bleeding from bullet wounds," said one resident, who gave his name only as Jabiru.
 
Trader Musa Abbani, who fled to Maiduguri, added, "The attackers destroyed more than half of the houses in our village, burnt over 50 motorcycles and four cars before they took away foodstuff and animals."
 
In April, nearly 300 schoolgirls were abducted from a school by Boko Haram in a mass kidnapping which triggered international outcry.
 
According to a presidential committee investigating the abductions there were 395 students at the school at the time. 119 managed to avoid capture, while another 57 escaped in the first few of days of their abduction. 219 girls are still believed to be held by the group; a video released by the Islamists soon after showed them converting to Islam, presumably under duress.
 
In recent years Nigeria has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, most of which have been carried out by Boko Haram. Targets have included sports venues and schools teaching a secular curriculum.
 
Many women and children - including teenage girls - have been taken hostage by the group, which has carried out raids on schools and colleges, seeing them as a symbol of Western culture.

PA Clarifies: 'Abbas is Inciting for Religious War'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 23 November 2014 05:24
Abbas honors dead terrorists ReutersIsrael Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) head Yoram Cohen may have claimed Tuesday after the Har Nof attack that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "isn't inciting terrorism" - but that appraisal is completely wrong according to Abbas's own adviser.
 
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) revealed on Tuesday that PA Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Judge and Abbas's adviser Mahmoud Al-Habbash appeared on official PA TV on November 5, after several attacks and hours before another one in Jerusalem that left two dead, where he clarified that Abbas is indeed inciting terrorism.
 
Al-Habbash used the term "ribat" meaning a religious war or conflict to defend or reconquer land defined as Islamic in describing the recent wave of terror attacks sweeping over Jerusalem, tying the terror to the status of the Temple Mount - the holiest site in Judaism - where the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) continues to wield de facto control and forbid Jewish prayer.
 
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"First of all, allow me to say that we kiss every forehead, every hand and even every foot that carries out ribat at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem...We are behind them. The leadership is with them...we are with them in every movement, in every action and every deed, and we welcome what they are doing at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque," Al-Habbash said.
 
Referring to Abbas's speech in mid October when he called to block Jews from "defiling" the Temple Mount by "all means necessary," Al-Habbash noted "a few days ago, President (Abbas) greeted them, reinforced them and requested more ribat from them."
 
"This statement may have angered the Israelis and the occupation, that the President is inciting the Palestinians from Jerusalem to ribat. Yes, we are inciting the people in Jerusalem to ribat. Ribat means to protect and to hold on to your ground," said Al-Habbash in an admission of incitement.
 
In his speech, Abbas said "we must all carry out ribat" so as to prevent Jews by "any means necessary" from entering the Temple Mount, because "they have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it."
 
PMW documented how a clip of this part of the speech was given heavy rotation on PA TV, and how the call for violence bears a close resemblance to former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's call for the 2000 Second Intifada.

Hamas Leader: We Plan to Carry Out Terror from Judea and Samaria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 22 November 2014 16:29
Mahmoud al-Zahar -ReutersSenior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar declared on Sunday that the terrorist movement is planning to develop its capabilities to carry out terror attacks against Israel from Judea and Samaria, and that it intends to continue to lead the Palestinian camp which advocates for armed struggle until Israel is destroyed.
 
Al-Zahar, who spoke in Gaza, said that the movement views the carrying out of terror attacks from Judea and Samaria as important, and plans to use available means and new methods, such as stabbing and hit-and-run attacks, against Israelis.
 
He further said that in the last war, Hamas’s rockets reached as far as Haifa, and that now the time has come to increase the range and destructive power of the missiles so that they can hit any point in Israel. Al-Zahar added that Hamas’s terror tunnels destroyed Israel’s security strategy as well as its plan to establish a buffer zone along Gaza.
 
He went on to say that there are two different streams in the Palestinian arena. The first one is represented by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations, and it views Israel as an enemy that must be fought against and believes that armed struggle is the only way to “liberate Palestine” and bring about the return of the refugees.
 
The second stream, said Al-Zahar, is Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, which sees Israel as a partner for peace and negotiations and believes that only some of the refugees will return to Israel.
 
The threats of terrorism come just days after Hamas’s “military wing” warned of renewed violence unless Israel allows the reconstruction of Gaza.
 
"We are saying to all sides  -- if the siege on Gaza and the obstacles for reconstruction remain, there will be a new explosion," said Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Why Qatar is Abandoning the Muslim Brotherhood - And Hamas

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 September 2014 19:30
emir-of-qatar-sheik-hamad-bin-khalifa-al-thaniHamas this morning denied claims that its Political Bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, was being expelled from longtime ally Qatar. The initial report came just days after seven leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were expelled from the country, having sought refuge from an Egyptian government crackdown.
 
That move naturally lead to speculation that Qatar might take a similar move against Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, but a Hamas spokesman dismissed reports of Mashaal's impending departure as mere attempts to "sow tension and confusion". For the time being at least, Mashaal looks set to remain in Doha.
 
Yet according to Professor Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) - an expert on political Islam and particularly the Muslim Brotherhood - he may not be there for much longer. 
 
Qatar's decision to give the Muslim Brotherhood the boot "does not bode well at all" for Hamas, he says, and adds that it's only a matter of time before Mashaal follows suit - whether he is expelled outright or simply pressured into moving. Worse still for Hamas, when that break in relations does occur the terrorist group can expect to see its pool of funding shrink considerably.
 
On the surface, Doha's sudden rejection of the Brotherhood is surprising, given that the Qatari government has long been the Islamist movement's top financial sponsor and political supporter. Even Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV is widely seen in the Arab world as a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood - an association which led it to be banned in Sisi's Egypt. 
 
So what lies behind this apparent about-turn?
 
Arab Spring 'counter-revolution'
 
Frisch describes the current crackdown on the Brotherhood across the Middle East as part of a "counter-revolution" by regional powers in reaction to the series of Arab uprisings once optimistically termed the "Arab Spring", likening it to the way in which European powers reacted to the 19th Century French Revolution. Combating the Muslim Brotherhood - "a popular movement which won elections in Egypt, the major Arab state" - is the main test for counter-revolutionary Arab governments, as it is a prime example of the way in which political Islam has ridden the waves of revolutionary fervor in the region to challenge existing regimes.
 
As such, recent years have seen the formation of an anti-Brotherhood alliance including nearly all of the major Arab states in the region, from secular Egypt to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. Such counter-revolutionary efforts throughout history have seen various levels of success, but "in this case it's been very successful so far," he notes, citing the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt and the general decline of the Islamist movement's fortunes since then.
 
Until now only one "recalcitrant actor" refused to join that counter-revolutionary coalition: Qatar.
 
It is crucial to understand why Qatar's ruling family - hardly a band of revolutionary religious zealots - chose to back the Brotherhood in the first place. Small in size and population, the gulf peninsula state has sought to project power and punch well above its weight internationally by utilizing its seemingly endless oil revenue to buy friends and influence. The Brotherhood, which until recently was clearly on the ascent and had (and still has) a presence in most Arab countries, seemed like the perfect proxy for power-projection. Indeed, apart from backing the Egyptian branch, Qatari money helped fund Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebel groups in Syria - although those groups too have recently seen their fortunes wane - and of course Hamas.
 
And then there is Doha's longstanding rivalry with the Saudis in particular. Qatar's attempts to assert itself in the face of its much larger and militarily superior neighbor was already evident in its decision to pursue warm relations with Iran, in defiance of Riyadh and other Arab states. So it came as no surprise that "when the Saudis decided to suppress the Brotherhood, Qatar decided to support them," Frisch says.
 
Nevertheless, growing pressure on Qatar appears to have finally encouraged its relatively new leader, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to jettison the Brotherhood. 
 
While threats of financial sanctions would hardly have ruffled the oil-rich state, Frisch suggests a number of other ways in which Arab states might have applied pressure. Apart from cutting diplomatic relations and starving Qatar of the international influence it craves - as has already begun after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors to Doha - the Saudis and others could have threatened to expose Qatari connections to global terrorism, endangering relations with the west, he speculates.
 
In the face of such pressure, it is not difficult to imagine why al-Thani - who has already previously indicated his desire to scale back from his father's aggressive foreign policy anyway - finally yielded.
 
"Qatar couldn't care less about the Muslim Brotherhood, it means nothing to them... there is nothing sentimental in this," just cold, hard realpolitik, Frisch insists.
 
"They are reassessing the strategic landscape... They realize that, particularly since the recent (ISIS) beheadings, there is a growing international sentiment against Islamism, political Islam, and they don't want to find themselves on the wrong side," he adds.
 
Moreover, the Qataris may themselves be alarmed at the rapid gains made by Islamism in the region. Perhaps noting the Saudi experience of the early 2000's, when the jihadis they themselves nurtured turned on them, al-Thani could understandably fear becoming the next victim of a Frankenstein's monster of his own creation.
 
Down but not out
 
It is clear then that the growing public outcry over Qatar's support for terrorism is having an impact, "but whether this is permanent remains to be seen," Frisch cautions. The regime's "divorce" from the Brotherhood may be genuine, but equally could just be a temporary ruse to allay pressure.
 
What's more, even if its rejection by Qatar is final, "the Muslim Brotherhood is hardly finished."
 
"It has a permanent constituency in the Arab world. You can't simply wipe them out and I don't think anyone believes that."
 
But what about Hamas? While closely linked to the Brotherhood, could Mashaal's group be spared due to its status as champions of the fight against Israel and the "Palestinian cause"?
 
That's not likely, according to Frisch.
 
"I think it's all part of the same thing. If Qatar moves away from supporting the Muslim Brotherhood it's also going to move away from Hamas, for the simple reason that all the Arabs states will say: 'If you want to be pro-Palestinian you can support the Palestinian Authority.' There is an alternative."
 
For both Hamas and the Brotherhood the most likely place to relocate to would be Turkey, he posits. "Turkey is basically the state that is closest to reflecting the Muslim Brotherhood values and ideology."
 
Indeed, Turkey's Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared he would welcome the exiled Muslim Brotherhood leadership with open arms. For Hamas, the move would be perhaps even likelier given that much of its leadership is already based in Turkey - including the notorious Salah Al-Aruri, who Israeli authorities say was involved in the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens back in June.
 
It would of course be a blow to the prestige of the Brotherhood and Hamas in the eyes of their mostly Arab constituency to seek refuge in a non-Arab country such as Turkey - but far more significant would be the financial cost of relocation.
 
"Don't forget that there's one thing Turkey can't do: Turkey can't and won't give big money. They don't have the kind of money the Qataris have," Frisch notes.
 
Moreover, Turkey's banking system and status as a NATO member would make it harder to directly fund Hamas, a proscribed terrorist group in Europe, the US and much of the rest of the western world.
 
That would only add to the financial pressure on Hamas, which is already starved for funds after falling out with its former Iranian sponsors over the Syrian civil war.
 
There has of course been a partial rapprochement with Tehran, but there is no doubt that Hamas, and Mashaal, are looking increasingly isolated - and precisely at a time when funds are desperately needed to recover from an exhausting conflict with Israel.
 
In conclusion, says Frisch, while no killer blow, "this is all very bad news for Hamas, and good news for Israel."

Sisi: International Coalition Should Not Only Fight IS

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 20 September 2014 17:09
Al SisiEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday that any global coalition against terrorism should battle not just “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIS) but other groups as well, Reuters reports.
 
Egyptian security officials have said Islamic State has established contacts with Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the Sinai-based terrorist group which has killed hundreds of security forces since the army toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year.
 
The group has also claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks that targeted the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
 
Sisi reportedly told Kerry said any international coalition to combat terrorism "should be comprehensive and not exclusively target a specific organization or eradicate a certain terrorist hotspot", the presidency said in a statement.
 
"Rather, the coalition should extend to encompass combating terrorism wherever it exists in the Middle East and African regions," the statement said, according to Reuters.
 
Sisi also expressed concerns about foreign fighters in IS and the danger they posed to their home countries because of Western passports that can get them through airports undetected.
 
The statement added that Sisi "warned of the repercussions from the involvement of foreign militants in ongoing regional conflicts."
 
Egypt's foreign minister, backing Washington's call for global action to counter the threat, said earlier in a news conference with Kerry that IS terrorists in Iraq and Syria were forging ties with other extremist groups in the region.
 
Groups that share Islamic State's ideology and "take Islam as a cover" must be dealt with, said Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, according to Reuters.
 
Kerry said earlier on Saturday that Egypt “is on the frontline of the fight against terrorism, particularly when it comes to fighting extremist groups in Sinai.”
 
Kerry visited Egypt to gain support for a broad coalition of countries to fight IS. He had already secured the backing of 10 Arab governments, including Egypt, alongside Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
 
The U.S. top diplomat, however, has rejected the possibility that Iran would be part of the initiative as well, saying on Friday it would be inappropriate for Iran to attend an upcoming meeting in Paris on how to defeat IS.
 
Last week, it was reported that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had authorized his army to coordinate joint military operations with the United States against IS in Iraq.
 
The State Department later clarified it has "no plans" for any military coordination with Iran in the fight against IS.

Eleven Egyptian Policeman Killed in Sinai Bomb Attack

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 September 2014 11:35
Sinai-BlastEleven Egyptian policemen were killed when a roadside bomb blast struck their armored vehicle in the restive Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, security officials said.
 
Islamist terrorists have claimed a string of attacks that have killed scores of policemen and soldiers, mostly in north Sinai, since the army overthrew president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.
 
An officer and 10 conscripts were killed in the attack that took place on a road leading to the town of Rafah bordering Hamas-controlled Gaza. Four conscripts were wounded.
 
Egypt's military has sought to quell terrorism in a massive operation that has killed scores of terrorists from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other groups and netted some of their leaders.
 
The main terror group in the Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has acknowledged the loss of some of its leaders, but has continued to attack both the security forces and Bedouin suspected of collaborating with them.
 
The group, whose name means Partisans of Jerusalem, has also said it was behind deadly bombings of police buildings in the capital and the Nile Delta.
 
It says it wants to implement Islamic law and that it attacks security forces to avenge the killings of pro-Morsi protesters by the military and police following the Islamist president's ouster.
 
At least 1,400 people have died in street violence since Morsi's overthrow, including about 700 of his supporters killed in a single day on August 14, 2013.
 
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has also fired rockets at neighboring Israel, released a video last month claiming responsibility for beheading men it accused of working with the Jewish state.
 
The group adheres to an austere and militant version of Islam shared by Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
 
In another video, a militant thought to be the group's spiritual leader, Abu Osama al-Masri, supplicated God for victory for what he called his "brothers" in the Islamic State organization (IS; formerly known as ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.
 
Terror attacks in Egypt have eased over the past month as the military squeezes their hideouts in the sparsely inhabited peninsula.
 
Despite this, at least three mjor known incidents have been found in the Sinai over the past month. The incidents include clashes between an Egyptian border guard, who was killed, and illegal African immigrants attempting to infiltrate Israel; four decapitated bodies found, likely by IS 'copycats'; and the explosion of yet another gas pipeline between Egypt and Gaza. 
 
In July, at least 12 people, including four children, were killed in north Sinai when militant rockets aimed at security forces misfired in two separate attacks.
 
The security campaign has inflamed tensions in the historically marginalized region, where Bedouin have long complained of discrimination by the central government in Cairo.
 
Despite the military and police operation, the terrorists have persisted in launching sporadic assaults and sometimes even set up impromptu checkpoints to target security personnel.

Iran Arming Terrorists in Judea and Samaria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 30 August 2014 08:52
Fatahs Al-Aqsa Martyrs BrigadeIranian military leaders have openly boasted that they have begun to send weapons to Palestinian Arab terrorists in Judea and Samaria and elsewhere in the region, the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.
 
The report quoted a top Iranian military commander who confirmed that weapon shipments to Judea and Samaria have already begun and that more will be sent to other “Palestinian resistance groups.”
 
“Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of Iran’s volunteer Basij force, told the state-run Fars news agency on Wednesday.
 
The announcement was made after weeks of inflammatory statements from Iranian leaders threatening war on Israel and promising to rearm groups such as Hamas so that they can continue their war on the Jewish state.
 
The military leader also confirmed what has long been suspected by Israeli intelligence agencies: That Iran is responsible for training and arming Hamas with highly advanced rockets that were used to penetrate deep into Israeli territory during the most recent conflict.
 
Much of the arms Hamas deployed “were the products of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Fars reported Naqdi as having boasted.
 
He further said that Iran is arming terrorists in Judea and Samaria as opposed to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip because attacks on Israel from this area will ensure “the annihilation of the Zionist regime.”
 
“The Zionists should know that the next war won’t be confined to the present borders and the Mujahedeen will push them back,” Naqdi declared, according to the Free Beacon.
 
The comments are in addition to ones made by other Iranian officials who recently admitted that Tehran provided Hamas and Islamic Jihad with the technology necessary to make rockets.
 
The head of Islamic Jihad recently claimed that his group has “many more surprises up its sleeve” for Israel, including Iranian-made “Zelzal” missiles, an unguided missile that can carry a payload of up to 600 kg (1,323 pounds) of explosives for a distance of up to 200 kilometers.
 
An Iranian general this week vowed to launch a surprise attack on Israel in retaliation for an Israeli drone that was reportedly shot down near an Iranian nuclear site.
 
Anger at the incident has also prompted Tehran to step up its military support for Palestinian Arab terrorists, according to the Free Beacon.
 
“We will accelerate arming the West Bank and we think that we are entitled to give any response (to the recent aggression) which we deem appropriate,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Aerospace Force, was quoted as saying on Monday.
 
Iran also is considering military force, according to Hajizadeh.

Israel Welcomes EU's Call on Gaza Groups to Disarm

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 August 2014 16:18
eu flag 0Israel’s Foreign Ministry welcomed on Friday the call by the European Union (EU) for terrorist groups in Gaza to disarm.
 
The EU’s call came in a statement in which the bloc offered to take charge of Gaza's border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows.
 
“Israel, like the foreign ministers of the European Union in their statement tonight, places great importance on the Egyptian initiative to achieve a long and steady calm,” said the Foreign Ministry’s statement.
 
“Israel welcomes the ministers’ repeated calls for the terrorist organizations in Gaza to disarm. A commitment to the principle of demilitarization, which will be implemented by an effective monitoring mechanism, will ensure that the situation changes fundamentally,” the statement added.
 
“As always, Israel will continue to maintain a dialogue with the European Union on these important questions,” it concluded.
 
The EU’s statement comes amid continued talks between the sides for a long-term ceasefire. The talks are mediated by Egypt which has reportedly offered an 11-point ceasefire plan to the sides.
 
An Islamic Jihad spokesperson claimed on Friday that a truce deal with Israel will be signed as soon the current five-day ceasefire ends next Monday at midnight.

Egypt's Al-Sisi struggles for democracy: Fights terrorism

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Friday, 18 July 2014 15:57
Fights terrorismSome would say Egypt now leads the world in the war against terror, and Egyptians are relieved to see punishment for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood backers. Concerned with Egypt’s “overall stability” during his June visit to Cairo, John Kerry cautioned President Al-Sisi about the recent death sentences for MB members (theguardian.com, June 22), emphasizing tactical errors in the political environment. State Department officials are concerned by Al-Sisi’s “polarizing” tactics and seem to imply that getting on with the business of democracy has nothing to do with cleaning corruption and hunting down jihadists. If Al-Sisi manages to convert an Islamic state to anywhere near the full experience of human rights and equality it would be a first in this part of the world, and it would require beginning with the hardline he has now taken. 
 
Before Kerry stresses Egypt’s need for the greater political freedoms he might remind himself of the humanitarian guidelines found in the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights -- the document signed by Egypt when it refused to sign the rigorous U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- under which Egypt functions. Democracy won’t materialize overnight especially in the Islamic Middle East where nothing is what it seems and nothing goes in a straight line. Where there is no precedent on how to reverse six decades of Islamist buildup that culminated with rule by jihadists, Al-Sisi is on his own, so to speak. 
 
Ultimately America understands this while it endorses him. The U.S. has handed over the check. Coldness between the U.S. and Egypt – Al-Sisi refused to receive Obama’s phone call after Morsi was removed, U.S. froze aid, the Secretary of State did not attend Al-Sisi’s inauguration – spares Egypt any more U.S. delegations brandishing the moral high ground regarding Egypt’s death penalty for former government henchmen (MB spiritual guide, deputy of MB, former MB prime minister, former MB cultural minister) and savage street gangs – fierce and unsavory agents of the street. 
No one can predict what Al-Sisi will eventually do or become for the democratic effort, but identifying and ridding the country of terror cells as a priority is important. It is viewed as the first step in achieving human rights. No former Egyptian president has genuinely turned against the MB because each was affiliated with the organization in one way or another. As a consequence, the MB was confined to dark dungeons where it produced the treatises for the extended terror enterprises the world endures today. 
If Al-Sisi is truly detached from this network, which he seems to be, he will use his power and knowledge as former head of military secret service to eradicate hardcore cells that paralyze progress – no small matter. MB members and sympathizers make up 20 percent of Egypt’s population. The non-violent Christian Copts make up another 20 percent of Egypt and are the Brotherhood’s strongest ideological opposition. Copts are eager to see the end of Islamic religious governance in general. Along with their Muslim neighbors, Copts have naturally welcomed the collapse of the Morsi-Muslim Brotherhood terror reign. But will Coptic clergy, subjected to centuries of religious overlords, begin to understand what it means to have separation of church and state in order to have freedom of religion? 
 
Coptic Bishop of General Services, Bishop Ioannais, emphasized in a recent web site interview that church leadership must govern all of life’s decisions. To paraphrase him, the bishop pointed toward the church establishment as the only “identity” necessary for citizenship (copts-united.com, July 6). In these remarks, Bishop Ioannais, who was nominated by Pope Shenuda and ran interference through church channels to calm the streets in Egypt and in the American diaspora when Mubarak or government officials paid visits to America, specifies that the church is to be the sole political representation of its adherents. 
 
Back in the fall of 2010, Coptic youths revolted against the regime as well as the control of the church to finally spark Egypt’s uprising which formed the freedom movement of January 2011. Such statements coming from the bishop clash with the will of the majority of Egyptians who are fighting to have a democratic state without control from the mosque or the church. The bishop’s regressive notion appears absurd in the current climate. It is also very dangerous to the stability of the country, potentially creating rivalries between religious authorities. This rivalry and the supremacy of Islam is flourishing in the religious agenda-driven courts of Egypt’s Arab republic.
Over the past two weeks during Al-Sisi’s first month in office, the courts delivered guilty verdicts in three separate cases for three individuals who blasphemed Islam. Today, brainwashed Islamic judges reinforce the status quo of Sadat’s and Mubarak’s Egypt: a Muslim of the 2011 pro-democracy movement converts to Christianity, a Christian schoolteacher allegedly teaches fourth graders that Buddha was greater than Mohammed, and a Christian in his late twenties “likes” a Facebook page critical of Islam – each sentenced to jail for five years, three years, and six months respectively. 
 
This is normal. This represents what the Al-Sisi government must tackle to satisfy his liberal constituency. Still, impatient (and perhaps fearful) Egyptians react hastily, pointing out that these verdicts are already the fault of the new president due to ideology or ineptitude. If Al-Sisi’s attempts at modern reforms water down and his Egypt becomes like Mubarak’s, tying today’s court decisions to Al-Sisi will be seen in retrospect as accurate for either reason. 
 
It is important for Egyptian democracy-seekers to scrutinize Al-Sisi’s every move. Certain actions and inactions should cause alarm but others not. For instance, a red flag should go up if the Salafists’ Al Noor party has not been disbanded within three months of Al Sisi’s installation. Or worse yet, if the illegal Al Noor party is allowed to hold seats in the new parliament. This would not represent pluralism as Western media will surely tout but indicate something very wrong with Al-Sisi who made certain promises to the secular liberals who in turn urged him to power. The Al Noor party is a fringe element representative of the ideology underpinning Egypt’s terror network.  
However, it could be taken as a good sign if Al-Sisi draws out the time needed to prepare the country’s parliamentary elections from the 90 days mandated by the constitution to six months or one year.  Based on what is known about Al-Sisi from past efforts, this could indicate that he continues to clean corruption for preparing new outcomes. 
 
Furthermore, if Al-Sisi proves to be a trustworthy, tireless fighter for the people on the level he has so far, Egyptians will be more than willing to endure Al-Sisi’s recent economic decision. He has removed government subsidies from the daily Ciabatta bread, milk and gasoline and other basic provisions – skyrocketing prices -- requiring more sacrifice from a bankrupt people to move the entire country forward. More than ten days of inflated prices so far have not riled the people to the streets in protest as three days into the same “free trade” attempt ordered by Sadat did in 1977. It’s been suggested that Egyptians now collectively understand (fear) that one false move in the streets could risk a takeover once again by the MB.

Iranian General: U.S. Heads Terrorism in the Region

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 18:34
Iranian General Masoud JazayeriIran’s Deputy Chief of Staff Masoud Jazayeri recently claimed that the United States - encouraged by Israel - is responsible for the terrorism in the Middle East.
 
Jazayeri’s comments were made in a televised interview which aired on Al-Alam TV on June 29. The interview was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
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“Personally, I believe that terrorism is strongly connect to the U.S. administration, as part of its compliance with the demands by the Zionist Entity, in the short, medium, and long terms. Unfortunately, some European countries, and some of America's lackeys in the region, play a role in this,” claimed Jazayeri.
 
“All the evidence shows that the U.S. heads terrorism in the region,” he continued. “We witnessed this in Lebanon, it was very clear with regard to the Gaza Strip, as well as in Afghanistan, and now it can undoubtedly, be seen in Syria. As you know, the war of terrorism here is a proxy war waged by the U.S., and the same holds true for Iraq.”
 
Referring to the situation in Iraq, where jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have taken over several cities and are advancing on Baghdad, Jazayeri declared that Tehran was willing to assist Iraq “should the Iraqi government, or the Iraqi people, feel that the current conditions necessitate it.”
 
“With regard to Syria, we have already declared that we would not allow foreign intervention, and would not allow terrorists connected with foreign intelligence agencies to rule Syria or control it. We will not allow such a thing, which is contrary to the Syrian people's will, which was revealed in the elections held a few weeks ago,” he said.
 
“We will apply the same principle to Iraq. Countries and individuals with unbridled ambitions cannot simply show up and draw a map for the region,” stated Jazayeri.
 
Recent reports indicated that Iran had deployed Revolutionary Guards units to Iraq in order to fight Islamists from the ISIS.
 
The Pentagon subsequently said that Iran has sent "small numbers" of operatives into Iraq, but there is no sign of a large deployment of army units.

UN Chief 'Concerned' Over Israeli Arrests of Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 June 2014 22:07
Ban Ki-moon UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday expressed “solidarity” with the families of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but also hit out at Israel for arresting Hamas terrorists as part of its operation to locate the three teens.
 
In a statement outlining Ban’s conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the day before, the UN chief stressed “the need to avoid an escalation of tensions in the wake of the recent abduction of three Israeli teenagers and the increased violence and mass arrests in the West Bank.”
 
According to the statement, in Saturday’s phone call with Netanyahu, Ban “conveyed his sympathy for the abducted teenagers and deep solidarity with their families” but also “voiced concern over the increased violence, mass arrests, and restrictions on movement in the West Bank.”
 
It was imperative, Ban reportedly told Netanyahu, “not to give in to provocations in a way that seems likely to escalate tensions further.”
 
Ban called both sides to “show restraint and to observe human rights standards and international law.”
 
Netanyahu had told Ban on Saturday that the information in Israel's hands unequivocally indicates that Hamas is responsible for the abduction of the three teenagers, adding that this needs to be expressed in actions on the ground.
 
Netanyahu stressed that the goal of the Israeli security operation in Judea and Samaria is to discover the location of the three abducted youths and that, therefore, it is focusing on Hamas.
 
The conversation between Ban and Netanyahu comes several days after a spokesperson for Ban claimed that the UN has no "concrete evidence" that Eyal Yifrah, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Gilad Sha'ar, 16, were "actually" kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.
 
The comments came after Ban had already condemned the kidnapping, noting particularly that two of the kidnapped Israeli students are minors.
 
Netanyahu’s remarks in the conversation with Ban also come in the wake of a statement by the UN’s Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, who spoke out on Friday against Israel’s operation in Judea and Samaria to locate the three teenagers.
 
While Serry called for the release of the three, he expressed “deep concern” over Israel’s arrest of wanted terrorists.

World Leaders Alarmed over Islamist Takeover of Iraqi City

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 12 June 2014 18:04
Islamist Takeover of Iraqi CityWorld leaders have reacted with alarm to the capture of Iraq's second city by an Al Qaeda offshoot, whose rapidly-expanding control over vasts swathes of Iraq and Syria has seen it morph into a fully-fledged state in all but name.
 
The takeover of Mosul on Tuesday by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, prompted the United States to voice deep concern about the "extremely serious" situation and warn that the jihadist Sunni group poses "a threat to the entire region".  
 
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman also issue a statement, saying the UN chief was "gravely concerned by the serious deteriorating of the security situation in Mosul".
 
ISIS, which also seized an international airport and captured US-made weapons and equipment during its rout of Iraqi security forces, has dealt a spectacular blow to Baghdad's Shia-led government by cementing its effective control over the entirety of the country's western Nineveh Province, and now poses a clear threat across the Middle East.
 
In a desperate attempt to fend off the threat posed by the group - who will now surely be eyeing further territorial gains - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called a state of emergency and has offered to arm local tribes and citizens opposed to ISIS. 
 
Known for its ruthless tactics and suicide bombers, ISIS has already controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah for five months, and is also arguably the most capable force fighting President Bashar al-Assad inside Syria. 
 
ISIS is led by the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and backed by thousands of Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq, many of them Westerners and other foreign jihadists, and it appears to be surpassing Al Qaeda as the world's most dangerous terrorist group.  
 
Western governments fear it could eventually emulate Al Qaeda and strike overseas, but their biggest worry for now is likely the eventual return home of foreign fighters attracted by ISIS and Baghdadi.
 
Among them are men like Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old Frenchman who allegedly carried out a deadly shooting on a Jewish museum in Belgium last month after spending a year fighting with ISIS in Syria.
 
Working towards Islamic emirate
 
The Soufan Group, a New York-based consultancy, estimates that 12,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Syria, including 3,000 from the West.
 
And ISIS appears to have the greatest appeal, with King's College London Professor Peter Neumann estimating around 80 percent of Western fighters in Syria have joined the group.
 
Unlike other groups fighting Assad, ISIS is seen working towards an ideal Islamic emirate that straddles Syria and Iraq. And compared with Al Qaeda's franchise in Syria, Al Nusra Front, it has lower entry barriers.
 
ISIS has also sought to appeal to non-Arabs, recently publishing two English-language magazines, having already released videos in English, or with English subtitles.
 
The jihadist group claims to have had fighters from the Britain, France, Germany and other European countries, as well as the United States, and from the Arab world and the Caucasus.
 
Much of the appeal also stems from Baghdadi himself - the ISIS leader is touted as a battlefield commander and tactician, a crucial distinction compared with Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
"For the last 10 years or more, (Zawahiri) has been holed up in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and hasn't really done very much more than issue a few statements and videos," said Richard Barrett, a former counter-terrorism chief at MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service.
 
"Whereas Baghdadi has done an amazing amount - he has captured cities, he has mobilised huge amounts of people, he is killing ruthlessly throughout Iraq and Syria.
 
"If you were a guy who wanted action, you would go with Baghdadi," Barrett told AFP.
 
Baghdadi apparently joined the insurgency that erupted in Iraq soon after the 2003 US-led invasion.  
 
In October 2005, American forces said they believed they had killed "Abu Dua," one of Baghdadi's known aliases, in a strike on the Iraq-Syria border.  
 
But that appears to have been incorrect, as he took the reins of what was then known as the Islamic State of Iraq, or ISI, in May 2010 after two of its chiefs were killed in a US-Iraqi raid. ISI was Al Qaeda's official branch in that country, but after engaging in the Syrian civil war against Zawahiri's explicit instructions - and then threatening to alienate public support through his extremely brutal tactics - the newly-named ISIS was disowned by the Al Qaeda chief.
 
Since then, details about Baghdadi have slowly trickled out.  
 
Bearded man with a suit and tie
 
In October 2011, the US Treasury designated him as a "terrorist" in a notice that said he was born in the Iraqi city of Samarra in 1971.
 
And earlier this year, Iraq released a picture they said was of Baghdadi, the first from an official source, depicting a balding, bearded man in a suit and tie.
 
At the time Baghdadi took over, his group appeared to be on the ropes, after "the surge" of US forces combined with the shifting allegiances of Sunni tribesmen to deal him a blow.
 
But the group has bounced back, expanding into Syria in 2013.
 
Baghdadi sought to merge with Al-Nusra, which rejected the deal, and the two groups have operated separately since. More recently, the two have engaged in armed clashes against one another, as rebel groups joined forces to eject ISIS from Syria.
 
Rebels accuse ISIS of serving the Syrian regime's agenda; the group has embittered its rivals through its ruthless monopolization of territory, attacking rebel forces and killing several prominent rebel leaders in its quest to establish its Islamic state.
 
Despite losing some territory to Syrian rebels ISIS has consolidated its control over areas still under its control, and Middle East expert Aymenn al-Tamimi observed that previous conservative estimates of the group's strength were clearly vastly underestimating its capabilities.
 
Speaking to the Washington Post, Tamimi noted that ISIS's ability to brush aside American-trained Iraqi security forces in Mosul at the same time as it is fighting on several other fronts in Syria (against rebels, Kurdish militias and Syrian regime forces), proves its manpower is far greater than the 10,000 fighters it is widely reported to posses.
 
And speaking to Arutz Sheva yesterday he said its continued success should sound alarm bells.
 
"If it turns out ISIS have taken exclusive control without sharing with other groups then this is very significant. It means massive expansion of power and resources... so in short, they are just getting stronger and stronger."

Canadian Youth Helped Carry Out Iraq Suicide Bombing

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 05 June 2014 07:41
Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant -ReutersCanadian Salman Ashrafi has been identified as the suicide bomber who participated in an attack in Iraq in November 2013. Some 40 people were killed in the attack. The attack included two vehicles, one of which exploded outside the Iraqi army base in Tarmiyah, and a second one that entered the compound and exploded inside, killing the victims. One of the cars was driven by Ashrafi, Canadian officials said this week.
 
Ashrafi, a resident of Calgary in western Canada, grew up in the city and studied at Canada's Lethbridge University. He graduated with a degree in engineering, and later worked for major energy companies, including Talisman Energy and Exxon. Ashrafi moved to Calgary with his family in the mid-1990s from Saudi Arabia, after his father accepted an academic position at a local university.
 
He apparently underwent a process of radicalization while in school, officials said. Ashrafi joined several campus groups and participated in anti-racism protests. He moved into an apartment with four other Muslim youths, and became friends with them, joining them for social events and praying in the same mosque with them.
 
One of the youths, a Canadian Christian named Damian Clairmont, who had converted to Islam, went to Syria and joined Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic terror group, the Al-Nusra Front. He ws killed in a battle with the Free Syrian Army last year.
 
Following his friend's example, Ashrafi in late 2012, and now in his mid-20s. also went to Syria, but continued on to Iraq. There he joined another Islamist group, called The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The group was behind the November 2013 terror attack in which Ashrafi was killed.
 
In January 2013, two other Canadian youths were killed in Algeria, carrying out attacks for an Islamist group there.  

Nigeria: 40 Dead in Attack on Soccer Stadium

Category: News
Created on Monday, 02 June 2014 08:35
Johannesburg soccer stampedeA bomb attack targeting fans at a soccer match in Nigeria's restive northeast killed at least 40 people on Sunday, a police officer told AFP.
 
"There has been a bomb explosion at a football field this evening and so far more than 40 people have been killed," the officer told the news agency.
 
The policeman's account was confirmed by a nurse at the Mubi General Hospital.
 
Mubi is located in Adamawa state, one of three in the northeast which has been under a state of emergency for more than a year as the military has tried to crush the terrorist group Boko Haram's five-year extremist uprising.
 
The area has been hit by far fewer Boko Haram attacks than other parts of the northeast, but the town was the site of a gruesome October 2012 massacre at a post-secondary technical college.
 
Scores of students were killed in their dorms, including many whose throats were slit.
 
The policeman said the bomb exploded at roughly 6:30 p.m. local time and targeted fans who were trying to leave the field after watching a local club match.
 
It was not immediately clear if players were among the casualties, but the officer and the nurse said it appeared most of the victims were fans.
 
Boko Haram has carried out scores of attacks on targets it says are a product of Western influence, including sports venues and schools teaching a secular curriculum.
 
The conflict has received unprecedented global attention over the last six weeks following the Islamists' mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls.
 
The girls were seized on April 14 from Chibok in Borno state, which shares a border with Adamawa.
 
Concerns over the fate of the girls were heightened after Boko Haram's leader threatened to sell them as slaves. The Al-Qaeda-linked group has publicized a video showing some of the kidnapped girls, claiming they had converted to Islam.
 
Nigeria's highest ranking military officer said last week the country knew the girls’ location, but did not divulge further details.

Leader of Sinai Al-Qaeda-Inspired Group Eliminated

Category: News
Created on Friday, 23 May 2014 10:12
Sinai TerroristThe leader of an Al-Qaeda-inspired group that fired rockets from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula towards the Israeli city of Eilat was killed in a drive-by shooting on Thursday, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
 
Three associates of the leader of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group were killed in the same incident as well, senior Egyptian security officials said.
 
The development deals a heavy blow to the group, which has claimed scores of deadly attacks across Egypt since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July.
 
According to three senior security officials, Shadi el-Manaei, who headed the group, and the three others were found dead after unidentified gunmen sprayed their vehicle with bullets on a road in central Sinai.
 
The officials said that according to the police investigation, 15 men in vehicles and armed with automatic machineguns, attacked el-Manaei's car to avenge the killings of tribesmen by his terror group.
 
Among the attacks claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in recent months was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 
 
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.
 
Egypt's military-backed interim government has blamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group for the violence, outlawing it and calling it a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood denies being involved in the violence.
 
The United States has designated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis a foreign terrorist organization. Egypt just recently charged 200 suspected members of the group with carrying out over 50 terrorist attacks, killing 40 policemen and 15 civilians and conspiring with Hamas.

Al Qaeda Terrorist Convicted on Terror Charges in US Court

Category: News
Created on Monday, 19 May 2014 16:01
Hook-handed cleric Abu Hamza al-MasriReutersAl Qaeda terrorist and radical London-based Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been found guilty on multiple charges of terrorism in a US court, BBC News reports Monday night. 
 
Prosecutors at the court in New York said Hamza - who was tried as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa - assisted the kidnappers of 16 tourists in Yemen in 1998 and attempted to build a terrorist training camp in Oregon.
 
Hamza is also infamous for his activities in London, where prosecutors say he tried to build a foreign base for Islamist activities, using the mosque as a religious cover. 
 
Hamza was convicted on eleven criminal counts, according to the Telegraph - and now faces the possibility of being sent to the "Supermax" maximum-security prison in Colorado, famous for housing other terrorists.
 
The jury, eight women and four men, gave the verdict just blocks away from the September 11, 2001 attacks.
 
A judge will sentence him at a yet-unannounced date. 
 
Flies to a terrorist's web
 
Abu Hamza has gained a measure of infamy in the US and UK over the past decade, making headlines since first being detained in 2004. The 56 year-old British citizen and Egyptian native has been directly linked to several well-known terrorists, according to the Telegraph - including Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a jetliner with a shoe bomb, and Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the masterminds behind the September 11 attacks.
 
Both men are already serving life sentences in "Supermax." 
On Monday, the jury also convicted Hamza of helping to oversee a Yemeni hostage-taking crisis in 1998 that resulted in the deaths of three British tourists and an Australian. Islamic rebels took the hostages to negotiate a prisoner swap with five detained British Muslims, including Hamza's own stepson. 
 
Abu Hamza was detained in the UK in 2004; he was later convicted of inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder in 2006. Six years later, he was extradited to the US after a protracted legal battle. 
The terrorist has consistently denied being involved in terrorism and had pleaded "not guilty" to all charges. 

IDF Eliminates Terrorists Near Syrian Border

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 28 March 2014 20:08
Israel-Syria border archive - ReutersIDF soldiers were able to prevent two terrorists from infiltrating into Israel in the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, on Friday night.
 
According to the IDF, the soldiers identified two suspects tampering with the security fence along the border. It is believed they also tried to place an explosive device. The troops open fired, hitting the two terrorists.
 
"The IDF will continue to protect the border and prevent attacks,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement quoted by Channel 2 News.
 
Friday’s incident comes only one day after the IDF Northern Command announced that it was changing its orders regarding opening fire in areas along the Golan border fence. Anyone from the Syrian side who comes near the fence should expect to be shot, the IDF said.
 
Previously, soldiers would fire in the air to warn off and ward off suspicious figures. As per the new orders, soldiers will immediately open fire in the direction of suspicious looking characters.
 
There have been heightened tensions along the Israel-Syria border in recent weeks. Last week, an explosive device went off on the Golan Heights, as an IDF jeep was passing by.
 
Three soldiers were wounded in the attack and were taken to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. One of them sustained serious injuries in the explosion.
 
The Israel Air Force (IAF) retaliated several hours later, striking several targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights which had aided and abetted the attack against the soldiers.
 
Two weeks ago, also on a Friday night, an explosive device went off as IDF soldiers patrolled near the Lebanese border. No one was injured in that incident, although three soldiers were treated for shock at Ziv Hospital in Tzfat.
 
The following day, Saturday, IDF soldiers identified several individuals approaching the border in a suspected attempt to set another explosive. The soldiers fired on the suspects, who fled.

Sinai Jihadists Promise More Attacks

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 08:26
logoAnsar Bayt al-Maqdis, the Al-Qaeda linked terror group behind the terror attack on a bus carrying Korean tourists in Taba, threatened on Monday that it would carry out more attacks.
 
According to Reuters, the group confirmed that the bus bombing was a suicide attack carried out by one of its men.
 
"Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has successfully sacrificed one of its heroes to detonate the bus headed toward the Zionists, and this comes as part of our economic war against this regime of traitors," the group said in a statement quoted by the news agency.
 
"With God's will we will be watching this treacherous gang of infiltrators and we will target their economic interests in all places in order to paralyze their hands from (hurting) Muslims," the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis statement said.
 
On Sunday, several hours after the attack, the group promised on Twitter that it “will continue to hurt the leaders in Egypt, the economy, the tourism and the gas."
 
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has already claimed a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood.
 
The group had previously claimed a car bombing which killed five people outside Cairo police headquarters last month. The group has in the past also claimed rocket attacks on the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
 
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.
 
Egypt’s interim government says there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and on this basis blacklisted the Brotherhood as a terror organization.
 
The Brotherhood has denied any link to terrorism. On Monday, it condemned the Taba attack and termed it “cowardly”.
 
“The Muslim Brotherhood strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly attack on a tourist bus in the town of Taba. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and all those who have been affected by this terrorist attack,” the group said in a statement on its official English language website.
 
“Muslim Brotherhood deplores all forms of violence and demand that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to justice,” the statement added.

New Saudi Law: 20 Years for Belonging to Terrorist Groups

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 20:22
Saudi security forces -AFPSaudi King Abdullah on Monday decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist groups" and fighting abroad, AFP reported.
 
The new law comes as part of Saudi Arabia’s struggles to deter Islamist Saudis from becoming jihadists.
 
"Taking part in combat outside the kingdom, in any form" will be punished by jail terms of between three and 20 years, said the decree published by state news agency SPA.
 
Similar sentences will be passed on those belonging to "extremist religious and ideological groups, or those classified as terrorist organizations, domestically, regionally and internationally," the decree said, according to AFP.
 
Supporting such groups, adopting their ideology or promoting them "through speech or writing" would also incur prison terms, the decree added.
 
Rights group Amnesty International sharply criticized the new legislation, saying it could be used to suppress peaceful political dissent because the law used an "overly vague definition of terrorism".
 
"The Saudi Arabian authorities are seeking legal cover to entrench their ability to crack down on peaceful dissent and silence human rights defenders," Amnesty's Said Boumedouha said in a statement quoted by AFP.
 
Saudi Arabia set up specialized terrorism courts in 2011 to try dozens of nationals and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda or being involved in a wave of bloody attacks that swept the country from 2003.
 
As part of its efforts to fight terrorism, the kingdom last year opened a luxury rehabilitation center in Riyadh, featuring counseling, spa treatments and exercise for convicted Al-Qaeda terrorists.
 
Scores of Saudis are believed to have joined Islamist extremists fighting in Syria, where Riyadh is a strong backer of the nearly three-year rebellion against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
The Saudis have reportedly been providing the rebel groups that are considered to be moderate with anti-tank missiles.
 
Last week it was reported that the U.S. Congress had approved funding for light arms for the moderate rebel groups in Syria.

Hamas: 'Israel Has Eight Years Left'

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 18 January 2014 15:42
Hamas terrorists in Gaza CityIsrael will be gone in eight years, according to one Hamas official. 
 
Fathi Hamad, Hamas's Interior Minister, claimed in a speech honoring the anniversary of Operation Cast Lead that "Palestine" would replace the Jewish State by 2022. 
 
Hamad noted in his speech that the Palestinian Arabs, according to Islamic prophecies, will enter the Al Aqsa Mosque "in jubilation and victory like they entered it the first time". He said that Israel has failed in previous wars waged against the Palestinians, while the Palestinians are progressing nationally towards the stage where they are capable of conquering Jerusalem. 
 
After the "liberation" of Al-Aqsa Mosque, said Hamad, the "Hittin" system will prevail. That statement refers to he means by which Saladin conquered the Land of Israel against the Crusaders, in particular during the Battle of Hittin/Hattin; namely, by slaughtering or enslaving the non-Muslim forces arrayed against him.
 
"We'll destroy the enemy," Hamad assured his audience, noting that achieving that goal would take "eight years."  Hamad also claimed that the Palestinians are at the stage of readiness for "jihad and martyrdom in the way of Allah".
 
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Hamas has threatened Israel's existence constantly, reiterating in November its oft-stated threats of genocide.  
 
"[You] Zionists, you have no place on the land of Palestine ... we shall expel you from our land and we will fight against you on it [on the land], we will kill you or expel you from it when you are submissive," Hamas parliamentarian Khalil Al-Hayya stated. "The jihad and the martyrdom in the way of Allah are our road and our track which are meant to fulfill our triumphs and fulfill and protect our [Muslim] nation." 

Pakistan Boy Killed Stopping Terrorist Hailed as Hero

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 23:11
Aitzaz HasanA 15-year-old boy in Pakistan is being hailed as a hero, after he tackled a suicide bomber terrorist to stop him from blowing up his school on Monday. The boy was killed defending his fellow students, 2,000 of whom were at the school, as the bomb detonated.
 
The boy, Aitzaz Hasan, was with his friends outside his school in the Hangu region of north-western Pakistan, which has suffered from Muslim sectarian violence and high Al Qaeda and Taliban activity. Aitzaz and his friends spotted the terrorist approach wearing a bomb belt.
 
According to his cousin Mudassar Hassan Bangish, Aitzaz said "I'm going to stop him. He is going to school to kill my friends." Bangish told BBC "he wanted to capture this suicide bomber. He wanted to stop [him]. Meanwhile the suicide bomber blasted himself which resulted in the death of my cousin."
 
The teenager has been the object of much praise over his self-sacrifice, giving up his life despite his friends' attempts to stop him.
 
Aitzaz's father Mujahid Ali praised his son's heroism, saying "my son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children."
 
Some have called for Aitzaz to be given the army's highest honor given award to those who sacrifice their lives for the country; "we the citizens believe that State of Pakistan must award Nishan-i-Haider to Pakistan's brave son shahid (martyr) Aitzaz," wrote journalist Nasim Zehra on her Twitter account Thursday.
 
Former Pakistani ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman also was part of the social media outpouring calling for recognition of the youth's bravery. Rehman tweeted "Hangu's shahid (martyr) Aitzaz Hasan is Pakistan's pride. Give him a medal at least. Another young one with heartstopping courage."
 
Bangish described his cousin as "brave," noting "he always used to say 'I am always ready for my country.'" Bangish also called his cousin "a shahid of his whole nation."
 
Aitzaz is not the first Pakistani youth to pay a cost for opposing terrorism. Malala Yousufzai, a 15-year-old activist who spoke out against the Taliban's ban on schooling for girls, was shot in the head by the terrorist organization, although she survived her wounds.

British Islamist Leader 'Vetted Recruits for Syria Jihad'

Category: Islam
Created on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 13:09
Anjem Choudary left and Omar Bakri Mohammed right - ReutersControversial British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary has been helping to "vet" potential jihadis for combat in Syria, according to a veteran Islamist leader and associate of his.
 
Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, who spent 20 years in the UK before fleeing to Lebanon in 2005, offered an insight into the workings of the "Al Muhajiroun" Islamist network he co-founded along with Choudary, which he claimed spans 16 countries and aims to create a "Global Islamic Caliphate" or empire.
 
Bakri, who is now banned from returning to the UK due to his extremist activities, has repeatedly voiced his support for suicide bombings, and claimed that the deadly bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria was carried out by one of his disciples.
 
Al Muhajiroun has been repeatedly banned by the UK government, only to surface under new names including "Islam4UK", which was also banned in 2010. Bakri is the "Emir" (commander) of the network, and Anjem Choudhary serves as one of his deputies, he said.
 
In an interview with Lebanon's LBCI news network, translated by MEMRI, Bakri explained how he appointed regional "commissioners" in each of the countries where the group operates to coordinate local activities. 
 
"We have sent young men to Kashmir, to Bosnia, to Chechnya, to East Turkestan, to Somalia and even to Palestine," boasted the Lebanese cleric, continuing to claim that four British recruits had taken part in suicide bombings in the past few weeks in Syria alone. His reference to "Palestine" may have been to two British Muslims - Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif - who volunteered as suicide bombers for the Hamas terrorist group in 2003.
 
In April of that year Hanif blew himself up at the Mike's Place beachfront bar in Tel Aviv, killing three people and injuring 55 others. Sharif was found dead on a nearby beach after fleeing the scene when his explosives failed to go off. Hanif had previously been associated with Al Muhajiroun.
 
Choudary is possibly the most notorious of the group's western leaders, having led numerous protests calling for the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) in the UK, as well as praising Islamist terrorism.
 
Provocative protests by him and his followers against British troops serving overseas helped trigger the rise of the English Defense League or EDL - an anti-Islam protest group.
 
Choudary told interviewers that he was proud of young Muslims in Europe who left to fight in Syria, saying that contrary to more conservative estimates there were "thousands" of such volunteers.
 
The revelations will add more scrutiny to Choudary's activities in the UK. Though he has always been careful to avoid falling foul of British terrorism laws, he is blamed for a campaign of radicalization and incitement which anti-extremist groups say has started many young Muslims on an ideological journey to "jihad". Just a few months ago anti-fascist group HOPE Not Hate published an expose on his activities entitled "Gateway to Terror", and warning authorities not to tolerate his "antics".
 
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Most recently, two of his followers - Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale - were jailed for the brutal murder of an off-duty British soldier in London. The two Muslim converts ran over Drummer Lee Rigby with a car before stabbing him and attempting to behead him with knives and a meat cleaver.
 
Islamists associated with Choudhary have also been blamed for extremist "Muslim patrols" seeking to impose Islamic law on parts of London. In early December three Islamist vigilantes were convicted for their part in such a patrol.

Obama To Give PA $440 Million in 2014

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 04 January 2014 15:47
Obama and Chairman AbbasThe US financial aid designated for the Palestinian Authority (PA) is set to grow considerably in 2014 to $440 million, up from $426 million in 2013. The aid aims to bail out the PA, which in June was revealed to owe $4.2 billion in internal and external debt.
 
Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) representative in Washington DC, Maen Erekat, reported the figure, saying the transfer was already agreed upon by Congress, but will be influenced by progress in the peace talks with Israel. The PA recently declared the talks have failed, and threatened diplomatic action against Israel.
 
The financial aid reveals intentions of greater cooperation between the US and the PA.
 
PA leadership has requested that the US renew a joint committee between the US and PA which was active in the 1990s, so as to discuss common political and financial issues, revealed Erekat.
 
A PLO representative told the Judea and Samaria-based Arab Ma'an News Agency that most of the US aid will be used for building and development projects, adding that $70 million will be directly transferred to the PA Finance Ministry.
 
However, the PA has used its foreign-backed funds to reward terrorism. 
 
Reports in November revealed that the PA gave at least $50,000 as a grant to each terrorist released in "gestures" to the peace talks. The released terrorists were also given monthly salaries ranging from 10,000 shekels ($2,800) to 14,000 shekels ($4,000).
 
Additionally, a former PLO official recently acknowledged PA support for the Nazis during World War II.

Egypt Probes Telecoms Company Over Alleged 'Terror Ad'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 15:44
VodafoneEgyptian prosecutors are probing Telecoms giant Vodafone over claims a company advertisement featuring a popular Muppet-like character contains coded messages calling for terrorist attacks, company executives said Thursday, according to AFP.
 
Vodafone Egypt says the advert, featuring the puppet Abla (Aunt) Fahita, is merely a marketing tool and has no hidden message or meaning.
 
The case stems from claims by a political activist who calls himself Ahmed Spider, who said, according to AFP, that next week's Coptic "Christmas day will be a bitter day because of explosions (planned) by anarchists with the help of (ousted president Mohammed) Morsi's supporters."
 
Copts, who make up the majority of Christians in Egypt, celebrate Christmas on January 7.
 
In his remarks to private television channel Tahrir, Spider said the four branches of a cactus used as a Christmas tree in the advert symbolize the four-finger Islamist salute used by Morsi's supporters.
 
Spider, an avid supporter of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, also said an ornamental ball dangling from the tree represents a bomb, while stuffed turkey breasts spoken of in the commercial symbolize "car bombs."
 
On Wednesday, prosecutors summoned Vodafone executives for questioning following the complaint, reported AFP.
 
"Our marketing director went with our lawyer to the prosecution," Noha Saad, head of Vodafone's public relations told the news agency on Thursday.
 
"The prosecution heard their statements in response to the complaint filed by Ahmed Spider. There were no accusations by the prosecution. They are in the phase of gathering information."
 
Speaking on another show broadcast by private television channel CBC, Spider also accused "British intelligence services" of being behind it all.
 
The advert is for an offer under which Vodafone customers can re-activate their old SIM cards.
 
A company statement said "any other explanations are pure fiction and personal opinions of some viewers and Vodafone is not liable for the personal attitudes and interpretations that are far from reality."
 
The latest controversy highlights the tense atmosphere prevailing in Egypt since the military ousted Morsi in July, following mass protests calling him to step down.
 
It also comes amid a volatile security situation, with Egypt shaken by nearly daily terrorist attacks on security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula and an ongoing crackdown on Morsi's supporters.
 
The already tense situation in Egypt has deteriorated in the past week, since the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, sparking new tensions between the military and the Brotherhood's supporters.
 
On Tuesday, Egyptian officials seized the assets of at least 500 Brotherhood leaders. On Monday, three Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested on charges of meeting with Brotherhood officials. 
 
Egypt has also brought Hamas, the terror group which controls Gaza and is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, into the mix, and has accused it of being involved in the bombing of police headquarters in Mansoura last Monday that killed 16.

PA: Diplomat Killed in 'Work Accident,' Not a Terror Attack

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 20:38
Diplomat Killed in LebanonJamal al-Jamal, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the Czech Republic, was not killed in a terror attack, but by what appeared to be a “work accident,” PA Foreign Minister Ri'ad al-Maliki said Thursday. Al-Maliki released details that are currently known about the death of al-Jamal, who died on Wednesday in an explosion that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years, officials said.
 
The mysterious safe apparently did not explode immediately, said al-Maliki, indicating that al-Jamal was not a target of whoever set the explosive. Instead, he said, al-Jamal managed to get the safe open and asked his wife to bring him a pen and paper so he could write down what he saw in the safe. Al-Jamal then put his hand into the safe, setting off the explosive device.
 
The safe had apparently been set to explode if anyone tampered with its contents, al-Maliki said after conferring with Czech police.
 
No one else was hurt in the blast, but a woman was treated for shock after the explosion. Police said that the explosive material was still unidentified. “The diplomat was injured in the explosion and taken to a hospital with serious injuries,” a police spokesperson said. “He died of his wounds in the hospital. We have not yet identified how the explosion took place. An investigation is underway,” the spokesperson said.
 
Al-Maliki said that the safe had been moved from Al-Jamal's former residence to the new one he and his wife were occupying. The safe had apparently been in the ambassador's former home, and movers brought it to the new apartment. Al-Jamal had not been aware of the safe's presence in his former home, al-Maliki said.
 
Czech police will release a full report on the incident on Friday, he added. Al-Jamal's brother lives in Gaza and his sister lives in Ramallah, so it has not been decided where to bury him, although the PA would prefer that it be in Ramallah, he said.

Egypt Calls on Arab Countries to Blacklist the Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:58
Muslim protestsEgypt, which has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, on Monday urged other members of the Arab League to follow suit.
 
AFP reported that Egypt called on Arab League members to enforce a counterterrorism treaty that would block funding and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Cairo also wants the League’s members to hand over wanted Islamists linked to the Brotherhood, to which deposed president Mohammed Morsi belongs, the report said.
 
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that Arab League members that signed the 1998 counterterrorism treaty should enforce it against the Brotherhood.
 
The treaty coordinates anti-terrorism measures between signatories.
 
“The signatories are responsible for implementing the treaty,” Abdelatty told AFP, adding that members would have to stop financing the group and hand over Brotherhood fugitives to Egypt.
 
An Arab League official told the news agency that 18 of the Arab League’s 22 members had ratified the treaty.
 
Egypt’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group came a day after a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
 
The Mansoura attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group which has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, but Egypt’s government has said that there is a link between the Muslim Brotherhood and the ongoing terrorism in the country.
 
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has blasted the decision to declare the organization a “terrorist group” and said the Islamists in Egypt would continue with their near-daily demonstrations despite the blacklist.
 
Morsi and dozens of Brotherhood leaders face trials on various charges, including plotting terror attacks in Egypt.
 
Some of the group’s leaders have fled the country, and its media operation is now based in the United Kingdom.
 
Egypt has launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since the terror designation and has arrested dozens of its members.
 
Also arrested were three Al-Jazeera journalists who are accused of having met with the Muslim Brotherhood.

New Report Reveals Kenya Attackers Likely Escaped Westgate Mall

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:59
Kenya- Terrorists -child Escapes AliveA detailed report by the New York Police Department on the deadly Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi, Kenya, reveals previously unknown details of the attack - including the fact that the four attackers likely escaped alive. The report was compiled from publicly-available material and was released Tuesday.
 
The September attack on a crowded mall killed 67 and wounded 200, in the worst terrorist atrocity to hit the African state since the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, which killed 212 people. 
 
Victims ranged in age from 78 to to just eight years old, and came from 13 different countries. Most casualties likely took place within the first hour of the attack, according to assessments.
 
Although apparently well-planned, the attack itself was carried out with relative ease by just four Al Shabaab terrorists, primarily due to the lack armed security guards at the site and a poorly-coordinated and sometimes thoroughly confused operation by security teams responding to the attack.
 
The Islamist gunmen were armed with folding-stock AK-47 assault rifles and hand-grenades - relatively "light" weapons, which indicated that they did not expect to encounter any effective resistance in the attack. 
 
At one point, after realizing that they were ill-equipped to handle what had initially been reported as an armed robbery, Kenyan police called on the military, who dispatched troops to tackle the terrorists. But a lack of proper coordination, coupled with confusion resulting from many of the police first-responders failing to wear any form of law-enforcement identification marks, resulted in soldiers opening fire on members of the police tactical team, killing one officer and wounding the team commander.
 
Although one of the terrorists was shot in left leg by "an unidentified first-responder" during the first few minutes of the attack, the gunmen strolled largely uninterrupted through the mall, firing at will at innocent bystanders, and talking on their mobile phones to associates in Somalia and possibly Norway, according to reports. At one point, CCTV cameras show the men gathering in a storeroom, apparently relaxed, to eat and pray - with all but one of them putting down their weapons entirely.
 
Contrary to some reports at the time, the terrorists showed little if any interest in taking hostages, and focused instead on killing as many people as possible. In a graphic illustration of the cold-blooded nature of the attack, the report recounts how one of the terrorists' first targets was a parent-children cookery competition.
 
Although at points they attempted to distinguish between Muslim and non-Muslim bystanders - only killing the latter - at other points they simply fired at random. According to the report, most of the casualties were inflicted on terrified shoppers huddling together in an attempt to hide from the terrorists - but when discovered, the mass of unarmed civilians presented an easy target.
 
But most damningly for Kenyan security teams, it appears that despite the presence of scores of police, armed civilians and the military - who eventually fired an anti-tank rocket at the mall - all four terrorists probably escaped alive due to an astonishing failure by security teams to properly cordon-off the area.
 
Apart from demonstrating the lack of preparedness or training by Kenyan security forces to such an incident, the attacks above all illustrate the relative ease with which such mass-casualty attacks can be carried out against soft targets with large concentrations of innocent civilians. 
 
It also served as a high-profile reminder that, despite suffering losses inside Somalia at the hands of African Union troops (including Kenyan forces - the main motive given by Al Shabaab for the attack), the Al Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab is still capable of coordinating large-scale terrorist atrocities outside of the country.
 
The full report can be read here.
 
Last month a Kenyan court charged four Somali men for providing support to the terrorist squad which carried out the attack. None of them are believed to have been among those directly involved in the attack, however.

Iraq Bomb Wave Raises Fears of Sectarian War

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 01 December 2013 09:16
Syrian explosion - ReutersEleven car bombs wrought havoc throughout Iraq on Thursday, leaving at least 31 dead and raising fears of an all-out sectarian war between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.
 
Iraq has suffered ongoing attacks, as just last week a truck bomb killed at least 48 at a fruit and vegetable market in Baghdad. Earlier this month attacks marred the Shi'ite pilgrimage holiday of Ashura and left 41 dead. Estimates put the number killed in Iraq this year at over 6,000.
 
The attacks Thursday hit wide ranging parts of the country and targeted markets, bus stations, a funeral tent, and a top police official's convoy, reports Al Jazeera. The official, Major General Juma al-Dulaimi, who is the police chief of Sunni-majority Salaheddin province, was unharmed by the blast that killed 3 civilians and wounded 2.
 
Salaheddin province was targetted in other attacks as well. A suicide car bombing killed 3 police in the province at a checkpoint. Furthermore rebels set up a fake checkpoint where they gunned down 6, including a senior official in Iraq's identity card department, his wife, 2 police and 2 civilians.
 
Thursday's attacks come just months before a general election. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki reportedly asked for greater intelligence sharing and new weapons systems during a recent trip to Washington, and France and Turkey have likewise offered aid.
 
Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful figure in Iraqi politics, warned "the Iraqi people will disintegrate, its government will disintegrate, and it will be easy for external powers to control the country," according to The Independent.
 
Sadr added "the near future is dark" for Iraq due to sectarian divides.
 
Many of the Shi'ite terrorist groups operating in Iraq are closely aligned with Shi'ite-majority Iran, and at least some of them have been taking part in the civil war in neighboring Syria by sending men to fight on the side of the Assad regime.
 
The founder and leader of one such group, the Al Mukhtar Army, said in an October 23 interview on Iraqi TV that were war to break out between Iran and Iraq, he would side with Iran against his own country. Watheq Al-Battat's statement highlight the Sunni-Shi'ite divide in Iraq.

Canadian ‘child soldier’ appeals Guantanamo conviction

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 09 November 2013 13:19
Toronto-born Omar Khadr was detained by U.S. forces at the age of 15. File -Reuters
 
Canadian “child soldier” Omar Khadr, who had been a Guantanamo prisoner for a decade, appealed his terror conviction on Friday.
Once the U.S. prison camp's youngest inmate, Khadr returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the rest of his term.
 
He filed the appeal with the U.S. Court of Military Commissions Review, his Pentagon and Canadian lawyers said.
 
The motion marked the third time a former Guantanamo prisoner has urged authorities to drop charges of material support for terrorism since late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's former driver Salim Hamdan saw his conviction reversed in October 2012.
 
Toronto-born Khadr was 15 years old when U.S. forces detained him in 2002 and accused him of killing a U.S. soldier by throwing a hand grenade during combat in Afghanistan and for planting landmines intended to kill American soldiers.
 
Khadr’s lawyers said he was abused under U.S. custody and treated as an “adult war criminal.”
 
They said Khadr was terrorized by barking dogs, threatened with rape, sleep-deprived, held in isolation, restrained in stress positions and physically assaulted.
 
“The government's decision to treat Khadr as an adult war criminal, rather than a trafficked child soldier, resulted in unjust and unreasonably punitive conditions of confinement.
 
“Even considering the seriousness of his charges, the punishment inflicted on Khadr since his capture would be atypical for adults in the American justice system, let alone juveniles.”
 
The brief by Samuel Morison and Dennis Edney also described Khadr's alleged abuse in graphic detail, saying the government “manipulated an injured and vulnerable minor to adopt the preconceived story.”
 
In one incident, the lawyers said Khadr was used as a “human mop” to wipe the floor after his hands and feet were tied together behind his back for several hours and he urinated on himself as a consequence.
 
“The guards poured pine solvent on the floor and used Khadr as a human mop, dragging him on his stomach back and forth through the mixture of urine and pine oil,” according to the brief. 
 
“He was returned to his cell and not allowed a change of clothing for two days.”
 
It said that during one three-month period, Khadr was questioned 20-25 times for up to six hours each session, during which he was often sedated and sleep-deprived.
 
The filing came just days after another former Guantanamo prisoner, David Hicks of Australia, appealed his war crimes conviction saying he was coerced and that his terror charges were not legitimate war crimes.
 
“The fact that Khadr and Hicks's guilty pleas came after years of severe abuse and torture by the US military serves as an additional reason why their convictions must now be overturned,” said the Australian's lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
 
“Until the military commissions system is scrapped for good, challenges to convictions will plague the Obama administration for years to come.” 
 
Only seven of the 779 people who passed through Guantanamo since the Cuba site opened in 2002 have been sentenced, most due to a guilty plea.

Tunisia says nine ‘terrorists’ killed, bombs seized

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 19 October 2013 16:38
TunisiaTunisian forces have killed nine “terrorists” and seized two tonnes of explosives in the north of the country where policemen died this week in a jihadist attack, officials said Saturday.
 
The suspected “terrorists” were killed in the Mount Taouyer area of the Beja region, 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Tunis, defense ministry spokesman Taoufik Rahmouni was quoted as saying by the official TAP news agency. 
 
Another spokesman said troops had captured a member of the group during the military operation to hunt down a cell of some 20 suspected jihadists blamed for Thursday's killing of the policemen.
 
The report did not provide further information about the explosives, and the ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.
 
Rahmouni said the operation launched Thursday was still underway on Saturday with the aid of reconnaissance flights, and that artillery strikes had been carried out in the region.
 
Since the 2011 uprising that sparked the Arab Spring, Tunisia has seen a rise in attacks by jihadist groups suppressed by former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. 
 
Some 15 soldiers and police have been killed since December as they track militants allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda along the border with Algeria, but Saturday's operation was the first of its kind in Beja, which is much closer to the capital.
 
The defence ministry has said it lacks the resources to combat militant groups and has struggled to contain them. 
 
On Friday, in a sign of rising frustration over the costly fight against jihadists, protesting security forces drove Prime Minister Ali Larayedh and President Moncef Marzouki away from a memorial service for the policemen killed in Beja.
 
Tunisia has been locked in a political crisis since July, when prominent opposition lawmaker Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead by suspected jihadists, in circumstances similar to the murder of another opposition MP, Chokri Belaid, six months earlier.
 
The opposition accuses the ruling Ennahda party -- a moderate Islamist group that swept the country's first post-revolutionary elections -- of failing to combat the rise in jihadist militancy, and the government has been paralysed for the last three months.
 
The two sides said Saturday they will launch a repeatedly delayed national dialogue on Wednesday in a bid to resolve the dispute.
 
The announcement came two weeks after Ennahda agreed to stand down by late October as part of a roadmap to form a government of independents.
 
The roadmap is also aimed at introducing a new constitution, electoral laws and setting a timetable for fresh parliamentary and presidential elections to end the political deadlock.

‘Most wanted’ terrorist Abu Anas al-Libi captured by U.S. forces

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 October 2013 08:33
wanted list FBI image shows al-Qaeda official Abu Anas al-Libi AFP
 
U.S. forces have arrested Libyan al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi on Saturday, following a military raid in the streets of Tripoli.
 
Libi was allegedly involved in the 1988 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left more than 200 people dead.
 
He was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million reward and has been accused in a U.S. federal court in New York for allegedly playing a key role in the East Africa bombings.
 
“As the result of a U.S. counterterrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Libi is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement according to Agence France-Presse.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said the arrest showed the United States's determination to hunt down those responsible for terrorism.
 
“We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
Kerry also said the raids should make clear that “those members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run, but they can't hide.”
Libya said it had demanded an explanation from Washington Sunday for the “kidnap” of a citizen in an unauthorized commando raid on its territory. 
 
“The Libyan government has been following the reports of the kidnap of one of the Libyan citizens wanted by the authorities in the United States,” a government statement said according to AFP. 
 
“As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the US authorities to demand an explanation.”
 
The government underlined its “desire to see Libyan citizens tried in their own country, whatever the accusations leveled against them.”
 
A source close to Libi told AFP he was captured by armed men in Tripoli as the operation took place in broad daylight in the knowledge of the Libyan government, a U.S. official told CNN.
But Libyan security services denied the claim, saying they were unaware of any kidnapping or arrest of the man, reported AFP.
 
The capture of Libi, who was born under the name Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie puts an end to a 15-year man hut. He will be brought to the U.S. to face trial. 
 
“Capture of Abu Anas al Libi would represent major blow against remnants of al Qaeda's core,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote on Twitter, according to AFP.
 
Libi and other al-Qaeda members have allegedly discussed an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi as early as 1993.
 
He is said to have conducted visual and photographic surveillance of the embassy and allegedly planned in 1994 to attack the mission as well as the building then housing the United States Agency for International Development in the Kenyan capital, along with British, French and Israeli targets.
 
In a separate raid, a U.S. Navy SEAL team seized a senior leader of the al-Shabaab militant group from a seaside villa in Somalia on Saturday in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month, the New York Times quoted U.S. officials as saying.

Egypt Cancels all Flights, Tourism Ties with Iran

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 05 October 2013 13:39
EgyptAir chairman  AFP
 
Egypt has announced the formal cessation of all direct flights and tourism ties with Iran.
 
The announcement came Tuesday, with Egypt stating it has ordered an end to all tourism activities with Iran. These had increased considerably during the yearlong rule of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Whereas deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi tried to improve relations with Iran, seeing it as a natural ally, the new regime is trying to distance itself from Tehran.
 
The Egyptian security establishment is currently fighting a bitter battle against Islamist terrorists who have a grip on some parts of the country. Yesterday three Egyptian policemen were gunned down in Sinai.
 
"The security situation does not currently permit the Ministry of Tourism to support travel to Iran, including flights and trips," said ministry spokeswoman, Rasha Azaiza .
 
In contrast to the Egyptian decision to cancel flights to Iran, Tehran announced Monday that it was seeking to establish direct flights to the US in continued efforts to revitalize US-Iranian ties.
 
The move, along with the general rapprochement Iran is seeking with the US, has raised alarm bells across other Middle Eastern countries.
 
A Saudi journalist close to the Saudi monarchy yesterday criticized the warming of relations between Washington and Tehran, following the phone conversation between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
 
According to the report by Israel's Channel 2, journalist Abdel Rahman Rashed said that if the US did not continue to take a firm attitude against Iran, Middle Eastern countries would have to face a future with an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.
 
In an article published in London's Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, Rashid wrote that the phone call between Obama and Rouhani shocked the Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel as well as other countries.

At Least 42 Killed in Baghdad Car Bomb Attacks

Category: News
Created on Monday, 30 September 2013 17:00
A series of car bombs killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens of others.AFP (File)At least 42 people have been killed and scores wounded in a series of car bomb blasts in Baghdad, as the country faces one of its bloodiest years since 2003.
 
In a familiar pattern, neighborhoods with a Shia Muslim majority were targeted by more than a dozen car bombs. The attacks took place during rush hour, and ripped through markets, car parks and places where laborers were gathered for the start of the working day.
 
The worst attack took place in Sadr City district, where seven people were killed and 75 injured in an attack on a crowded vegetable market.
 
As is often the case in such attacks, no organization has officially claimed responsibility, but the suspicion has already fallen on Al Qaeda-linked Sunni terrorists, who have been blamed for a wave of similar attacks this year. 
 
Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan vowed to defeat the Al Qaeda-linked groups he said were capitalizing on domestic and regional strife to sow violence in Iraq.
 
"Our war with terrorism goes on," he declared in an interview with the Associated Press.
 
At least 5,000 people have been killed in Iraq so far this year, in a campaign of violence not seen since the peek of the conflict between western forces and Iraqi insurgents in 2008.
 
Western forces have since withdrawn from Iraq, but have left behind a country that is far from stable - wallowing in a political stalemate and a widening sectarian chasm between the country's Shia majority and Sunni minority. Under Saddam Hussein's rule, the Sunni minority - which comprises around 40% of the Iraqi population - was empowered at the expense of the Shia majority.
 
Since Saddam's ouster the country's Shia majority has risen to the top of Iraq's political pile, and many Sunnis now complain of discrimination at the hands of authorities. This - along with the raging sectarian conflict in neighboring Syria - has fueled an Al Qaeda resurgence in Iraq. That has meant a serious escalation in sectarian attacks targeting the Shia population, which in turn has provoked a crackdown by security forces on the Sunni areas suspected of harboring the terrorists.
 
But that government crackdown - in spite of many tactical successes in dismantling local Al Qaeda cells - seems to have done little to quell the overall wave of violence. If anything, the perception that authorities are targeting the Sunni population is fanning the flames of resentment, and amplifying Al Qaeda's call to arms.
 
Many have expressed concern that violence could return to the levels seen in 2006 and 2007, when open conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups left tens of thousands of people dead.

PA Arab Youths Call for New Intifada

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 September 2013 06:16
Arab Rioter Hurls StonesA group of Palestinian Authority Arab youth has called on PA Arabs to launch a new wave of armed resistance, or intifada, against Israel.
 
The group, which calls itself the "Coalition of Intifada Youth in Palestine" on Tuesday issued a call for a new intifada to break out on the anniversary of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, which broke out on September 28, 2000.
 
In a pamphlet it distributed, the group stated that the way of the intifada had in the past united “the Palestinian people” and will unite them again.
 
The group called for confrontations with "the occupation forces at all points of friction in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Al-Quds and the land that has been occupied since 1948," starting this Friday, September 27.
 
The pamphlet states, "The young Palestinians are thirsty to remove the injustice that exists in Al-Quds and in the holy sites to Christianity and Islam which are subject to daily Judaization by settlers, to curb the expansion of the settlements in the occupied cities in the West Bank and end the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip.”
 
The organization also claimed in the pamphlet that PA Arab youth would transcend all political differences and unite fully against the "occupation" and called upon PA Arabs to demonstrate this coming Friday in all PA Arab cities.
 
Several weeks ago, Fatah’s armed branch, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, declared war and announced that it would give the “green light” to terrorist attacks targeting Israelis.
 
Tensions have been high in Judea and Samaria lately, particularly over the past several days with the murders of two IDF soldiers in two separate attacks.
 
On Sunday, 20-year-old Gabriel (Gal) Kobi of Tirat Hacarmel was murdered by terrorists in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood of Hevron, near the Machpelah Cave. Kobi was shot by the terrorists and later died in the hospital.
 
Last weekend, IDF soldier Tomer Hazan was kidnapped and murdered by a PA Arab terrorist with whom he had worked in a restaurant in Bat Yam. The terrorists lured Hazan to Samaria, where he murdered him and disposed of his body.

Israeli Forces Join Efforts to End Kenya Siege

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 10:42
Women and children run for cover - ReutersIsrael security forces have joined their Kenyan counterparts in the fight to rescue hostages captured by Islamist terrorists at a Nairobi mall.
 
"The Israelis have just entered and they are rescuing the hostages and the injured," a security source said on condition he not be named.
 
An Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the reports.
 
"We don't make a habit of commenting on security cooperation of any kind that there may or may not be," Paul Hirschson told AFP.
 
Israel and Kenya have a long history of friendly ties and close security and intelligence cooperation.
 
The latest development comes as the death toll in a bloody shooting spree by Islamist terrorists at a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi continues to rise, as several gunman have barricaded themselves in the mall, along with a number of hostages.
 
Officials in the east African country have raised the official death toll to 59, many of them children and the elderly, after gunmen from the Al Qaeda-linked Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab embarked on a bloody rampage through the luxurious Westgate mall in Nairobi. A further 175 people are believed to have been injured in the attack.
 
According to numerous media and official reports, as of this morning between 10-15 gunmen remain inside the mall, along with approximately 30 hostages, and were holding out against Kenyan security forces.
 
Witnesses described how the terrorists opened fire with assault weapons, mowing down men, women, children and the elderly.
 
The attack was not entirely "indiscriminate," however: multiple eyewitnesses described how victims were "vetted" by the terrorists, who made them recite Muslim prayers to ascertain their religion. Those who were able to prove that they were Muslim were allowed to go free, while non-Muslims were deliberately murdered in cold blood.
 
On its official "Twitter" account, Al Shabaab confirmed that Muslims had been "escorted" to safety, whilst "infidels" were targeted for death, and claimed to be holding at least 36 hostages.
 
One man described to how the terrorists methodically selected their victims.
 
"They came and said: 'If you are Muslim, stand up. We've come to rescue you'," Elijah Lamau told the BBC.
 
He said that the Muslims left with their hands up, following which the terrorists gunned down two people.
 
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had said in a televised address to the nation late Saturday that he had lost family members in the attack.
 
"Let me make it clear. We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get them. We shall punish them for this heinous crime," he vowed.
 
The Westgate mall is popular with wealthy Kenyans and expatriates, and was packed with around 1,000 shoppers when the gunmen marched in at midday Saturday, tossed grenades and sprayed automatic gunfire at terrified people. The mall was targeted on an especially busy day, as the weekend rush reached its height with Kenyans and foreign tourists visiting its shops, restaurants and cinemas.
 
Security agencies have long feared that the shopping center could be targeted by Al Qaeda-linked groups.    
 
The attack is the worst in Nairobi since an Al-Qaeda bombing at the US embassy killed more than 200 people in 1998.    
 
After a day and night of sometimes ferocious gun battles, security sources said police and soldiers had finally "pinned down" the gunmen. The Kenyan Red Cross appealed for blood donations and authorities urged residents to steer clear of the area.    
 
"We are still battling with the attackers and our forces have managed to maroon the attackers on one of the floors," said Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna. "We hope to bring this to an end today."

At Least 60 Dead in Weekend Attack in Iraq

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 06:42
iraq-car-bombAt least 60 people were killed at a funeral in the mainly Shiite Muslim Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on the weekend.
 
The BBC reported that a tent where mourners were gathered was hit by two explosions, one of them a suicide car bomb.
 
A third explosion followed as police, ambulances and firefighters gathered at the scene, according to one report.
 
Officials said that women and children were among the dead and that more than 120 people had been injured.
 
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which happened early on Saturday evening.
 
The explosions reportedly set the tents and nearby cars on fire, with eyewitnesses describing the scene as an "inferno," according to the BBC.
 
"I saw several charred bodies on the ground and tents on fire and also burning cars. Wounded people were screaming in pain,'' one of the mourners, Sheikh Sattar al-Fartousi, said.
 
Medics in nearby hospitals confirmed the scale of the casualties.
 
Also on Saturday, eight people were killed in a separate bomb attack in a street in the nearby neighborhood of Ur, reported the BBC.
 
As well, at least five police officers were killed in an assault on a police station in Baiji, north of Baghdad.
 
Sectarian violence has surged across Iraq in recent months, reaching its highest level since 2008.
 
The violence was triggered in April by an army raid on a Sunni Muslim anti-government protest camp near Hawija, also north of Baghdad.
 
The country has also seen a spill-over of violence from the conflict in Syria, which has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones.
 
In recent weeks, Iraqi security forces have reportedly arrested hundreds of alleged al-Qaeda members in and around Baghdad as part of a campaign which the Shiite-led government is calling "Revenge for the martyrs".
 
More than 5,000 people have died so far this year in Iraq, 800 of them in August alone, according to the United Nations.

Egyptian General killed as Army Retakes Islamist-Held Town

Category: News
Created on Friday, 20 September 2013 09:14
Nabil FaragAn Egyptian Police general has been killed in a fiercely fought gun battle on Friday which saw the military regain control of an Islamist-held town.
 
Kerdassa, situated to the west of the Capital Cairo, had been controlled by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
 
The raid on the town follows the killing of 11 police officers in Kerdassa last month.  Police said that 55 suspected terrorists were arrested in today's raid. 
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According to local reports, General Nabeel Farrag was killed when gunmen opened fire from the rooftops of schools and mosques they had seized.Forces were then drawn into a gunfight within a built up area of the town.
 
In July, the Head of the Army General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued then President Mohamed Morsi with an ultimatum to restore calm to Egypt after a year of civil unrest between supporters and opponents of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. After failing to act, Morsi was deposed by the military on 3 July.
 
In the months since Morsi's overthrow, at least 1,000 people, including around 100 police officers have been killed in unrest, as the army continues its mission to reign in on the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Ahead of the raid on Kerdassa, thousands of people had attended a pro-Morsi rally in the town on Wednesday night amid shouts of "Down with Sisi", referring to the head of the army.
 
The raid on Kerdassa follows on the heels of the army's assault on Dalga, 190 miles to the south of Cairo last week.
 
Dalga is home to some 20,000 Coptic Christians, who had made repeated calls to the army regarding violent attacks by Muslim Bortherhood supporters.
 
After previous attempts to take Dalga was thwarted by a strong armed resistance, last week's operation, supported by army attack helicopters, was relatively straightforward.

Egypt's Christians Attack Western Media Coverage

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 18 August 2013 20:01
Church in fireThe Egyptian Coptic church has released a statement backing the country's military-backed government, and slamming the western media for its coverage of the violence in Egypt, which has killed more than 600 people.
 
Referring to perceived sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood by western media outlets, the statement, translated by Al Arabiya, called on the West to "read objectively the facts of events, and not give international and political cover to these terrorists and bloody groups."
 
The church reaffirmed its support for the Egyptian authorities, following the ouster of Muhammed Morsi.
 
“The Egyptian Coptic Church is following the unfortunate developments on the ground of our country Egypt and emphasizes its strong stance with the Egyptian police, armed forces and other organizations of the Egyptian people in the face of groups of armed violence and black terrorism.
 
“While we appreciate the sincere and friendly position that understands the nature of the developments, we strongly deplore the media fallacies that are prevalent in Western countries,” the statement read.
 
Egypt's Coptic Christian community makes up around 10% of the country's  90 million-strong population. Copts are indigenous to Egypt, their presence predating the Arab conquests of northern Africa. Egyptian Copts have long complained of widespread discrimination, persecution and violence by both the Egyptian state and Islamist non-state actors.
 
Anti-Christian violence has seriously escalated in the aftermath of the removal of Islamist Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, whose supporters have been accused of scapegoating the Coptic community, after its leader, Pope Tawadros II, came out in support of the move by the army to oust Morsi.
 
A number of Christians have been murdered, and scores of churches and Christian-owned houses and businesses have been torched, ransacked and vandalized in the weeks since Morsi's removal.
 
At least two more Christians have been murdered since Wednesday, when Egyptian security forces forcibly broke-up protest camps in the capital Cairo. Two Christian schools were also attacked, in addition to churches and other Christian establishment.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, whose members have been accused of playing a major part in anti-Christian attacks, has denied that it has anything to do with them, and has issued a condemnation of such violence on its official website.
 
The post was taken from the Facebook page of Dr. Murad Ali, who was identified as "Media Spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party" (FJP). The FJP is the party which successfully fielded Morsi as a presidential candidate.
 
The statement addressed "false Twitter and Facebook accounts in the name of the Freedom and Justice Party publishing justifications for the burning of churches," saying:
 
"These are attempts to ignite sectarian divisions to distract everyone from the real issue. Our stance is clear, we have announced it, and we reiterate:
 
“Based on the true nature of our religion, and pursuant to our party’s indivisible principles, we strongly condemn any attack, even verbal, against Copts, their churches or their property."
 
The statement went on to condemn "violence and vandalism" as harmful to the Brotherhood's reputation, insisting that the protest movement against Morsi's removal was "peaceful."

Egyptian Forces Kill Ten as Sinai Offensive Continues

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 18 July 2013 16:24
Egyptian military in Sinai Egyptian military forces have killed at least 10 "takfiris" - another term for Sunni jihadis - in the past 48 hours in the Sinai Desert, according to state media.
 
The latest deaths come nearly two weeks into an operation aimed at clearing the region of Islamist terror groups, who have escalated their attacks against both military and civilian targets since the ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Muhammed Morsi.
 
On Sunday, a Muslim Brotherhood group claimed responsibility for an attack on an IDF post on the Israel-Egypt border. No one was injured in that attack, but it has raised concerns over a potential spillover into Israel.
 
The state-run MENA news agency reported that the latest clashes between the Egyptian army and Islamist fighters occurred in the northern part of the Sinai Desert.
 
In a separate incident, military officials claimed that a group of "militants illegally trespassing from the Gaza Strip" were "tracked down," although it did not specify whether there were any casualties in that incident.
 
Since the start of the current Sinai offensive, the Egyptian army has also sought to crack down on the activities of Gaza-based terror groups, closing many of the tunnels which are used to smuggle weapons in and out of the Hamas-run territory. Last week, Egyptian forces claimed to have killed dozens of Hamas fighters in the area. 
 
Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood group with which Morsi was aligned, has been accused by the military of supporting efforts to destabilize the country following his removal.

Egypt: 7 Die in Overnight Clashes

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 14:44
 
Overnight Clashes 
Seven people have died and scores have been left wounded after a night of violence on the streets of Cairo.
 
The clashes came as supporters of the deposed Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi, continue to oppose what they are calling a "military coup" by the military against his rule.
 
Morsi was deposed on 3rd July after refusing protesters' demands for a referendum on his continued rule.
 
According to the BBC, Monday night's clashes broke out after Morsi's supporters blocked the "6 October bridge", which is a major arterial route. 
 
In response, police fired tear gas, and the demonstrators responded by throwing stones. The violence then spread to the Giza district of the capital, where at least two people were killed, according to the head of Egypt's emergency services, who said that security personnel were among the casualties
 
Egyptian state media reported that 261 people were injured in the clashes.
 
This latest violence comes only a week after more than 50 people were killed in clashes outside the compound where the deposed president is allegedly being held by security forces.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood denounced that incident as a "massacre" by the security forces against "unarmed protesters", but events surrounding that incident remain unclear.
 
Last night's clashes will also be seen in the light of increasingly belligerent rhetoric by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.
 
After last weeks' death, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie called for an "uprising", and this week informed his followers via social media that they should "suspend" their Ramadan fast in preparation for a "jihad."

Did Obama Administration Meet With Hamas Officials?

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 13 July 2013 20:03
Barack Hussein Obama  The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed alarm at reports that U.S. officials have conducted "direct meetings" with Hamas leaders and has called upon the Obama Administration to deny these reports if they are untrue.
 
The United States, Europe and Israel all classify the Hamas movement, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since June 2007, as a terrorist organization.
 
According to a Palestinian news outlet, the Hamas deputy foreign minister, Ghazi Hamad, said that senior American representatives, together with European ambassadors, held meetings with Hamas about two weeks ago in which they discussed removing Hamas from the list of designated terrorist organizations, but that "these contacts have not yet reached the level of decision-makers."
 
Hamad claimed, "These meetings which included U.S. officials close to the White House, were held away from the mass media and aimed at removing Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations."
 
"If these reports are true, than the Obama Administration has dishonored its commitment to maintain no contacts with Hamas and to adhere to the Quartet conditions that there can be no recognition of Hamas until and unless it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and abides by and implements all previous Israeli/Palestinian agreements,” said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein.
 
"The idea that the U.S. should deal with Hamas if it meets the three conditions is based on the extraordinarily naïve or malign idea that a bloodthirsty group of terrorists can become responsible and acceptable peace partners provided that they utter the right words on a few occasions when the cameras are rolling.
 
"Does the Obama Administration not recall that we went through the same charade with Yasser Arafat years ago? Arafat did verbally renounce terrorism, accept Israel's right to exist and even signed several agreements to that effect, yet he immediately continued terrorism, repeatedly called for Israel's destruction in Arabic and continued incitement,” Klein affirmed.
 
"Words and signatures mean nothing when they come from murderers,” he said. “Surely if such people are capable of murdering they are capable of lying.”
 
"The Obama Administration should be insisting at the very minimum on the rescission of the Hamas Charter; the dismantling of its terror squads and bomb-making factories; the complete overhaul of its education system and media broadcasting to remove all incitement to hatred and murder against Jews, Judaism and Israel; and strict adherence to such changes for at least one year before granting it any form of recognition,” he said.
 
"Talking to Hamas before it has done anything to satisfy even the flawed and meager conditions we have demanded of it will only result in putting off the day when Palestinians genuinely reform their society to purge it of jihadist and violent, rejectionist elements.
 
"If these reports are untrue, President Obama should say so without delay,” Klein concluded.

Morsi Supporters Threaten Violence, Civil War

Category: News
Created on Monday, 08 July 2013 10:20
Muslim Brotherhood supporters 8th JulyThis week has been a particularly brutal one for the people of Egypt. Following days of escalating bloodshed and spiralling unrest, supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi are accusing the military - which orchestrated his removal - of a massacre. At least 40 people were killed when troops opened fire on demonstrators near the Presidential Guards Club, in the eastern Nasr City district of the capital, where Morsi is believed to be in military custody.
 
Mutual recriminations followed, as demonstrators and some bystanders accused the army of firing at unarmed protesters, whilst the military accused "armed terrorists" of opening fire first. Others reported seeing plain-clothed "thugs" firing into the crowd.
 
Whatever the truth, a recently-surfaced video, publicised by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), sheds light on the seething anger and sense of betrayal felt by supporters of Mohammed Morsi - and the degree to which they are willing to fight, violently if necessary, to reinstate Islamist rule in Egypt. 
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In the video, one man threatens Egyptian Defence Minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi with suicide bombings. His words will do little to quiet the fears - both inside and outside of Egypt - that the current unrest could spawn further Islamist-inspired violence and terrorism, both in Egypt and potentially the wider region:
 
"You have created a new Taliban and a new Al Qaeda in Egypt... Restore things to what they were, or these masses will blow Egypt up..."
 
Then, an ultimatum which resonates particularly strongly in light of today's events: "Either you kill all these people, or they will blow up in your face."
 
In another clip, a female demonstrator issues a chilling warning to Egypt's Christian population, which largely supported Morsi's ouster.
 
"I just want to say one thing to the Christians: We are your neighbours. We will set you on fire."
 
Not long after the President was removed, Coptic Pope Tawdross II came out openly in support of the military, most likely hoping that its staunchly secular leadership would provide a less hostile environment for his community. The subsequent spike in anti-Christian violence will leave many Copts hoping that was not a tragic miscalculation.
 
Whether this bellicose rhetoric will translate into a full-scale armed uprising - as the Muslim Brotherhood has now called for - remains to be seen. But one thing seems abundantly clear: in the words of one angry protester: "We won’t back down."

Fears for Egypt's Christians following Murder, Arson Attacks

Category: News
Created on Monday, 08 July 2013 09:19
Islamists rally in support of Morsi 5th July - ReutersFears have been raised over the plight of Egypt's Coptic Christian community, after a series of attacks - including the assassination of a priest and an arson attack against a church - following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President, Mohammed Morsi.
 
According to Al Masri al-Youm, 39 year-old Mena Aboud Sharoben was gunned down in the coastal city of Arish on Saturday, by unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle. Sharoben was a local Coptic priest, and his murder was one of several attacks by suspected Islamist terrorists over the past few days, who also targeted at least three military checkpoints and El Arish Internation Airport in one of Egypt's most lawless regions.
 
Those attacks prompted a senior Egyptian military official to announce an impending major military operation in the Sinai Desert, aimed at rooting-out Islamist insurgents, who have also targeted oil-pipelines and police installations.
 
The report by Al Masri al-Youm further cited the Maspero Youth Union as condemning what they described as "Muslim Brotherhood attacks on churches."
According to the statement, "The president's supporters attacked [the] churches in Luxor, Qena, Minya, Towa, Sharm el-Sheikh and Marsa Matrouh. We say to them, tear down all the churches, it is not going to stop us from rebuilding Egypt... We will use the stones of our churches to build our homeland." 
 
On Friday, four Copts and one Muslim were killed in sectarian clashes in the village of Naga Hassan, during which 23 Christian-owned homes were set on fire, according to Egypt Independent - though in that case it was unclear whether the clashes were the result of a sectarian or personal dispute.
 
Coptic Christians are an indigenous community which makes up around 10% of Egypt's population, and which has long complained of systematic discrimination and violent attacks by the authorities and Islamist terrorists respectively. The Coptic leader, Pope Tawadros II, was fiercely criticized by the Muslim Brotherhood after coming out in support of the military's decision to oust President Mohammed Morsi. 
 
Apart from the wider security implications of escalating lawlessness and spiraling violence between secular and Islamist forces, the attacks raise concerns for the country's Coptic Christian community, which has previously been on the receiving end of violence by Islamist extremists. Coptic groups fear that their community could be scapegoated by Islamists bitter at Morsi's removal by the secular military establishment.
 
But the attacks also compound growing concerns over the plight of the Middle East's various Christian sects, as communities from Iran, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere face mounting threats from Islamists both in government and the opposition. A report last year by Civitas, a British think-tank, warned that Christianity in the Middle East was facing "extinction" due to mounting attacks and persecution.
 
This latest round of attacks will do little to assuage those fears.

Renewed Violence in Egypt

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 04 July 2013 15:28
Renewed Violence in EgyptViolence in Egypt has been renewed, some 24 hours after elected president Mohamed Morsi was deposed by the military.
 
Egyptian media reported that there were clashes Thursday afternoon between supporters of Morsi and security forces at A-Nahda, near Cairo University.
 
Several protesters climbed atop military armored personnel carriers and called out slogans against the military council that deposed Morsi. Security forces fired in the air to disperse the crowd. One person was arrested on suspicion that he held explosives.
 
A-Nahda Square was a focus of opposition to the rebellion against Morsi. That is why police and military are making a concentrated effort to prevent Muslim Brtherhood supporters from reaching the place.
 
Sky News in Arabic reported that extremist Salafist leader Hazem Abu Ismail, whose candidacy for Egypt's presidency was disqualified in the past, has been arrested by the military. The security forces have been carrying out a wave of arrests of senior Muslim Brotherhood figures.
 
One of those arrested, reportedly, is Muhamd Badi, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood. Senior officials in the security establishment said he was arrested on suspicion of incitement to violence at a coastal town and taken to Cairo by helicopter.

Egypt's New Interim President Mansour Sworn Into Office

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 04 July 2013 07:01
Adly Mansour
Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was officially sworn into office Thursday as the new transitional President of Egypt.
 
First, however, he was sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
 
The chief justice, chosen by Egyptian Army General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to replace ousted President Mohamed Morsi, had not yet been sworn in as chief justice.
 
Minutes before the ceremony, Egyptian air force pilots staged several fly-bys in the skies over Cairo.
 
Fourteen jets in a V-formation streaked across the skies over downtown Cairo minutes before Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was sworn in as interim president of Egypt.
 
Nine jets followed, flying at a low altitude and leaving a trail of red, white and black smoke behind them to reflect the colors of the national flag.
 
In a news briefing following the ceremony, the new president told journalists that Muslim Brotherhood members "part of the people" and welcome to help "build the nation," the web site of the state-run Al Ahram daily newspaper reported.
 
"The Muslim Brotherhood group is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation, as nobody will be excluded," Mansour said. "If they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed."

Egypt's New Interim President Mansour Sworn Into Office

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 04 July 2013 07:01
Adly Mansour
Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was officially sworn into office Thursday as the new transitional President of Egypt.
 
First, however, he was sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
 
The chief justice, chosen by Egyptian Army General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to replace ousted President Mohamed Morsi, had not yet been sworn in as chief justice.
 
Minutes before the ceremony, Egyptian air force pilots staged several fly-bys in the skies over Cairo.
 
Fourteen jets in a V-formation streaked across the skies over downtown Cairo minutes before Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was sworn in as interim president of Egypt.
 
Nine jets followed, flying at a low altitude and leaving a trail of red, white and black smoke behind them to reflect the colors of the national flag.
 
In a news briefing following the ceremony, the new president told journalists that Muslim Brotherhood members "part of the people" and welcome to help "build the nation," the web site of the state-run Al Ahram daily newspaper reported.
 
"The Muslim Brotherhood group is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation, as nobody will be excluded," Mansour said. "If they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed."

Egyptian Program to Spread 'Blood-Curdling Genocidal Fantasies'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 20 June 2013 20:33
anti-Semitic television Ramadan series
 
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Obama Administration to publicly pressure the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-backed regime of Mohammed Morsi to cancel the broadcast of a viciously anti-Semitic television series that is due to air in July during Ramadan and to cancel its distribution in the Arab world.
 
The television series, Khayber, celebrates the victory of Muhammad’s Muslim army over the Jewish tribes living in northern Arabia in the battle of Khaybar in 629 C.E. According to most Islamic sources, the Khayber story ends with the slaughter of thousands of Jewish men, women and children. The vanquished Jews were forced thereafter to hand over half their produce to the Muslims until later expelled by the Caliph Umar.
 
The ZOA has noted that Egypt is a signatory of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits the “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” and should be held accountable for the broadcasting and dissemination of this series.
 
The series is explicitly intended to demonize the Jews as an alien race hostile to Muslims and the welfare of the world. According to the series’ script-writer, Yusri Al-Jindy, “The goal of the series is to expose the naked truth about the Jews and stress that they cannot be trusted …I think it is time to expose them [the Jews] even in America itself. I am confident that the United States will realize that it paid a high price for supporting them.” Anticipating a charge of anti-Semitism Al-Jindy said that, “The charge of anti-Semitism is an out­dated trend, and in fact it is a lie that Jews use against any­one who tries to expose their naked truth and their conspiracies.” Al-Jindy is also the author of The Wandering Jew, which was banned in Egypt in the 1980s.
 
Khayber is produced by the Qatari company Echo Media Qatar which, in 2010, produced a television series, The Collapse of the Caliphate, which blamed Jews for conspiring with the enemies of the Ottoman Sultan to dismember the Caliphate, the Islamic empire administered for several centuries by the Ottomans. A report in the Qatari newspaper Al-Raya states that the series focuses “on the social, economic and religious characteristics of the Jews including politics and conspiracies and how they dominate and control tribes.” A report on Al Jazeera this week described Khayber as “the most important feature of the Islamic-Jewish fight. Muslims always raise its name in their rallies against Israel because it constitutes a memory of a harsh defeat for the Jews who lived in the Arabian Peninsula during the time of prophet.”
 
The promotion of anti-Semitic themes in the Egyptian media has been a long-standing and ominous problem. In 2002-2003, Egyptian television produced a 40-part series, Rider Without a Horse, dramatizing the classic anti-Semitic tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The program depicts Jews murdering a gentile child to use his blood in making of Passover matzah.
 
The dissemination of poisonous anti-Semitism in a Middle East already awash in it is a serious development that cannot simply be ignored,” said ZOA National President Morton Klein.
 
“This vicious and venomous Egyptian TV series calls for practical action. We call upon the Obama Administration to hold the Morsi regime to the assurances it offered when it entered office that it will uphold the ways of peace and not act inconsistently with its obligations to maintain peace in the region.
 
“To broadcast and disseminate blood-curdling genocidal fantasies of Muslims slaughtering Jews is obviously and blatantly anti-Semitic and anti-peace,” Klein said. “It is clear: Egypt must be held accountable, as must any country that broadcasts it.
 
“In view of President Morsi’s own ugly record of ugly anti-Semitism, as outlined above, it will clearly require firm U.S. and international pressure on Cairo to ban the series. If the U.S. fails to demand these things, it will only show that the production of the most obscene hatred carries no U.S. penalty,” added Klein.

Hizbullah's Deputy Chief Warns EU Against Blacklist

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 25 May 2013 14:28
HezbollahThe deputy chief of the Hizbullah organization warned the European Union on Friday that it would be making a "big mistake" if it labeled the Lebanese Shiite group as a terrorist organization.
 
Sheikh Naim Qassem told the Al Mayadeen television network that such threats "do not concern" or worry the group. He did not elaborate.
 
The EU has so far been reluctant to add Hizbullah to its list of terrorist organizations, but Britain this week filed a formal request to blacklist what is called the “military wing” of the Lebanon-based group.
 
The request will be discussed at closed-door talks June 4 of a committee overseeing the EU list of people and groups subject to its asset freezing regime.
 
France, which has been reluctant until now to declare Hizbullah a terror group, joined the EU initiative this week after Germany also declared its support for Britain’s request.
 
The calls on the EU to add Hizbullah to its list of terrorist organizations grew after Bulgaria announced that the group was behind the July 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas which killed five Israelis.
 
Shortly after the Burgas bombing, the EU decided not to list Hizbullah as a terrorist group.
 
Cypriot Foreign Minister Gujarat Cossack-Marcolis said at the time that "there is no consensus on the issue, because Hizbullah also has an active political arm."
 
During a visit to Brussels in March, Israeli President Shimon Peres urged the EU to put Hizbullah on the terrorist list, saying it was behind a score of attempted attacks in Europe and arguing that its intervention in Syria against rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was enabling the group to spread its reach.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has also called on the EU to follow Washington's lead in a move that will notably lead to a crackdown on the group's fund-raising activities.
 
Currently, Britain and the Netherlands are the only EU nations to have placed Hizbullah on their lists of terrorist groups.
 
Hizbullah has been on a U.S. terror blacklist since 1995 after a series of anti-American attacks, including the bombing of the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the 1980s.

Egypt: Terrorists Planned to Bomb Cairo Embassies

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 16 May 2013 19:57
USembassy-cairoTerrorists who were arrested in Egypt over the weekend were planning to attack the U.S. and French embassies in Cairo, Egyptian officials said Wednesday. The three are members of a terror organization, but Egyptian officials stopped short of admitting that the terrorists belonged to Al Qaeda.
 
The U.S. embassy in Cairo warned American citizens to watch their steps while visiting the country. A recent knife attack on an American outside the embassy, along with the uncovering of the plot, “serve as yet another reminder of the need to exercise good situational awareness,” the embassy said in an e-mail.
 
Reports said that Egyptian officials had arrested three Egyptians with Al-Qaeda links in the plot. According to Egypt's Middle East News Agency (MENA), the two were in possession of 10 kilos (22 pounds) of explosives. The terrorists planned to use the explosives in car bombs that were to be aimed at the U.S. and French embassies, officials said. “The investigations revealed that the suspects were intending to carry out terrorist bomb operations inside Egypt via suicide operations, penetrating the security cordon in front of the American and French embassies with a car bomb,” MENA was quoted in the reports as saying.
 
The terrorists had escaped from prison in 2011, during the riots that took place in the wake of protests that led to the removal of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from office.
 
Despite the arrests, Egyptian officials stressed that there was “no Al Qaeda infrastructure in the country,” and that the arrested terrorists operated without the benefit of a large, local network.

Situation is Fragile, but No 'Third Intifada'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 05 May 2013 08:26
Riot in ShuafatGeneral Haggai Mordechai, former commander of the IDF in Judea and Samaria, says the security situation in the region remains "fragile", even though he does not believe there will be a third intifada.
 
"We are keeping our finger on the pulse," Mordechai said in an interview with AFP, as he stepped down from his post.
 
"Despite the relative calm, the army is ready for any scenario. A deterioration is possible from one day to the next," he warned in the interview, which was released Thursday and made just days before the stabbing attack in the Tapuach Junction on Tuesday, in which Evyatar Borovosky was murdered.
 
Mordechai, who stepped down on April 1 to take over as head of the military's ground staff, said he believes the calm is partly due to "a larger military presence on the ground", although he does not give numbers.
 
To further back up his claim, the general, who has spent most of his military career in Judea and Samaria, pointed to statistics showing that there have been only 24 shooting attacks targeting Israeli soldiers and civilians in the past two years.
 
That is down from 3,308 in 2001 at the height of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
 
One reason for this, Mordechai told AFP, is the army's attempts "to ease the situation for the population, by giving them more work permits in the settlements, greater freedom of movement, by avoiding collective punishment and letting them hold demonstrations."
 
"Our policy is restraint because this is not a battlefield," he said, although he admitted that not everything always goes to plan.
 
"Mistakes can happen, the situation for the soldiers is very complex," he acknowledged.
 
Mordechai also said that the IDF’s security coordination with the Palestinian Authority was working well.
 
"It is in their interest. But their motivation decreases when there is talk about reconciliation with Hamas," he said.
 
"Security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority works because it is in their interest not to let Hamas take control [of Judea and Samaria]," he added.
 
"So long as we are on the ground, Hamas will not take power, but it is necessary to prevent its reconciliation with Fatah, which would be a victory for the Islamist movement."
 
Hamas, said Mordechai, had been strengthened by the prisoner swap deal of October 2011, when more than 1,000 terrorists were freed from Israeli jails in exchange for the release of soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive in Gaza for more than five years.
 
It also benefited from the eight-day conflict with Israel last November, when Gaza-based terrorists fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, he added.
 
"Hamas is getting stronger. The Shalit deal proved to the Palestinian street that terror pays off and (Israel's) Operation Pillar of Defense was perceived as a victory because of the success in firing at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem," he explained.
 
Another area of concern was the rise in incidences of throwing stones or firebombs, "which we consider to be acts of terror," said Mordechai.
 
Figures compiled by the IDF show that in 2012, there were more than 4,300 cases of rock throwing, 423 firebomb attacks and 25 attempts to use explosive devices against civilian or military targets in Judea and Samaria, noted AFP.
 
Mordechai also criticized the Palestinian Authority for its "policy of delegitimizing Israel by encouraging the establishment of illegal outposts in E1, and by supporting demonstrations."
 
E1 is a strip of land connecting Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, where Israel approved construction in after the Palestinian Authority was recognized by the United Nations as a non-member observer state, in a unilateral move by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas which violates the Oslo Accords. PA Arabs have countered the Israeli approval of construction by setting up illegal outposts in the area. This has occurred at least four times in the past few months.
 
The army, emphasized Mordechai, was "ready for any scenario, including the worst.”1
 
"I cannot ensure that stability will remain for the long term even if I don't believe that a third intifada will break out," he told AFP.
 
In light of the threats currently facing Israel along its border with Egypt, Gaza and Syria, Judea and Samaria are "the calmest of all the fronts," he said.
 
"When you remember what happened during the second intifada, the buses which blew up across the country but also the consequences for the Palestinian population, you understand that no one wants to go back to that sad period," he said.

Italian Islamist Cell "Planned Attacks in Israel, US, Italy"

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:38
Italian-policeItalian police arrested four men on Tuesday, who are suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Italy, the US and Israel, reports Reuters News. One of the arrested men is believed to be a Tunisian former imam at a mosque in the city of Andria, in the southern Italian region of Puglia, where police said the terror cell was based. According to paramilitary police, the men aimed to train terrorists and send them to fight abroad, and are suspected of conspiracy to commit international terrorism and incite racial hatred.
 
According to investigators, the four men focused their recruitment activities among illegal immigrants, who were subsequently sent to training camps in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Chechnya. Police described the group as being characterized by "fierce anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment" and an aversion to states viewed as enemies in the context of religious war.
 
Authorities further claimed that at least some of the new recruits to the cell carried out attacks in Iraq.
 
Police are searching for two other men who are believed to have taken part in the cell's activities. The pair are thought to have fled to Tunisia, although no international arrest warrant has yet been issued.
 
The fact that the Russian territory of Chechnya featured as one of the places where the cell's jihadi recruits were sent for training will be seen as significant, given the "Chechnyan connection" of the Boston Bombers - Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan is believed to have spent time in Chechnya and neighbouring Dagestan, as part of his ideological journey towards Islamism.
 
Chechnya was for more than a decade the scene of a bloody insurgency against Russian control by ethnic Chechens, a largely secular uprising which was later seized upon as a cause for "holy war" by Islamist extremists or "mujahideen." These included a terrorist attack in a Moscow theater in 2012 and the massacre of hundreds of schoolchildren in Beslan in 2004.
 
Today the conflict has subsided, but Islamist groups still operate in the territory, carrying out occasional attacks against Russian targets. Chechen Islamist units are also widely believed to be taking part in fighting in Syria against the Assad regime.

UN Official Attempts to Blame Boston Bombings 'On Tel Aviv'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 April 2013 16:53
Teaching Islamic doctrineThe Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has denounced comments by Richard Falk, a top official on the United Nations Human Rights Council, which attempted to explain the Boston Marathon bombings as a reaction to United States policy in the Middle East and Tel Aviv.
 
Mr. Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council-appointed “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” wrote on Foreignpolicyjournal.com that, “…As long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy.” He also implied that the Boston terror attack was a justified response to U.S. policies in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
 
“It is outrageous that the U.N. Human Rights Council continues to support such a wildly conspiratorial and highly biased extremist as a reliable ‘expert,’” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “Richard Falk has given the Human Right’s Council yet another black eye and his continued affiliation with the international body only serves to undermine its credibility.  His outrageous assertion that the Boston terror attack can be traced to U.S. and Israeli policy is not surprising, given his notorious record of anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda.”
 
ADL has previously spoken out against anti-Israel statements and biased reports issued by Falk, including comparisons of Israeli actions to those of the Nazis, his use of anti-Semitic imagery and his 2012 U.N. report which endorsed an official boycott of companies conducting business with Israel.  U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has previously condemned Falk, but has stated that he has no authority to remove him from his position.

Three Saudis Imprisoned for Plotting to Kill Americans

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 08:13
Saudi security forces -AFPAn anti-terror court has sentenced three Saudis to six years in prison each for plotting to kill American nationals at the height of a campaign of Al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, a witness said, according to AFP.
 
The court in Riyadh issued its ruling late on Sunday, said a witness at the hearing during which two other men were acquitted.
 
The three convicted were found guilty of having "supported the actions of the deviant group and planned the assassination of seven Americans in the kingdom," the court ruled, using the official term to designate Al-Qaeda.
 
It said they also planned to enter Iraq "to carry out terrorist acts", according to AFP.
 
Saudi courts started in July 2011 to try hundreds of suspects for the wave of Al-Qaeda attacks which rocked the country from 2003 until 2006 when authorities launched a massive campaign of arrests targeting the jihadist network.
 
Around 3,000 suspects are being tried or due to go on trial, according to Saudi authorities.

Muslim Brotherhood Links Boston Attack to Anti-Islam Conspiracy

Category: News
Created on Friday, 19 April 2013 22:04
Boston marathon attackA leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday linked the Boston bombings to an anti-Islam conspiracy.
 
In a post on his personal Facebook page Muslim Brotherhood Vice President Essam el-Erian suggested the attack was part of a global plot to discredit Islam, citing violence in Mali, Syria, Somalia and other Muslim nations, The Hill reported.
 
“Our sympathy with the families of the victims, and the American people do not stop us from reading into the grave incident,” he wrote, according to an English translation.
 
“This series of events began with the sending of French battalions to Mali in a war against organizations that are said to belong to Al-Qaeda. Bombings intensified in Syria in a suspicious manner that deviated from the path of the great Syrian revolution, and smear campaigns began,” he continued. “Violent explosions returned, rearing their ugly heads again in Iraq, targeting peaceful movements aiming for needed reform. After a reasonable calm in Somalia, the capital Mogadishu shook again, leading to lowered confidence in the new president and government.
 
“A question that forces itself: Who disturbed democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred, and intolerance to freedom, justice tolerance, development, human dignity, and social justice?”
 
The Freedom and Justice Party officially condemned the Boston attacks, saying they “categorically” rejected the “intolerable” attack, claiming it violated the principles of Islamic Sharia law.
 
“The FJP offers heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured,” the group said.
 
President Mohammed Morsi was the Freedom and Justice Party's candidate in last year's election before leaving the party after winning the country’s national election.
 
Morsi's office and the Egyptian embassy in Washington had not issued any statements on the attack as of Tuesday morning, The Hill reported. 

Radical Egyptian Cleric: Boston Bombing Meant to Send a Message

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 19 April 2013 21:49
Murgan Salem al-GoharyA radical Egyptian Salafi cleric said that the terror attack in Boston this week was meant to send a message to the West, that terrorists are alive and well.
 
The cleric, Sheik Murgan Salem, also warned that similar attacks were expected in France. Salem made the comments during an interview on Tahrir TV on April 16, 2013. The interview was translated and posted to the internet by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
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“Obviously, I do not know who carried out that operation, but if it was done by the mujahideen, it serves as a message to America and the West: We are still alive,” he said.
 
“Contrary to what you say, we have not died. The [Americans] wanted to send a message to the entire world that they had finished off the mujahideen – not just the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda, but the mujahideen all over the world. I do not know who carried out this attack, but if it was indeed the mujahideen, it was meant as a clear message to America and to the West,” continued Salem, who said the terror attack “was not up to the standards of Al-Qaeda. It was extremely amateurish. The standards of Al-Qaeda are much higher.”
 
The cleric goes on to say that he was “like one family” with both former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as well as current leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
 
“From what I saw on the news,” said Salem, “this was the work of amateurs. I do not know who did it, but they have managed to get the message across: We can reach you whenever and wherever we want.”
 
“I do not rule out the possibility that this was carried out by people born in the U.S. I do exclude the possibility that it was done by the Al-Qaeda organization. This is not the work of Osama Bin Laden or Ayman Al-Zawahiri. I think it was done by people resentful of the policy and arrogance of America and Europe. It is not just America,” he said.
 
“The Americans have passed their arrogance over to France. France, which led the first Crusade, is now leading the war against Islam and the Muslims. They must taste the bitter retribution for their deeds. This is not a threat, but a warning of what might happen to them,” said Salem.
 
“France has accepted the banner of arrogance and enmity to Islam, so it will taste what it deserves,” he continued. “I cannot be held responsible for over one million [Muslims] in the West, who were harmed by French and American policy. More than one million [Muslims] were born in the West. I cannot be held responsible for them. I do not know what they may do. The [Westerners] are facing a deluge, and they will be destroyed.”
 
Three people were killed in Monday’s explosions, which U.S. President Barack Obama condemned on Tuesday as "an act of terror."
 
Investigators said the bombs were hidden in pressure cookers put in backpacks. The attackers packed the bombs with metal pellets and nails to cause maximum suffering.
 
An eight-year-old boy who was killed in the bombing attack was identified as Martin Richard.
 
He was waiting, together with his mother and sister, to give his father, who was participating in the race, a hug as he crossed the finish line when the bombs went off.
 
In addition to killing Martin, the bomb took his sister’s leg and injured his mother.
 
Massachusetts resident Krystle Campbell, 29, was also named as one of the dead. The third victim was a Chinese student.
 
A leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday linked the Boston bombings to an anti-Islam conspiracy.
 
In a post on his personal Facebook page Muslim Brotherhood Vice President Essam el-Erian suggested the attack was part of a global plot to discredit Islam, citing violence in Mali, Syria, Somalia and other Muslim nations.
 
“Our sympathy with the families of the victims, and the American people do not stop us from reading into the grave incident,” he wrote.
 
The Freedom and Justice Party officially condemned the Boston attacks, saying they “categorically” rejected the “intolerable” attack, claiming it violated the principles of Islamic Sharia law.
 
The Pakistani Taliban, meanwhile, denied involvement in the Boston marathon bombing, but openly applauded the heinous attack. 
 
“Wherever we find Americans we will kill them, but we don’t have any connection with the Boston explosions,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said, according to reports.

Israel Launches First Air Strike Against Gaza Since Truce

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:24
FileIsrael launched its first airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday since the Egyptian-mediated truce ended November’s eight-day bout of fighting.
 
“Occupation planes bombarded an open area in northern Gaza, there were no wounded,” the Hamas Interior Ministry said in a statement.
 
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed there had been a strike in Gaza, but gave no further details.
 
The airstrike came in response to the firing of a projectile from Gaza, which exploded on Tuesday in an open area of southern Israel’s Eshkol region. The explosion did not cause any injuries.
 
The IDF said it did not immediately know if the projectile was a mortar shell or a rocket.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, a mortar fired from Gaza and aimed at Israel failed to cross the border and reach its intended destination.
 
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the projectiles.
 
Israel launched the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense in November in an effort to root out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and bring about the end of the unremitting rocket attacks that had been launched against the Jewish state.
 
Israel carried out a series of targeted and highly surgical operations in order target the terrorists responsible for the attacks, all the while avoiding civilian casualties at all costs.

Miami Imam Convicted in Aiding Pakistani Taliban

Category: Islam
Created on Thursday, 07 March 2013 11:58
izhar-khan-hafiz-muhammed-sher-ali-khanThe imam of a mosque in Miami was found guilty on Monday of funneling thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban, the United States Justice Department said.
 
After a two-month trial, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 77, originally from Pakistan, was convicted on several counts of conspiring to support and providing material support to foreign terrorist groups for murders, maimings and kidnappings, AFP reported.
 
Khan could face up to 15 years in prison for each of the charges when he is sentenced on May 30.
 
"Despite being an imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace," said US attorney for southern Florida Wifredo Ferrer in a justice department statement.
 
The mosque has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.
 
According to evidence presented during his trial, Khan transferred money from the US to bank accounts in Pakistan belonging to Taliban terrorists and sympathizers.
 
He also worked in the US to raise money and spread propaganda for the same cause and helped found a madrassa, or Islamic school, in Pakistan to provide shelter and other support to the Taliban, AFP reported.
 
Some of the children who studied in the madrassa, according to a recorded phone conversation later went "to train to kill Americans in neighboring Afghanistan," the prosecution said.

Gaza Terrorists Open Fire at Southern Israel

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 02 March 2013 12:06
Guardium unmanned ground vehicle patrols Gaza borderFor the first since the end of the IDF’s Pillar of Defense counterterrorism operation, Gaza-based terrorists opened fire on Friday afternoon towards the Shaar Hanegev region in southern Israel.
 
No one was hurt but a military vehicle belonging to a commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division sustained damage.
 
While Friday’s incident was the first time since November that shots were fired from Gaza towards Israel, it marks the second time in less than a week that Gaza terrorists have violated the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement with Israel that was reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
On Tuesday morning, Gaza terrorists fired rockets towards southern Israel. One rocket hit the city of Ashkelon, but did not cause injury. A second rocket apparently hit an open field near the city.
 
Residents said they had no warning of the impending strike.
 
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
The rocket fired was an upgraded M-75.
 
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, sent an urgent letter to the UN Security Council and to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday night, hours after the rockets were fired, asking that they condemn the incident.
 
"Israel considers Hamas as being responsible for all attacks coming from Gaza,” Prosor wrote. "No country would allow to play Russian roulette with the lives of its citizens. You must condemn this blatant violation of the ceasefire, which could lead to escalation.”

Nigeria Arrests 3 Members of Iran-linked Terror Cell

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 21:16
Nigerian terroristsNigeria arrested three people suspected of being members of an Iran-linked terror cell planning attacks on U.S. and Israeli interests in Lagos, the commercial capital, state security police said on Wednesday, according to a report in Bloomberg News.
 
AFP reported that the leader of the Shiite sect in the central city of Ilorin, named as Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, was arrested last December "for his active involvement in espionage and terrorist activities," state security service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.
 
Investigations revealed that Berende, accused of establishing a "terrorist cell" in Nigeria's southwest, with a particular emphasis on Lagos, recruited the two other suspects for the task, Ogar said.
 
Berende underwent his training in Iran and his Iranian sponsors requested him "to identify and gather intelligence on public places and prominent hotels frequented by Americans and Israelis to facilitate attacks," she said.
 
According to Bloomberg, Ogar said the group was planning attacks on the Lagos offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Haifa-based ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. and the Jewish Cultural Center.
 
A fourth member of the group is now at large, according to Ogar. Deborah MacLean, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, said she had no information on the allegations when contacted by Bloomberg.
 
Berende allegedly gave to his Iranian handlers the names of former dictator Ibrahim Babangida, and ex-supreme leader of Muslims in Nigeria, Ibrahim Dasuki, as targets for attacks that could "unsettle the West," Ogar told AFP.
 
His accomplices conducted surveillance and gathered data on the targets, ahead of the attacks, alleged Ogar.
 
Berende denied involvement in espionage or terror-related activities but admitted seeking information about some individuals and institutions, AFP reported.
 
A shipment of Iranian weapons, including rockets, grenades and mortars, was seized in 2010 by Nigerian customs who said they were labeled as “packages of glass wool and pallets of stone.” Azimi Aghajani, an Iranian national, and Nigerian Aliyu Jega are facing trial for illegally shipping the weapons into the country.

Dutch Jewish Journalist: My Taxes Won't Support Egypt Islamists

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:26
Leon de winterDutch Jewish journalist Leon de Winter says he refuses to pay taxes to a government that supports the current Cairo government headed by President Mohamed Morsi.
 
Remarks made by the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president in a 2010 Arabic-language interview with Al-Quds television, recently translated into English, included the declaration that Jews are the “descendants of apes and pigs.” The vicious slur is among radical Islamist clerics, including those who broadcast virulent anti-Semitic sermons on Egyptian television. Video clips of the sermons are translated by MEMRI, the Middle East Research Media Institute, which monitors Arabic-language broadcasts.
 
In a recent editorial Winter bluntly labeled Morsi a “seasoned anti-Semite, the leader of a religious-political group that cannot be described as anything other than an Islamic-Fascist movement.”
 
He went on to write that Morsi is very clear when he speaks in Arabic to his own people, “and not [in English] with [U.S.] President [Barack] Obama on the phone.” 
 
Winter wrote that he refuses to pay taxes to the government of the Netherlands, where he lives, because it is part of the European Union – which has continued its financial support to the Egyptian government – knowing full well it places him at risk of arrest and imprisonment. “So be it,” he wrote. “The shame is not in my refusal, the shame is with our political elites... We finance a movement in Egypt that dreams of the death of the Jews and the downfall of the West.”
 
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney meanwhile condemned Morsi's remarks at a briefing Tuesday in Washington D.C.,  calling them "deeply offensive." He commented that the vicious language was not unusual for Arab leaders in the region, but that the Obama administration considered actions to be louder than words. 
 
“We strongly condemn the remark that then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010. The language that we have seen is deeply offensive.  We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This discourse–this is a broader point–this kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long and it’s counter to the goal of peace. President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt. Since taking office President Morsi has reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its peace treaty with Israel in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us towards shared objectives including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year. These commitments are essential to our bi-lateral relations with Egypt as well as for stability in the region.”
 
Last week Morsi met with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi at the presidential palace in Cairo, as Tehran continues its attempts to tighten relations with Egypt. Iran has generously supplied Gaza terrorists via routes that travel through Egypt, with funding, technology and weaponry -- including medium and long-range missiles that were fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during Israel's recent counter terror offensive, Operation Pillar of Defense.

50 Arabs Attack Rachel's Tomb

Category: Islam
Created on Thursday, 17 January 2013 07:45
Rachels TombAbout 50 Arabs mounted an assault on Rachel's Tomb, just outside Bethlehem, Wednesday evening. They threw pipe bombs, fire bombs and rocks at the security forces guarding the compound, injuring one soldier lightly.
 
The soldier, who was hit by a rock, received medical treatment on the spot and did not require hospitalization.
 
The IDF Spokesman said that the Arabs threw nine pipe bombs and 18 fire bombs. One of the pipe bombs caused some damage to the security wall surrounding the complex.
 
The IDF Spokesman said that the soldiers are using riot dispersal gear against the attackers.
 
In past years, any large scale attack with explosives and fire bombs would in all probability have been repelled with live fire. However, the IDF is shackled by a Military Attorney's Office and State Attorney's Office that often prosecute soldiers for opening fire against attackers unless they can prove a clear and present danger to their lives.

End of Free College for Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 December 2012 08:53
Security prisonersThe High Court ruled Tuesday that terrorist security prisoners were not eligible for free university education in Israeli schools. The permission and assistance extended to prisoners convicted of criminal activities that supplies them with free courses and degree programs at Israel's Open University does not apply to prisoners convicted of terror activities, the court ruled.
 
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by three terrorist prisoners who claimed they were being discriminated against because prison authorities refused to enroll them in an Open University program and pay their tuition. The Open University offers extensive distance-learning programs, enabling students to do coursework via the Internet, with scheduled meetings with mentors.
 
The court said that discrimination was not an issue in the case. “The court has ruled in the past and continues to rule that the differences in treatment of criminal and terrorist prisoners is not due to discrimination. We believe the same applies to education,” said the three judges who heard the case.
 
With that, the court said that the prison system should be “considerate” in deciding what to do with terrorists who are already in the midst of academic programs. “We think it would be worthy to consider those in the midst or close to the end of an academic program separately from those who have not yet begun a course of study,” the court said. “If the prisons decide not to continue funding the education of those prisoners, they will be free to file petitions with district courts on the matter.”
 
In the past, Israeli prisons provided terrorists with free college education, but the practice was halted recently.

Terror Suspect Reluctantly Released from British Prison

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 17 November 2012 21:05
Abu QatadaBritish authorities reluctantly released terror suspect Abu Qatada on bail Tuesday after judges ruled that the radical cleric seen in the past as  Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe should not be extradited to Jordan, AFP reported.
 
Several hours after the Islamic preacher was released from the high-security Long Lartin prison in central England, a small group of protesters gathered outside Abu Qatada's house in northwest London and chanted slogans calling for his deportation.
 
The court ruling on Monday was a severe blow for the British government, which has kept the preacher in custody for most of the last 10 years and repeatedly tried to send him to Jordan.
 
"I am completely fed up with the fact that this man is still at large in our country. We believe he is a threat to our country," Prime Minister David Cameron said during a visit to Rome.
 
"We have moved heaven and earth to try and comply with every single dot and comma of every single convention to get him out of the country,” he said.
 
Abu Qatada was convicted in absentia in Jordan in 1998 for involvement in terror attacks, but British judges accepted his argument that evidence obtained by torture might be used against him in a retrial.
 
The preacher, a Jordanian in his early 50s, will be under a curfew 16 hours a day but can leave his home between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, according to AFP.
 
He will have to wear an electronic tag and abide by set restrictions.
 
The handful of protesters outside the preacher's house brandished a "Get Rid of Abu Qatada" banner.
 
The European Court of Human Rights had ruled earlier this year that Abu Qatada could not be deported while there was a "real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him" in a possible retrial.
 
Despite the ruling, however, Home Secretary Theresa May ordered Abu Qatada's extradition after she was given assurances by Jordan that he would be treated fairly.
 
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission -- a semi-secret panel of British judges that deals with national security matters -- ruled in Qatada's favour.
 
They said statements from Abu Qatada's former co-defendants Al-Hamasher and Abu Hawsher may have been obtained by torture and created a risk that any trial would be unfair, AFP reported.
 
The cleric, whose real name is Omar Mohammed Othman, arrived in Britain in 1993 seeking asylum.
 
Videos of his sermons were found in the Hamburg flat used by some of the hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He has also defended the killing of Jews and attacks on Americans.
 
A Spanish judge once branded him the right-hand man of late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Europe, although Abu Qatada denies ever having met bin Laden.

Reports of Islamic Emirate in Sinai 'Misleading Public'

Category: News
Created on Monday, 12 November 2012 07:08
Islamic Jihad rallyMuhammad al-Zawahiri, the younger brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, said that news reports suggesting that his Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is planning to establish an Islamic emirate in Sinai were inaccurate and were misleading the public.
 
In statements to Al Arabiya, Zawahiri denied that his group was “Takfiri,” meaning that it accuses people with opinions different from its own of apostasy.
 
He also denied reports that his group was planning to carry out terrorist bombings in Cairo, describing such reports as part of a media campaign against his group.
 
He said media and security entities in Egypt should be cleansed of former regime figures. “The seditions that some parties are trying to ignite will destroy the nation as a whole and those parties need to put national interests at the top of their concerns,” he said, according to the report.
 
He claimed that his group, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, is trying to spread its message of Islam with lectures, conferences and books and not with weapons.
 
Zawahiri also noted that his group has no plans to take part in forming a political party or taking part in the elections because it does not believe in “the concept of democracy.”
 
“We reject the current democracy that gives sovereignty to people, because sovereignty is to God only, and this is what we demand,” he said. “But we recognize the democracy that seeks to establish justice, equality and human dignity because it is compatible with the teachings of the Islamic religion.”
 
“Our only demand is that sovereignty be to God and that everything that is against God's law is illegitimate,” he added, according to Al-Arabiya.
 
Al-Zawahiri has previously called for Jihad against the Jews, as is customary among those belonging to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.
 
In a television interview, which aired on Egypt’s CBC TV on October 4, Zawahiri said, “Fighting Israel, fighting the Jews is a religious duty incumbent upon all.”
 
“The Egyptian government should have been fighting the Jewish enemy. Perhaps due to circumstances – its weakness, its interests – the Egyptian government ignored a religious duty incumbent upon it. Not just the Egyptian government – the Jordanian one as well. This is a religious duty incumbent upon all Muslims,” he added. 

For Pakistani Flag Industry, Obama Victory May Be Encouraging

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 08 November 2012 11:03
flag burningMany Pakistanis fear that President Barack Obama’s re-election will mean a surge in American drone strikes. For those producing and selling U.S. flags to burn at protests, however, his victory could be provide encouraging news, AFP reported.
 
Demonstrations against U.S. missile strikes targeting suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are common in Pakistan, and no protest is complete without America’s beloved Stars and Stripes being sent up in flames.
 
Nadeem Shah, the owner of a flag business in Rawalpindi, the twin city of the capital Islamabad, said he expected more drone strikes -- and more protests.
 
“Of course Obama has become stronger now and he will push his policies harder and there will be more drone strikes because he himself is stronger now,” Shah told AFP.
 
“When the drone strikes increase the protests against these strikes will also increase in Pakistan and it can have an impact on the flags and poster business,” he added.
 
Pakistan’s flag industry enjoyed a boom in September, when Muslims blamed their deeply imbedded hatred against America on an anti-Islam film made in the United States. While the film was merely a timely and convenient excuse to renew anti-American protests, it quickly became the scapegoat upon which the Muslim world could place their fury.

Taliban Weighs in on Obama Victory

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 08 November 2012 10:49
Obama VictoryTaliban terrorist insurgents told newly re-elected President Barack Obama on Wednesday to admit that the United States has lost the war in Afghanistan and to act accordingly by pulling its troops out of the country immediately.
 
"Obama must by now know that they have lost the war in Afghanistan," said spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement posted on the Islamists' website, as reported by AFP.
 
"So, without further lying and delays, they should leave our sacred land and focus on their own country instead."
 
"The American administration should stop acting like police in the world and focus on solving their own people's problems, and don't make the world hate Americans even more," the spokesman said, according to AFP.
 
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, were ousted by a US-led invasion for harboring Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil.
 
They have since waged a bloody insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai, which is backed by more than 100,000 NATO troops, mostly Americans.
 
All NATO combat troops are due to withdraw by the end of 2014, at which time they will relinquish responsibility for security to Afghan forces.

Bahrain Fingers Hizbullah in Terror Attacks Which Killed Two

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 08 November 2012 07:54
Bahraini police inspect the site of an explosion in the capital ManamaBahraini police on Tuesday arrested four suspects in connection with bombings that killed two Asian expatriates in the capital Manama and fingered the Hizbullah terror group as being behind the attacks.
 
The official BNA news agency reported about the arrests but did not elaborate on when or how they were made.
 
"An investigation is under way to uncover the circumstances surrounding these terrorist crimes and identify the rest of the criminals and arrest them," BNA quoted public security chief Major-General Tariq al-Hassan as saying, according to AFP.
 
The report came hours after King Hamad ordered "the swift arrest of the terrorists who carried out the recent terrorist acts in Bahrain."
 
The king appealed to the public for help to "bring them to justice so they receive their punishment over this appalling act."
 
Five bomb blasts in the capital's Gudaibiya and Adliya districts killed two Asian expatriates and wounded a third on Monday, police said, according to AFP.
 
The bombings came amid persistent tensions between the kingdom's Shiite majority and its Sunni rulers since the bloody crushing of month-long pro-democracy protests in March of last year.
 
Meanwhile, Kol Yisrael radio reported on Tuesday, Bahrain placed the blame for the bomb attacks on the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror group.
 
The report quoted Bahrain’s Public Diplomacy Minister, Samira Ibrahim bin-Rajab, as having said that the attacks were reminiscent of Hizbullah attacks. She added that the terrorists who carried out the attacks were trained in other countries, including Lebanon, following a directive by the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
 
Bahrain has accused Tehran several times in the past of encouraging the opposition in Manama. Iran and Hizbullah have denied any involvement in the protests in Bahrain.
 
The United Nations on Tuesday condemned the bombings. "These violent acts cannot be justified by any cause. We call on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and to refrain from any provocations," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky, according to AFP.
 
"We urge all Bahrainis to come together in a spirit of national unity and to resolve differences peacefully through dialogue and reconciliation," he said.

Morsi Stands Up for 'Palestinians'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 October 2012 08:16
Mohamed Mursi attends a meeting with Hamas leader Khaled MeshaalEgypt’s President Mohammed Morsi said on Wednesday that Egypt does not accept nor can turn a blind eye to any aggression against Palestinian Authority Arabs, the state-owned news agency MENA reported.
 
“We don’t accept that people of Palestine are besieged,” Morsi was quoted as having said during an Endowments Ministry celebration of Preachers’ Day.
 
He explained that Egypt after the revolution would never consent to any aggression over PA Arabs, alluding to former President Hosni Mubarak, who some accused of turning a blind eye to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
 
Morsi stressed that Egypt supports PA Arabs with food and medications, adding that “the Palestinian case is pivotal for us.”
 
"We do not declare war on anyone. Palestinian rights will not be lost, we are in the same trench with our kin [Palestinians] against any aggression toward them," he said.
 
Morsi did not mention the fact that Gaza-based terrorists had fired more than 80 rockets at southern Israel between Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
 
Three people were wounded, two of them seriously, and three homes were hit in the morning rocket barrage. On Wednesday night there were conflicting reports regarding a supposed Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that was reached between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel.
 
Concerns have been raised over the Israel-Egypt peace treaty since Morsi took power.
 
Morsi, a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly said he would respect international treaties signed by Cairo, but the Brotherhood has also said there is room to revise the accords.
 
Last week, an adviser to Morsi called to urgently change the peace treaty with Israel.
 
This week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on President Barack Obama to publicly condemn  Morsi, after he attended a sermon where the preacher called for the "destruction and dispersal of the Jews."
 
At the same time, Morsi recently sent a letter to his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, in which he referred to the Israeli president as a "great friend."

Morsi Chanting 'Amen' to Destruction of Jews is 'Slap in Face'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 08:51
morsi prayingThe Simon Wiesenthal Center reiterated its call to President Obama to publicly condemn Egypt's new President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, after he attended a sermon where the preacher called for the "destruction and dispersal of the Jews."
 
A video emailed by the center showed Morsi at a mosque in the Mediterranean town of Marsa Matruh, where the congregation answers "Amen" to a cleric who recites a list of prayers in a traditional ritual.
 
In one of the prayers, the cleric asked G-d to "destroy the Jews and their supporters and disperse them, rend them asunder." Morsi is then seen continuing to say Amen. The prayers were aired on state TV and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
In a statement, the Wiesenthal Center strongly condemned the video, saying it is a sign of growing anti-Semitism in Egypt.
 
"This is a slap in the face to America as Egypt's President Morsi pockets billions in U.S. aid and says Amen to principles that are repugnant to all Americans," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center's associate dean.
 
"Morsi, the leader who just lectured the world from the UN podium about the need to safeguard religions from desecration, apparently doesn’t extend it to the Jewish people and its faith,” the rabbis continued. “He and his government need to hear an unequivocal warning from the US that it won't be business as usual as long as the public espousal of genocidal hate against Jews continues," they concluded.     
 
Earlier this month, the Wiesenthal Center denounced an anti-Semitic call to Jihad against Jews by Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie.
 
Since taking office, Morsi has refused to meet with Israeli officials, or even use the word Israel in public statements. However, his government has continued security cooperation with the Israel and says Egypt will continue to abide by the peace treaty signed between the two countries in 1979.
 
Last week, however, Morsi faced harsh criticism when the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel presented a letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres, signed in Morsi's name, calling the Israeli leader "great friend."

IAF Strikes in Gaza Three Times in One Night

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 08:32
Air Force strikes back at Gaza - FileIAF aircraft struck a terror squad in southern Gaza early Wednesday morning, as it was preparing to fire a rocket at southern Israel, the IDF announced in a statement.
 
The statement said that a direct hit at the terrorists was identified. It was the third time in one night that the IDF retaliated against the ongoing rocket attacks by Gaza terrorists at southern Israel.
 
Shortly after midnight, on Tuesday night, IAF aircraft targeted a terror squad in northern Gaza, as it was making final preparations to launch a rocket at southern Israel.
 
According to a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, a direct hit was identified at the terrorists and the rocket attack was thwarted.
 
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers and will continue to operate against anyone who operates terror against Israel,” said the statement.
 
This air strike took place about an hour and a half after another terror squad was hit as it was preparing to launch rockets at Israel. In this attack, as well, direct hits were identified.
 
The air strikes came after terrorists from Gaza fired seven rockets at Israel earlier in the evening. The rockets came in three rounds – with one round landing in one town in the Eshkol Regional Council, a second round landing in another town, and the third round landing in an open area.
 
No one was injured and no damaged was reported in any of the attacks.
 
Tuesday night's attacks were a continuation of what appeared to be an escalating deterioration of the security situation in southern Israel.
 
An IDF officer was wounded Tuesday morning when an explosive device blew up during an IDF exercise in the Gaza border area. The officer was flown by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, where he was declared by doctors to be in serious condition, with his life in danger. The officer's condition was little-changed Tuesday night.

Egypt Foiled Plot to Assassinate Morsi

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:47
Newly-elected President Mohammed Mursi ReutersEgyptian security forces raided the home of a man who planned to assassinate Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during his visit to Alexandria last Friday, the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported Tuesday.
 
The motive for the attempted murder of the Muslim Brotherhood president is not yet known.
 
Police arrested the suspect and confiscated ammunition, explosives, maps of Morsi’s route during a visit, and communications and eavesdropping equipment.
 
The murder of Morsi would send shock waves throughout the region and probably spark a resumption of the violence that has plagued Egypt since the Arab Spring rebellions last year that resulted in the ouster and later the arrest of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
 
The Islamic parties of the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood won a solid majority in ensuing elections to the parliament, and Morsi won the Muslim Brotherhood bid for presidency.
 
The first months of his regime have been marked by a continuation of the brute force exercised by the police under Mubarak and the temporary military regime.
 
Police on Sunday assaulted disabled citizens as they sat in their wheelchairs during a protest Sunday to demand benefits they said are being denied despite guarantees by law.
 
The Cairo-based Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims recently reported 34 cases of death, 88 cases of torture, and seven cases of sexual assault by Egyptian police during Morsi's first 100 days in office, according to Al Ahram.
 
Many of the deaths were the result of the use of live fire by police trying to disperse demonstrations. Torture and abuse as well as the kidnapping of at least eight political activists were also recorded.
 
Dr. Magda Adly, director of El-Nadim Center, told the newspaper he believes police torture tactics have not changed since the days of Mubarak.
 
"On the contrary, there is a retaliation attitude used by the police while torturing activists. However, authorities continue to deny any torture is being used," said Adly. “[There is] no difference between the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party."

Muslim Brotherhood Lacks The Patience Of Turkish AKP Party

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 23:24
mo-bro-leaderEgypt and Turkey are united on the Syrian issue, Egypt has pushed back against the Turkish AKP that wanted to teach the Egyptians how to establish a successful and enduring Muslim regime. These offers have been rebuffed because Arabs refuse to be tutored by Turks.
 
What characterized the rule of the Turkish Justice and Development party (AKP ) was its gradualist approach to consolidating power. During its first term, the party tried to project an aura of moderation. This helped mislead President George W. Bush and his successor Barack Obama, who salivated over the prospects of a moderate Islamic government whose example could be propagated through the entire Muslim world. Once it had gotten two terms under its belt, the AKP began showing the Army and the judiciary who was the boss and instituting a more Islamist policy.
 
The clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square between the Muslim Brotherhood supporters and liberal Egyptians are an example that the Turkish model has not been embraced.
 
Muslim demonstrators simply destroyed a stage that had been set up for the liberal elements and pelted them with stones. 120 were wounded. Realizing how bad the reports were for its image, the Muslim Brotherhood quickly distanced itself from the thugs who had attacked the liberals - but the damage was done.
 
The call for a jihad against Israel to liberate Jerusalem, issued by the supreme Muslim Brotherhood Guide Mohammed Badie, and laced with gutter anti-Semitism, was also politically premature.
 
Egypt's behavior will not help to endow the country with a business-friendly image and some US congressmen, even before the events of this weekend, were calling for cuts in aid to Egypt.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood will be expected to demonstrate economic success and Egypt's president Mohammed Morsi is trying to roll out the red carpet for investors, but he has to keep his own followers from providing a distraction. One of the keys to the AKP's political success, it should be recalled, in Turkey was the country's stellar economic growth rate.
 
In fairness to the Muslim Brotherhood, it developed in a climate of political dictatorship, while postwar Turkey was characterized by more competitive politics. This allowed AKP politicians to hone political skills and sensitivities that the Muslim Brotherhood  lacks.

Benghazi Consulate Invaded by Armed Mob

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 10:00
Damage inside the burnt consulate building in Benghazi - AFPDozens of armed men invaded the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month, setting it on fire and hunting down staff, U.S. officials said on Tuesday in a dramatic, detailed account of the deadly assault in Libya.
 
According to an AFP report, the officials said there had been no intelligence to warn that an attack was in the works and in the hours before the streets outside the compound had been calm.
 
The new account contradicts initial reports by State Department officials made in the hours and days after the September 11 attack that it was a "spontaneous" attack which arose out of a protest against an inflammatory anti-Islam film.
 
"There was no actionable intelligence of any planned or imminent attack," one top State Department official said, giving a detailed description and timeline of the massive attack on the diplomatic compound and a nearby annex.
 
Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the attack, had stayed in the compound that day as it was the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks and had a series of meetings. He walked with his last guest, a Turkish diplomat, to the compound gates around 8:30 p.m. local time.
 
"They say goodbye, they're out in the streets. Everything is calm, at 8:30pm there's nothing unusual, there has been nothing unusual during the day at all," a second official said, according to AFP.
 
Asked why initially State Department officials had said there had been a protest against the amateur video "Innocence of Muslims," the first official said that was a question "for others. That was not our conclusion."
 
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's first public congressional hearing into alleged security failures at the consulate, the official said it was difficult to say what kind of security would have been needed to repel such an attack.
 
"The lethality and the number of armed people is unprecedented. There have been no attacks like that in Libya, Tripoli or Benghazi or elsewhere in the time that we have been there," the official was quoted by AFP as having told reporters.
 
"It would be very, very hard to find a precedent for an attack like that in recent diplomatic history."
 
The administration of President Barack Obama has come under fire from Republican foes for the contradictory reports which have come out about the attack, amid allegations of security failures.
 
The former head of a U.S. Special Forces “Site Security Team” (SST) in Libya said that despite his pleas for additional security, the State Department removed as many as 34 security personnel from the country in the six months leading up to the attack in Benghazi.
 
Lt. Col. Andy Wood said that his 16-member team and a State Department force left Libya in August despite U.S. officials in Libya asking for increased security.
 
“We tried to illustrate… to show them how dangerous and how volatile and just unpredictable that whole environment was over there,” Wood said in an interview CBS News. “So to decrease security in the face of that really is … it’s just unbelievable.”
 
He said the embassy staff had approached him to express concerns regarding their safety, but said the State Department instructed diplomatic workers "to do with less."
 
Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said last week that U.S. officials refused calls for more security at the Benghazi consulate despite previous attacks on Western targets in the city.
 
The U.S. mission in Libya had made "repeated requests for increased security" but they were ignored by Washington,” Issa said in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama has admitted that the attack was clearly more than a "mob action.”
 
Libyan leader Mohammed Magariaf recently stated the attack was not related to the “Innocence of Muslims” film that is being used as an excuse for violent protests in many countries.

IAF Air Strike Targets Two Gaza Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 October 2012 16:23
IAF air strike in GazaAn Israeli air strike in Gaza on Sunday evening targeted two terrorists, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.
 
The statement named the two as Talat Khalil Muhammad Jerbi, a Global Jihad member from Rafiah and Mohammed Abdullah Hassan Makawi, a member of the Shura Council, a terror organization based in Gaza.
 
The operation was carried out jointly with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), said the statement. It was unclear if the terrorists had been killed or wounded in the air strike.
 
Medical sources in Gaza told AFP that one person was killed and five others were wounded in the air strike, which targeted a motorbike.
 
"One citizen was killed and five others, including two children, were wounded by an Israeli aircraft that fired on a motorbike in the Brazil neighborhood in Rafiah," a medical source told AFP.
 
Last month, the IDF and the Shin Bet foiled a planned terror attack in Israel by striking and killing two terrorists in southern Gaza.
 
The two terrorists had been planning to carry out a terror attack within Israel which was almost completed.
 
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas later called Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef and offered his condolences over the death of his brother, who was one of the terrorists killed in that air strike.

3 Terrorists Killed as IDF Blocks Gaza Attack

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 06 September 2012 11:40
Fence along southern border - illustrativeIDF soldiers blocked an attack by Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists early Thursday morning along the border with Gaza.
 
The terrorist cell was engaged in planting a bomb near the security fence along the northern area of the region when IDF soldiers spotted their activity. The Givati battalion targeted the cell in an operation cooperating with an armored 'Iron Tracks' division and the Israeli Air Force.
 
The cell was successfully eliminated, an IDF spokesperson said, and all IDF soldiers returned to base unharmed.
 
The Hamas terrorist-ruled Gaza Health Ministry told the AFP news agency Thursday "We have received three bodies," adding that all had been killed when struck by an Israeli tank shell east of the town of Beit Hanun.
 
Hamas ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP that two of the three -- Akram al-Za'anin, 22 and Ihab al-Za'anin, were brothers, and the third, Tareq al-Kafarna, 26, was on his way to work at the local hospital when they were killed. He also claimed that all three were "civilians." 
 
The operation followed a similar attempt earlier Wednesday evening by Gaza terrorists to launch a rocket attack on southern Israel.
 
Israeli fighter pilots struck a terrorist squad in central Gaza while the operatives were making final preparations to fire the missile at towns in the western Negev.
 
According to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, the targeted terror cell had been involved in previous attacks on Israel as well. This time, a direct hit on the target by IAF pilots was confirmed.

Egyptian Expert Calls to Change Peace Agreement with Israel

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 23:18
Egyptian army truck carries tanks and vehicles to Rafiah RutersAn Egyptian expert on strategic matters and security said on Tuesday that he supports the idea of changing some parts of the Camp David Accords signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi reported Tuesday.
 
The expert, Gen. Talat Muslim, made the comments in an exclusive interview to the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
 
Muslim said that the agreement should have been changed immediately after it was signed, adding that the only solution to the current situation would be placing security forces along the border with the "Israeli enemy", as he put it, and employing a policy of establishing facts on the ground until Israel agrees to change the agreement.
 
He also expressed support for placing fighter jets, tanks and heavy weapons in the Sinai Peninsula area as well as placing additional forces to deal with "criminal enclaves" in northern Sinai.
 
Halevi noted that Muslim’s remarks are significant because they were featured in a prominent place on the official website of the Freedom and Justice Party.
 
Egypt has launched a crackdown on Sinai terrorism in recent days, in response to the terror attack near the border with Israel last week, in which 16 Egyptian officers were killed.
 
Earlier this week it was reported that Egypt has moved anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles into the Sinai Peninsula, without Israel’s permission. Such equipment is prohibited in Sinai by the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
 
The Maariv Hebrew-language website reported on Tuesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has demanded that Egypt cease sending tanks into the Sinai without Israel's approval.
 
Muslim Brotherhood leaders have rejected Israeli claims of a breach of the peace agreement by leaving the armored forces in Sinai and noted on Tuesday that Israel violated the treaty with Egypt during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in early 2009.

Gantz: We Need to be Prepared for a Multi-Front War

Category: News
Created on Friday, 10 August 2012 08:09
Gantz surveys bombed terrorists APCIDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz warned on Thursday that despite the IDF and the Shin Bet’s ability to foil this week’s terror attack near the border with Egypt, there are no guarantees that Israel would have similar intelligence that will allow it to thwart similar attacks in the future.
 
Speaking during a ceremony marking Reservists Appreciation Day, Gantz said that the current turmoil in the region is forcing the IDF to prepare for a multi-front attack.
 
“The recent attempts to hurt Israelis were foiled thanks to the high efficiency of our forces and thanks to precise intelligence,” he said, adding, “We will not always have the early warning so we must be prepared for any scenario.”
 
He noted that Israel and the IDF are closely monitoring the changes taking place in Syria and Egypt, adding that Israel must be prepared for the possibility of conflict in the region.
 
“Recent events require the IDF to prepare for every scenario - even a multi-front confrontation,” he stressed.
 
Gantz’s comments came as the Israeli Cabinet voted to approve an Egyptian request to send in helicopters to the Sinai Peninsula.
 
The approval was given for a period of several days and allows five aircraft to enter the region. The move is designed to assist Egypt in its military operation against terrorist elements in the Sinai.
 
Gantz also took the opportunity to praise the resilience of the reserve soldiers and their willingness to serve.
 
“This event in which we say thank you to the reservists is no less important than any operational exercise,” Gantz said, adding that service in the reserves is “a primary expression of social commitment and personal responsibility to the State.”
 
Statistics published on Wednesday, a day before Reservists Appreciation Day, showed that Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) are the most active reservists in Israel.
 
The statistics found that while only five percent of the soldiers who are eligible for reserve duty actually perform reserve duty, the area from which most reservists come is Judea and Samaria, where 34 percent of those serving in the reserves live.

500 Kilos of Explosives Meant for Israelis, Not Fence

Category: Reports
Created on Monday, 06 August 2012 19:29
scene of terrorist attack near the Sinai borderAn IDF investigation of the terror attack in southern Israel Sunday night indicates that terrorists were able to blow open a fence on the Gaza border by blowing up 500 kilograms of explosives, that were stored inside a truck. The operation, top IDF officials were quoted as saying by Channel Two, presents a “worrying picture of the intentions of terrorist groups to attack Israel.”
 
Terrorists who raided an Egyptian base near the Kerem Shalom border crossing, with a border common to Egypt, Israel, and Gaza, stole two vehicles after killing a number of Egyptian soldiers. One of the vehicles – which was loaded with ammunition, according to the Channel Two report – was exploded at the border crossing into Israel. The second vehicle was able to penetrate Israel.
The original plan, according to the Channel Two report, was to use the explosive truck to carry out a major terror attack in an Israeli town near the border. Preceding the truck would have been several suicide bombers, wearing explosive belts.
The truck ended up being used to blow open a hole in the fence, but the plan for the suicide bombers to blow themselves up was still being executed. The suicide bombers entered Israel with the terrorists, who were finally eliminated by the IDF. The investigation showed that the terrorists were riding in the second Egyptian vehicle, an armored jeep. The jeep was able to travel inside Israel for about 15 minutes before being destroyed. Reports from the field said that the Egyptians did not increase their patrols at the border in the aftermath of the attack on the military base.
According to Channel Two, IDF officials received intelligence last Friday than a major border attack was in the works. Israel forwarded the information to Egyptian officials, but they apparently did not act on the information.
A previously unknown group, the Shura Mujahadeen Council, took responsibility for the attack. The group posted a Facebook message praising the attack, and saying that “there is no place in the Arab and Muslim world for liberal and secular democratic values,” and that they were “dedicated to the struggle against Zionism.” The perpetrators are suspected to be Sinai Bedouin.

Israelis Warned to Leave Sinai Now

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 August 2012 07:07
Israel-Egypt borderThe National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau (NSCCTBCTB) issued on Thursday a serious warning against travelling to the Sinai Peninsula, and called on Israelis vacationing in the area to leave immediately.
 
"From information at our disposal, it arises that terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip and additional elements are actively planning to perpetrate terrorist attacks, especially abductions, against Israeli tourists in Sinai in the immediate term," the NSCCTB's warning said.
 
"The NSCCTB reiterates its call to all Israelis in Sinai to leave the area immediately and return home. The families of Israelis in Sinai are requested to contact them and update them regarding this travel warning. The NSCCTB also emphatically recommends that all those planning to leave for Sinai refrain from doing so."
 
The latest travel warning comes in light of increased tension along Israel’s southern border. Last week, a branch of the Al-Qaeda terror group based in Sinai claimed responsibility for the repeated attacks on the pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Jordan and Israel.
 
The group released a video in which it claimed responsibility for the attacks and said that they were meant to “protect state resources and the rights of the poor.”
 
Several hours after the pipeline was attacked for the 15th time on July 22, terrorists hiding behind sand dunes fired on a bus filled with soldiers.
 
The shooting attack occurred in the area of Ein Netafim, adjacent to the Egyptian-Israeli border.
 
Egyptian authorities have struggled to maintain stability in the Sinai since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak last year.
 
A terror attack aimed on Highway 12, near Israel’s border with Egypt, in August of last year killed eight Israelis.

Israelis Warned to Leave Sinai Now

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 August 2012 07:07
Israel-Egypt borderThe National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau (NSCCTBCTB) issued on Thursday a serious warning against travelling to the Sinai Peninsula, and called on Israelis vacationing in the area to leave immediately.
 
"From information at our disposal, it arises that terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip and additional elements are actively planning to perpetrate terrorist attacks, especially abductions, against Israeli tourists in Sinai in the immediate term," the NSCCTB's warning said.
 
"The NSCCTB reiterates its call to all Israelis in Sinai to leave the area immediately and return home. The families of Israelis in Sinai are requested to contact them and update them regarding this travel warning. The NSCCTB also emphatically recommends that all those planning to leave for Sinai refrain from doing so."
 
The latest travel warning comes in light of increased tension along Israel’s southern border. Last week, a branch of the Al-Qaeda terror group based in Sinai claimed responsibility for the repeated attacks on the pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Jordan and Israel.
 
The group released a video in which it claimed responsibility for the attacks and said that they were meant to “protect state resources and the rights of the poor.”
 
Several hours after the pipeline was attacked for the 15th time on July 22, terrorists hiding behind sand dunes fired on a bus filled with soldiers.
 
The shooting attack occurred in the area of Ein Netafim, adjacent to the Egyptian-Israeli border.
 
Egyptian authorities have struggled to maintain stability in the Sinai since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak last year.
 
A terror attack aimed on Highway 12, near Israel’s border with Egypt, in August of last year killed eight Israelis.

Iran Funding Terror Camp in Iraq

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 10:10
Young Arab terrorists  illustrativeAn Iranian-funded religious academy in Iraq is training approximately 1,500 recruits from Arab countries worldwide to use “combat weapons” and engage in “street fighting,” The Gulf Daily News reported.
 
Iran has spent $1 million to establish and fund the camp, according to the report. Training reportedly began over the weekend.
 
According to a report in Gulf Daily News’ Arabic language sister publication, Akhbar Al Khaleej, citizens from Arab nations worldwide have joined the terror training camp.
 
“Apart from members of Hawza IImiyya Najab, the religious academy, those being trained include citizens from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other Arab countries, the report adds.
 
Their countries’ national flags were flown over the main gate of the camp during the opening ceremony of the camp, it says.
 
Several Iraqi and Iranian officials are said to have attended the training facility’s opening ceremonies.
 
“Mohmmed Redha Ali Al Sistani, son of Iranian religious scholar Ali Al Sistani; Iraqi Transport Minister Hadi Al Amiri; Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister and a senior member of Iraq Islamic Dawa Party Ali Al Adeeb; Iranian General Qasim Sulaimani and other members of the State of Law Coalition attended the ceremony.

Arab League: Don’t Touch Muslim Temple Mount

Category: News
Created on Friday, 27 July 2012 06:16
Jews at the Western Wall near Temple MountThe Arab League has released a statement warning Israel to stay away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The mosque is located on the Temple Mount, which Judaism teaches is the holiest site in the world.
 
Surprisingly, the Arab League statement termed the mosque “the holiest of the Arab and Islamic holy sites.” Normally, Mecca is considered the holiest site to Islam and Muslims in Jerusalem pray facing Mecca with their backs to the Temple Mount.
 
The statement warned the “occupation authorities” against interfering with the mosque. “The city of Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and at its head the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is a red line that must not be crossed, and any attack on it will definitely endanger the safety and stability of the entire region,” it stated.
 
The Arab League’s anger was aroused by what it termed an “extremist invasion” by police to check IDs and temporarily bar access to the mosque due to Ramadan.
 
A Muslim Brotherhood-linked doctors’ association in Egypt plans to protest over the matter. Its demonstration will be held on Saturday night, as Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple.
 
The association may be burning the Israeli flag just as Israelis circle the Temple Mount in the annual Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) march.

Bulgaria Police Looking for Another Suspect

Category: Reports
Created on Saturday, 21 July 2012 14:20
Bus destroyed in Burgas attackBulgarian police are conducting a manhunt for another suspect who is believed to have assisted the terrorist who carried out the attack in Burgas which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian citizen on Wednesday.
 
According to a report in NRG-Ma’ariv, local security forces suspect that the suspect may be in possession of another bomb.
 
The report said that due to the suspicion that the suspect may have more explosives, extra security was placed in hotels in Burgas where Israelis are known to be staying.
 
Bulgarian police have distributed a sketch of the suspect among the security officers stationed at the hotels, and asked security officers and hotel managers to be alert.
 
Earlier, Pentagon spokesman George Little was quoted by Reuters as having that the suicide bombing bore hallmarks of Iranian-backed Hizbullah terrorists.
 
He added, however, that the U.S. Defense Department has not yet concluded who was behind it. Hizbullah has denied involvement in the terror attack.
 
Reuters reported that Bulgaria's interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said earlier in the day that the attacker was a foreign national. Sofia was investigating with the help of foreign intelligence services, he said.
 
All five Israelis killed in the terror attack were to be laid to rest Friday.

Kenya Arrests Iranian Terrorists who Targeted Israelis

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 18:46
Kenya Arrests Iranian TerroristsOfficials in Nairobi reported on Monday that two Iranian terrorists who were arrested in Kenya last week 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.
 
The suspects denied the charges against them, the officials said. One of them said, “We are asking the court to let us go because we are innocent."
 
The Prime Minister's Office said in response to the report that "Iranian terrorism knows no borders.”
 
The PMO’s statement added, “After Iran sent its men to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil and carry out attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Tbilisi and New Delhi, its intention to carry out terrorist attacks on African soil has now been exposed. The international community must fight the world's largest exporter of terror.”
 
On Sunday, the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Unit, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, threatened Israel and said it will be destroyed if it “ventures an attack” on Iran.
 
Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Hajizadeh said that Iran was in the final stages of producing its new anti-radar ballistic missiles that had a range of 300 kilometers. He said the missiles were “able to target any radar centers on land or sea with high accuracy and destroy it several times faster than the speed of sound.”
 
Also on Sunday, expanded sanctions by European countries against Iran went into effect. The sanctions ban nearly all imports of oil from Iran, and European companies will no longer be allowed to insure Iranian oil ships.
 
Iran Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic is "easily" selling its oil despite western sanctions, because some countries have received waivers from the U.S. to import Iranian oil despite themeasures.
 
Bahmani said Iran would take action against the sanctions, but did not specify what it had in mind. "We have not remained passive. For confronting the sanctions, we have plans in progress," he said.

Shafiq Reclaims Victory, Attacks Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 June 2012 06:02
Ahmed Shafiq talks during a news conference in Cairo RuteresAhmed Shafiq, one of the two candidates for president of Egypt, repeated on Thursday his claim of victory in weekend runoff elections, The Associated Press reported.
 
Shafiq, who was deposed President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, made the claim in a news conference, his first one since the runoff.
 
AP reported that Shafiq accused the Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidate is running against him, of “playing games” to put pressure on election authorities before announcement of the official results.
 
He also accused the group of striking “backdoor deals” with outside powers to sway the results and urged world capitals not to interfere.
 
Shafiq has claimed victory in the runoff and the Brotherhood also declared soon after the election that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, had won. 
 
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Brotherhood escalated its fight with the military, calling for a mass protest Friday to denounce what it called a power grab by the generals. AP reported that three major Islamist groups said they would join the protest in Tahrir Square.Protesters against Ahmed Shafiq Reuters
 
Thousands of protesters, mostly Islamists, gathered in Tahrir Thursday for the third successive day, AP reported, demanding the reinstatement of the Islamist-dominated parliament dissolved by a court ruling last week. They also called on the military to rescind a "constitutional declaration" granting the generals sweeping powers and stripping the next president of much of his authority.
 
Shafiq denounced the Brotherhood's public appeals, saying, “These protests in the squares and fear-mongering campaigns in the media are all aimed at putting pressure on the election commission.”
 
Egypt's election commission had been scheduled to announce the results of the runoff on Thursday, but delayed the announcement as it was looking into appeals from lawyers of both candidates into alleged campaign violations and disputed vote counting.
 
The commission said it won't release the results till at least the weekend, "Saturday or Sunday," and possibly even later.

Ethiopian court convicts U.N. security officer of ‘terrorism’

Category: News
Created on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:51
Ogaden National Liberation Front ONLF rebelsA court in Addis Ababa Monday found an Ethiopian security officer working for the U.N. and charged with having links to a banned armed group guilty of “participating in a terrorist organization.”
 
“The defendant has not convinced us that he did not commit a crime... he’s guilty,” judge Mulugeta Kidane said. 
 
Abdurahman Sheikh Hassan, who was based in Ethiopia’s troubled southeastern Ogaden region, was charged last July with having links to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a secessionist rebel group.
 
He is charged along with Sherif Baido, whom the charge sheet lists as a senior member of the ONLF and was convicted on the same charge in absentia, according to Mulugeta. 
 
The two men face five to ten years in prison. The court is expected to deliver a sentence on Friday.
 
Hassan was arrested after negotiating the release of two UN World Food Program (WFP) officers kidnapped in the Ogaden.
 
Judge Mulugeta said defense witnesses failed to prove Hassan did not have links to ONLF members.
 
The key evidence used by the prosecution was recordings of phone conversations between Hassan and his co-defendant. 
 
The judge said the voices of Hassan and Baido had been matched to those on the tape after it was analyzed by the cybercrimes unit. 
 
“It has been proved by the cybercrimes section that it was their voices,” he said.

Brotherhood Pins Hopes on Presidential Elections

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 June 2012 11:15
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood pinned its hopes Friday on weekend elections to salvage its waning political fortunes, according to a report in The Associated Press.Mohammed Morsi (Reuters)
 
The runoff vote set for Saturday and Sunday pits Ahmed Shafiq, former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, against Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi.
 
The Brotherhood rose to become the strongest political force in parliament after elections that started in November, only to lose that power when the legislature was dissolved by court order on Thursday.
 
The Brotherhood is now hoping to salvage its position by portraying itself as the last bulwark against the ousted president's loyalists bent on a comeback, AP reported.
 
“Isolate the representative of the former regime through the ballot box,” a Brotherhood statement said on Friday, referring to Shafiq. It was published just before the noon deadline to end campaigning.
 
Meanwhile, the report said, some activists took to Cairo's main squares to protest the court ruling. Morsi said on Thursday that he respects the court’s decision and added that the Brotherhood would focus on the vote instead.
 
“We are going to the ballot boxes to say ‘no’ to the losers, the killers, the criminals,” he said, referring to Mubarak-era officials.
 
Morsi also gave assurances that he would work closely with the country's military rulers, which are widely perceived as favoring ex-air force commander Shafiq.
 
“As president, they will be in my heart and will get my attention. ... They will never do anything to harm the nation,” AP quoted him as having said.
 
Thursday's court decision left Egypt without a legislature, and the Brotherhood said that that progress made since Mubarak was ousted was being “wiped out and overturned.” The movement said the country is facing a situation that is “even more dangerous than that in the final days of Mubarak's rule.”
 
Earlier this week, Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood sharpened their attacks on one another. Shafiq started the round by accusing the Brotherhood of paying thugs to attack his campaign headquarters in Cairo last month.
 
The Brotherhood in returned accused Shafiq of telling “huge lies” and said he did nothing to stop a notorious charge on protesters in what has come to be known as the “Battle of the Camel” during the January 2011 uprising.
 
The group said in a statement that Shafiq's lies aim to tarnish the Brotherhood's image and mislead voters so that they either do not vote for Morsi or boycott the runoff altogether.
 
In earlier comments, Shafiq hit hard at the Muslim Brotherhood, warning that an Islamist victory will lead to terrorizing Christians and accusing the Brotherhood of trying to make “Palestine" the central issue for Egyptians.
 
In an unusually sharp attack, Shafiq accused the Brotherhood of acting as if “Palestine is the capital of Egypt.” He said that Egyptians face several domestic issues that should not be overshadowed by the status of the Palestinian Authority, whose Hamas faction was founded by the Brotherhood.
 
“Don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood control Egypt and take it to the dark ages," Shafiq declared. "I represent a secular state... the Brotherhood represents a sectarian state. I represent progress and light, they represent backwardness and darkness.”

Bar Israel from Hosting 2013 Championship

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 June 2012 10:22
PA football Ass. ask UEFA to Bar Israel from Hosting 2013 ChampionshipThe Palestine Football Association (PFA) has asked UEFA to bar Israel from hosting the 2013 European Under-21 Championship, AFP reported on Thursday.
 
The reason for the request is what the PFA described as Israel’s detention without trial of Palestinian Authority Arab players.
 
In a letter to UEFA President Michel Platini, PFA President Jibril Rajoub expressed concern over the fate of three players: midfielder Mahmud Sarsak, Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois and Ramallah player Mohammed Nimr. All three were arrested on terror-related charges
 
“We are deeply concerned about the situation of our footballers,” Rajoub wrote in the letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Thursday.
 
"We ask your excellency not to give Israel the honor of hosting the next UEFA U21 Championship in 2013,” he wrote.
 
Sarsak, 25, began refusing food in late March. He continued his hunger strike even after the end of the mass hunger strike by thousands of Arab prisoners. He is taking vitamins and sugar and drinking milk, AFP reported.
 
“For athletes in Palestine, there is no real freedom of movement and the risks of being detained or even killed are always looming before their eyes,” Rajoub wrote, according to AFP.
 
The report added that on Tuesday, French football icon Eric Cantona and nine other prominent figures sent a letter to Platini raising concerns over the ongoing detention of Sarsak.
 
“We are all shocked at the racist chanting at football matches in Poland and Ukraine where Euro 2012 is being played. Footballing bodies and politicians have been outspoken in their condemnation,” they wrote. “So why are these same groups silent when Israel is to host the UEFA Under-21s competition in 2013?”
 
“It is time to end Israel's impunity and to insist on the same standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that we demand of other states,” said the letter.
 
The PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Isa Karake, announced earlier this week that Arabs serving time in Israel for terror-related offenses are planning a new hunger strike aimed at obtaining the release of Sarsak and two other prisoners.
 
As part of a deal to end the last mass hunger strike, Israel made some concessions to the PA, including an agreement to stop placing prisoners in solitary confinement.
 
In addition, Israel agreed to allow prisoners to call relatives, to pursue academic studies, and to allow prisoners from Gaza as well as from Judea and Samaria to receive visits from family members.
 
The deal also included a release of the bodies of 91 terrorists to the PA. The release of the bodies was s another in an ongoing series of “gestures” by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the PA, in an effort to encourage PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to agree to return to negotiations with Israel.
 
So far, the PA has refused, although Abbas has accepted Israel's “gestures.”

Four men found guilty for plot on Prophet Mohammed cartoons newspaper

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 07 June 2012 17:03
Danish newspaper Jyllands-PostenFour men who planned a shooting spree at the office of a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were found guilty of terrorism Monday and sentenced each to 12 years in prison.
 
The three Swedish nationals and one Tunisian living in Sweden had pleaded not guilty to the terrorism charges, but a district court found all four “guilty of terrorism,” chief judge Katrine Eriksen said in the verdict, which was broadcast live.
 
Police uncovered a plot in 2009 to attack Jyllands-Posten, and in January 2010, the creator of the most controversial of the Mohammed cartoons escaped an axe attack at his home by a Somali man linked to al-Qaeda.
 
The Glostrup City Court handed down prison sentences to Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, Munir Awad, Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, and Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti.
 
The men, Swedish residents of North African and Mideast origin, had been under surveillance by Swedish and Danish intelligence agencies at the time but denied the charges during the trial. The four gave conflicting explanations about the purpose of their journey, which included New Year celebrations in the Danish capital and travel in Sweden.
 
The men, were arrested in December 2010, just three days before police said they planned to launch the attack on the newspaper and possibly another in an unspecified location.
 
Jyllands-Posten was the first paper to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, provoking protests in 2006 against Danish and other European interests abroad and riots in countries from the Middle East to Africa and Asia in which at least 50 people died.
 
The four men had met in Stockholm and discussed martyrdom, according to the surveillance recordings played during the trial. The tapes showed the four men discussing how they should kill as many people as possible inside the building housing the paper and take one hostage. The recordings also revealed them discussing what to do about women and children, whose lives they were apparently going to spare.
 
At a prayer service in Denmark before their arrest, the men were heard on a surveillance tape saying "when you meet the infidels, cut their throats," according to the Associated Press.
 
The prosecutor claimed that Mounir Dhahri, 46, was the mastermind. Prosecutors say that Dhahri, a 46-year-old Tunisian citizen with a Swedish residence permit, disappeared for two years in 2008-2010 and is believed to have received terror training in the Waziristan region of Pakistan. Dhahri denied this and said he traveled in Europe and Turkey.
 
The group left Stockholm Dec. 28, 2010, and headed south to Copenhagen, where three of them were arrested the next morning. During the trip, Zalouti left the car and returned to Stockholm, where he was arrested by police the same day.
 
Danish police found the men in possession of two automatic weapons, 122 rounds, and more than $20,000 in cash.
 
Last week, Danish police said the men planned to “kill as many as possible” at the central Copenhagen building that houses the newspaper in an attack they compared to the assault on Mumbai by 10 gunmen in 2008 that killed 166 people.
 
Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service (PET) said in January that Denmark is still considered a high-priority target by militant Islamists, with a specific threat against anyone associated with the cartoons, first published in 2005.
 
“The troubles linked to the Prophet Mohammed cartoons mean that there is a focus on Denmark as a potential terrorist target, we cannot deny that,” said Hans Jorgen Christian Bonnichsen, a security consultant who used to work for the PET.
 
David Headley, a Pakistani-American who said he scouted targets in Mumbai for the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, also told investigators he had helped al-Qaeda plan an attack in Copenhagen. He was arrested in 2009.
 
The PET has said previously that the four men belonged to a militant Islamist group and had links to international terrorist networks. They declined to report any new comments ahead of the trial.
 
In May last year, a Chechen man was found guilty of an attempted act of terrorism against Jyllands-Posten after he mistakenly set off a small explosive device in the toilet of a Copenhagen hotel.

Shalit Deal Terrorists Increasing Terror Activity

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 07:36
Hamas officers in GazaA senior IDF official said on Monday that there has been an increase in attempts by terrorists who were released in the Shalit deal and sent to Gaza to promote terrorism in Judea and Samaria.
 
Speaking to Army Radio, the official said that the terrorists released in the deal and who are living in Judea and Samaria are under constant Israeli supervision, and that most of them did not return to terrorist activity.
 
“It is only the actions of our forces that ensure the security of Israeli citizens,” the official said, adding that the body which tries to encourage terrorism the most is Hamas.
 
“Along with the Palestinian Authority’s attempt at reconciliation with Hamas, we are detecting a loosening in the PA’s security forces actions against Hamas activists,” he said.
 
Several of the more than 1,000 terrorists Israel released last October in exchange for Gilad Shalit have been re-arrested after returning to terrorism.
 
One of the released terrorists, Omar Abu-Sneina, sent a memory card to relatives with detailed instructions on how to kidnap more soldiers. The memory card stated that a live kidnap victim should not be hidden in an isolated area.
 
Another Hamas terrorist, who participated in the bombing of Café Hillel in Jerusalem and was released in the Shalit deal, took part in an “apartheid week” propaganda tour in South Africa.
 
The terrorist, Abd al-Aziz Muhammad Moussa Amr, called during the tour for mass marches in Israel's borders in order to “liberate Jerusalem and Palestine.”
 
He also called for international pressure to aid in the release of his fellow terrorists from Israeli jails the release of terrorists in Israeli jails, whom he characterized as "political prisoners".
 
The Deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Moti Yogev, recently said that terrorists have been encouraged to try to carry out attacks against Israelis because of the deal to free Gilad Shalit.

Israel Intensifies Security Along Border with Egypt

Category: News
Created on Monday, 04 June 2012 07:13
Israeli soldiers Israeli-Egyptian border ReutersIsrael has intensified security on its border with Egypt after verdicts were issued in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, security sources in the Sinai Peninsula told the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper on Sunday.
 
Eyewitnesses at the border area told the newspaper that the presence of Israeli armored vehicles and border patrols has increased markedly over the past two days due to fears of terrorism.
 
The sources denied that Egypt had deployed forces on its borders and said everything was normal.
 
On Saturday, Mubarak and his longtime interior minister, Habib al-Adly, were given life sentences for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising last year which brought about Mubarak’s ouster.
 
The 84-year-old Mubarak reportedly suffered a heart attack upon his arrival at Tora Prison. Medical staff at the prison treated Mubarak and stabilized his condition.
 
A security official said Mubarak refused to disembark from the helicopter that brought him to the prison and broke into tears upon his arrival.
 
At the same time, the court cleared six high-ranking Interior Ministry officials of the same charges, and acquitted Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal of financial corruption charges.
 
Egypt’s chief prosecutor has appealed the life sentence handed down to Mubarak, saying he should be sentenced to death for the killing of more than 800 demonstrators last year.
 
The appeal automatically included asking for a new verdict for Mubarak’s two sons and six security officers who were acquitted.
 
The life sentence handed triggered mass protests by tens of thousands of Egyptians who wanted nothing less than the death penalty.
 
The verdict played into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi is campaigning against a former Mubarak aide, Ahmed Shafiq.
 
"The public prosecutor did not carry out its full duty in gathering adequate evidence to convict the accused for killing protesters," said Morsi’s campaign spokesman.
 
Shafiq, meanwhile, hit hard at the Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday, warning that an Islamist victory will lead to terrorizing Christians and accusing the Brotherhood of trying to make “Palestine" the central issue for Egyptians.
 
In an unusually sharp attack, Shafiq accused the Brotherhood of acting as if “Palestine is the capital of Egypt.” He said that Egyptians face several domestic issues that should not be overshadowed by the status of the Palestinian Authority, whose Hamas faction was founded by the Brotherhood.
 
“Don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood control Egypt and take it to the dark ages," Shafiq declared. "I represent a secular state... the Brotherhood represents a sectarian state. I represent progress and light, they represent backwardness and darkness.”
 
Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Egypt on Friday, to demand that Shafiq be disqualified from the presidential runoff.
 
Shafiq has said that he would be ready to visit Israel, if elected, “provided it gives something to show it has good intentions.”
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, which also clinched the majority in recent parliamentary elections, has threatened to cancel the peace treaty with Israel by putting the issue up for a referendum and letting Egyptians decide.

Lebanese Group Designated Terror Organization by U.S.

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 27 May 2012 19:29
Logo-Abdullah Azzam BrigadesThe U.S. designated on Thursday the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), a Lebanese-based terror group, as a global terrorist organization, according to a report on Bloomberg.
 
AAB carried out a July 2010 attack on the Japanese-owned oil tanker M/V M.Star in the Strait of Hormuz, according to a statement by the State Department.
 
The group claimed that the attack was carried out by its Arabian Peninsula Branch, according to the State Department.
 
“AAB has repeatedly articulated its intent to carry out attacks against Western interests in the Middle East,” the statement said, according to Bloomberg. “In 2010, for instance, the group expressed an interest in kidnapping U.S. and British tourists in the Arabian Peninsula.”
 
The statement added that AAB is responsible for numerous indiscriminate rocket attacks from Lebanon against population centers in northern Israel.
 
The group, which is allied with Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for firing four Katyusha rockets at Israel in November.
 
Several weeks later, the group also claimed responsibility for firing a Katyusha rocket which failed to reach Israel and instead injured a Lebanese woman.
 
The State Department took similar action on December 15 against a leader of the group, Saleh al-Qarawi, a Saudi citizen, Bloomberg reported.
 
Designating the group a global terrorist organization imposes financial sanctions and prohibits knowingly providing it with material support.

Al-Qaeda Guide Encourages Western Terrorists to Attack at Home

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 May 2012 23:19
Members of an al Qaeda-linked group inside a mosqueAl-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has released a new guide for would-be Western recruits, urging Western militants who were thinking of traveling to join the group in Yemen to, in effect, think twice before making the trip.
 
The guide, entitled “Expectations Full,” was apparently compiled by Samir Khan, the American-Saudi editor of the group's Inspire magazine, before his death in a drone strike in late September 2011. CNN released on Wednesday some of the contents of the guide.
 
“I strongly recommend all the brothers and sisters coming from the West to consider attacking America in its own backyard,” Khan wrote, according to the excerpts published by CNN. “The effect is much greater, it always embarrasses the enemy, and these type of individual decision-making attacks are nearly impossible for them to contain.”
 
The guide, released Monday, makes clear that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) views Western recruits as more valuable to its campaign of international terrorism than in waging insurgent operations in Yemen.
 
“If you're coming from the West, especially America, you might be asked by the leaders of the mujahidin or those who know where you're from why you didn't partake in jihad inside your country,” Khan’s guide states, according to CNN. “If you tell them, 'to help the mujahidin,' they might tell you that attacking the enemy in their backyard is one of the best ways to help the jihad. They certainly will not force you to go back home, but they will leave that option open for you just in case you change your mind and decide to attack the enemy back home.”al-Qaeda militants
 
Last month the group believed it had recruited a British passport holder to blow up an explosive device on a U.S.-bound plane. In the end, the recruit turned out to be an agent working for Saudi counterterrorism.
 
Khan’s guide was written well before the plot was foiled and it advises recruits the group is suspicious about newcomers, CNN noted.
 
“In addition, there are certain questions you should avoid asking. Some of these questions include, 'Where are you from', 'How long have you been in the jihad', 'Where does so-and-so stay', 'When is so-and-so going out for the operation' and 'When are we going to leave this base'. This is because we don't want any possible spies in our ranks to take advantage of this information. Also, the more you ask these kind of questions, the more the mujahidin and its leadership will think of you as a spy and place you on their blacklist, keeping a close watch of you.”
 
The guide also provides practical advice for those still wanting to travel to Yemen to join the group. It says Jihadis should anticipate moving between bases frequently and wannabes are advised to practice this nomadic life before they come to Yemen.
 
“I suggest you try and practice this at your house, a friend's house, a hotel/motel, the mountains,” Khan says. “Live in the locality for exactly one week or however long you can with a friend or two.”
 
The guide also warns of the difficulties of living outdoors, the rigors of training and has a section about the experience of being targeted by drone strikes, which the guide suggests are of increasing concern to Al-Qaeda members in Yemen.
 
“As for protecting yourself from the enemy bombardment...this will all be taught to you when you join the ranks of the mujahidin,” the guide states. “If you feel terrified, then think about paradise.”
 
The latest edition of the Inspire magazine instructs lone terrorists to refrain from targeting churches, mosques and synagogues in order to protect their “'reputation.”
 
The winter 2012 edition of the magazine revealed that global jihad is facing criticism from Muslims over how they carry out their attacks.
 
The magazine revealed, however, that terrorists could attack Jewish congregations as well as politicians, media personalities, stock exchanges, airports, harbors and military bases.

Terrorists Nabbed With Pipe Bombs in Samaria

Category: Reports
Created on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 06:14
Bomb squad sapper in IsraelTwo Arabs from Palestinian Authority enclaves were arrested trying to smuggle four pipe bombs, an improvised gun, and a large amount of ammunition into Israel on Tuesday.
Two Arab men in their 20s aroused the suspicion of Border Police officers at the Tapuach Junction, who detained and searched the pair.
Upon finding the weapons in their bags, Border Police called sappers were called to dispose of the devices. The pair were arrested and handed over to security offcials for questioning.
Such arrests have become commonplace as northern Samaria increasingly becomes a hub for the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations.
January 8: Border Police arrest two men carrying 12 pipe bombs and a combat knife at a checkpoint near Shechem in northern Samaria.
April 11: IDF forces stopped a would-be bomber over Passover at a checkpoint east of Shechem, in northern Samaria. The terrorist was carrying improvised explosive devices, three knives and 50 bullets.
April 21: 2 Palestinian Authority teens carrying bombs and guns were nabbed by Israeli forces. They were apprehended near Tapuach Junction with 5 pipe bombs, a gun, and ammo.
April 24: IDF forces uncovered 4 improvised bombs on two Arabs at a crossing north of Jericho. The bombs were found in the men’s bags and detonated safely.
April 28: IDF forces nabbed 2 terrorists with 4 pipe bombs as they were trying to smuggle explosives through a checkpoint in northern Samaria.
May 7: Israeli forces arrested 17-year-old Palestinian for carrying 3 pipe bombs. The teen was detained near Tapuach junction.
Last August the GSS cracked a network of Hamas terror cells in Judea and Samaria, each of which was in various stages of planning for attacks on Israelis.
One of the cells was behind the 23 March 2011 bus bombing in central Jerusalem that killed 1 and wounded 47. 
Also, in late January 2012, the GSS and Israel Police foiled a shooting attack planned by an Israeli Arab in collaboration with an Islamic Jihad terror cell from Tulkarem in northern Samaria.

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