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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Air Force’

New Report Claims Missing IDF Officer Ron Arad Died Shortly After Being Captured

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

IDF Intelligence and the Mossad have submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two separate reports regarding the fate of the missing Air Force navigator Ron Arad, Channel 2 News reported Monday night. According to the reports, based on an extensive examination of the entire body of information regarding the missing airman, including new information that appeared over the past two years, Arad died after his first few years in captivity.

Lieutenant Colonel Ron Arad, born in 1958, has been officially classified as missing in action since October 16, 1986, when he and pilot Yishai Aviram were on a mission to attack PLO targets near Sidon, Lebanon. A bomb dropped by their F-4 plane exploded prematurely, causing damage to the aircraft and forcing both crewmen to eject. Aviram was located by an Israeli Cobra and escaped by clinging to one of its landing skids as it flew away under heavy enemy fire. Arad was captured by the Lebanese movement Amal.

Arad was brought to Beirut where he was held by then-head of security of Amal, Mustafa Dirani. Amal chief Nabih Berri announced that he was holding Arad, and proposed an exchange for Shiite and Lebanese prisoners held in Israel.

In 1987, three letters in Arad’s handwriting and two photos of a bearded Arad were received, proving he was still alive. The Israeli government negotiated for his release, but talks failed in 1988. From that point on no credible information about Arad has been received, while many unsubstantiated claims of his whereabouts are still being made.

Israeli commandos captured Hezbollah member Abdel Karim Obeid in 1989, and Mustafa Dirani in 1994,  and interrogated both of them about Arad’s fate. Dirani reportedly disclosed that in May 1988 Arad was turned over first to a Hezbollah unit and then to Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who may have taken him to Iran. Obeid and Dirani were released in 2004 as part of a prisoner exchange.

The IDF wanted to declare Arad as a fallen soldier whose burial-place is unknown, based on information funneled from Iran through a German source. But the navigator’s family rejected the idea, refusing to accept anything other than hard evidence. Several committees that examined the information regarding Arad have concluded the chances that he is alive are miniscule, but were not able to offer a conclusive statement.

The Israeli government has spent millions on the search for Arad, and offered a $10 million reward to anyone who could provide reliable new information. The family is no longer pressuring the military to keep up the search for their loved one, and the Born Free association that had been set up to look for Arad was dissolved back in 2012.

JNi.Media

US Group Says Nukes At Incirlik Air Base At Risk of Seizure by Turkey Government

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

A Washington DC think tank has warned in a new report that American nuclear weapons stored at the Incirlik air base in southeastern Turkey are at risk of being seized by the Ankara government.

That is the conclusion reached by the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan Washington DC think tank dedicated to promoting “global peace and economic prosperity.”

The claim was made in a report issued by the group on Monday, entitled “B61 Life Extension Program: Costs and Policy Consideration.”

“Whether the U.S. could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question,” the center maintained in its report.

According to co-author Lacie Heeley, “it’s a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America’s nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

“There are significant safeguards in place… But safeguards are just that, they don’t eliminate risk,” she told the AFP news agency. “In the event of a coup, we can’t say for certain that we would have been able to maintain control.”

In response, the Pentagon said in a statement, “We do not discuss the location of strategic assets. “The [Department of Defense] has taken appropriate steps to maintain the safety and security of our personnel, their families, and our facilities, and we will continue to do so.”

Thousands of members of the judiciary, police and military have been arrested in an ongoing purge taking place in the wake of a failed coup attempt in Turkey last month.

The government is also continuing its media crackdown on news outlets that appear to be critical of its policies in any way.

Authorities ordered the closing of 45 newspapers, 23 radio stations, 16 television channels and three news agencies this month. Arrest warrants were issued for 47 former employees and executives of Zaman, a media group accused of links to Fethullah Gulen, an elderly Turkish Islamic cleric in self-imposed exile in the United States.

Hana Levi Julian

Former Turkish Military Attache to Israel Recants ‘Confession’

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Former Turkish Air Force Chief Akin Ozturk may have “confessed” alleged involvement in last week’s failed coup attempt earlier in the day on Monday, but he had a very different account to share later in the day when he made his statement to prosecutors.

Turkey’s former military attache to Israel insisted that he was “not the person who planned or led the coup,” according to a report by the BBC. The state-run Anadolu news agency earlier had quoted him as telling his interrogators that he had “acted with the intention to stage a coup.”

Ozturk served as Turkey’s military liaison to Jerusalem from 1996 to 1998. He and 26 senior officers were charged with treason and remanded in custody by a Turkish court Monday, the Anadolu news agency reported, though he denied involvement.

“I don’t know who planned or directed it,” he reportedly told prosecutors before appearing in court in Ankara, adding that perhaps the Gulen movement had a hand in it.

“But I cannot tell who within the armed forces organized and carried it out. I have no information. I have fought against this structure,” he said, challenging his accusers to produce evidence proving his involvement. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for reinstatement of the country’s death penalty, ostensibly in response to the “demands of the public” — but as he openly acknowledged at a public rally, also due to his own desires to see the return of capital punishment.

“Your request can never be rejected by our government,” Erdogan told the thousands of people gathered at a massive rally over the weekend. “But of course it will take a parliamentary decision for that to take action in the form of a constitutional measure so leaders will have to get together and discuss it,” he told CNN subsequently in an exclusive interview. “If they accept to discuss it, then I as president will approve any decision that comes out of the parliament,” he added.

Probably the first candidate for death row would be Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, if the United States accedes to Erdogan’s demand to extradite him to Turkey, although if Ankara approves the death penalty, its application for membership to the European Union will be denied with finality, according to a statement on Monday by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Erdogan blamed the failed coup on the U.S.-based Islamic cleric and has said he will measure the quality of America’s alliance with Turkey by its response to the request. Turkish officials have said Gulen formed a “parallel structure” in Turkey to overthrow the government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded that he would not stand in the way of the extradition, if Turkey can provide concrete evidence of Gulen’s role in the attempted coup. “There must be a legal basis for such a move,” Kerry said.

During the attempted coup military forces shut down national access to social media, and sealed off the two bridges in Istanbul that link the European and Asian continents over the Bosphorus on Friday. They also shut down Istanbul’s main airport, and sent tanks to the parliament building in Ankara.

So far more than 200 people have died in the unrest that gripped the country during the attempt to overthrow the Erdogan government — and in the shock waves that continue in its aftermath. The deputy mayor of Istanbul remains in critical condition after an assassination attempt Monday in the city’s Sisli district. An unknown attacker shot the deputy mayor in the head during the day, but it was not clear whether the attack was linked to the failed coup attempt.

Hana Levi Julian

IAF Commander Wants 75 F-35 Jets, Some with Vertical Takeoff, and Home-Made Tweaking

Friday, June 24th, 2016

IAF Chief Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman, who participated on Thursday in the rollout ceremony for the first F-35 “Adir” single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighter at the Lockheed Martin factory in Dallas, sees the first 50 jets Israel will be receiving over the next few years as only a beginning. “We want to reach 75 jets,” Kelman told the IAF blog. “The Israeli F-35 is the first fifth generation fighter to arrive in the Middle East, and it will allow us to open a significant gap in our abilities when facing all of the elements in the area.”

According to Kelman, the IAF is already examining the F-35B model equipped with the ability to take off from very short runways and land vertically. “We want the first 50 jets to be A models, but beyond this, we are examining the options. The F-35B may be limited relatively to the A model regarding the amount of munitions it can carry, but has other advantages that may aid us in different scenarios.”

Courtesy Lockheed Martin

Courtesy Lockheed Martin

The “Adir” is expected to completely change the face of the IAF and introduce new abilities into the force. “A few months ago I had the privilege of flying the F-35 simulator here in Fort Worth,” Kelman related. “As a pilot that has flown a great variety of aircraft for over 30 years, I must share the feeling: It was like holding the future in my hands. The unique combination between split edge technology, lethality and amazing man-machine interface will lead the world to the fifth generation.”

“The F-35 which will be received by the IAF with open arms this coming December will substantially enhance our operational capabilities,” Kelman predicted. “The new aircraft will bring with it new strength. There is no doubt that the F-35 will become an integral part of our defense system and allow us to better ensure the safety of our civilians — against our hostile neighbors, and against the complex threats which may escalate at a moment’s notice. I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to say that the presence of the F-35 in the Middle East will change the dynamic of the region for the better.”

Courtesy Lockheed Martin

Courtesy Lockheed Martin

The Israeli F-35s will be based at Nevatim Airbase in the Negev, where the IAF is constructing its own maintenance center for the aircraft. The decision to locate them down south was based on operational, environmental, infrastructure and training considerations, as well as the IDF’s strategic vision to transfer some of its bases to the region.

Israel is the first US ally to receive the aircraft when its deliveries begin in December, and it is the only country allowed to modify the F-35, according to a report in Wired. According to Wired, Brig. Gen. Kalman has suggested that Israel’s “unique requirements” justify a degree of autonomy with the F-35. When you might go to war at any moment, Kalman argued, you can’t have your best hardware go out of service for weeks at a time for checkouts that can take just a few days on your own turf.

According to Wired, It helps that the key piece of software Israel is adding to the F-35 is a free-standing, add-on app for command, control, communications and computing. The app draws data streams from the F-35’s own open-architecture operating system in order to provide additional functionality.

As Benni Cohen, a general manager at Israel Aerospace Industries, told Wired, the app gives the air force an easy tool for adapting the F-35 to its own needs. “[Our] open-system architecture enables rapid software and hardware development cycles that will also provide more affordable modernization and support of systems over the platform’s life cycle,” Cohen said.

JNi.Media

IAF Attacks Hamas Targets in Gaza

Friday, May 6th, 2016

At 9:30 AM, the IDF announced that the Air Force attacked Hamas infrastructure targets in southern Gaza.

The attacks were in response to the multiple mortar attacks by Hamas against IDF forces uncovering Hamas terror tunnels along the Gaza border over the past few days.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Congratulations Class #171

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

The 171st Air Force pilot’s course held their graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015.

Blue Skies.

Air Force Graduation Ceremony

 

 

Photo of the Day

Report: ISIS is Building Air Force in Sirte

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror group has somehow acquired flight simulators, captured fighter jets and is now starting to train pilots to fly them at an air base in Libya, according to numerous reports.

The group has allegedly acquired two flight simulators “the size of a small car” — one from a civilian plane and the other, that of a fighter jet, according to the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat. The information was confirmed to the paper in an interview with a senior Libyan military officer in Cairo.

The terror organization is “now actively training its jihadis on it to fly flighter jets” at an air base in Sirte, the hometown of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was murdered in custody in 2011.

Nor is the group lacking in aircraft with which to begin to equip its fledgling air force: Da’esh has already managed to capture a number of fighter jets in Iraq and Syria.

Given these elements, Da’esh terrorist pilots could conceivably hijack planes and then crash them into high-value targets as did Al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001, or simply take to the skies in their own ISIS air force, perhaps to attack other targets. The group has felt no compunction about destroying any treasured site that might hold value to any society, be it religious or cultural, thus far. Moreover, Da’esh also appears to be escalating the caliber of its actions with each new attack.

At present, there are an estimated 3,000 Da’esh terrorists in Libya, a United Nations committee said in a report submitted to the U.S. Security Council and released to the public last week.

“Since 2013, the country has experienced several waves of Libyan returnees, which also formed the backbone of the newly established ISIL (ISIS -ed.) in Libya. In addition, the country continues to attract foreign terrorist fighters in significant numbers from North Africa. While currently concentrated in its stronghold in Sirte, ISIL could seek local alliances to expand its territorial control, also entailing the risk of motivating additional foreign terrorist fighters to join the group in Libya,” the committee reported in the executive summary.

Libya borders Tunisia and during the Arab Spring, Libyan rebel fighters flowed back and forth across the border, as did female Qaddafi family members who were fleeing the fighting.

During these times, members of the ancient Jewish communities of Djerba and Tunis prudently maintained a particularly low profile, often with assistance from longtime Gentile friends and neighbors, in order to increase their chances of staying alive through the storm.

It is not clear how the Tunisian Jewish community will be impacted by the growth of Da’esh next door, now spreading its tentacles throughout a nation that has never managed to achieve any stability since Qadaffi was toppled.

It is perfectly clear, however, that the world will be an infinitely more dangerous place if Da’esh succeeds in its bid to build a terrorist air force and if its success in achieving mastery of chemical and biological warfare is not sabotaged as soon as possible.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-isis-is-building-air-force-in-sirte/2015/12/08/

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