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February 11, 2016 / 2 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

What Were Guns, Ammo and a Koran Doing at Paris Disneyland?

Friday, January 29th, 2016

As if the French aren’t already in a high state of anxiety, they just received some more credible evidence that certain people are sufficiently unhappy with them that they are still – despite all the security measures taken recently – intent on harming France and its Western way of life.

During a “routine security check” at a Disneyland Paris hotel, two handguns, ammunition and a Koran were discovered in the suitcase of a man who tried to enter. The man, and a women whom authorities initially thought was with him, were both arrested when police arrived on the scene. That woman was later released.

French broadcaster RTL reported that police seized two small-caliber handguns and a 7.65 caliber cartridge box, as well as a “small Koran.”

Security alarms went off as the suitcase was going through a routine screening at Disneyland’s New York Hotel.

The 28 year-old suspect was described by some media outlets as a “European national.”

The suspect was arrested at Disneyland Paris, which is in the town of  Marne-la-Vallée, 20 miles east of the French capital. It is Europe’s most visited theme park. In 2014, 14.20 million people visited the park, the vast majority of whom were Europeans.

France continues to be in a “state of emergency,” declared after the jihadist terrorist attacks of November 13, when nearly 130 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded. Just Wednesday France’s highest court rejected an appeal to lift the state of emergency.

Disneyland Paris did not shut down during Thursday’s incident, although it was briefly shut down in the immediate wake of the November attacks.

Initial reports state that the suspect claimed he was carrying the guns and ammunition “for his own safety.”

Lord George Weidenfeld, 96, Passes Away

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Publisher and philanthropist Lord George Weidenfeld died “peacefully in his sleep” early Wednesday morning at age 96.

The British peer passed away after a brief illness, his family said in a statement. His body is to be brought to Israel for interment.

Born in Vienna in September 1919, the peer attended the University of Vienna; once the Nazis annexed Austria, however, he emigrated to London, where he first worked for the BBC.

He founded publishing company Weidenfeld & Nicolson with Nigel Nicolson in 1949, after working for the BBC, and remained its chairman up to his death. Weidenfeld & Nicolson became part of Orion Publishing Group in 1992, which became part of Hachette UK. The firm published the memoirs of a host of world leaders, including Charles de Gaulle and Lyndon Johnson, and Pope John Paul II.

Lord Weidenfeld was called “a towering figure in the Jewish community whose legacy will be one of great compassion,” Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said, according to the British Jewish Chronicle.

“Lord Weidenfeld was a man who epitomized community service and leadership while his perception of the new challenges facing Europe was both unique and powerful,” said Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis.

“One of Lord Weidenfeld’s last acts, rescuing Christian families from Syria and Iraq and resettling them elsewhere, exemplifies the legacy of a man we should all endeavor to replicate.”

That project, Operation Safe Havens, was launched in part to repay a debt of gratitude the philanthropist had felt towards the British family who had taken him in as a teenager, he told the BBC last October. He commented that he felt “inadequate help” was being given to those fleeing from ISIS and said he felt he “must do something about it.”

ISIS Grinds Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery to Rubble

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, a place of worship for 1,400 years – used even by U.S. troops – has been reduced to rubble by Da’esh (ISIS).

The destruction was confirmed by satellite photos obtained by the Associated Press from the imagery firm DigitalGlobe, and compared with earlier images from the same site, AP wrote Wednesday in an exclusive report.

Built in 590, St. Elijah’s Monastery – called “Dair Mar Elia” in Syriac – stood on a hill above the city of Mosul, Iraq: a 27,000-square-foot stone and mortar fortress with a roof that was partly missing.

It was a place where in 1743 some 150 Christian monks stood firm and gave their lives, rather than bend to the will of Persian leader Tahmaz Nadir Shah who demanded their forcible conversion to Islam.

The building was huge, with 26 rooms, a chapel and a sanctuary.

But no more.

Catholic World Report quoted a post from June 12, 2014 that Christians were being driven out completely from Mosul by the Islamist hordes. The city had just been taken over by ISIS.

For the first time in 1,600 years, no Mass was celebrated in Mosul on Sunday June 15, 2014.

“The Catholic Archbishop of the city, Amil Shamaaoun Nona, corroborated this while speaking with the worldwide Catholic relief service, Aid to the Church in Need. ‘All the faithful have left the city. Who knows whether they will ever be able to return,’ Abp. Nona said.”

In 2003, there were still 35,000 Christians living in Mosul, according to that report. By 2014, there were only 3,000.

“The city of Mosul, with its population of three million, was already mentioned in the Bible as Nineveh, and for thousands of years it has been a place of Christian civilization,” the publication lamented.

U.S. Army chaplain Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic priest, also celebrated Mass on the monastery’s altar while deployed in Iraq.

Da’esh destroys any and all edifices the group considers to be related to idolatry, in its twisted interpretation of Islam.

More than 100 such sites have been leveled so far, among them the remains of the ancient city of Palmyra, in Syria. Monuments in the cities of Nineveh and Hatra are also ruined. Countless other treasures have been crushed – or stolen and sold to finance Da’esh terrorist attacks.

Pres. Rivlin Warns Support Growing for ISIS Among Israeli Arab Teens

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin warned Monday evening that Israeli Arab teens are growing more enamored with becoming Da’esh operatives for the ISIS terror organization.

“The Islamic State is already here – that is no longer a secret,” Rivlin told participants at the ninth annual international conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

“I am not speaking about territories bordering the State of Israel – but within Israel itself.”

Rivlin said that according to figures gleaned from “research studies, arrests, testimonies and covert analyses,” there is increasing support for Da’esh among Israeli Arabs.

A number have already been arrested during the past year for attempting to join the terror group. Some were recruited via the Internet, where Da’esh makes a special effort to target new members with flashy videos and webzines in various languages, including Hebrew.

A resident of the northern Negev Bedouin town of Hura was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday (Jan. 18) after admitting to having joined ISIS. He planned to travel to Syria with other family members.

This month the Be’er Sheva District Court is scheduled to hear five indictments against Bedouins who joined Da’esh. Several worked as educators in Hura, and in the Bedouin city of Rahat.

Earlier this month the terrorist cell leader Muhammad Abu Al Kian was sentenced to four years in jail. One of his early followers, a medical resident from Ashkelon, joined ISIS in Syria and was killed.

Much of the sympathy for Da’esh is seen among Muslim Arabs, said Rivlin, but support for Islamist terrorism is growing in secular circles as well.

“We are today seeing the influence of extremist ideas even in areas and groups identifying as secular,” he noted. “We have seen the waving of the black flag of the Islamic State in various villages and at political rallies, some which have included the participation of members of Knesset.”

Rivlin emphasized that “the State of Israel certainly does not regard the entire Arab sector as an enemy, nor as a group entirely tainted with extremism and Islamic fundamentalism.”

He did, however, underscore the need for Arab leaders to step up and take control of the situation – or own up to their part in it.

“I do not for a moment absolve the Arab leadership of responsibility,” he said. “The voices that blame the ‘occupation’ as the source of all ills while displaying sympathy and understanding for attacks on innocents represent a serious problem.”

Rivlin said it is in the best interest of the state to offer Israel’s Arabs a better future than that promised by groups such as Da’esh.

“If children are growing up without a dream, without hope or without aspirations, with the feeling that their blood and their lives are of a lesser value in the State of Israel, then we must think of how to offer them a dream, hope and faith.”

Three Americans Abducted by ‘Militiamen’ in Baghdad

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Three Americans, widely believed but not confirmed to be contractors, were abducted from war-torn Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, Jan. 14.

The missing Americans were taken from the Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad. That area has become an increasingly Sunni Muslim neighborhood in recent years.

The spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Scott Bolz, confirmed on Sunday that several Americans had “gone missing.” Bolz said “We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans.”

U.S. State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby also acknowledged to an Arab media outlet on Sunday, Jan. 16, that the U.S. government is aware of reports that three American citizens are missing in Iraq.

“The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority.‎ We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals,” Kirby said.

An Iraqi security official told CNN that two of the three missing are dual Iraqi-American citizens, and that the third is an American. The same official also said that the men “were grabbed by a group of gunmen from an apartment” in Dora late Friday afternoon.

The abducted men were reportedly taken away in a several-vehicle convoy.

“A company filed a report Sunday about three of its staff going missing two days ago. They are American contractors. We are looking into this report,” the Iraqi security official said.

An Iraqi police official told AFP that he was informed that the kidnappers were “militiamen wearing military uniforms.”

Over the course of the past several months, dozens of foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq. ISIS as well as Shia and Sunni groups have carried out the kidnappings. In addition to the abduction of foreign nationals, Iraqi citizens have also been kidnapped recently, although most of those incidents appeared to have criminal rather than terroristic motivations.

Hundreds Captured or Dead in ISIS Assault on Syria’s Oil-Rich Deir Ezzor

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Hundreds of Syrian women, children and elderly are dead following an assault by Da’esh operatives from the ISIS terror organization on the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor on Saturday.

The murders were carried out in the suburb of al-Bghailiye in Deir Ezzor city, capital of the province of the same name, according to the Syrian state-run SANA news agency, which quoted local sources.

Some reports of the assault claimed fewer deaths but a higher number of captives, dragged away to Raqqa, the so-called capital of the mushrooming Da’esh “caliphate.”

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that closer to 400 civilians were abducted Saturday after Da’esh seized new territory in Syria’s eastern city of Deir Ezzor.

The attack places Da’esh in control of approximately 60 percent of Deir Ezzor City. The oil-rich province borders Iraq.

“After their attack on Deir Ezzor [on Saturday] ISIS abducted at least 400 civilians from the residents of the al-Baghaliyeh suburb it captured and adjacent areas in the northwest of the city,” the Observatory said in a statement to media.

“Those abducted, all of whom are Sunnis, include women, children and family members of pro-regime fighters,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman added.

The hostages were reportedly taken to areas under Da’esh control in the western area of Deir Ezzor province, to the border with the Raqqa province, in the northwestern part of Syria.

According to the Observatory, the attack on Saturday left 85 civilians and 50 regime fighters dead. In addition, 42 member from the “Islamic State” organization (including 12 infiltrators and members who blew themselves up with explosive belts in the same attack) were killed as well, the organization reported on its website.

The report from state-run SANA, quoting local residents, said “around 300 civilians” were killed in the assault, and cited a “massacre.”

If the figures are confirmed it will be one of the highest death tolls in a single day in the nearly 5-year civil war.

Russia Directly Arming Hezbollah Fighters in Syria

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Russia has begun to directly arm Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Syria, according to a report this week by The Daily Beast.

Hezbollah field commanders serving in Syria told the news outlet they are receiving “heavy weapons” for their troops “with no strings attached.” Among the arms they reportedly have received were long-range tactical missiles, laser-guided rockets and anti-tank weapons.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin so far has not denied the report.

“We support both Assad’s army and the armed opposition,” Putin said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper. “Some of them have publicly declared this, others prefer to remain silent, but the work is ongoing.

Putin claimed Russia’s actions are directed towards the destruction of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization.

“This is hundreds, thousands of armed people fighting Islamic State (Da’esh). We are coordinating our joint operations with them and support their offensives by air strikes in various sections of the front line,” Putin said.

The Hezbollah commanders deployed in Syria confirmed in speaking with The Daily Beast that there is a relationship of “complete coordination” between Russia, Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Direct inter-dependence between Hezbollah and Russia is increasing as well, as time goes on, according to that report.

“I can tell you precisely what we do not want to happen,” Putin told Bild. “We do not want the Libyan or Iraqi scenario to be repeated in Syria.”

But it is also true that Russia does not consider the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group to be a terror organization. Last November, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying, “We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization.

“They have never committed any terrorist acts on Russian soil. Hezbollah was elected by Lebanese citizens to the Lebanese parliament. There are cabinet members and ministers from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is a legitimate sociopolitical force.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-directly-arming-hezbollah-fighters-in-syria/2016/01/12/

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