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February 13, 2016 / 4 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Britain Warns Turkish Airspace Incident ‘Very Serious’ as Russian Pilot Killed

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

The British Foreign Office warned Monday that the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish Air Force was a “very serious incident,” one that bears further investigation.

“We are seeking further details urgently,” the Foreign Office said Tuesday in a statement.

“Clearly this is a very serious incident but it would be unwise to comment further until we have more certainty on the facts,” the statement continued.

There is clearly a rising concern over increased tensions between Russia and the West as both confront the need to battle the spreading threat of global jihad.

European Union president Donald Tusk called for calm, noting that Turkey, a candidate for membership in the EU, is due to host a summit with the international body in Brussels on Sunday. “In this dangerous moment after downing of Russian let, all should remain cool headed and calm,” Tusk tweeted on the Twitter social networking site.

But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov abruptly canceled his planned visit to Ankara for meetings with Turkish officials on Wednesday, and Moscow has posted a travel alert against the country.

According to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace. “Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measure against whoever violates our air or land borders,” Davutoglu said in Ankara, according to AFP.

Russia insists –and said it could prove — the Sukhoi-24 jet had not left Syria air space, although an image of radar tracking of the flight path of the SU-24 seems to indicate otherwise.

“This goes beyond the normal struggle against terrorism,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement before a meeting in Sochi, Russia with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. “This was a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists.

“Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey. It is quite clear. They were carrying out an operation against Da’esh (ISIS) in the mountains of northern Latakia, where [terrorists] who originate from Russian territory are concentrated. So they were carrying out the key task of preventive attacks against those who could return to Russia at any time.”

Putin is also infuriated by the fact that the two pilots ejected before the jet crashed in Latakia province, but one died because Turkmen rebels in Syria killed him. The rebels admitted as much to reporters, according to Reuters.

NATO is set to convene an emergency meeting of ambassadors in Brussels at 4 pm GMT; the military alliance to which Turkey belongs said it was “closely” following developments in the situation, and remains in contact with the parties.

This is the first time Russia has lost a warplane since launching air strikes in Syria in defense of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Reports: As Civil War Intensifies Syrian Body Parts Become Country’s Chief Export

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

(JNi.media) Recently, many Druze from the northern Golan heights who need organ transplants and have been waiting a long time on the Israeli national waiting list, have gone to civil war-torn Syria for the parts they need in order to stay alive, Walla reported. Lebanese and Syrian media have published several stories describing the thriving black market trade in human organs. Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, which is close to the Assad regime, last January quoted the head of Medicine at Damascus University, Dr. Hussein Nofal, who claimed there have been thousands of cases of cornea sales in Syria.

Dr. Nofal added there are gangs working with Syrian doctors who sell cornea at $7,500 per, mostly abroad, falsifying their country of origin. He claimed that organ theft is prevalent in border areas outside the control of the Assad regime and inside the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.

Another source told As-Safir that the Islamist militias fighting in Syria have been working with organized crime, selling them the organs of people killed in the fighting. The source related that hospitals in areas controlled by the rebels in Aleppo are plagued by thieves who claim the bodies of their “loved ones” only to harvest them and then bury them in mass graves. The source knew of about 5,000 organ stealing gangs, and suggested Turkish hospitals have become “export centers for Syrian body parts.”

For its part, the Syrian opposition is claiming that Syria’s organ trafficking network is operated by Assad army officers. According to reports in the opposition websites, the organ trafficking industry is thriving in direct ratio to the increased fighting in Syria in the past four years, as organs are harvested from thousands of Syrians the regime “erases” systematically.

The most desirable organs are the heart, eyes, kidneys, vertebrae, cartilage, joints and muscle tissue, which are flown to Russia for sale in Iran and India through the Russian mafia. The price of a smuggled heart is estimated at $20,000, an eye for $25,000, Kidney – $15,000 and most other organs for $10,000. The final price of an organ is determined by the age of the person from whom it was harvested.

A social activist from Majdal Shams, a Druze town in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon, north of the Golan Heights, told Walla that the war has done a lot to bring down the cost of body parts in the region. “Before the war, a kidney sold for around 30 to 50 thousand dollars, and today, because of the large supply, a kidney already costs $15 thousand.”

At the same time, according to the Druze community sources, the risk of the trip to buy that kidney has also increased sharply, and not everyone who travels north for a bargain on a body part comes back.

Hezbollah Not a Terror Group, Says Russia

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Russia does not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization, according to Moscow’s deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov.

The official was quoted Sunday by the Interfax news agency as he explained that Russia maintains ties with the group.

“Some say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” Bogdanov said. “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.”

The remarks emerged during discussions on Saturday between nations discussing which groups fighting the Syrian civil war should be defined as terrorists or not. The question arose and to which groups should be invited to negotiate for a political settlement, but differences remain between the views of Moscow and Washington.

Participants at the talks on Syria, held in Vienna, appointed Jordan as coordinator of efforts to compile a list of terrorist groups. Although both the United States and the European Union have designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization — as has Israel — Russia does not.

The unwillingness of Russia to acknowledge Hezbollah’s terrorist status is likely to impact any international effort to address the group’s terrorist activities and attacks on Israel or anywhere else.

Hezbollah has also in the past been reportedly involved in drug sales operations that cross Israel’s northern border and elsewhere in the world as well.

Hezbollah Leaders Fears ‘Zionist Plot’ for Syria to Recognize Israel

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Hezbollah’s second-in-command, Sheikh Naim Qassem, has warned of a plot to form a new Syrian government that would recognize Israel, according to the Iranian Tasnim News.

He was quoted as telling the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought:

What is happening in Syria is damaging a government that supports the resistance in the face of the Zionist occupiers.

Tasnim reported, “Sheikh Qassem underlined that the crisis in Syria is part of a broader plot with the purpose of establishing a new government in Damascus that would recognize the Tel Aviv regime and give in to the US and Israeli demands.”

If Qassem is worried about the Obama administration’s recognizing the Golan Heights as being part of Israel, he can relax, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indirectly brought up the issue in his meeting this week with President Barack Obama, but the President ignored the hint.

Lebanon, which is dominated by Hezbollah, and Iran are fighting side by side to try to keep Bashar al-Assad in power. The intervention of Russia to support Assad has been parallel with secret Israeli-Russian cooperation on aerial and ground combat operations.

Israel reportedly attacked Syria yesterday in what appears to be another interception of advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah.

Aeroflot Adding Flights on Russia-Israel Route

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

The Russian Aeroflot airline company is adding flights on the Moscow and St. Petersburg routes to and from Israel and soon will be flying 37 times a week.

The increase service follows the cessation of service from TransAero, whose license was suspended in Russia, and also reflects the large number of Russian immigrants and increased trade and tourist traffic.

Aeroflot inaugurated service to Israel only five years ago. It soon will fly operates four flights a day on the Moscow-Tel Aviv route and a daily flight to and from St. Petersburg. as well as two flights a week to Rostov.

Russia Sends Security Personnel to Review Egypt Airports

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Russian personnel have been sent to review security measures at the Egyptian airport in Sharm el-Sheikh, as well as in Cairo and elsewhere in the country in the wake of the recent MetroJet crash in the Sinai Peninsula.

As did Britain, Russia has followed with a suspension on travel to and from the Sinai Peninsula — a move that could easily constitute the death knell for the slowly rejuvenating Egyptian tourism industry. At least 20,000 UK citizens are stranded in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, but there are a whopping 50,000 Russian citizens also in the area, according to estimated foreign ministry and tourism figures.

In St. Petersburg on Sunday, the bells tolled 224 times, once for each of the victims who died in the crash of the MetroJet in Sinai a week ago this past Saturday.

The black boxes on the doomed plane — in particular, the damaged cockpit voice recorder — were both recovered from the 13-kilometer (nine mile) crash site. And although it will take time to completely extract all the information they contain, experts so far have been able to learn there was a loud bang just before all sound cut off in the aircraft.

Prior to that “bang” all function on the plane was proceeding normally, or at least seemed to be, with the navigation system on autopilot. The jet reached a cruising elevation of 32,000 feet at 23 minutes before it began to fall from the sky — another indication that whatever happened may not have been caused by human error or mechanical failure.

Russian officials as well as citizens are becoming increasingly concerned by the growing realization that it was indeed likely that a bomb brought down the passenger flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg. The remains of only a fraction of the passengers — some 58 — have been identified thus far.

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization almost immediately claimed responsibility for the crash, saying it was carried out in response to Russia’s presence and attacks on Muslim fighters in Syria.

A local source with whom JewishPress.com spoke in London on Monday described a conversation with a business colleague from Moscow, saying he was “heartbroken — just completely heartbroken by it all. He can barely speak.” According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the conversation was typical of others that had been repeated over the past week. “Nearly everyone is still in shock,” said the source. “They are all moving through fog; no one can believe it. No one is used to thinking about terrorism this way.”

That, in fact is the crux of the matter, pointed out a journalist on the CNN network. The idea that Da’esh , a real wild card, has now become so powerful that it is capable of bringing down foreign aircraft as they fly over the Sinai Peninsula with hundreds of innocent passengers is “simply frightening,” the news network said.

Given the risk in the region posed by ISIS, Iran and the escalation in terrorism by Palestinian Authority attacks on civilians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears set to request an upgraded military aid package of at least $5 billion to help defend Israel against the threats it is being forced to contend with, now and in future years.

 

 

UK Resumes Flights From Sharm el-Sheikh But Adds Security at Airport

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Britain has decided to allow flights to resume from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh as the probe into Saturday’s crash of a Russian MetroJet continues.

At present there are 20,000 UK citizens stranded in the area, most of them tourists.

The UK prime minister’s office had suspended flights after the Russian airliner apparently exploded above the Sinai Peninsula while en route to St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh.

According to the latest intelligence, Da’esh (ISIS) may indeed have succeeded in planting a barometric pressure bomb aboard the aircraft prior to its departure from the airport.

“Following further discussions with the airlines and the Egyptians, we have agreed on a package of additional security measures that is being put in place rapidly,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in a statement. “Consequently the government has decided, in consultation with the airlines that flights from Sharm to the UK will resume tomorrow.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with Cameron at his office in London on Thursday.

Cameron told journalists that “more likely than not” it was a terrorist bomb that brought down the aircraft – a view shared by UK and U.S. intelligence personnel, as well as other intelligence operatives in the Middle East.

“I think there is a possibility that there was a bomb on board,” agreed President Barack Obama in a radio interview late Thursday, “and we’re taking that very seriously.”

The UK has sent extra security personnel to the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh to carry out special measures.

Checked bags are being sent back to the UK separately, passengers are being body-searched and carry-on luggage only is being allowed on all return flights. Investigators are checking for explosive residue, as are the bodies of the victims of the doomed flight.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uk-resumes-flights-from-sharm-el-sheikh-but-adds-security-at-airport/2015/11/06/

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