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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Sinai Peninsula’

ISIS Attacks Northern Sinai, 15 Egyptian Police Dead

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Da’esh (ISIS) operatives from the local Sinai Province terrorist group carried out a massive attack Friday in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

At least 15 Egyptian police officers were killed in one of the terror attacks on a checkpoint in El Arish.

Terrorists attacked the checkpoint using a car bomb and followed up with mortar fire against government troops at the site, according to a translation of the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper report, cited by Egypt Independent.

The Sinai Province group officially claimed responsibility for the attack a few hours later.

Also on Friday the Masa’ed Sheikh Zuwayed power line in northern Sinai came under attack by terrorists. The attack led to power blackouts in Sheikh Zuwayed and in Rafah, located on Egypt’s border with Gaza.

Such incidents are common, according to the Electricity Ministry, which said security forces provide protection for technicians tasked with repairing the lines. The forces are also tasked with hunting for the terrorists responsible for the attacks that cause the blackouts.

Egypt and Israel have been quietly working together to fight against the attempt by Da’esh to increase its forces in the area.

The Islamist terror group has also forged a bond with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, further complicating the already complex security situation along Israel’s southern border.

Since the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iranian proxy Hezbollah terror group both also have operatives moving in and out of Sinai and Gaza, one wonders how long it will take before Da’esh and Iran sit down to discuss an alliance, with the Muslim Brotherhood (which gave birth to Hamas) as the broker.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Declares ‘State of Emergency in Raqqa’ But Reasons Are Unclear

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization has reportedly declared a “state of emergency” in its de facto capital in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa but its reasons are not clear.

Although the U.S.-led coalition forces believe that recent battles have caused the group’s anxiety, it’s more likely the prospect of the arrival of the Mother Ship that has worried the leadership.

A coalition spokesperson said the “declaration of state of emergency is a response to recent military progress by Syrian government forces in the area. “We have seen this declaration of emergency in Raqqa, we know this enemy feels threatened, as they should,” U.S.-led coalition spokesperson Col Steve Warren told CNN. “They see the Syrian Democratic Forces, along with the Syrian Arab Coalition, maneuver both to their east and to their west. We’ve had reports of ISIL (Da’esh/ISIS) repositioning both their combat capabilities, and we’ve seen reports of them repositioning personnel … either within the city of even out of the city.”

The report followed news that Da’esh had killed at least 35 soldiers from the Syrian armed forces, losing 24 fighters in the process, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

But social media and news reports that Da’esh believes it may soon come under siege in Raqqa, its self-declared capital, may not have much to do with the months-long strikes by coalition forces at all.

It turns out that after a decade of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Al Qaeda appears to have decided to relocate its headquarters to Syria. According to a report quoting unnamed U.S. and European intelligence and counter terror sources in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, Al Qaeda recently sent a delegation of its top veterans to Syria to start the process of creating a new headquarters for the terror group.

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organization broke its cooperative agreement with Da’esh in 2013. The group led radical Islamists in splitting from moderate opposition forces and was involved in the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad from the start of the civil war.

Since that time, various groups have begun to set up independent emirates – small sovereign states – within the geographic area that once was referred to as Syria.

Senior Al Qaeda operatives have also now been told to lay the groundwork for establishing an emirate there, possibly through Al Nusra, which has yet to formally declare one.

Al Qaeda supreme leader Ayman al-Zawahri released his first audio statement in months about two weeks ago, giving his blessing to the venture.

The presence of a consolidated Al Qaeda headquarters in Syria would, of course, mean a bloody battle indeed between the group and Da’esh, which broke off as a splinter group from Al Qaeda.

It would also mean a massive infusion of new blood for Al Qaeda from a region bursting with passionate youths looking for something to do and somewhere to go, other than school and the prospect of a “regular life.” It would provide an alternative for those who are filled with Islamic fundamentalism, hatred and bloodthirsty excitement, but who just can’t deal with the mindless brutality of Da’esh — which has been the only option up to now.

Such a headquarters, strategically located in the heart of the Middle East near the borders of Turkey, Iran and Russia between Europe, Africa and North America, spells the start of a brand new nightmare for the next American president, regardless of who it is.

For Israel, it means unrelenting vigilance along the northern and southern borders.

Da’esh is already ensconsed in the Sinai Peninsula, where its affiliate, the former Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis, now known as “Sinai Province,” has firmed up its bond with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization. Since the start of this month, the IDF has already uncovered two Hamas cross-border terror attack tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory. Each time, the military engineers were forced to carry out their search under mortar fire directed at them by terrorists from Gaza.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel, Egypt Fight US Plan to Trim Troops in Sinai Multinational Force

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Israel and Egypt have united to protest a decision by the United States to reduce its contingent in the Sinai Peninsula multinational force by a third. It’s unclear whether opposition by the two allies will move anyone in the White House, however.

Washington officials are worrying about what they feel is the increasing likelihood that American service members could be targeted by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists while participating in the MFO. The concerns come in the wake of recent losses elsewhere in the Middle East, and two recent incidents of Da’esh cyber attacks on American soil, including one targeting military personnel.

The role of the force is to monitor enforcement of the security agreement in the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, and to ensure no heavy weaponry enters the Sinai Peninsula in violation of the agreement. The origins of the MFO (ed. – multinational force) lie in Annex I to the 1979 Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel, in which the parties undertook to request the United Nations to provide a force and observers to supervise the implementation of the Treaty. When it did not prove possible to obtain Security Council approval for the stationing of a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, the parties negotiated a Protocol in 1981 establishing the MFO “as an alternative” to the envisioned UN force.

The directly interested parties in the multinational force — that is, Israel and Egypt — fund most of the costs of its operation. Australia and the United States provide funding for Force Protection purposes.

Since the election of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt and Israel have worked together to battle the massive presence of terrorist bases in Sinai that grew during the one-year reign of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. The multinational force has rarely been targeted by these groups, who are working to overthrow the el-Sisi government rather than waste their resources elsewhere.

But Washington has lost two American soldiers in the battle with Da’esh since March alone, including a SEAL who was shot and killed in northern Iraq near Mosul this week.

With the Democratic party facing an uphill battle to retain the White House in the upcoming presidential elections this November, President Barack Obama appears to be taking few chances on angering the American public with unpopular military losses.

At present some 700 American soldiers from special combat and logistical units serve in the northern Sinai, comprising a little less than half of the total multinational force.

The U.S. is pressuring Egypt and Israel to agree to the one-third reduction of its force, at the minimum; a move that would be seen in Egypt as a statement of no-confidence in the el-Sisi regime.

After discussions with Israel, Egypt has expressed willingness to move some of the peacekeeper forces to the center and southern sections of the region. Technical monitoring equipment would be used to replace the missing forces in the northern Sinai. It’s not clear how effective such a strategy would be, however.

Then again, it’s also not clear how effective the presence of the MFO has actually been as a deterrent against terrorist activity either. It is more likely that Israeli-Egyptian opposition to the move is aimed at the damaging political statement it makes in Egyptian society, and the not-so-subtle encouraging message it sends to radical Islamist terrorist in the Sinai Peninsula.

But then, Washington doesn’t use words like “radical Islamist terrorists” … so they don’t really exist, do they?

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Confirms Hamas ‘Partnering’ With ISIS in Sinai

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

IDF officials warned this week that between 600 to 1,000 Da’esh (ISIS) operatives in the Sinai Peninsula are now “partnering” with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

In a graphic posted to the military service English-language blog online, the IDF confirmed Hamas support for Da’esh is wide-ranging.

Hamas transfers money for the terrorist organization, trains and teaches its fighters, assists with communications and also provides medical care when necessary.

Those services are provided via the cross-border smuggler tunnels that snake below the surface under the Gaza-Egyptian border.

Hamas was created by the outlawed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, which is bent on overthrowing the Cairo regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Former Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted after only a year in power; more than one million Egyptians rose up to protest against his rule, which followed the chaos of the Arab Spring.

Hana Levi Julian

Egypt Questions Hamas Over Missing Israelis in Gaza

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Egypt asked a Hamas delegation in Cairo last week about two IDF soldiers whose bodies are still being held captive in Gaza, and two Israeli nationals who missing in the region.

The Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group has said Israel must “pay” if it wants any information about any of the four.

The group has also tried to imply that the two soldiers may still be alive, a particularly nasty form of psychological warfare often practiced by terror groups against Israeli families.

But Hamas itself has been in the cross-hairs of the Egyptian government for some time now, since the terror group is the spawn of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian authorities have not been pleased with efforts by Hamas to tunnel deep into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, nor by its assistance to Da’esh (ISIS) and other terror groups in its territory.

Egypt has flooded those tunnels with Mediterranean seawater, and sealed them to prevent further infiltrations into its territory.

Hamas is now trying to repair its broken ties with Cairo, Arab media reported Sunday.

An Egyptian daily quoted Egyptian sources close to the situation who said the Hamas delegation was asked about the four Israelis being held in Gaza.

Both of the IDF soldiers died in the line of duty during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. Both are officers: one is Oron Shaul, the other is Hadar Goldin. Hamas stole their bodies and is holding the remains, although the group has attempted to imply the soldiers are alive.

On Friday evening, Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida said in a statement on the military wing’s website: “There are no contacts or negotiations on the four soldiers, and the Israeli enemy will not get information about their fate but to pay the prices before and after the negotiations.” He added that Netanyahu “lies to his people and deceives the families of the Israeli captive soldiers.”

Hamas wants Israel to free more bloodthirsty terrorist prisoners with blood on their hands.

But according to the report, Egyptian authorities questioned the Hamas delegation this past week when they came to Cairo. The Hamas representatives were seeking a way to heal the breach with Egypt after violating the country’s borders and helping Sinai terrorists murder Egyptian security forces.

One of the live Israeli hostages is a young Israeli Bedouin from the southern Israeli town of Hura, located in the northern Negev. He allegedly entered Gaza through the Erez Crossing in April although it is not clear how. At the family’s request his name has not been released. It is known, however, that he has mild mental health issues and has entered Gaza, Jordan and Egypt at least once before. Each time, he was returned by the authorities.

Avraham Mengisto, 29, is being held after he climbed over the security fence to cross the Gaza border and simply walked into the region. Mengisto, an Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, suffers from mental illness and was not accepted for service in the IDF.

His brother Gashao told European officials in Geneva in February, “When Hamas is asking for humanitarian assistance, and contributions to the people in Gaza, then the international community should tell them: Don’t expect us to assist you when you are violating the same rights of the other side.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Bedouin Freed From Egyptian Prison

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Israeli Bedouin Ouda Tarabin has been freed from an Egyptian prison after 15 years’ incarceration on suspicion of spying for the Jewish State.

He returned to Israel early Thursday morning, just as two Egyptian prisoners completed their prison terms in Israel and were released to return to Egypt.

Tarabin was arrested by Egyptian authorities while crossing the border to visit his family in the Sinai Peninsula. He was tried and sentenced in absentia in 2000 on charges of aiding others in gathering intelligence.

Hana Levi Julian

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.

Hana Levi Julian

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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