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May 2, 2016 / 24 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Netanyahu to Putin: Israel Will Keep Golan “With or Without Deal”

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a face to face meeting in Moscow on Thursday that Israel would not relinquish the Golan Heights. The meeting marked 25 years of Israeli-Russian relations.

“Israel has clear red lines for self-defense,” Netanyahu told Putin according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office. “We act to the best of our ability to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said.

Russian troops and airpower are fighting alongside the Syrian army, Iranian forces, and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah against a host of rebel militias in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Netanyahu recently acknowledged that Israel conducts military airstrikes in Syria as well.

“I came here with one central goal: to strengthen the security coordination between us in order to prevent accidents, misunderstandings, and unnecessary conflict,” Netanyahu told Putin.

“As for the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu continued, “we will not return to the days when they fired on our communities and children from the heights of the Golan. Therefore, with or without a deal, the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

The firm declaration comes amid reports that some in the international community intend to demand that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal in the Syrian civil war. Israel captured the northern territory from Syria in the 1967 war and formally annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

To counter such an initiative, Netanyahu held a rare cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday, vowing never to withdraw from the territory. Following the unusual public display, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby announced that “those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.”

Netanyahu and Putin also reached an agreement about pensions paid by Russia to citizens that have emigrated to Israel—a deal Netanyahu described as “a nice Passover present.”

After Putin offered a blessing for the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Friday night, Netanyahu replied that “during the holiday, the people of Israel will sit at the Seder table, including over a million Russian-speaking Israelis, who form the living bond between our peoples.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu Meets With Putin in Moscow 1 Day Before Passover

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow Thursday morning for a quick pre-Passover meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

According to the prime minister’s office, on the agenda were advanced weapons sales to Iran, and the situation in Syria, continued coordination between the military forces of the two nations in Syria, a discussion about the peace efforts in the country, and prevention of advanced weapons access for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

During his visit to Moscow last month, President Reuven Rivlin asked Putin to help re-establish the presence in the Golan Heights, between Israel and Syria, of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. The reason: a developing vacuum is making it easier for Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies to infiltrate the former no-man’s-land and set up a base for attacks against the Jewish State.

Rivlin told Putin that such activity was a red line for Israel, according to Channel 2 news. Putin extended an invitation to Netanyahu to visit Moscow during that visit with Rivlin.

Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, born in Ukraine, accompanied the prime minister. Other members of the delegation included Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, National Security Council Director Avriel Bar Yosef, Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Col. Eliezer Toledano and the head of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli-Arab Would-Be ISIS Recruit Sentenced in Jerusalem

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – A young Israeli Arab who attempted to join the Islamic State terror organisation was sentenced to a fifteen-month prison term on Tuesday.

Fares Saritah, a 19-year-old resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood Kfar Akeb, pleaded guilty to the charges of “attempting to join an illegal organization and attempting to defect to an enemy state,” referring to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and Syria, respectively.

In addition to the fifteen month prison term, Saritah was sentenced to a suspended prison term and a large fine.

“Based on the accused’s own plea and full admission I find him guilty of attempting to join an illegal organization,” said Judge Aharon Farkash in his sentencing.

The joint investigation by the ISA and Israel police revealed that Saritah allegedly convinced his two brothers to join the Islamic State as well, one of whom managed to leave Israel and join the terrorist group in Syria.

According to bill of indictment, in April 2015 Saritah left Israel with his brother and cousin and arrived in Istanbul planning to reach Syria through Turkey, a common pathway for radicalized Muslims attempting to join with the Islamic State.

However Saritah never got past the Istanbul airport, as his passport was expired. He then had to fly to Israel to fix his papers, where upon arrival he was snatched by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA).

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

IDF Military Forces Drilling on Northern, Eastern Israeli Borders

Monday, April 18th, 2016

IDF soldiers in northern and eastern Israel didn’t rest much last week, and aren’t likely to this week either.

“Good morning,” tweeted IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner early Monday morning. “Surprise #IDF exercise this morning in the Golan Heights because #HopeIsNotAMethod.”

Despite the tweet, Lerner revealed little else. The drill is relevant primarily for general staff in the IDF Northern Command and is expected to last the entire week.

“Citizens can expect to see movement of security forces, military vehicles and aircraft in the ares of Golan Regional Council and the Jordan Valley Regional Council,” the IDF said in its announcement about the exercise.

Internecine conflicts are growing in Lebanon and Jordan along with the raging five-year long civil war in Syria and the spreading influence of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization — all of which is contributing to the rising risk of a conflict along one of Israel’s borders.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Retaliates Against ISIS Rocket Fire From Syria

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Turkish military forces struck Da’esh (ISIS) targets across the southeastern border in Syria on Wednesday in retaliation for three days of rocket fire.

More than a dozen people were injured and at least two people were killed since Sunday in the attacks.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised speech the Turkish army “struck back in line with its rules of engagement.”

The southern Turkish province of Kilis was struck Wednesday morning by Katyusha rocket fire from across the border in Syria. Four rockets struck two different areas in the region at about 9:10 am, landing in open fields. No casualties were reported, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

One day earlier (April 12), two people were killed and six were wounded when two rockets landed in the same province, less than a day after a barrage from Syria had struck the area.

On April 11, three rockets were fired at Kilis from a Syrian region under the control of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization. Twelve people were reported wounded in that attack.

The rocket landed in an open field, according to the report. No one was injured and no damage was reported.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Begins Military Drills in Northern Israel

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Residents in northern Israel may hear explosions or see military vehicles passing by in the next few days.

The IDF Northern Command is conducting military drills in the Galilee and Golan Heights, beginning Wednesday and continuing through the rest of this week.

The sound of artillery and other ordnance is to be expected.

Last week the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization abducted 300 cement workers and contractors from the Al-Badia company in Dumeir, about 28 miles from Damascus, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A new round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government were scheduled to start Wednesday (April 13), but were not to include Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam or any other radical Islamist group such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) group.

Da’esh and related terror groups are largely in control of Syrian territory close to the border with Israel.

Syrian sources said Tuesday that Da’esh now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.

The camp is also a major base for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, which has ties to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hana Levi Julian

US Deploys B-52 Bombers to Attack ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

For the first time in 25 years, America has sent B-52 bombers to the Middle East to fight the war on terror: this time, against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. Air Force based the massive, deadly aircraft at Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Saturday.

It appears the U.S. is finally serious about deploying a heavy military effort into fighting Da’esh (ISIS) forces in Iraq and Syria just as President Barack Obama reaches the last stretch in his final term, with him facing few political risks. But his Democratic party faces an uphill race to win his place in the White House for another four-year term, and the Republican party is equally challenged as it faces a possible split at its upcoming nominating convention.

The U.S.-led coalition’s Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) which is responsible for running the air campaign against the terror group also based there.

The American B-52 bombers were last seen in the Middle East when they were deployed against Iraq from Saudi Arabia, in Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 Gulf War.

B-52 bombers are long-range aircraft. They were last used operationally in a U.S.-led military drill with Jordan in May 2015.

Prior to that, they were used in May 2006 during the war in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

“The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on Da’esh (ISIS) and defend the region in any future contingency,” said Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

The bombers will enable U.S. forces to drop precision weapons, according to Brown. In addition, it will enable a range of other missions, including strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction, and maritime operations.

The B-52 will also allow the U.S. forces to avoid carpet bombing, which spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Chris Karns told Reuters would not be “effective” because “Da’esh doesn’t mass as large groups. Often, they blend into population centers. We always look to minimize civilian casualties.”

Brown added the B-52 bombers could be ready to bomb “elsewhere” in the region, if needed.

The B-52s, although older, also have more stamina on the battlefield than the B-1 bombers they are replacing. The B-1 bombers are supersonic and can hang over a battlefield for up to 10 hours at a time – those aircraft dropped nearly 40 percent of all the bombs in the strike missions against Da’esh in Iraq and Syria, according to Fox News.

The B-1 Lancer “swing-wing” bombers left the Middle East in January for maintenance and a series of upgrades, according to the U.S. Army’s Stars and Stripes.

But the B-52 bombers can hang over a battlefield for nearly 12 hours and can carry more than a dozen satellite precision-guided bombs – or up to 50 500-pound bombs.

More to the point, if necessary, the B-52 bomber can carry nuclear weapons. It was a B-52 bomber that dropped one of the first hydrogen bombs in the South Pacific in 1956.

It’s been more than 60 years since the first B-52 bombers were built during the Eisenhower administration but they still comprise the bulk of the U.S. Air Force long-range bomber fleet.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-deploys-b-52-bombers-to-attack-isis-in-syria-iraq/2016/04/09/

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