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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

Israeli-American Journalist Held Hostage in Ukraine

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

An Israeli-American journalist has been kidnapped in Ukraine and is being held by separatists there, according to a report by the HBO-owned online news site Vice News.

Pro-Russian separatists were quoted Tuesday in the report, admitting they were holding reporter Simon Ostrovsky in the city of Slaviansk.

The news was announced by the self-declared mayor of the city, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, who held a news conference and told reporters “his men” were holding an American journalist with Israeli citizenship.

Ponomaryov did not specifically name Ostrovsky. But other journalists working in the area told Reuters that a group with him had been grabbed by the mayor’s men on Monday, and later freed. Unlike the rest, however, Ostrovsky was not released.

BBC journalist Graham Phillips uploaded a YouTube video documenting his efforts to track down Ostrovsky.

In the video, Phillips is heard requesting information about ‘Simon, Simon journalist’ from the self-declared mayor. Ponomaryov gruffly responds in guttural Russian that Ostrovsky will not be released any time soon. The footage is shaky because the cameraman is being knocked around by the numerous armed military guards, who are brandishing AK-47s as they threaten the news team. It is clear that Ostrovsky is being held hostage, and that his life is likely in danger – at best.

In some ways, the entire nightmarish scene brings to mind the hostage crisis years ago in Uganda. All the other journalists were let go – but the American with Israeli citizenship was held.

The kidnapped journalist has produced stories on Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and the situation in Judea and Samaria.

For the past several weeks he has been covering the crisis in Ukraine. The last time he was heard from, he posted a tweet on the Twitter social networking site during the separatist mayor’s news conference on Monday. In that post, he commented that a woman working with the mayor’s group had “called us all liars” and asked for donations to pay for the funerals of ‘militants’ killed the previous day in a clash.

Elite IDF Bedouin Trackers Eliminate Israel’s Northern Border Threats

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

A special unit in the Israeli army comprised solely of Bedouin trackers is keeping Israel’s northern border safe.

The Northern Bedouin Tracking Unit commanded by Lt. Col. Majdi Mazarib protects Israel from kidnapings, infiltrators and 100,000 rockets, among myriad other threats emanating from Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Speaking in Arabic, Lt. Col. Mazarib tells an interviewer in a video piece on his unit, “From Israel’s founding, the Bedouin community has chosen to volunteer and serve in the IDF, and actively participate in founding the country.”

The unique skills of a Bedouin tracker are unmatched anywhere else in the region, and cannot be duplicated by technology – a fact the IDF understands and accepts.

“Without the Bedouin, Israel would not be able to properly protect its borders,” the commander adds.

Bedouin are not obligated to serve in the IDF, though they volunteer in large numbers.

“The skills that they possess are unique” and the Bedouin soldiers are essential to the protection of Israel, notes the report on the unit posted this week on the IDF Blog.

“I am Israeli, and proud to be an Israeli Arab and to serve in the IDF,” Lt. Col. Mazarib says.

4 Wounded in Gush Etzion Road Terror Attack

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Four Israeli citizens were wounded Thursday morning in a road terror attack near the Jewish community of Tekoa.

The victims were traveling in a car with Israeli license plates when they were attacked by Arabs hurling a barrage of heavy rocks and boulders.

The windows of the vehicle were smashed by the heavy rocks, and four of the people riding in the car were wounded by flying glass and by the hard missiles with which they were struck.

All four were taken to a medical clinic in the nearby Jewish city of Efrat, about ten minutes away from Jerusalem, local sources said.

Just yesterday (Wednesday) Israel Police Lt.-Col. Baruch Mizrahi was laid to rest in the police cemetery at Mt. Herzl, a victim of a terror attack in Judea on nearby Highway 35, on the outskirts of Hevron. Mizrahi was murdered and his pregnant wife and 9 year old son injured when a gunman shot them with an AK-47 assault rifle from the side of the road as they were traveling to attend a Passover seder in Kiryat Arba. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tekoa is located on the opposite side of the sector, among the hills of eastern Gush Etzion in the shadow of the Herodian, the burial place of the Biblical King Herod.

The community is situated next to the ancient village of Teq’ua, now an Arab village. A number of residents in the two communities have quietly established good relations. Ironically, it was Teq’ua residents who called friends in Tekoa for help when they came under missile fire from Gaza during the last mini-war, Operation Pillar of Defense.

Gaza Mortar Hits Inside Sha’ar HaNegev

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

At just after 7:20 PM a mortar from Gaza struck inside the Israeli town of Sha’ar HaNegev.

The Red Alert siren did not go off. Residents did not have any warning of the incoming weapon.

No one was injured in the attack, but the rocket did damage part of the town’s infrastructure.

Tel Aviv U. Cancels Talk by Former Arab Prisoner for Land Day

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Tel Aviv University has cancelled the appearance at a campus event of a former Arab prisoner jailed by Israel for his activities on behalf of the terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Mohammed Kana’ane, an Arab-Israeli who spent four-and-a-half years in prison, was invited to speak Monday by the left-wing Hadash and Balad student groups at a conference for Land Day, which marks the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 during riots over a government decision to expropriate land for what it called security purposes.

Land Day took place on March 30.

“In light of concern for public order in the Land Day events scheduled to be held tomorrow, and since the request to approve Kana’neh’s participation was only received recently, leaving no time for preparations, the University does not approve his participation in the event,” the university said in a statement released late Sunday. The statement said that other Land Day events would go forward as planned.

A Sunday protest on campus by Jewish student groups called for the speech to be canceled.

The university last week had issued a statement saying it would allow the event to go forward in an effort to respect students’ right to freedom of speech, which it apparently thought includes screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

JTA contributed most of the material for this report.

IDF Helps Settlers Hold Firm in Judea, Samaria

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

For the past several months, residents of Beit El and other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have been living with a wave of increased Palestinian Authority Arab terrorism.

Road terror attacks have included near-daily rock attacks on the roads, including Highway 60, the main artery that runs from the north in Samaria all the way south through Jerusalem and down through Judea to the Negev.

Other attacks involve firebomb attacks (Molotov cocktails) aimed at motorists driving vehicles with Israeli license plates, and occasional shootings as well.

The residents of Beit El, north of Jerusalem, have been living with an especially intense wave of violence emanating from the nearby the Arab village of Jeelazun.

An IDF army base is located right on site at the entrance of the community, however, and soldiers guard the town around the clock – as other security teams both civil and military do in every other settlement throughout Judea and Samaria. The arrangement works for both the residents of Beit El and for the soldiers, who are often tasked with carrying out searches for fugitives in Jeelazun, a hotbed of terrorism.

Nearly as complicated, Beit El is also located right next door to the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah.

4 Dead, 16 Wounded in Ft. Hood Shooting

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

At least four military personnel died and 16 others were wounded, some critically, in a shooting spree Wednesday about 4:30 p.m. local time at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas.

The base, located near Waco, was immediately sealed off and held on lock-down for nearly four hours, until the “all-clear” could be sounded.

The shooter, 34-year-old combat veteran Spc. Ivan Lopez, killed himself at the end of the shooting spree with a single shot. He used a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol he had recently purchased in the area, and had not registered at the base, officials said.

In November 2009, a military psychiatrist with Arabic ancestry proclaimed jihad against the United States at Fort Hood and went on a similar rampage, killing 13 people.

Military officials stressed that this time the cause seemed to be a personal dispute, unrelated to terrorism.

The gunman “walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, got into a vehicle, fired from [the vehicle], got out of the vehicle, walked into another building, opened fire again and was engaged by local law enforcement here at Fort Hood,” according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, who spoke with reporters.

U.S. President Barack Obama also made an effort to play down the terror factor but acknowledged that something indeed had gone terribly wrong and needed to be dealt with.

In a statement following the shooting, Obama said, “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again. We’re following it closely. I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened… Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure the community of Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with a tough situation, but also any potential aftermath.”

Lopez was in the process of being evaluated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which Lt. Gen. Milley described as “a lengthy process.” He added that the soldier – whom he did not identify at any time during his briefing — was also “undergoing behavioral health, psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety and a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues” at the time of the attack. He added that he also had a self-reported traumatic brain injury.

Lopez had served four months in Iraq during 2011. He remained on active duty and was subsequently assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command based at Fort Hood.

The tragedy ended when a female police officer drew her weapon, according to Lt. Gen. Milley, who said that in response, the armed soldier “put his hands up and then reached under his jacket. He pulled out the gun, and she engaged, and he put the weapon to his head.” He paused. “It was clearly heroic, what she did at that moment in time.”

His body was found in a parking lot near the First Medical Brigade area. Three of the victims died in local hospitals. Seven of the injured were admitted to nearby Scott & White Memorial Hospital. Three of the injured are in critical condition and being maintained on respirators. Five are listed in serious condition with gunshot wounds to abdomens, chest, necks and extremities, doctors told reporters. Other victims are being treated on base at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

“Experience has taught us many things here at Fort Hood,” Milley said. “The soldiers who have served so bravely through the last 13 years in Iraq are strong, and we will get through this.”

Saudi Royal Decree 44: ‘Atheists are Terrorists’

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The Saudi Arabian government has begun to issue a series of laws aimed at outlawing any activity loosely connected to terrorism — or criticism of the government.

According to a report by the “Human Rights Watch” (HRW) organization, the Muslim Brotherhood and two Syrian jihadist groups were outlawed as terrorist organizations. Saudi citizens were ordered to return home from fighting in the Syrian conflict within 15 days or face jail time from three to 20 years. The sentence comes in connection with the new “Royal Decree 44″ issued by Saudi King Abdullah which bans “participating in hostilities outside the kingdom.”

A new set of provisions added in early March further defines terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.”

Recently two human rights activists in Saudi Arabia lost appeals in court following convictions for dissent and criticizing the government, HRW noted.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/saudi-royal-decree-44-atheists-are-terrorists/2014/04/02/

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