2 killed, 7 wounded in Tel Aviv shooting attack; gunman on loose
Two people were killed and two others seriously wounded in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv just before 3 p.m. Friday. Five others were wounded — three in moderate condition and two with light injuries. Hours later, the killer was still on the loose.ToI Live Blog: Massive hunt for gunman who opened fire in central Tel Aviv
Witnesses said some 15 shots were fired in the attack, apparently in semiautomatic bursts from a Carl Gustav submachine gun.
The shots were fired at locations near the city’s well-known Dizengoff Center Mall, an area that is crowded on Friday afternoons.
Eyewitnesses said the gunman fired into at least three establishments in the area — a bar, a restaurant and a cafe, and then fled. One of the cafe staffers said several people chased after him “but he disappeared” into a side-street.
David Horovitz: Who is the calm Tel Aviv killer, and why did he open fire?
As darkness fell, there were also reports of another man found with gunshot wounds in Tel Aviv. Police were not able to immediately say whether his injuries were connected to the Dizengoff area shootings.MEMRI: Michigan Activist Lina Allan Lambasts People who Prohibit Stabbing of Jews by Palestinians: It's Like Defending Animal Rights at Best
Commentators noted that Hamas and Hezbollah have both threatened attacks against Israelis in recent days. But they also highlighted a handful of incidents in recent years of shooting attacks that were not Palestinian terrorism.
Security officials said footage of the attacks showed that the gunman could have killed more people if he had chosen to do so. On occasion, he halted his fire in mid-magazine, they noted. Was the gunfire deliberate or indiscriminate, therefore?
Eyewitness were adamant that the man one witness called “the smiling gunman” had fired indiscriminately. But as with many other aspects of the ongoing incident, the police were saying nothing definitive.
Dina Allen, a Palestinian-Jordanian activist who lives in Michigan, published a video in which she attempted to rebut the position of people who prohibit the stabbing of Jews by Palestinians. Allan called on these people to not talk about something they don't understand and to "go back to watching Turkish soap operas" instead. She added that objecting to the stabbing of Jews is like defending animal rights "at best." In 2011, Allan co-founded the Jordanian "Step & Mile" NGO, and in 2012, she represented the State Department's U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in the Jameed Festival in Jordan, according to an interview she gave to the Jordanian Roya TV.
JCPA: The “Al-Aksa Is in Danger” Libel The History of a Lie
Palestinians often hear from their leaders that a Muslim holy site in Jerusalem, al-Aksa mosque, is in danger of collapse – and the Jews are to blame. Whether printed in cartoons, preached in mosques or taught in schools, the lie is accepted as common knowledge across the Arab world. Millions of Muslims accept it as truth. The message is clear: Jews seek to expel the Arabs from Jerusalem.Two weeks after release, Arab girl tries to stab again
This lie is nothing new. For the past century, Palestinian leaders have told the “Al-Aksa is in danger” lie in order to incite their people to attack Jews. It is important to expose and counter this fabrication because it remains a spark that can lead to bloodshed.
Nadav Shragai, a veteran journalist and Jerusalem expert, has written the authoritative study on the history of the lie. His work is presented on this site, chapter by chapter. It is also available in PDF or ebook format.
Below are five facts that you should know about al-Aksa:
An indictment was filed Monday against a 15-year-old Arab girl for two counts of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a knife, after she tried twice to carry out deadly stabbing attacks against Jews in Jerusalem.Israeli Car Pummeled in Palestinian Rock Attack in Jordan Valley
According to the indictment, on December 6 the terrorist minor decided to carry out a deadly stabbing attack against Jews and die during the attack, in order to become a “martyr."
The girl left her home in the morning with a Koran and a cutting board in her backpack, and headed to Damascus Gate in the Old City. Upon her arrival, she entered a store on Sultan Suleiman Street and bought a set of five knives in various sizes. Afterwards, she proceeded to the City of David compound to carry out the attack.
When she reached the compound she entered the bathroom and opened the knife kit, pulled out the biggest knife and put it in her backpack. She then sat down on a bench and looked for a suitable victim to stab to death. However, a tourist who suspected her behavior alerted security forces and they arrested her and prevented the attack.
The minor lied to police during the interrogation and claimed that she bought the knives for her home kitchen. The next day, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered her release to house arrest for two days under the supervision of her parents.
Two weeks later, the minor decided to try again. She arrived in the morning to the Old City, with a serrated kitchen knife in her backpack and decided to execute the attack in the Jewish Quarter. But first, she entered the Temple Mount compound where she remained for some time, and prayed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
An Israeli driver was lucky to spare injury, when his car was attacked by Palestinian rock-throwers in the Jordan valley on Thursday, the Israeli news site 0404 reported.8,000 Israelis Suffer From PTSD Due to Current Wave of Terror, Study Says
The incident occurred near the village of Oujah. Israeli emergency services in the West Bank reported that the car’s windshield was shattered in the attack.
As a result of the current Palestinian terror wave in Israel, 8,000 Israelis have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) said on Wednesday.71% of Israelis: Government failing against terror wave
“This is a long war,” ITC Director Talia Levanon told Israel’s Army Radio.
“We call terror victims [suffering from trauma] the ‘transparent injured,’ because we don’t see them. The circle of injury is so broad that the circles of support need to be large as well,” Levanon said.
For every Israeli killed or wounded, according to a study conducted by the ITC, there will be 27 witnesses to the attack that will need PTSD rehabilitation. Of those who are treated immediately, 87 percent will recover quickly, Israel National News reported.
A new survey published on Friday reveals that the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public feels the coalition government has failed them, by not taking the correct measures in confronting the current wave of Arab terrorism.Israel set to release 23 terrorists’ bodies to PA
The research was conducted for Walla by Prof. Camil Fuchs of "Panel Project Hamidgam" and the statistician Yosef Miklada of the STATNET research institute.
According to the findings, a full 61% of the public feel that their level of personal security had been harmed or greatly harmed since the attacks began around three months ago.
In contrast, just 29% said their level of security was not so harmed, while only 9% felt their security had not been harmed at all. The findings come on the backdrop of constant knife, car and shooting attacks that have been focused in the Jerusalem area, but have also reached Tel Aviv and the coastal urban sprawl on numerous occasions.
An even more stark response was found when participants were posed the following question: "in your opinion, is the government properly dealing with the terror wave?"
A full 71% of respondents said the government was not properly dealing with the threat, as opposed to just 19% who felt it was, and 9% who said they didn't know.
Israel is set to return the bodies of 23 Palestinian terrorists to the Palestinian Authority on Friday, the IDF said.Palestinian Ping Pong Tournament Used to Honor Terrorists
The transfer marks the largest handover yet in three months of Palestinian stabbing, car ramming and shooting attacks against Israelis in which many of the attackers themselves have been killed. 17 of the terrorists came from the Hebron area, a major flashpoint in the recent three-month-old wave of violence.
The handover will occur at 2 p.m. Friday. The bodies will be transferred to PA security forces.
Two more bodies are slated for return early next week.
The move follows a debate within Israel over the wisdom of holding on to the bodies, with supporters noting that funerals for the terrorists have turned into mass rallies at which speakers call for new terror attacks. The IDF and other security services opposed withholding the bodies, saying the practice drove greater anger among Palestinians and undermined PA security forces who worked with Israel to prevent the attacks.
Israel returned the bodies of three additional terrorists on Tuesday.
December saw the opening of a new PA and Fatah-sponsored sports competition named after a Palestinian terrorist who carried out stabbing attacks against Israelis.The year 2015 is the year the West became the target
14 teams participated in the “Martyr Muhammad Al-Halabi table tennis tournament” in honor of Muhammad Al-Halabi, the terrorist who kicked off the current wave of violence by stabbing two men and a child in Jerusalem on October 3.
In his speech at the tournament’s opening ceremony, Palestinian Table Tennis Association representative Radwan Al-Sharif said that Al-Halabi sacrificed his life and soul for the honor of the free women of the Al-Aqsa Mosque – a reference to the female members of the Islamist Al-Murabitoun movement who stage protests by the Temple Mount to prevent Jews from praying there.
Al-Halabi has also had a street named after him and an official monument erected in his hometown near Ramallah. The monument is in the shape of “Palestine,” which includes all of Israel and bears a picture of Al-Halabi. At a ceremony marking 40 days since Al-Halabi’s death at the hands of Israeli security forces, speakers praised the terrorist, saying that he had defended Jerusalem and “launched a new stage in the struggle to remove the occupation.”
The tennis tournament is the second sporting event named after Al-Halabi. In October, the Martyr Yasser Arafat Youth Center held the “Muhammad Al-Halabi football tournament” in Ramallah, which was covered by the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
The year 2015 will be remembered as a turning point in World War III, wrote columnist Amotz Asa-El in a recent article. He explained in his column that the Third World War started on September 11, 2001 when the United States was attacked by Al-Qaeda. Ever since, the world has been at war with Islamist terror groups, and this year was no different. The worsening of the situation in 2015 didn’t constitute the turning point, Asa-El wrote; it was the realization by many in the West that they too are targets in this war.PM: World leaders must do more to fight Islamic State
“This realization was underscored by the war’s procession from the air, where it was announced in 2001, and the land, where it subsequently spread, to the sea, where a Muslim multitude fleeing a burning Middle East now approached Christendom’s shores,” the Israeli analyst added.
The year was only a week old when Islamic State-affiliated terrorists murdered French journalists in Charlie Hebdo’s offices, and Jewish shoppers who were buying food for Shabbat in a Kosher supermarket in Paris. The reaction then was a huge demonstration in the French capital that was attended by many world leaders, but not by US President Barack Obama. The measures that were taken after these attacks were purely defensive in nature. “Greater internet and borders surveillance is needed to combat terrorist attacks,” a statement by European ministers that was issued after the demonstration in Paris read.
Only at the end of the year, when new ISIS attacks hit France and the United States, came the realization in some Western capitals that the West is at war and that the response has to be offensive and not merely defensive.
“France is at war,” French President Francois Hollande told MK’s in France shortly after the largest terrorist attack in the history of the European country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called on world leaders to step up attacks against the Islamic State group, saying the jihadists have sent “shock waves” across the globe that will not stop on their own.FBI foils NY New Year’s Eve terror attack by IS supporter
“The threat to our civilization from Islam has two branches, the Iran-led Shiite and the Islamic State-led Sunni,” Netanyahu said, during a ceremony to mark the graduation of Israeli Air Force pilots at the IAF’s Hatzerim base in the Negev.
“The earthquake wrought in our region by both of these strains sends shock waves through distant continents and nations,” he said. “I predict that these shock waves, which threaten stability wherever they reach, will only be exacerbated. These shock waves will not stop of their own accord.
“The only thing that can stop them is for the governments of the free world to internalize the severity of the danger, and respond with determination that is commensurate with the severity of the threat. This has perhaps started to happen, but still not fully.”
US federal authorities said Thursday that a New York man had been arrested on charges of planning a New Year’s Eve attack at a bar, to prove to the Islamic State he was worthy to join it in Syria.German Police Hunt Suspects over New Year 'Islamic State Terror Plot'
Prosecutors announced Thursday that 25-year-old Emanuel Lutchman had been charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists. He was snared in an FBI sting, the prosecutors said.
A federal complaint said Lutchman is a self-professed convert to Islam, who claimed to receive direction from an overseas Islamic State member and planned to carry out an attack at a bar in the Rochester area on Thursday.
The FBI said Lutchman had an accomplice who was actually working for the agency. It said they bought knives and a machete for the attack.
Germany was on high alert Friday as police hunted for up to seven people suspected of plotting a New Year’s Eve suicide attack in Munich in the name of the Islamic State group.Iran Denies Firing Any Test Rockets Near US Aircraft Carrier, Balks At New Sanctions
Officials said they were tipped off about an imminent attack in the southern German city shortly before midnight as Europe prepared to ring in the New Year in an atmosphere of unprecedented security.
European capitals have been on high alert since November when Islamic State jihadists slaughtered 130 people in a series of gun and suicide attacks in Paris, stoking fears they could stage further attacks over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Just over an hour before the celebrations began in Munich, police ordered the evacuation of the city’s main rail station and another station in the west of the city after being tipped off about a possible “terror attack”.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps launched denials Thursday that it fired test rockets near a U.S. aircraft carrier and protested the upcoming sanctions, which the U.S. recently announced as a response to the apparent test-firing.Expert: White House’s New Iran Sanctions For Ballistic Missile Violations Are “Bare Minimum”
According to the U.S. military, IRGC naval forces fired numerous rockets Saturday, which hit just about a mile away from the USS Harry S. Truman in the Strait of Hormuz, AFP reports. The USS Bulkeley was also in the region, as was a French frigate.
The unguided rockets, even assuming they hit the Truman, would not be enough to sink the vessel, but a strike could have damaged it. Rather than rockets, the real danger to U.S. vessels in the region would be from sea mines, which are responsible for damaging or sinking the majority of U.S. vessels lost since World War II.
The firing came just 23 minutes after Iranian authorities gave naval traffic in the area notice, said Navy Commander Kyle Raines, spokesman for US Central Command, according to Reuters.
Facing strong bipartisan Congressional pressure, the Obama administration is preparing to impose new sanctions on Iran for its illicit ballistic missile program, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. But one expert is characterizing the new sanctions as being the “bare minimum” the administration could do under the circumstances.One day later: Obama backs off new Iran sanctions
The new sanctions, which the Treasury Department will announce next week, come in the wake of two Iranian ballistic missile tests in October and November. A United Nations panel formally found two weeks ago that the October launch violated United Security Council Resolution 1929.
The new sanctions, the first to be announced since the nuclear deal was announced in July, would target companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates for their work in developing Iran’s ballistic missile program.
New American sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program? Not so fast.Iran's Plan for Syria Without Assad
The White House has delayed its plan to impose new financial sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, American officials said Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The announcement comes just one day after it was reported that the Obama administration is preparing new sanctions on international companies and individuals who played a role in Iran’s ballistic endeavors.
According to the officials, the decision to back off the new sanctions comes amid growing tensions with Iran over the nuclear deal struck earlier this year.
The officials said the Obama administration remains committed to combating Iran’s missile program and that sanctions being developed by the U.S. Treasury Department remain on the table. They also said imposing such penalties was legal under the landmark nuclear agreement forged between global powers and Iran in July.
But they offered no definitive timeline for when the sanctions would be imposed after the decision was made to delay them. At one point, they were scheduled to be announced Wednesday morning in Washington, according to a notification the White House sent to Congress.
For Iran, Bashar al-Assad has been a valuable ally but not an indispensable one. His coming to power in 2000, followed by the Iraq war in 2003 and Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005, freed Iran’s hand in the Levant. Hezbollah under Bashar al-Assad has received weaponry and political backing unthinkable in his father’s time, including long-range Scud missiles and a 2010 Damascus visit by the party’s chief Hassan Nasrallah. But while Tehran has worked since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011 to prolong Assad’s hold on power, it has also planned from the very early stages of the conflict for the day after, should its ally fall or should the regime lose Damascus.Rouhani Orders Acceleration Of Iran’s Missile Program
Even as Iran sits at the negotiating table in Vienna, its strategy overlooks the political debate and the successive failed processes. It is instead rooted in creating new realities and proxies on the ground in Syria, looking beyond Assad and preserving its core interests. These interests are defined today by three goals: (1) Ensuring arms shipments continue to Hezbollah; (2) Gaining a strategic foothold in Levant and against Israel; (3) Preventing a stable government opposed to Iran from fully ruling over Syria.
While these three goals are met today under the depleted rule of Bashar al-Assad, Tehran is putting in place new nonstate military structures that would protect these interests should Assad fall. Iran, according to Reuters, has established a massive Alawite force (Assad’s ruling minority) that numbers over 200,000 men, and has recruited Shia fighters from as close as Iraq and as far as Afghanistan to carry out its fight.
After reports emerged Wednesday that the United States will impose new sanctions on Iran after the Islamic Republic tested ballistic missiles in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Thursday that he is ordering his defense ministry to accelerate the development of his nation’s missile program.The Israelis have spoken - Putin is their person of the year for 2015
Iran’s semi-official PressTV news reported that in his decree to Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, “Rouhani ordered an acceleration in Iran’s program for production of ‘various types of missile’ needed to improve the country’s defense capabilities.”
Rouhani, in his decree to Dehqan, called the purported plan by the White House a measure in line with hostile US policies to “illegally interfere in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s programs for boosting the defense power.” …
The Iranian president also warned that in case the US repeats such “wrong and interventionist” measures, the Iranian Defense Ministry must develop a new plan for expanding the country’s missile capabilities.
Rouhani said that Iran’s missile power, which he described as a means to protect the country’s sovereignty and a major deterrence against terrorism in the Middle East and the world, has never been up for negotiations, including in the nuclear talks with the P5+1 group – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – which resulted in the JCPOA in Austria on July 14.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is Israelis’ person of the year, according to a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister publication Ma’ariv Sof Hashavua.Abbas: Israel only wants to continue the 'occupation'
The poll of 527 respondents representing a statistical sample of the Jewish adult population, was taken Tuesday and has an error margin of ±4.3 percent.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents chose Putin as their person of the year, 16% picked German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 15% Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 3% Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 2% Pope Francis, 2% US President Barack Obama and 33% said they did not know.
When asked what the country’s biggest problem was, 45% said the wave of terrorism, 33% said the cost of living and socioeconomic gaps, 8% said the diplomatic stalemate, 4% said Right-Left relations, 4% said international isolation, 2% said religious-secular relations and 4% said they did not know.
Asked if a diplomatic agreement could currently be reached with the Palestinians, 68% said no, 22% said yes and 10% did not know. Among respondents defining themselves as Center-Left, 43% said no, 41% said yes and 16% did not know.
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas blasted Israel on Thursday, claiming that it was the Israeli government which refuses to work towards a peace agreement with the PA and wishes to perpetuate “the occupation”.Report: Hamas Accelerating Its Tunnel-Digging Operations Toward Israeli Border Towns
Speaking at a speech marking the 51st anniversary of his Fatah movement, Abbas turned directly to the Israeli people and charged, "Your government leads you astray - it does not want peace and is working using all means to continue the occupation and build settlements on our land."
Israeli’s military build-up in Judea and Samaria will not lead to a solution to the conflict in the long term, the PA chairman warned, according to excerpts of his speech quoted by the Walla! Hebrew-language news website.
"The tanks, guns, planes, fences and your settlements - all of them will not bring security or peace," he said. "It will happen only if you recognize the rights of our people and the historical injustice against them."
"We will not remain under your occupation and settlements," continued Abbas, according to Walla!. "We will not accept the fact that you hold the bodies of our martyrs and continue to stop our families. Get out of our lives and our land, remove your hands from our holy places. Fix the damage and restore our rights. He who has the courage to do this will be the one who brings peace. Are you ready for this?"
According to Abbas, achieving peace in the region will end the ongoing wave of terrorism against Israel.
Hamas has accelerated its tunnel-building operations near the Gaza border towards Israeli towns and villages, Israeli military officials said according to Walla news.Gay Vandals Give Al-Aqsa Mosque ‘Rainbow Makeover’ on New Year’s Eve (satire)
Less than two years after Israel delivered Hamas’ tunnel infrastructure a serious blow during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 Hamas’s fighters have stepped up the pace of their excavations.
Israel believes Hamas wanted to use the tunnels burrowed into Israeli territory to stage a terrorist attack against an Israeli border community near Gaza, perhaps even taking over a whole kibbutz or town.
Military officials said however that Hamas had suspended digging operations beyond the border fence, fearing Israeli technology meant to detect such activity, according to the report. Earlier this year, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israel was deploying a state-of-the art tunnel detection system along the Gaza border.
Hamas has also stepped up its domestic rocket manufacturing, the officials said, despite the Israeli naval and air blockade and Egyptian operations to destroy the smuggling tunnel network between the Sinai peninsula and Rafah, on the Gazan border. Hamas and other militant groups possess rockets with ranges that can reach nearly all Israeli cities.
According to Israeli news website 0404, Hamas test-fired three rockets on Wednesday over the Mediterranean Sea.
Just a month after painting Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza pink, the Homorabian Liberation Front has struck again, coating the dome of Islam’s third holiest site in the colors of the rainbow.
In a daring New Year’s Eve mission, activists from the Arab LGBT group snuck onto Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and scaled Al-Aqsa Mosque to execute their so-called ‘Operation Rainbow Makeover.’
It was only at dawn when people noticed the startling sight, with one closeted imam momentarily losing control and exclaiming, “Praise be to Allah, He has sent us a message!” He was then thrown off the Western Wall by furious fellow clergymen, only to be miraculously saved by landing on an inflatable mini Third Temple erected by messianic Jewish worshippers below.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera, a masked Homorabian Liberation Front spokesperson warned, “not only is Al-Aqsa in danger [echoing a common phrase used to warn of alleged Jewish intentions to destroy the holy site] but so is every other mosque, church or synagogue that preaches the homocidal message of hetero-supremacist hatred.”