Wednesday, February 03, 2016

From Ian:

Border Police officer, 19, dies after Jerusalem terror attack
A Border Police officer succumbed to wounds suffered during a shooting and stabbing attack near Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday, after efforts to save her life at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus failed.
The woman was identified as Hadar Cohen, 19, from Or Yehuda.
Cohen was rushed to hospital in critical condition after she was wounded in the attack shortly after 2 p.m. local time. Paramedics who treated her at the scene said she was fighting for her life.
Hospital officials said she was shot in the head. “We succeeded in stabilizing her condition for a time, but her head wound was so severe she never had a chance,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
Another policewomen was in serious but stable condition at the hospital, with wounds all over her body, including her head, the spokeswoman said.
After attack, Jerusalem mayor urges residents to ‘engage’ terrorists
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told residents of the capital not to fear “engaging” with suspected Palestinian attackers, after three Palestinians carried out a shooting and stabbing attack, killing one border policewoman and wounding another outside the city’s Damascus Gate on Wednesday afternoon.
Officials said the quick response of security forces in shooting and killing the terrorists prevented a much larger attack by the three.
“I spoke to the brave fighters who were not afraid to engage,” the mayor said of the team of Border Police officers who shot and killed the three Palestinians attackers within moments of the attack.
“The preparedness of the policemen is what led to the engagement and saved lives. The residents of Jerusalem need to open their eyes, and in a case like this, not to fear engaging [the attackers]. This vigilance is what will thwart attacks.”
A Mosque as Extremist Megaphone
Despite Al Aqsa’s importance to Islam—it is considered the religion’s holiest site outside Saudi Arabia—few Westerners are aware of the content of the sermons, lectures and lessons offered there. Many of these sermons are posted on the mosque’s two official YouTube channels and have been translated from the Arabic by my organization, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
What we have found at Al Aqsa is a steady stream of calls for jihad and martyrdom, venomous attacks on Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims, and praise for al Qaeda, Islamic State, or ISIS, and other jihadist groups.
Calls for the destruction of the U.S. and the West, including promises that Islam will take over the world, are other common themes. On July 24 last year, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dweik—a frequent lecturer at the mosque and Palestinian cleric, like the other religious leaders quoted here—said: “The caliphate will come to be, and the nuclear bomb will be produced,” adding that this future Islamic caliphate—will “fight the U.S. and will bring it down” and “eliminate the West in its entirety.”
On July 6, 2015, Sheikh Muhammad Abed, known as “ Abu Abdallah,” declared that from “the land of the Prophet’s nocturnal journey”—a reference to Jerusalem—“armies will set out to conquer Rome, to conquer Constantinople,” and then he added to the list “Washington and London.”
In an Oct. 27 address at Al Aqsa, Sheikh Khaled Al-Maghrabi called for the annihilation of the Jews all over the world, providing justification by quoting the well-known hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) of the stone and the tree: “Oh Muslim there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” Earlier at the mosque, on May 29, Sheikh Al-Maghrabi explained why Jews were killed in the Holocaust. “On Passover,” he said, the Jews “would knead the dough for these matzos with children’s blood. When this was discovered, the Israelites were expelled across Europe . . . It got to the point where they were burned in Germany.”

PMW: Fatah fuels violence, and youth internalize it
The statement "my devotion is to Allah... my sacrifices are for Palestine... and my loyalty is to the Martyrs," was tweeted by Fatah on its official Twitter account. The tweet also included a poster with the Fatah logo showing a masked man holding a rifle. The text on the poster encouraged Palestinians to fight with weapons, and glorified death:
"Palestine Fatah Revolution until victory If I fall, take my weapon O, companion in the struggle Carry my weapon and do not fear my blood dripping from the weapon I have not died, I am still calling you from behind the wounds"
[Fatah Twitter account, Jan. 23, 2016]
The many calls for violence in recent months by PA and Fatah leaders and the presentation of Martyrdom as an ideal have been documented by Palestinian Media Watch. From the statements and actions of Palestinians, it is clear the leaders' messages are impacting on the Palestinian public.
The official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida publicized on its website an interview with the mother and two sisters of terrorist Muhammad Nazmi Shamasneh, who was killed when he choked and stabbed an Israeli soldier on a bus while attempting to steal his weapon. Both sisters expressed their desire to "follow" their brother, use violence and "die as Martyrs":
Sisters of terrorist stabber: “I'm happy that my brother is a Martyr... I will die as a Martyr”

Fatah anniversary video shows Abbas glorifying mass murderers, in 2013

3 terrorists carry out combined shooting and stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City
A Border Policewomen was killed and another badly wounded in a combined terror stabbing and shooting attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday.
Police said that three terrorists, armed with three automatic weapons, knives and two explosive devices arrived at the Damascus Gate. The terrorists aroused the suspicion of a Border Police unit in the area.
A Border Police officer asked the suspects for their identification cards. One of the terrorists provided his ID card to the officers while a second terrorist pulled out a rifle and began firing shots. Police said later that the Border Policewoman prevented a much bigger attack by identifying the suspects and asking them for identification.
Two female Border Police officers were injured by gunfire. The Border Police unit quickly responded, firing at and killing all three terrorists.
One of the wounded officers, Corporal Hadar Cohen, died of her wounds. She was 19 years old.
Three life sentences for Armon Hanatziv terrorist
Three life sentences have been handed out to the terrorist Bilal Abu Ganam who murdered three innocent civilians in a terror attack that took place in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon HaNatziv on October 13th, 2015. Abu Ganam was found guilty of three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder for the attack.
The Jerusalem District Attorney reached an plea bargain regarding the punishment with Abu Ganam's lawyers. The three life sentences will be fulfilled consecutively, and the jail time for the counts of attempted murder will be dropped.
During the attack, two terrorists, one armed with a gun and another with a knife, boarded the 78 bus and began attacking both passengers and the driver. One was shot dead and the other (Abu Ganam) was shot and taken into custody.
The three Israelis who were killed were 78 year old Haim Habib, 51-year-old Alon Guvberg and 76 year old Richard Laikin.
'Journalists orchestrating events to make Israel look bad'
Lawmakers and an IDF representative accused journalists of orchestrating events to make Israel look bad, during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discussion Tuesday of violent incidents between security forces and the press.
“With all the importance of the press in a democratic country,” MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) began, “we cannot get confused and must always give priority to the IDF’s operational freedom of action, because they are acting to save lives.”
Yogev accused the press of behaving like an “imbalanced theater.”
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) said there is no justification for violence against journalists, but added: “We cannot ignore the fact that the press takes an active, one-sided and tendentious stance in covering the conflict, and therefore, it is part of the game.
“We know with certainty about many cases that were staged and orchestrated, so the media needs to ask itself if it is truly balanced,” Oren stated.
IDF Spokesperson’s Unit representative Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said forces in the field sometimes have to deal with “media traps” or events that would not have happened if the press was not present.
Lerner explained that the IDF works to allow the press to act freely, while considering operational limitations, and that aim is backed by military orders and regulations.
BBC News portrays counter-terrorism measure as ‘collective punishment’
Had BBC audiences been made aware of the facts behind the partial one-day closure of Ramallah and had they been told that the quoted spokesman’s organization publicly glorified his colleague’s act of terror, they may have been able to put his irrelevant claim into more appropriate context.
But at the same time as it eagerly provides uncritical amplification for such propaganda, the BBC continues to embrace an editorial policy according to which PA incitement and glorification of terrorism are taboo subjects, thus undermining the corporation’s public purpose remit of enhancing audiences’ understanding of international issues.
Report: Palestinian Authority arrests 5 pro-Iran operatives in West Bank
Palestinian Authority security forces have recently arrested five pro-Iranian operatives in Bethlehem planning to establish a foothold in the West Bank and carry out attacks against Israel, Israel Radio cited Palestinian security forces as saying.
According to the sources, the five members of the 'a-Sabrin' organization had operated in the Gaza Strip over the past years before being arrested two weeks ago after leaving the coastal Palestinian enclave.
The operatives working under Iranian orders had reportedly received funding in Gaza and were instructed to carry out terror attacks.
The Israel Radio report cited the organization's leader in Gaza, Hisham Salem, as confirming that the group operates in the West Bank, adding that it would soon receive financial and military aide.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously warned that Iran is increasing its efforts to deepen its terrorist activities in the West Bank.
India arrests suspect planning on attacking Israeli targets
India's security forces arrested a suspect last week who allegedly committed a terror attack in 2014 and planned on carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in Bangalore.
According to India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), the suspect arrested is Jeb Afridi. He is a resident of Amdabad and is active in the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Afridi is suspected of committing a terrorist attack on Church Street in Bangalore on December 28, 2014, and of being involved in other incidents in Bangalore and elsewhere. His remand was extended by 10 days.
According to the NIA, he exploded a small bomb outside a restaurant atwhich an Israeli delegation was supposed to dine. A woman was killed and three were wounded in that attack. There were no Israeli casualties.
Contrary to claims made by the NIA, the Israeli Consulate said it was not aware of an Israeli delegation, official or not, that was supposed to visit the restaurant in question that evening.
Danny Danon: Israel and the U.N. Chief: A Clash of Perspectives
As terror continues to wash over Israel, claiming more lives, the people in my country were surprised to find another infuriating statement by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel” (Op-Ed, Feb. 1).
Throughout the United Nations’ history, terror attacks have received harsh and unequivocal condemnation from its secretaries general. Many times they were followed by Security Council resolutions. Only when it comes to Israel, however, is terrorism — like the murder of a mother in front of her children last month — denounced with ifs and buts.
The secretary general writes that “history proves that people will always resist occupation.” Nothing can justify the murder of 30 innocent Israelis since last September. His statement legitimizes the Palestinian Authority’s incitement to terror and violence.
If Mr. Ban is looking for the factors leading to terror, he should listen to the terrorists themselves, who have admitted that it is the hate-filled programming on the Palestinian Authority’s official TV that inspires them to stab and murder.
When it comes to the situation in my region, the United Nations must focus its efforts to stop terror and incitement in order to cultivate a prosperous ground for peace.
Who Can Believe Mahmoud Abbas?
How can anyone take Abbas's protestations of peace seriously when he calls the knife-stabbers, shooters and car-rammers "peaceful demonstrators"? He embarrasses us. How can anyone believe a Palestinian leader who gives a speech about peace and praises the Palestinian "martyrs" (killed while trying to murder Jewish grandmothers and storekeepers), sends wishes for a speedy recovery to wounded attackers, and praises and glorifies Palestinian murderers?
Sadly, Mahmoud Abbas is still living in a dream world. He remembers the Arab countries that were unconditionally willing to sign peace treaties with Israel, and the so-called Saudi Initiative. In his bubble, he does not want to know that Israel is now the last thing on their minds. The Arab and Muslim countries, as they have always done, only invoke "the Palestinians" to relieve internal pressure exerted by their civilians. Abbas may not realize that that Syria is, essentially, a thing of the past. He may not see that if Israel had agreed to the Saudi Initiative, ISIS would have taken the Golan Heights and be making its way to both Israel and his West Bank. Saudi Arabia, fighting for its life against the double threat of Iran and plummeting oil prices, does not have time for the Palestinian Authority's games.
It is time for Abbas to realize that the heads of the EU and the hypocritical European states, such as Sweden and its dupable foreign minister, are fooling him into believing that Israel is about to depart.
After Abbas: The coming Palestinian bloodbath
When the time comes, the Fatah men who in the last few weeks started jockeying for position will duke it out for real. Such chaotic political fighting often leads to violence.
Once that violence ebbs, a new strongman will emerge.
But not a peaceful, democratic state of Palestine.
This week, the UN’s Ban Ki-moon said Palestinian terrorism is part of “human nature” to resist occupation through “hate and extremism.” US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro earlier said Israel’s justice system employs “two standards” — one for Israelis and another for Palestinians (and later said he regretted his timing).
The real double standard is in endlessly scrutinizing Jerusalem while ignoring Ramallah. Rather than promoting two states, it only assures endless failure in the West Bank and Gaza.
Grand Mufti condemns new Jewish egalitarian prayer section at Western Wall
The Palestinian Minister for Wakf and Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusef Edais, said he opposed the decision to “allocate a mixed prayer section for Jewish men and women” at the Western Wall, which he referred to by its Islamic name, al-Buraq.
Edais said the expanded prayer plaza was an inseparable part of al-Aksa Mosque, and that the yard adjacent to the Western Wall was Muslim- owned property.
Israel’s “dangerous schemes against Jerusalem, including ongoing intervention in the affairs of the Haram Al-Sharif (Temple Mount), massive excavations beneath al-Aksa Mosque under the pretext of searching for ostensible monuments and intensive settlement plans in the city are part of an attempt to change the status quo at the Haram Al-Sharif,” Edais said.
Edais further accused Israel of pursuing its effort to ‘Judaize” Jerusalem and isolate it from surrounding Arab communities.
“Al Aqsa Mosque is part of the faith of the Muslims and belongs only to Muslims,” Edais said. “This includes all its structures, yards, walls and gates. The Jews have no connection to it whatsoever. This offensive against Jerusalem is aimed at consolidating the occupation in it and turning it into a Jewish city by falsifying its history and displacing its original residents.”
Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, also condemned the cabinet decision.
Herzog to Kerry: Israelis are being murdered, we can't wait for long peace talks
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) told US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday that the current security situation between the Israelis and Palestinians cannot continue.
During a meeting in Rome, Herzog pointed toward a two-state solution, telling the top US diplomat that "a separation policy is the only way to move things in the region."
He added that a joint regional security council including Egypt, Jordan, Israel and other countries should be formed to confront the issue of radical Islamic terror and promote confidence building measures in the Middle East. He added that such a summit should take place before US President Barack Obama leaves office next January at the end of his second term.
"Israelis are being murdered in the streets and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is gaining focus around the world," Herzog said. "Israel cannot wait for lengthy diplomatic negotiations."
Kerry in turn expressed interest in such an initiative.
How Obama distracted American Jewry
The Iran nuclear deal has been signed, sealed and delivered. The US just released $100 billion cash to the Islamic Republic. Multinational companies are flocking to do business with Tehran. President Rouhani is treated like a celebrity in European capitals. Yet Iran shows no signs of the hoped-for moderation that drove the deal.
The Iranian navy recently fired a missile in close proximity to a US navy ship, and separately seized a small US boat and publicly humiliated its captured crew. Iran continues to call for Israel’s destruction, and Ayatollah Khamenei issued a Holocaust-denying video on Holocaust Memorial Day. With so much vested in the nuclear deal the Obama Administration and the Europeans have chosen to look the other way, preferring appeasement to confrontation. All this gives rise to a troubling and very important question — why did American Jews not join the overwhelming majority of our Israeli brethren in opposing the nuclear deal?
The answer, unfortunately, is that Israel has become a partisan issue in US politics. Democrats have become increasingly anti-Israel during the Obama years. Jewish Americans, most of whom are Democrats, have largely acquiesced in or even joined their party’s attitudinal shift away from the Jewish State.
Obama Admin Has Not Prosecuted a Single Palestinian Terrorist Who Killed Americans
The Obama administration has not prosecuted a single Palestinian terrorist responsible for killing Americans abroad, despite a congressional mandate ordering the Justice Department to take action against these individuals, according to disclosures made by lawmakers on Tuesday.
Palestinian terrorists have murdered at least 64 Americans, including two unborn children, since 1993. Yet the U.S. government has failed to take legal action against those who committed the crimes, lawmakers disclosed during a Tuesday hearing on the Justice Department’s failure to live up to its mandate to bring these terrorists to justice.
Many of the terrorists continue to roam free across the Middle East, with one hosting a Hamas-affiliated television show in Jordan.
With criticism mounting from Congress and U.S. victims of terrorism, Justice Department officials say they are working to initiate cases, but warn that this could take “many years” to play out.
The Justice Department has repeatedly declined to comment when faced with questions from Congress about the lack of prosecutions, according to Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security.
The Justice Department “has not been able to cite one example for this committee of even a single terrorist who has been prosecuted in the U.S. for any of the 64 attacks against Americans in Israel,” DeSantis said. “Indeed, many of these terrorists roam free as the result of prisoner exchanges or evasion.”
Netanyahu’s office denies report of Egypt trip
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Monday denied reports the Israeli leader plans to visit Egypt next month.
An Egyptian paper reported that Netanyahu was scheduled to fly to Cairo in March for high-level talks, but his office rejected the report.
Official relations between Jerusalem and Cairo have been relatively warm since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi rose to power.
But Cairo and Jerusalem have also been mired in a financial dispute over gas imports.
In December 2015, Egypt ordered a freeze on talks to import Israeli gas following a ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce that Egyptian gas companies must compensate the Israel Electric Corporation $1.76 billion over a cut to the supply in 2012.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Haaretz Writer Fails To Hit Weekly Quota Of ‘Fascist’, ‘McCarthyist’ (satire)
A journalist at Israel’s most prestigious newspaper has been disciplined for not meeting the publisher’s mandated minimum number of times writers must use certain politically charged terms, PreOccupied Territory has learned.
Amos Shakran, a political correspondent for Haaretz, neglected to use the terms “fascist,” “McCarthyism,” “incitement,” and several other key words and phrases enough times to meet the publication’s weekly quota. As such, the reporter has been warned against a recurrence of such neglectful writing, and faces disciplinary action if one takes place.
In daily articles covering Israeli politics, social issues, and societal trends, Shakran failed to include any of those terms at least once every 200 words. While the journalist insists he did use the words with that frequency, editors at Haaretz dismissed at least four such instances as inadmissible, as they appeared quotes from figures on the political right, and thus did not qualify as meaningful.
Shakran’s 800-word article last Tuesday about Minister of Culture Miri Regev’s intention to make government funding for cultural endeavors contingent on the funding recipient refraining from expressing opposition to the existence or Jewish nature of the State of Israel only used the words “fascism” or its variants three times. The following day, a story he wrote on allegedly biased content in a Ministry-of-Education-approved civics textbook entirely omitted the use of “racist,” “incitement against Arabs,” or “incitement against the Left,” despite a golden opportunity to do so in the context of the Rabin assassination.
Potential disciplinary measures in case of further violations include the removal of Shakran’s access to articles pre-written by left-wing NGOs and lobbyists, as well as being barred from networking and social events with representatives of those NGOs and lobbyists. Further journalistic misconduct would result in the reporter demoted to an internship in the culture department, where he would be exposed to a remedial lesson in suffusing one’s work with the proper terminology.
Finance Ministry up in arms over Netherlands cutting off some Holocaust benefits
Knesset Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni is up in arms after learning of a recent decision by the Dutch government to cease paying benefits to Holocaust survivors who have immigrated to Israel.
Speaking in the Knesset on Tuesday, Gafni said that in response to the decision, which was apparently taken because such survivors receive extra benefits, he will soon hold a special committee meeting in which he will summon representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry to convince them to take the lead in dissuading The Hague from its intended course of action.
According to Gafni, the government’s Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority has been aware of the issue but has not yet taken it up on a state level.
Stating his shock, the MK demanded that, “the senior ranks government of Israel... intervene with the government of the Netherlands.”
Asked about the controversy, Colette Avital, chairwoman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post that if the Dutch had indeed taken such a step, “There is no justification, both because they cannot ask the Israeli government to replace them and because they cannot relinquish their responsibilities.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian forces arrest professor accused of calling for Abbas execution
Palestinian security forces in the West Bank on Monday arrested Prof. Abdul Sattar Qassem on charges of inciting against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Qassem, a former PA presidential candidate, was taken into custody from his home in Nablus. He teaches political science at An-Najah National University in Nablus.
Last week, Fatah accused Qassem of calling for the killing of Abbas and members of the PA security forces for their alleged collaboration with Israel.
In an interview with the Hammad-affiliated Al-Quds TV station, Qassem called for the implementation of the PLO’s “revolutionary law,” which imposes a death sentence on those found guilty of “high treason.”
Donors Growing Weary of Reconstructing Gaza
The three Israel-Hamas wars in the last seven years have destroyed billions of dollars of infrastructure and housing in Gaza. Hamas launches rockets into Israel to burnish its credentials for violent resistance in the eyes of its public, and Israel retaliates to manage an unacceptable security situation. Some Israelis refer to these wars as efforts to "mow the grass" and prevent Hamas's terror infrastructure from developing. Yet, while regularly mowing down Hamas's capabilities, Israel also has set back development and humanitarian efforts.
Despite the risks, many donors recognize that their efforts must continue for humanitarian reasons. Yet ongoing tensions between Hamas and Israel and the promise of future conflict likely make them hesitant to continue providing aid. At the very least, these groups probably would want guarantees -- from Hamas and Israel -- to avoid targeting projects or using them for cover in the future.
After the last 2014 Gaza War, donor countries promised more than $3.5 billion of humanitarian and development aid, but according to an August 2015 World Bank report, only 35% of promised funds have been delivered. Western donors, including the United States, European Union, and Japan, have given the most aid and almost met their full pledges. Qatar and Turkey, both Hamas supporters, have fulfilled 10% and 29% of their pledges, still high absolute totals, respectively. Finally, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait -- aligned against Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood more broadly -- have all given less than 13% of their pledges. Egypt did not pledge aid to Gaza and instead has undermined the Gaza economy by closing the Rafah crossing and destroying smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian-Gazan border.
For the Middle Eastern countries, the decision to send aid to Gaza results from political competition. Hamas's backers eagerly help the group improve living conditions in Gaza to aid an ally and increase its legitimacy, while opposing countries, cautious about bolstering Hamas, limit funds and disburse them through proxies and international organizations such as the United Nations.
Hamas claims to have captured Israeli intelligence agent
Hamas on Tuesday claimed that it arrested an intelligence agent who had provided information to Israel for 14 years.
A website affiliated with Hamas’s internal security agencies in Gaza claimed that the agent, who was only identified by the initials MS, assisted in providing information which led to the elimination of terrorists and in the bombings of houses in Gaza.
According to the website, the agent was hired by Israeli intelligence in 2002 while working in Israel, through a friend who was tied to Israeli intelligence.
During his stay in Gaza, reported the website, the agent used a cell phone with a SIM card of the Orange cellular phone company. He received 500 shekels per month for the information he passed along to Israel.
Hamas claimed that during his interrogation he admitted providing information to Israeli intelligence about two terrorists’ cars that were later bombed by Israeli forces, as well as about homes of terrorists that were later bombed by the Israeli army as well.
Hamas says 2 of its members killed in Gaza tunnel collapse
The Islamist Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip confirmed Wednesday that two of the group’s members died when a tunnel collapsed as they were working on it in the south of the coastal enclave.
Hamas said that field commander Fuad Abu Atewi and fighter Ahmad Haider al-Zahar were killed Tuesday outside Khan Younis, which is near the Strip’s border with Egypt.
Last week, the group confirmed that seven of its members were killed in a tunnel collapse in northern Gaza.
The collapse on January 26 occurred amid heavy winter rain. Hamas accused Israel of causing the collapse by opening dams to flood Gaza with water — an annual claim made by Palestinians and flatly rejected by Israel. There are no dams in southern Israel.
Egyptian army finds rigged terror tunnel
As part of operations to destroy Hamas smuggling tunnels from Gaza, Egyptian security forces recently found a large rigged tunnel in northern Sinai.
An Egyptian security source revealed the find, as reported by the Egyptian Al-Bawaba cited on Wednesday by Channel 10.
According to the source, terrorists were hiding in the tunnel with explosives ready for detonation. They had large quantities of weapons, and clothing similar to the uniform of the Egyptian army.
The last point brings to mind how Hamas terrorists in 2014 Operation Protective Edge infiltrated into Israeli territory with attack tunnels while wearing fake IDF uniforms, allowing them to conduct several lethal attacks.
The Egyptian source said that the tunnels were built with the aid of another organization, in an apparent reference to Hamas, and that they tried to renovate them and use them to hide and smuggle weapons.
Al-Bawaba's report did not openly state that the tunnel led from Gaza into Sinai, although such appears to be the case given the hundreds of smuggling tunnels found under the border.
Hamas Calls For Palestinian Elections 10 Years On
Islamist movement Hamas on Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the legislative election it won in 2006 with a call for new parliamentary and presidential polls in the Palestinian territories.
At a news conference, senior Hamas figures in Gaza called for “the announcement of a precise date for presidential and legislative elections.”
First deputy speaker of parliament Ahmed Bahar said Hamas and rival Palestinian factions should work to achieve reconciliation “and to close the gaps opened by years of political division.”
Palestinian elections have not been held in a decade due to the bitter split between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank-based Fatah faction led by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Representatives from the rival factions are expected to meet, however, in the coming days in Doha in a fresh attempt to implement a 2014 reconciliation deal which provided for elections by the end of that year.
The elections never materialised, with the two sides blaming each other.
Bahar welcomed the talks due to take place in the Qatari capital.
Egyptian Culture Ministry Official: Israelis Stole Our Land, We’ll Steal Their Intellectual Property Rights
The head of the International Book Fair held in Cairo this week, organized by the Egyptian Culture Ministry, said it was “forbidden” to pay royalties to Israeli authors even though their books were translated and being sold at the expo, Israel’s Army Radio reported on Tuesday.
“It’s permissible to translate Israeli books, so we know how to deal with them, but not to make any legal connection or pay royalties,” said Dr. Haitham El-Hajj Ali, chairman of the General Egyptian Book Organization, according to the report.
“They stole our land; we’ll steal their intellectual property rights,” he said, referring to Israel’s 1967 capture of the Sinai peninsula, which the Jewish state agreed to return in its 1979 peace treaty with Cairo.
Al-Hajj’s comments were apparently in response to the presence of translated Israeli material at this year’s book fair in Cairo, including one by Army Radio‘s longtime Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hugi, which was translated into Arabic by an Egyptian translator in January.
Egyptian Christian Students On Trial For 'Insulting Islam'
Three Egyptian Coptic Christian students will appear in a Cairo court Thursday for “insulting Islam” in a video they created, The Associated Press reports.
A teacher filmed the high school students in a video that parodied Muslim prayers. One student knelt on the ground reading from the Quran while the other students stood behind him laughing and motioning their hands to mimic beheading.
The video surfaced in April, just two months after ISIS militants posted a video of the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians in Libya.
The students’ 30-second video spurred widespread anger amongst Muslims. A large number of people in the village demanded that both the students and teacher should be forced to leave the town.
Saudi court sentences Palestinian poet accused of abandoning Islam to 800 lashes, jail
A Saudi court has commuted the death sentence against a Palestinian poet on charges of apostasy and abandoning his Muslim faith to eight years in jail and 800 lashes, his lawyer said.
Ashraf Fayadh was detained by the country's religious police in 2013 in Abha, southwest Saudi Arabia, and rearrested and tried in early 2014.
The new ruling, posted by Fayadh's lawyer, Abdul-Rahman al-Lahim, on his Twitter account said that the court has decided to "go back on the previous death sentence" but confirmed the charges that had prompted the death penalty.
"The accused is sentenced to a punishment of eight years in jail and 800 lashes divided into installments, 50 lashes for each installment," the ruling stated, according to the Twitter posting.
A spokesman for Saudi Arabia's justice ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fayadh's conviction was based on evidence from a prosecution witness who claimed to have heard him cursing God, Islam's Prophet Mohammad and Saudi Arabia, and the contents of a poetry book he had written years earlier.

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