Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Iran and Hezbollah
Imagine that the sword-rattling speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that aired Friday on Lebanon TV was backed up by an Iranian patron with an atomic bomb.
Nasrallah bragged about Hezbollah’s ability to strike every inch of Israel with advanced, long-distance rockets that were not in its possession back in 2006. What if these missiles were placed under Iran’s nuclear umbrella? Iran with a nuclear-weapon capability would radically change Israel’s military calculations. Operations like the one carried out on Sunday would have to be reconsidered in light of a whole new set of dangers. Even if Iran never used a nuclear weapon, the very fact that it had one would transform its international status.
Even a country like North Korea, that has a tiny, failed economy and a starved population, gains the attention of the world solely because it has a nuclear weapon. In the case of Iran, not only would possessing nuclear arms mean power – it would mean the empowerment of madmen like Assad, who used chemical weapons against his own people, and Nasrallah, who dragged Lebanon into a pointless war with Israel.
Israel’s reputed air strike in Syria and the potential for fallout is a diversion from the real challenge: preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.
JCPA: The Attack in the Golan Exposes Iran's Growing Presence along Israel's Borders
In an official statement, Hizbullah threatened that its response “would be painful and unexpected.” Hizbullah’s media outlet, al-Manar, reported: “Tel Aviv is playing with fire which would threaten the security of the whole Middle East.” Unidentified sources quoted by the Lebanese daily al-Safir, assessed that the response would be “controlled and would stop short of an escalation leading to an all-out war.” In parallel, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Muhammad Zarif condemned the operation attributed to Israel but he refrained to issuing a concrete threat against Israel.
Ayatollah Mahari, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s personal representative, called upon the world and its religious authorities — including the Sunni center of al-Azhar — to condemn the attack against “the heroes of Hizbullah.” Mahari stressed that the attack exposed Israel’s failure to thwart the Iranian achievements in the nuclear negotiations by means of a provocation against Tehran. Mahari expressed his hope that Hizbullah would respond wisely. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Iranian National Security Council, promised that Hizbullah would respond at a convenient time and place.
The fact that at least three high-ranking IRGC officers were killed in the attack highlights once more that Iran perceives Syria and Lebanon as Tehran’s first line of defense against Israel. Iran has repeatedly demonstrated its steadfastness towards Syria and Hizbullah as it enjoys the strategic-military and political benefits arising from maintaining its ongoing radical military and political presence in Syria. Assistance to Syria and Hizbullah and an active ground presence in both countries are seen as additional expressions of Iran’s national defense doctrine. This is meant to distance the Iranian homeland from any threat and to conduct the campaign against Israel and the West in areas distant from Iran’s borders.
Slain Iranian was planning Hezbollah missile base — report
The Iranian general who was killed in an apparent Israeli airstrike near the border with the Golan Heights on Sunday was a ballistic missile expert who was visiting Syria as part of a project to set up a missile base near the border with Israel, according to a Tuesday report.
General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, whom Tehran acknowledged was killed in an Israeli missile strike near the Syrian city of Quneitra along with several Hezbollah fighters, was tasked with building four new Hezbollah missile bases near the Israel-Syria frontier, the London-based Times reported.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed that Allahdadi was ostensibly dispatched to Syria “provide military advice to Syrian government and nation in their war with Takfirist and Salafist (radical Sunni) terrorists, and provided valuable analysis and advice in neutralizing the plots of this Zionist-backed conspiracy in the Syrian soil.”

Report: Iron Dome deployed to northern Israel after alleged Syria strike
In the aftermath of an alleged Israeli strike Sunday on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the IDF reportedly deployed a number of Iron Dome air defense batteries to the North on Monday evening, according to foreign media.
Sky News Arabic reported that the anti-rocket batteries had been maneuvered in case of further escalation on the border with Syria and Lebanon.
According to Hezbollah, which is active on the side of President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war, an Israeli helicopter fired two missiles Sunday at a military convoy in the Syrian town of Quneitra, not far from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights.
Obama ‘Dog Whistles’ Netanyahu (and Insults Congress, too)
If diplomacy fails, and the allies won’t then proceed to war footing, the message the president is sending to Iran is, you can look forward to even more time to have your way while we argue over next steps. The U.S. president had explained his view of why he would veto any new sanctions bill, even one that would only be triggered should his negotiations with Iran fail. In his view, the current deal would not permit any such step, and it could jeopardize any possibility of a diplomatic resolution. Then Obama pursed his lips and began dog whistling. There can be no doubt who Obama is insulting with this whistle:
"If you listen to the rhetoric surrounding this issue, I think there is sometimes the view that this regime cannot be trusted, that, effectively, negotiations with Iran are pointless."
Not sure yet? Here it comes:
"And since these claims are being made by individuals who see Iran as a mortal threat."
Yes, “individuals who see Iran as a mortal threat,” are the ones who are trying to undermine this president’s diplomatic efforts. By the way, Obama said during this same press briefing that those efforts have, at best, a 50-50 chance of success. So the person attempting to undermine the diplomatic efforts is that “coward” (remember when that word was used by this administration to describe the Israeli leader?) in Jerusalem: Binyamin Netanyahu.
Iranians vow revenge on Israel as ayatollah plays up Mughniyeh ties
Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani accused Israel of being behind “all acts of terror in the Middle East,” particularly Syria, according to a PressTV report, and said that “necessary measures should be taken in these cases.”
Israel refused to comment on the incident, but has ramped up alertness along the northern border, deploying Iron Dome anti-missile batteries and canceling leave for some soldiers in anticipation of a possible retaliatory strike by Hezbollah.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also joined the chorus of Iranian officials blaming Israel for the airstrike.
A Twitter feed associated with Khamenei shared photos of him and Mughniyeh.
The post by @khamenei_ir described the pictures as “unseen photos,” which appear to have been taken during a 2013 meeting of Mughniyeh and Khamenei.
Shouts of ‘death to Israel’ as Hezbollah commander buried
Thousands of Hezbollah supporters marched Monday behind the yellow-draped coffin of one of its most prominent fighters killed the day before in what the group said was an Israeli airstrike in Syria, pumping their fists angrily in the air and chanting, “Death to Israel.”
Tehran added to the combustible mix even further, announcing Monday that a senior Iranian general also died in the airstrike in the Golan Heights, along with the six Hezbollah members.
The airstrike — neither confirmed nor denied by Israel — was a serious blow to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, stretched thin and neck-deep in Syria’s civil war where the group’s Shiite fighters are battling alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces.
The emotional funeral of Jihad Mughniyeh — the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah operative assassinated in 2008 in Damascus and one of the six Hezbollah fighters killed Sunday in the Golan — is likely to further ratchet up tensions between the militant Lebanese Shiite group and its archenemy Israel.
'Hezbollah, Iran forces in Syrian Golan working to prevent normalization with Israel'
"Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are working on establishing a resistant society in the Golan Heights", claimed a Lebanese MP during a radio interview on Tuesday.
According to Lebanon's Daily Star, the MP Walid Sukkarieh went on to say that the goal of this resistant society was to prevent Israel from normalizing relations with locals in the mountainous border region, adding that doing so is "a great responsibility for the axis of resistance."
The Lebanese politician also asserted that Israel has been trying to establish strategic links with rebel factions fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, specifying in a separate newspaper interview that Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian al-Qaida affiliate is a major beneficiary of these efforts.
Argentines rally for prosecutor as autopsy proves inconclusive
Argentinian-Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman was killed by a gunshot below his ear, the preliminary results of an autopsy showed Monday, as thousands of Argentinians headed to the streets to protest his death.
Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound just hours before he was due to testify at a congressional hearing on the deadly 1994 AMIA bombing.
Nisman had fingered Iran and Hezbollah in the attack, which killed 85 people at a Jewish community building, and was scheduled to release information tying Argentinean President Christina Kirchner to a coverup of Tehran’s involvement hours before he was found dead.
Police initially said the death appeared to be a suicide.
Local media reported that Nisman died of a bullet wound two centimeters below his right ear. The bullet matched the .22 caliber gun beside him, it said, but it could not immediately be established whether the death was a suicide or foul play.
The full autopsy report was slated to be released later Monday.
The Argentinian intelligence agency said it would declassify incriminating wiretaps in the AMIA bombing, the case Nisman was investigating before his death.
The Intelligence Secretariat (SI) said it ordered “the declassification of the identity, actions, events and circumstances relating to intelligence personnel that arise from the recorded telephone calls,” according to the Buenos Aires Herald.
Elliott Abrams: The strange death of Alberto Nisman
Nisman said that the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 between Argentina ‎and Iran 'was presented as something to help unblock the negotiations and ended up being ‎a criminal deal of impunity which was reached once everything else was already agreed ‎beforehand.' He added that the agreement was 'a way to introduce a false lead' in the ‎probe.
He said that before the Memorandum was approved, 'Argentina's intelligence agents told ‎the Iranians, "Relax, good news, we have already won."'"‎
According to the press, Nisman's death looks like suicide. How convenient: suicide, just ‎days after he made his allegations -- and the night before he was to testify about them!‎
How will we ever know? In today's Argentina, where challenging corruption can be ‎dangerous and apparently even fatal, who will conduct an honest investigation of Nisman's ‎death? Who will carry on the effort to disclose just what happened in 1994, and what was ‎Iran's role? Sadly, today the Organization of American States stands for nothing, hollowed ‎out under its current leadership -- very unlikely to make any serious demands. And U.S. ‎influence is low in Latin America. While Israel called upon Argentina to continue Nisman's ‎work, it's hard to believe anything can or will be done as long as Kirchner and Timerman ‎are in power in Buenos Aires.‎
Alberto Nisman Death: Judge Seizes Evidence, Initial Autopsy Findings Released
Local newspaper Perfil reported that Lijo ordered the seizure of all documentation referred to in the complaint, as well as a number of disks reportedly containing recordings of wiretaps that were provided to Nisman, and which allegedly include direct communications between Iranian and Argentine officials over the investigation into the AMIA bombing, which Nisman assumed responsibility for in 2006.
Lijo’s announcement came as the initial findings of the autopsy into Nisman’s death were released. According to La Nacion, the bullet which took Nisman’s life entered through his temple.
Viviana Fein, who is in charge of the investigation into Nisman’s death, also said that there was no evidence to indicate that the door to Nisman’s residence had been forced open.
In addition to his complaint, Nisman had ordered the freezing of assets worth some $23 million belonging to Fernández de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, and other officials. These and similar details have led to a flurry of speculation among Argentinian politicians and journalists that foul play was involved in his death.
Elisa Carrio, leader of the Civic Coalition, an opposition party, bluntly called Nisman’s death “an assassination,” saying she did not accept that it was a suicide.
Was Iran Behind Alberto Nisman's Death?
Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman (51), who accused President Cristina Kirchner of obstructing a probe into a 1994 Jewish center bombing, was found shot dead Monday, just hours before he was due to testify at a congressional hearing.
Given the timing of his death and the threats he received, there is a high suspicion of a framed suicide, but that leads to the question of who committed the murder.
The details of the case as well a long history of overseas assassinations suggest the culprit could be Iran, Christopher Dickey postulated in the Daily Beast Monday.
Looking at the official communiqué about Nisman’s death issued by Argentina’s Ministry of National Security on Monday morning seems only seems to raise more questions.
UN, EU Think Oslo Accords Bind One Party Only – Israel
Between Friday’s announcement that the International Criminal Court has opened a “preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine” and Sunday’s airstrike that killed six Hezbollah operatives and an Iranian general, a seemingly minor Israel-related item at the United Nations Security Council last Thursday has been largely ignored. But it shouldn’t be, because it goes to the heart of what’s wrong with the world’s handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: According to both the UN and the European Union, signed Israeli-Palestinian agreements are binding on one party only – Israel.
At Thursday’s Security Council briefing, Assistant Secretary-General Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen slammed Israel for freezing tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, declaring that this was “contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Paris Protocol of the Oslo Accords.” The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, made an identical claim 10 days earlier.
Though the claim is probably false, let’s assume for a moment that it’s true. The fact remains that Israel’s alleged violation of its “obligations under … the Oslo Accords” was in response to far greater violations of the Palestinians’ obligations under those same accords. Yet far from meriting any equivalent condemnation by the UN or the EU, the Palestinian violations were actively supported by both parties.
Senator Graham: US aid to Palestinians may be cut over ICC move
Lindsey Graham, part of a seven-member delegation of senators visiting Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said existing US legislation "would cut off aid to the Palestinians if they filed a complaint" against Israel.
At a news conference in Jerusalem, Graham called the Palestinian step "a bastardizing of the role of the ICC. I find it incredibly offensive."
"We will push back strongly to register our displeasure. It is already part of our law that would require us to stop funding if they actually bring a case," said Graham, of South Carolina.
US President Barack Obama's Democratic administration has said it does not believe Palestine is a sovereign state and therefore does not qualify to be part of the ICC, but has not explicitly threatened to withhold aid.
Canadian FM says Palestinians made ‘huge mistake’ in ICC bid
Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird said Monday the Palestinians “made a huge mistake” by pursuing war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Baird met Monday with Israeli officials as part of his five-day visit to the region. Prior to meeting Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Baird said the Palestinians crossed a “red line” and that he “communicated that in no uncertain terms” in his meetings with Palestinian leaders.
Canada has been one of only a few Western countries to stand by Israel as it has come under fierce international criticism over deadlocked negotiations with the Palestinians, the recent Gaza war and settlement construction. It has also vocally opposed the Palestinians’ attempts to reach statehood without direct negotiations with Israel.
Baird added that Canada would not stay silent with Israel under fire.
Ya'alon: We are Fighting Hamas and The Hague
Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon, met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird at his offices in Tel Aviv on Monday.
At the meeting, the two ministers discussed strategic regional issues, the situation in the Middle East, and relations between Canada and Israel.
"There is never a dull moment in our area," Ya'alon told his guest, before thanking him for his support.
"I would like to thank you for the clear voice of Canada. A voice that represents Canada's policies as led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and which are based on values so necessary to these times. Both all over the world and especially in our neighborhood."
Ya'alon then addressed Israel's greatest threats, which include not just terror and Hamas rockets, but the International Criminal Court.
Because she asked to visit 'Palestine,' Israel bars entry of UN official to West Bank
Israel has denied an entry request by a United Nations Human Rights Commission investigator on women, after she asked for permission to visit “Palestine.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said on Monday that the issue was the language of the request and the travel itinerary, which did not include a visit to Israel.
“The special investigator asked to visit ‘Palestine.’ We explained to her that there is no such country. Should she wish to visit the Palestinian Authority as part of a visit to Israel, that would be no problem.
Are the Palestinians responsible for their own misery?
When someone claims that Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas is the best hope for peace, I question why he regularly glorifies terrorists and promotes hatred using lies. Inevitably, the response I am given is that Abbas is doing his best, and that if he did more, he would likely be killed by Palestinian extremists. So here we have a coward of a leader leading a people that cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law. Is that not the fault of Palestinians?
Palestinians created Fatah. They fought a war against their Arab brothers in Jordan, and they fought a war against their other Arab brothers in Lebanon. They created Hamas. They elected corrupt politicians and terrorists. They failed to build Gaza when Israel evacuated it. They turned their opportunity at democracy into a farce. They failed in almost every way for over 66 years.
Blaming the Palestinians for their own actions is clearly not a popular proposition. The world rarely demands much of the Palestinians. Their behaviour, whether it is incitement to hatred or missile attacks on Israel, is generally excused, until Israel responds; at which point Israel is accused by its friends of responding too harshly, and it is accused by others of much worse.
It is often said that the world treats Palestinians like children, but in fact it is more than that. Children are usually disciplined when they misbehave. When such behaviour is excused or used to blame others, it escalates. That never fails with children, and it does not fail with Palestinians.
Although many factors have contributed to the Palestinians’ current quagmire, their own actions are a large part of it. They must be held accountable for their own behaviour if anything is to ever improve for them. That’s not politically correct to say, but sadly it is true.
IDF decorates 53 soldiers, officers for service during Gaza campaign
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on Monday approved the awarding of citations and special commendations to 53 soldiers and officers and 13 units with medals and special citations for their service during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer.
Givati Brigade Lt. Eitan Fund, who led the attempt to prevent the abduction of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin by Hamas terrorists in a battle near Rafah, was named the recipient of the Medal of Distinguished Service, the highest honor awarded in wake of the Gaza campaign and the military's third most important medal after the Medal of Valor and Medal of Courage.
The military plans to give out four chief of staff citations of merit, three chief of staff commendations, 23 major general citations of merit, 15 brigade commander citations of merit, and 17 division commander citations of merit.
IDF Blog: Radical Islam on Our Doorstep
“The presence of Islamic extremists in the Sinai Peninsula increases the risk of potential terror attacks on our borders.” These words, spoken by Regional Brigade Commander Col. Yehuda Hacohen on the Egyptian border, are representative of one of the most imminent threats facing both the IDF and Israeli citizens.
During a recent ceremony celebrating 10 years since the inception of the mixed gender Caracal Battalion, commanders and soldiers alike gathered on the Egyptian border where the battalion has guarded the frontier for the last decade.
“On one hand, the enemy is not always visible,” summarized Gen. Roy Alkabetz, the Southern Division Commander. “On the other, the area remains deceptive and highly flammable.”
“We must provide a fast and strong response against the enemy. The battalion stands by these standards. It was proven during a recent event two months ago in which the soldiers showed courage, made contact with the enemy, and accomplished their mission,” added Gen. Alkabetz.
Cyber assaults ever more severe, says IDF officer
The danger to the military, which has stored all of its information on computers for the past 35 years and is increasingly run online, was underscored on Monday when hackers identifying with the Islamic State terror group managed to hijack social media accounts of the US Military’s Central Command, posting propaganda and what it claimed was secret information.
For Israel, though the principle threats come from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, which “invest” heavily in cyber warfare “and their capacities continue to improve,” said the IDF cyber unit’s commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The unit, which graduated a new class of so-called cyber defenders last week, was founded two years ago. During Operation Protective Edge in Gaza this summer, Israel was subjected to “a wide-scale attack the likes of which we have not before seen,” a commander in the army’s computers and technology branch, known as C4I, told a group of Israeli military reporters.
Iran, he added, had put “very significant effort” into the offensive.
The bulk of the threats, as is the case with terror, were aimed at civilian systems rather than the more heavily protected military systems, the officer said.
Girl sings Haifa and Jaffa is “Palestine” at PA ministry festival
At a festival in Bethlehem, a young girl performed the Palestinian hit song "Oh flying bird," which misrepresents several Israeli cities and towns as being in “Palestine.”
The festival was organized by official Palestinian Authority TV’s children’s program The Best Home in cooperation with the PA Ministry of Tourism and local NGOs. The festival was broadcast on PA TV.
In the song, a bird is told to send greetings to different places in "my beautiful country Palestine." The full version mentions the following places in Israel as “Palestine”: Safed, Tiberias, Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, Beit Shean, Jaffa and Ramle.
Girl sings Haifa and Jaffa are “Palestine” at PA ministry festival

Former Senior Fatah Official Samir Al-Mashharawi Slams Mahmoud Abbas: He Has Violated All Fatah's Principles

Hamas said to be building ‘new generation’ of rockets
Israeli intelligence officials believe Hamas is manufacturing a “new generation” of rockets and is reconstructing its cross-border tunnels, the London-based Times reported on Monday.
Citing unnamed officials, the report maintained that dozens of “high trajectory projectiles,” which constitute a “new generation of home-produced rockets” have been tested since September. The rockets were fired at the Mediterranean in a series of drills.
It was not immediately clear how the rockets differed from earlier models.
Israeli military officials last year confirmed that Hamas had fired several rockets into the sea in an apparent test.
Hamas Blasts EU's Decision as 'Immoral'
Hamas blasted the European Union's decision Monday to appeal to keep it on the EU's official terrorist organization blacklist.
"The European Union's insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU's total bias in favor of the Israeli occupation," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
"It provides it [Israel] with the cover for its crimes against the Palestinian people," he added.
Hamas Interior Ministry official targeted in Gaza car-bombing
Hamas said on Tuesday that it has launched an investigation into an explosion that targeted the car of a senior security official in the Gaza Strip.
The pre-dawn explosion in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City destroyed the car of Hilmi Khalaf, a senior official with the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry.
No one was hurt in the blast.
Witnesses said that Hamas policemen stationed near the officer’s house opened fire at the assailants, who managed to escape unharmed. No group claimed responsibility.
Daniel Pipes: Is Sissi Islam's long-awaited reformer?‎
It's certainly possible that Sissi's views of Islam, like many Egyptians', have evolved, especially ‎since his break with Morsi two years ago. Indeed, rumors have him affiliated with the radically ‎anti-Islamist Quranist movement, whose leader, Ahmed Subhy Mansour, he cited in his student ‎paper. But Mansour suspects Sissi is "playing with words" and waits to see if Sissi is serious about ‎reform.‎
Indeed, until we know more about Sissi's personal views and see what he does next, I understand ‎his speech not as a stance against all of Islamism but only against its specifically violent form, the ‎kind that is ravaging Nigeria, Somalia, Syria-Iraq, and Pakistan, the kind that has placed such ‎cities as Boston, Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris under siege. Like other cooler heads, Sissi promotes Shariah through evolution and popular support, rather than through revolution and brutality. Non‎violence, to be sure, is an improvement over violence. But it's hardly the reform of Islam that ‎non-Muslims hope to see -- especially when one recalls that working through the system is more ‎likely to succeed.‎
True reform requires scholars of Islam, not strongmen, and a repudiation of implementing Shariah ‎in the public sphere. For both these reasons, Sissi is not likely to be that reformer.‎
LaT: Egypt's ban on Jewish festival is a reflection of nation's attitudes
The Alexandria administrative court that imposed the ban also moved to strip the shrine of its government designation as a cultural monument, though it was not clear whether it had the jurisdiction to do so.
The vicissitudes of the shrine in many ways echo the fate of Egypt's Jews, once a large and vibrant community that dwindled to a few dozen after Jews were expelled en masse and their property seized in the 1950s and '60s.
With arched windows and Hebrew lettering on a plaque and the tomb, the mausoleum is guarded now by Egyptian security guards who aggressively fend off any visitor who does not have written permission to visit. The controversy surrounding the site — a simple stone structure atop a bare dirt knoll, flanked by rutted streets where chickens peck amid heaps of garbage — also speaks volumes about the peculiarity of Egypt's relationship with Israel.

The two countries have had a peace treaty since 1979, and their militaries and intelligence services cooperate closely on security matters, particularly in the volatile Sinai peninsula. But a virulent strain of anti-Semitism runs through Egyptian society, and the shrine, however humble, has been a lightning rod for that sentiment.
Egyptian Terrorists Claim Attack on Sinai Pipeline to Jordan
Egyptian jihadists claimed Monday to have bombed a pipeline in the Sinai that carries gas to Jordan, saying it was targeted over Amman's role in the United States-led war on the Islamic State terrorist organizations.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Egypt's deadliest terrorist group which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, tweeted unverified pictures of the claimed attack, without saying when it was carried out.
Since the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, there have been 27 confirmed attacks on energy pipelines in the Sinai Peninsula, the most recent of which was on December 23.
Jordan is among a number of Arab states that have joined the US-led campaign of air strikes against ISIS, which captured swathes of Syria and Iraq where it has declared an Islamic caliphate.
ISIS Demands $200m To Spare Japanese Hostages
Jihad John, the ISIS terrorist accused of beheading several western hostages, has appeared in a new video threatening to kill two Japanese men. Unlike previous videos the masked killer demands a ransom of $200 million ransom from the Japanese government – the same as their anti-terror budget – within 72 hours.
Within hours of the video emerging the Tokyo vowed it would not pay the ransom or give in to terrorism. ISIS has murdered five Western hostages since August last year, but it is the first time that the jihadist group has threatened Japanese captives.
As with previous videos the men, believed to be Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, wore orange jumpsuits, similar to those used in Guantanamo Bay. Jihad John wore his familiar all black suit, with face covering. He was also carrying a knife.
Japan PM in Jerusalem demands release of Islamic State hostages
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe demanded Tuesday that the Islamic State group immediately free two Japanese hostages unharmed after the jihadists posted a video threat to kill them.
“I strongly demand that they not be harmed and that they be immediately released,” he said at a news conference during a visit to Jerusalem. “I am extremely indignant at such an act.”
“Their lives are the top priority,” he said.
ISIS execute 13 football fans by firing squad for watching Iraq play Jordan on TV in Islamist-controlled Mosul
ISIS militants have executed 13 teenage boys for watching the Asian Cup football match between Iraq and Jordan last week.
The young football fans had been caught watching the game on television in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which is controlled by the Islamic State.
The teenagers were rounded up and publicly executed by a firing squad using machine guns, anti-ISIS activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reports.
'The bodies remained lying in the open and their parents were unable to withdraw them for fear of murder by terrorist organisation,' the group writes on their website.
German Embed Reporter: ISIS Plans On Killing ‘Hundreds of Millions’ in ‘Religious Cleansing’
Jurgen Todenhofer, the first Western reporter to embed with Islamic State fighters and not be killed in the process, spoke to Al Jazeera about his time with the terror group.
Todenhofer lived side by side with the jihadist fighters for ten days in the Islamic State-stronghold city of Mosul, Iraq. He was accompanied only by his son, who served as his cameraman.
“I always asked them about the value of mercy in Islam,” but “I didn’t see any mercy in their behavior,” explained Todenhofer. He added, “Something that I don’t understand at all is the enthusiasm in their plan of religious cleansing, planning to kill the non-believers… They also will kill Muslim democrats because they believe that non-ISIL-Muslims put the laws of human beings above the commandments of God.”
The German reporter then elaborated on how shocked he was about how “willing to kill” the ISIS fighters are. He said that they were ready to commit genocide. “They were talking about [killing] hundreds of millions. They were enthusiastic about it, and I just cannot understand that,” said Todenhofer
How Can the Largest Muslim State Stop Giving ISIS Terrorists?
Indonesia could help combat the threat of homegrown extremism by banning its citizens from travelling abroad to fight with terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (ISIS), a think-tank said Monday.
The Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) said new laws banning any involvement with foreign terrorist groups overseas were necessary to help stem the flow of fighters from Indonesia to battlegrounds in the Middle East.
More than 500 Indonesians have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS terrorists, according to the country's counter-terror chief, prompting President Joko Widodo to consider new measures to combat the threat of homegrown radicalism.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation with has a population of over 250 million, has already banned support for ISIS and its ideology.
But in its latest report, IPAC said police efforts to prevent future jihadists from travelling to Syria and Iraq would continue to face hurdles without appropriate legislation.
Jordanian MP Bassam Al-Manasir: Our Joining the Anti-ISIS Coalition Was Unjustified


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