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BehindTheNewsIsrael

Israel issues urgent terror warning for Sinai, urges Israelis to leave immediately

Leading into the Passover and summer travel seasons, Israel has raised travel warnings to the highest level, cautioning Israelis against traveling to Egypt’s Sinai region, Prime Minister’s Office Counter-Terrorism Bureau Chief Eitan Ben David said at a special media briefing on Monday.

Ben David said that “the threat has grown, including to Israelis in the coming period and is the gravest level of threat.”

“Attacks on the Egyptian military, on Coptic Christians…ISIS rockets fired at Eilat and videos from ISIS against Israelis show the high motivation and power of terror groups there [to attack Israelis],” said Ben David. “We don’t expect them [ISIS] to respect red-lines.”

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While Sinai has the highest level of warning at level one of four, other countries also have high warning levels – with Turkey at level two (without special heightened warning for merely stopping over in Turkey’s airport) and Jordan along with Egypt at level three.

Level one signals “a very high concrete threat” with advice to avoid any travel to a destination and leave immediately. Level two means “a high concrete threat” with advice to avoid travel to a destination and leave as early as possible. Level three means “a basic-level concrete threat” with advice to avoid travel to a destination and level four is “a continuing potential threat” with advice to delay travel which is not essential.

Ben David said that most of the increased threat was presented by ISIS-affiliated groups, including, “that ISIS is losing ground in Iraq and Syria which is causing many runaways to places where it is easier to act.”

He said there is a big rise recently of ISIS-related terror attacks in Asia, particularly in  Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh as well as in North Africa in “places where there is less security control.”

The presentation emphasized that the threat was not unique to Israelis and that ISIS is in an increased terror mode also for targeting Christians and others.

Museums, market places, sporting events, airports, train stations, synagogues and mosques, big events and certain central hotels, especially in Africa, could all be primary targets for terrorists to inflict maximum mass casualties.

Ben David emphasized that they did not disregard threats from Iran, Hezbollah or others, but that in general the increased threat stemmed mainly from ISIS-related groups.

Senior Hamas terrorist assassinated in Gaza

Senior Hamas terrorist Mazen Fukaha was assassinated in Gaza on Friday, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said.

“The martyr Mazen Fukaha was shot in the head leading to his death,” Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Twitter.

The assassination took place in front of Fukaha’s home in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in the southern half of Gaza City.


The parties behind the assassination are unknown, the Hamas-backed Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that the Hamas-dominated security services opened an investigation.

Hamas, however, accused Israel of carrying out the assassination.

“Hamas and its fighting brigades place the full responsibility for this reprehensible crime on the Israeli occupation and its collaborators,” Hamas said in an official statement.

Hamas also threatened possible retaliation for Fukaha’s assassination.

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“The occupation knows that the blood of those struggling in the way of God will not be wasted,” Hamas stated. “Hamas knows how to deal with these crimes.”

Israeli officials did not immediately comment on the assassination.

Fukaha, who was born and raised in Tubas, was a senior terrorist in the Hamas armed wing Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades Brigades in Judea and Samaria, which carried out multiple suicide bombing attacks against Israel during the second intifada.

He was originally sentenced in 2003 to nine life terms after being convicted of sending a terrorist to carry out a suicide bombing attack. The terrorist blew himself up on an Egged bus in northern Israel, murdering nine people.

On 7:15 am of Thursday, 4 August 2002, Egged bus No. 361 left Haifa towards Safed and was full of soldiers on their way to military bases in north Israel. The suicide bomber boarded the bus near Karmiel.

At around 8:45 am, when the bus stopped at the Meron junction bus station, the suicide bomber, who was at the back of the bus, detonated the explosive device hidden underneath his clothes.

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Six Israeli civilians and three soldiers were killed in the explosion and 38 other passengers were injured, nine of them critically.

Nonetheless, Fukaha was released along with more than 1,000 other terrorists in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in October of 2011, was deported to Gaza and barred from returning to Judea and Samaria.

 

Muslim terrorist arrested after trying to drive car loaded with liquid gas and assault rifles into crowd in Belgium

A French -Tunisian Muslim terrorist has been arrested after trying to drive a car loaded with liquid gas, assault rifles and knives into a crowd of shoppers in Antwerp in an attempted terror attack.

Belgian police, who confirmed the bomb squad had been sent to the area, said the car was being driven at high speed and that pedestrians had to jump out of the way to avoid being injured.

Authorities found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid in the car prompting officers who usually deal with terrorist attacks to take over the case.

Belgian police arrested a Muslim named as Mohamed R, 39, on Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd at high-speed in a shopping area in the port city of Antwerp at around 11am.

The Muslim terrorist, said to be of North African descent, was wearing camouflage when he was arrested.

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Belgian security forces found a rifle as well as bladed weapons in the car driven by the Muslim terrorist who tried to ram a crowd in the main pedestrianised street in the port city, described by the French President Francois Hollande as an ‘attempted terrorist attack’.

The federal prosecutor’s office also said bomb disposal units were sent to the scene to examine the vehicle.

‘Different arms were found in the boot – bladed weapons, a riot gun (rifle) and a container of liquid that is still unidentified,’ the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

‘The suspect is Mohamed R, born on May 8, 1977, of French nationality and a resident of France,’ the statement said.

The driver sped off after Belgian soldiers, who have been deployed around the country to assist the counter-terrorism fight, tried to stop the car.

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‘A short while later, a rapid intervention force from Antwerp police was able to stop the car,’ the statement said.

Shoppers had to dive out of the way of the speeding car to avoid serious injury.

Belgian soldiers then forced the driver to stop, but he fled by running a red light as he made his way towards the Scheldt river.

Less than a mile later, he was stopped by police officers and arrested.

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The gas liquid was found in a canister, and as a result the case was handed over to the federal prosecutor’s office, which usually deals with terrorism cases in Belgium.

The office said: ‘Because of these elements, and the events in London yesterday, the case is being taken on by the federal prosecutor’s office.’

Prime Minister Charles Michel said ‘we remain vigilant. Our security services have done excellent work.’

ISIS claims responsibility for London attack

ISIS have claimed responsibility for yesterday’s Westminster terror attack after it emerged the British-born jihadist was known to MI5 but considered ‘peripheral’.

It emerged today that the ‘lone wolf’ Muslim terrorist who murdered four and injured at least 29 was known to the police and security services, having been investigated some years ago over violent extremism.

But he was considered a ‘peripheral’ figure, who was ‘not part of the current intelligence picture’.

Giving details of the terrorist’s background in Parliament today, Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘His identity is known to the police and MI5 and, when operational considerations allow, he will be publicly identified.

‘What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that – some years ago – he was once investigated in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure.

‘The case is historic – he was not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent – or of the plot. Intensive investigations continue.’

According to the SITE Intel Group, which monitors jihadist groups, an ISIS statement said: ‘The attacker yesterday in front of the British Parliament in London was a soldier of the Islamic State executing the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations.’

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The details of his background will raise questions over what security officials knew about the terrorist and what decisions were taken when he first appeared on the radar.

May’s statement came after armed police arrested eight Muslims and raided six properties in London and Birmingham, where three Muslims were detained in a flat thought to have been lived in by the terrorist.

ISIS is currently being squeezed in its stronghold of Syria and has previously urged jihadists around the world to attack in their own countries rather than travel to join them. Fears have also been raised that fighters who went to join the terror group may now be fleeing back to the UK.

It is believed the Muslim terrorist was not on an MI5 list of 3,000 people thought to be capable of mounting an attack.

Further details about the terrorist came after dozens of officers wearing body armour ran into the address on Hagley Road, Birmingham late yesterday evening. A neighbour said he believes the flat is the home of the Westminster terrorist.

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A local resident said he thinks two men lived in the flat and he had heard one of them speaking on the phone in what he described as an ‘Arabic or Pakistani’ accent.

The neighbour added: ‘It’s a cheap area [to live]. People come and go all the time.’

The road in Birmingham was closed from 11pm and reopened by 2am last night, with witnesses in the area saying three men were taken away in handcuffs.

Stuart Bailey, who lives four doors down, said: ‘There were a load of armed police in the street. They were all dressed in black and armed with what looked like MP5s (submachine guns) and one of them had six ammunition magazines strapped to his leg.

One of the flat’s windows was covered in cardboard, with non-uniformed officers spotted taking pieces of equipment into the property.

Landlord Farhad Makanvand said he didn’t know who had been staying at the flats above his curry house as it was rented out by a separate letting agents.

Dual US-Israeli Jewish citizen from Ashkelon behind most JCC bomb threat calls

An 18-year-old dual US-Israeli citizen from Ashkelon has been arrested on suspicion of standing behind most of a series of bomb and other threats to Jewish communities ranging from the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand over the past six months.

As of Thursday, with a gag order on the probe lifted by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, which extended his detention, sources indicate that most of the cases of threats against Jewish communities and organizations, though not all, led investigators back to Israel.

The first threat, which stood out and was picked up on by Israeli investigators, occurred in New Zealand around six month ago and led to the opening of the investigation.

Israel has been the lead coordinator with a number of other involved countries throughout the course of the probe.

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The suspect used complex methods to shield himself from identification, and law enforcement had to use a variety of their own complex methods to find him.

Law enforcement finally searched the suspect’s house on Thursday and are only now fully being able to piece together the breadth and methodology of his operations.

There are still few details available about the suspect’s profile, but he is not in the IDF, not ultra-Orthodox, and at some point made aliya and possibly has psychological and social problems.

The suspect’s father has also been detained and is being questioned as to whether he knew about the suspect’s activities, including the suspect’s use of a large antenna and other unusual hardware which could have drawn suspicion.

It is unknown how many others might have worked with the suspect, but it is believed that he was the main operator of the scare-spree and might have even acted completely on his own.

As of Thursday, it was still unclear what the suspect’s motivations were for the scare-spree which made international headlines. In light of the threats, US President Donald Trump faced accusations that he was light on fighting antisemitism when he did not initially condemn the scares along with some vandalism of Jewish graves, which presumably were not connected to the suspect.

Israel intends to indict the suspect in its own courts, but it is unknown as of Thursday whether other countries like the US might also seek to extradite and try him for his alleged crimes.

Muslim terrorist mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before being eliminated attacking police in Parliament grounds

A knife-wielding Muslim terrorist was shot by armed police in the grounds of Parliament today after pedestrians were mowed down on Westminster Bridge.

Three people were murdered after a Muslim terrorist brought carnage to central London today, mowing down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before attacking police with a knife in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

Twenty people were hit by a vehicle on the bridge after a Muslim terrorist in a 4×4 drove into pedestrians and cyclists before crashing into the gates of Parliament.

A ‘middle-aged Asian’ Muslim terrorist then managed to break into the grounds of the Houses of Parliament and stabbed a police officer before he was shot and eliminated.

Injured people were seen on the floor outside Parliament and the Palace was placed on an immediate lock down.

Prime Minister Theresa May is said to have been bundled into a car by a plain-clothes police officer and driven quickly from the scene.

Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs a ‘police officer has been stabbed’ and the ‘alleged assailant was shot by armed police’ following a ‘serious’ incident within the parliamentary estate.

Witness Jayne Wilkinson said: ‘We were taking photos of Big Ben and we saw all the people running towards us, and then there was an Asian guy in about his 40s carrying a knife about seven or eight inches long.

‘And then there were three shots fired, and then we crossed the road and looked over. The man was on the floor with blood.

‘He had a lightweight jacket on, dark trousers and a shirt. He was running through those gates, towards Parliament, and the police were chasing him.’

Her partner David Turner added: ‘There was a stampede of people running out. You saw the people and you thought ‘what the hell is going on’.’

After the incident, Radoslaw Sikorski posted a video to Twitter purporting to show people lying injured in the road on Westminster Bridge.

People outside the palace could be seen running from the scene when the shots were heard.

An eye witness said that a car was seen to mow down five people on Westminster Bridge.

Police are then believed to have shot a man who tried to enter the Parliamentary Estate.

The terror attack comes weeks after it was revealed that UK security services have foiled 13 potential attacks in less than four years, while counter-terrorism units are running more than 500 investigations at any time.

The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe, meaning an attack is ‘highly likely’, for more than two years.

It is currently known that:

  • One woman was killed on Westminster Bridge after a number of pedestrians were mowed down by a car.
  • It is believed a second person was killed in the attack on the bridge.
  • Another woman ended up in the Thames and was treated for serious injuries after being pulled from the water.
  • A group of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge.
  • The Muslim terrorist jumped out the car and fatally stabbed a police officer in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.
  • The terrorist was shot and eliminated moments later by another officer.
  • Police are treating the terror attack as a terrorist attack.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May will be chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee.

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Bombing attack thwarted on Gaza border; one terrorist eliminated

An 18-year-old Gazan terrorist was eliminated and another was wounded overnight Tuesday from IDF fire near the Gaza border fence, according to Arab reports.

The IDF said that three Gazans were spotted making their way towards the security border fence in southern Gaza and arouse the suspicion of IDF lookouts.

The three appeared to be doing something on the ground and were in a no-go area, the IDF said.

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In response, an IDF tank fired shells in their direction, and one of them was hit.

The IDF is investigating whether the three were trying to plant an explosive device.

The incident overnight is the latest of a series of incidents on the Gaza border fence since February.

Earlier this month, the IDF neutralized explosives planted near the fence. In another incident, an IDF engineering force operating near the fence came under fire. In a third incident, a Hamas drone trying to infiltrate Israel was shot down by the Israel Air Force.

In addition, five rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell inside Israel during the same time period.

Hamas seeks new map software: ‘Google is not accurate enough for rockets’

The arrest of Muhammad Murtaja, coordinator of the Gaza branch of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, revealed the extent of cooperation and assistance to Hamas terrorists.

Among other things, it turned out that in the past two years, Hamas asked the Turkish IHH organization for advanced mapping programs to improve rocket attacks on the Israeli home front, and especially on strategic sites.

Hamas, according to the investigation, used Google maps to fire more than 4,000 rockets to hit Israeli targets, but in most cases, the rockets were either intercepted or missed their targets altogether.

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Murtaja said that he was supposed to fly to Turkey to receive a disk-on-key intended for Hamas, which consisted of improved and elaborately detailed maps of various sites in Israel, which were based on Turkish technological data acquired following Turkey’s involvement in the satellite launch project.

Murtaja said in his interrogation that he witnessed the transfer of suitcases laden with cash from the IHH organization in Turkey (which was responsible for the Gaza flotilla) to senior Hamas officials, including senior terrorists Raed Salah, Ismail Radwan and Ismail Haniyeh.

This case is unusual compared to previous similar affairs, since this time, a Hamas operative was groomed in the military wing, trained with the regiments of the Shati neighborhood and operated alongside the battalion commanders. As an engineer, he became an expert on TNT and the manufacturing of advanced explosives and explosive devices.

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In 2012, he was appointed head of the Turkish government’s humanitarian aid organization in Gaza (TIKA).

The indictment filed last Thursday against Murtaja lists multiple offenses, among them misusing of resources and funds intended for humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip by diverting them to Hamas’s military wing.

Moreover, the terrorist took part in the digging of a tunnel after Operation Protective Edge that would potentially be used by Hamas terrorists to attack IDF forces or civilians.

US bans laptops, iPads and cameras on inbound flights from some Muslim countries

The US government is barring passengers on Royal Jordanian Airlines flights from bringing laptops, iPads, cameras and other electronics in carry-on luggage on certain U.S.-bound flights starting Tuesday, the airline said in a tweet on Monday.

The airline said cellphones and medical devices are excluded from the ban. Everything else would need to be packed in checked luggage.

It is unclear what other countries and airlines the ban will apply to, how long it will be in place or what prompted it.

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The airline has since deleted their Twitter post announcing the ban but many shocked social media users documented the initial message.

A US government official said such a ban has been considered for several weeks. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the internal security discussions by the federal government.

The ban would begin just before Wednesday’s meeting of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Washington. A number of top Arab officials were expected to attend the State Department gathering. It was unclear whether their travel plans were related to any increased worry about security threats.

An aviation security expert said the policy would raise other safety issues.

‘There would be a huge disadvantage to having everyone put their electronics in checked baggage,’ said Jeffrey Price, a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He said thefts from baggage would skyrocket, as when England tried a similar ban in 2006, and ‘some laptops have batteries that can catch fire and it’s easier to detect it when it’s in the cabin rather than burning in the hold.’

However, there are also advantages to screening items in checked baggage instead of as carry-on luggage.

Most major airports in the United States have a computer tomography or CT scanner for checked baggage, which creates a detailed picture of a bag’s contents. They can warn an operator of potentially dangerous material, and may provide better security than the X-ray machines used to screen passengers and their carry-on bags.

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