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Middle East

Patriot battery intercepted drone entering Israeli airspace from Syria

The IDF confirmed on Thursday that Israel fired a Patriot anti-ballistic missile at a target in the Golan Heights, Israel’s northern region bordering Syria.

The missile reportedly intercepted a unmanned aerial vehicle that penetrated into Israeli airspace from Syria.

The interception comes hours after Israel allegedly struck a Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus International Airport, which led to condemnation by Russia which called it a “gross violation of Syrian sovereignty.”

Israel has in the past used the Patriot system against suspicious aerial vehicles, most recently in July 2016 when two Patriot missiles were fired at a suspicious drone that crossed into Israeli airspace from Syria. Both missed their target and the unmanned aircraft returned to Syria.

In March Syria warned that scud missiles would be fired towards Israeli targets if Israel carried out any further airstrikes in the war-torn country. Lebanon’s Al-Diyar newspaper Damascus prepared 4 Scuds out of their arsenal of 800 Scud missiles which carry half a ton of explosives, and would launch them without any prior warning if Israel carries out any new strike “as Israel does not announce their raids against Syrian targets.”

The report came following an Israeli strike on a Hezbollah-bound weapons convoy and the firing of a SA-5 missile towards Israeli jets which was intercepted by an Arrow missile.

Israel attacked Iranian arms depot near Damascus airport

The Israel Air Force reportedly attacked an Iranian arms depot near the Damascus International Airport early Thursday morning, according to the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar television station.

According to the report, a series of explosions at fuel tanks and warehouses near the airport storing weapons meant for pro-Iranian militias, and mostly Hezbollah.

According to al-Manar, the initial indications were that the blast had caused only material damage and not deaths.

Russian news site Sputnik, meanwhile, reported that Israel attacked five targets at about 3:20am.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Army Radio on Thursday that the reports of an airstrike targeting Hezbollah-bound weapons in a warehouse in the Damascus airport, matches Israel’s policy of preventing advanced weapons from reaching the terrorist group.

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As is the practice, the minister refused to officially confirm or deny the reports that Israel was behind the attack.

Speaking from the United States, where he has been meeting US officials, Katz told the radio station: “I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran. Naturally, I don’t want to elaborate on this.”

“The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act.”

Muslim Arab terrorist who murdered British student will get $1,025 a month salary from the Palestinian Authority

A Muslim Arab terrorist who murdered a British student in Jerusalem will be paid a salary of more than $1025 a month by the Palestinian Authority government – which receives more than £25 million a year from the UK in foreign aid.

Terrorist Jamil Tamimi, murdered theology student Hannah Bladon in a frenzied knife terror attack on Good Friday after the 21-year-old gave up her seat on a tram to a woman with a baby.

The 57-year-old Muslim terrorist told police that he attacked Hannah, a Birmingham University exchange student attached to Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, in the hope that a soldier in the carriage would kill him.

Instead Tamimi was arrested and is almost certain to be lauded as a ‘hero’ by the Palestinian Authority (PA), like hundreds of other terrorists before him.

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An Israeli court has already ruled, following a psychiatric evaluation, that he is fit to stand trial and should be treated as a terrorist by the justice system.

It means Tamimi or his family qualify for a ‘salary’ from the PA, according to Itamar Marcus, the founder and director of the Israeli monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch.

‘According to PA law, everyone who is imprisoned for ‘resisting the occupation’ receives a PA salary,’ he said. ‘In PA practice, 100 per cent of the suicide bombers, stabbers, shooters and car rammers have been included in this category and do receive PA salaries.’

Terrorists who have ‘resisted the occupation’ are paid a monthly amount by the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on a sliding scale related to their sentence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, tweeted his outrage, saying: ‘Not only didn’t PA president Abbas condemn Hannah Bladon’s murder, but he’ll reward the Palestinian attacker who did it with a monthly salary.’

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Influential commentator Avi Mayer, a former spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces, added: ‘If you’re British and you pay taxes, know that your money is going to fund a body that rewards convicted murderers.’

British taxpayers give the PA £25 million a year from foreign aid for health and education.

Last December, the British Department for International Development announced that it would restrict its payments to the PA to health and education with a ‘vetted list’ of public servants. But when British taxpayers’ cash goes to education and health, it frees up money in other budgets controlled by the PA.

Former Syrian general: Assad has hundreds of tons of chemical weapons

Syrian President Bashar Assad still has hundreds of tons of chemical weapons according to former Syrian Gen. Zaher al-Sakat, who served as head of chemical warfare in the 5th Army Division before defecting in 2013.

Syria ostensibly handed over its chemical arsenal in a 2014 deal with between the UN, the US, Russia and the Syrian regime.

However, according to al-Sakat in an interview with The Telegraph, Assad did not turn over his entire stockpile and still maintains a sizable amount.

“The regime turned over 1,300 tons, but in reality, it possesses twice that amount,” said al-Sakat. “The total amount was at least 2,000 tons, of which several hundred tons were sarin gas.”

Despite the allegations that the Assad regime still maintains a massive chemical arsenal, al-Sakat claims the Syrians are no longer producing chemical weapons since the 2014 deal. “They don’t need any more; they have all they need already.”

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According to al-Sakat, tons of chemicals were transported to heavily fortified bases in mountains outside Homs and the port city of Tartus, where the Syrians and Russians have their largest military base.

The former general also alleged that the order to use chemical weapons could have only come from Assad himself, who al-Sakat said had only become more brazen after the US failed to act when he crossed Barack Obama’s “red line.”

According to the telegraph, al-Sakat claims he was instructed to carry out three chemical attacks in places where demonstrations against Assad had been carried out. However, he attempted to dilute the chemicals with water and bleach before the regime became suspicious due to the low casualties.

After his son was arrested and tortured, al-Sakat paid for his release and fled the country where he joined the Free Syrian Army.

“I could not stand and watch the genocide. I couldn’t hurt my own people,” he said.

IDF arrest Hamas lawmaker near Jerusalem

The IDF and the Shin Bet arrested overnight Tuesday a Hamas legislator, Ahmed Atun, who resides in the city of Al-Bireh, north of Jerusalem. Two other wanted terrorists in Judea and Samaria were also arrested in the process.

Atun is one of four Hamas members of parliament who were stripped of their residency in east Jerusalem and expelled in the last decade, the others being Muhammad Abu Tir, Khaled Abu Arafeh, and Muhammad Totah.

Atun was provided sanctuary in the Red Cross headquarters located in Jerusalem for a year until he was captured in 2011 at the entrance by the police.

His brother was sentenced to a life sentence for the murder of three Israelis and was released under the provisions of the Shalit deal in which more than 1,000 Arab terrorists were surrendered in exchange for the handing over of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011, who had been in Hamas captivity for 1941 days.

Two days ago, the IDF also arrested Ma’an Fukha, the brother of the Hamas terrorist Mazan Fukha, who was recently assassinated in Gaza.

Ma’an, who lives in the Arab city of Tubas, east of Shechem, was arrested while on his way to work. In addition, another brother was arrested for his membership in a Hamas terror cell.

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With the identity of Mazan Fukha’s killers still eluding the Hamas rulers in Gaza, forces remain in an almost helpless state of confusion, fumbling their way through the investigation, desperately overturning any rock that could shed light on the matter, and frantically attempting to save face by executing so-called Israel collaborators.

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On Monday, Hamas officials arrested a man who allegedly claimed to have carried out the hit. His identify has yet to be publicized.

 

Arab media report UAV strikes following ISIS rocket attack directed at Israel

Following rocket fire directed at communities in the Eshkol Regional Council Monday morning, Arab media outlet Al Jazeera reported that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacked a house in southern Rafah, killing one person.

The report did not mention who the UAV belonged to and the IDF has refused to comment on the report.

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In addition to Al Jazeera, local media outlets in the Sinai reported that an unidentified UAV fired two missiles at a structure and vehicle, killing and wounding ‘civilians’.

The reports come amid a period of unrest not only in the Sinai, but the rest of Egypt, prompting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to declare a state of emergency. ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack, which struck a greenhouse in Israeli territory.

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Hours prior to the attack, the Taba Crossing between Israel and Egypt had been closed in an unprecedented move, due to an alert for a possible terrorist attack in Israel, forcing thousands of Israelis who had planned to vacation on the peninsula during Passover to change their plans.

Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz’s office said that his decision was influenced by the severity and seriousness of the threat.

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In a statement, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau said that Katz had taken the decision in consultation with Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman. Taking immediate effect, the crossing was shut down for those travelling to the Sinai Peninsula until the end of Passover on April 18, provided that the security situation improves.

 

Assad gasses kids: At least 25 children among 100 killed in chemical attack

President Bashar al-Assad has been accused of a sarin gas attack in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib that killed at least 100 civilians, including 25 children, on Tuesday.

Doctors treating victims at makeshift hospitals in the area say dozens of victims from Khan Sheikhoun are showing signs of sarin poisoning, including foaming at the mouth, breathing difficulties and limp bodies.

Moments after the attack a projectile hit a hospital in the area, bringing down rubble on top of medics as they struggled to treat victims.

Syrian opposition activists have claimed the chemical attack was caused by an airstrike carried out either by President Assad’s forces or Russian warplanes. Russia’s military said its planes did not carry out any strikes near the town.

It is believed that another 500 people were injured after being exposed to toxins of the attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those killed had died from suffocation and the effects of the gas. The monitor could not confirm the nature of the gas, and said the strike was likely carried out by government warplanes.

A senior Syrian security source, however, claims that allegations that Syria’s government killed dozens of civilians on Tuesday in a chemical attack on a northwestern rebel-held town are ‘false’.

‘This is a false accusation,’ the source said, adding that opposition forces were attempting to ‘achieve in the media what they could not achieve on the ground’.

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Local reports quoted doctors saying the chemical that killed dozens of people in the region could have been chlorine or sarin, a colorless, odorless liquid nerve agent that’s used as a chemical weapon.

Damascus has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

Victims suffered from fainting, vomiting, foaming at the mouth and pin-point pupils, medical sources told local reports.

A medical doctor going by the name of Dr. Shajul Islam on Twitter said his hospital in Idlib province received three victims, all with narrow, pinpoint pupils that did not respond to light.

Pinpoint pupils, breathing difficulties, and foaming at the mouth are symptoms commonly associated with toxic gas exposure.

‘Our hospital getting full from sarin attack today,’ he wrote of his hospital in Hama, which is a short drive away from Khan Sheikhoun. ‘Anyone that wants evidence, I will video call you.’

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Dr Islam, who trained in the UK and now works in northern Syria, said that seriously ill patients were still ‘flooding’ into his hospital.

‘The patients keep just flooding in from this chemical attack,’ he says in a Twitter video , purportedly taken inside a Syrian hospital this morning. ‘Every one – every one – has got pinpoint pupils’.

‘The patients keep coming, we’ve run out of ventilators,’ the humanitarian aid added.

‘We don’t have enough ventilator space, so we’re now taking out the transport ventilators we have in our ambulances and we’re going to try to modify them to see if we can use them for our patients.’

Dr Islam said that it was ‘definitely not a chlorine attack’, suggesting that the more severe sarin was used.

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Footage from his hospital shows adults and children lying on hospital beds unresponsive, as medics work to save their lives.

‘I will show you the evidence again and again, but you know what? The world doesn’t care and no-one is doing anything,’ says Dr Islam. ‘We urge you to put pressure on your government – put pressure on anyone – to help us.’

As doctors worked, a warplane circled overhead, striking first near the facility and then hitting it twice, bringing rubble down on medics and patients.

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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.

 

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