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Middle East

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.”


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Iran’s supreme: Gender equality is ‘Zionist conspiracy’

Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei accused Israel and the West of promoting women’s exploitation for the purpose of earthly pleasures, calling it a “Zionist conspiracy” aimed at destroying human society.

In quotes relayed by Iranian news agency Mehr, Khamenei, who was speaking at an event that mostly focused on women’s position in Islamic society, mocked the West’s ideal of gender equality, claiming that raising certain topics in support of women’s rights actually undermines their position in society, which is predetermined by God.


“These aberrant and neglectful people humiliate the role of a housewife while a housewife is actually in charge of raising and educating the most valuable product, which is a human being,” said Khamenei, adding “unfortunately, sometimes inside the country and in some Islamic environments, tasks and expectations are ascribed to women that in fact collapse and humiliate their roles.”

The Iranian leader then referred to some similarities and differences between men and women as decided by God, saying “despite sharing similar goals like ‘rising to spiritual positions,’ ‘leadership,’ and ‘the ability to guide human beings,’ men and women are different when it comes to responsibilities in management of life.

Ayatollah Khamenei, while referring to promotion of concepts like ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender justice’ in the West, said justice means recognizing and nurturing God-given potentials of men and women, not burdening them with false freedom.

“Today, Western scholars and those who pursue issues like gender equality all regret their actions for the corruption they caused,” he claimed, expressing hope that views of those who raised similar issues inside the country were not based on the Western alleged misconception.

Jordan releases murderer of 7 Israel schoolgirls after 20 years jail

Ahmad Daqamseh, who murdered seven Israeli girls in a massacre at the Island of Peace site in Naharayim in 1997, was released from Jordanian prison early Sunday after having served a 20-year sentence.

On March 13, 1997, Daqamseh—who at the time was a 26-year-old soldier in the Jordanian army—opened fire at a group of 7th and 8th grade schoolgirls the AMIT Fuerst School in Beit Shemesh, who were on a class field trip.

Seven girls were murdered in the attack: Sivan Fathi, 13, of Tzelafon; Karen Cohen, 14, of Beit Shemesh; Ya’ala Me’iri, 13, of Beit Shemesh; Shiri Badayev, 14, of Beit Shemesh; Natali Alkalai, 13, of Beit Shemesh; Adi Malka, 13, of Beit Shemesh; Nirit Cohen, 13, of Beit Shemesh. Six others girls were wounded in the attack.


The shooting came three years after Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty. King Hussein, Jordan’s ruler in 1997, paid a rare visit to Israel to express his condolences to the girls’ parents.

A military court deemed him mentally unstable and sentenced him to life in prison, which in Jordan typically means 25 years.


Recently, Jordanian government Spokesman Mohammad Al Momani confirmed that Daqamseh will be released when he is done serving his sentence. Monday will mark exactly 20 years since the mass murder.

One of the Jordanian news sites posted photos from Daqamseh’s release, showing celebrations in his hometown, the city of Irbid in northern Jordan.

“My father was released and he is now with us,” Daqamseh’s son, Sif, told the Jordanian site.


His wife declared that “my happiness is unlike any other happiness” at her husband’s release.

An inside source told a Jordanian news site that Daqamseh was released late at night to prevent such scenes of celebrations, to no avail.


In recent years, calls for Daqamseh’s early release arose several times in Jordan. In the lower house of the Jordanian Parliament, MPs collected signatures for a petition urging King Abdullah to grant the murderer pardon. Despite this, Jordanian authorities insisted he must finish serving his sentence.

ISIS launches chemical weapon attack on women and children in Mosul

A two-month-old baby is being treated in hospital for possible exposure to chemical weapons after an attack in Mosul thought to have been carried out by ISIS.

The baby is one of 12 people, including women and children, who have been treated since March 1 after the attack where ISIS terrorists are fighting off an offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, the United Nations said on Saturday.

Although it is not known who is to blame for the attack, the mortars were apparently fired from ISIS held west Mosul.

It is the first chemical attack in the battle for the ISIS stronghold.

The U.N.’s World Health Organisation has activated ‘an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical,’ with partners and local health authorities, the agency said in a statement.

It said all 12 patients had been received since March 1 for treatment which they are undergoing in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, east of Mosul.

Four of them are showing ‘severe signs associated with exposure to a blister agent’. The patients were exposed to the chemical agents in the eastern side of Mosul.

According to the BBC, ISIS have long been suspected of making and using crude chemical weapons in territory it controls in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday that five children and two women were receiving treatment for exposure to chemical agents.

The ICRC statement did not say which side used the chemical agents that caused blisters, redness in the eyes, irritation, vomiting and coughing.

Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris river on February 19. The eastern side remains within reach of the militants’ rockets and mortar shells.

Defeating ISIS in Mosul would crush the Iraqi wing of the caliphate declared by the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in 2014, over parts of Iraq and Syria.

The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, called for an investigation.

‘This is horrible. If the alleged use of chemical weapons is confirmed, this is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime, regardless of who the targets or the victims of the attacks are,’ she said in a statement.

As the battle continues to regain the ISIS stronghold, hundreds of families have been displaced from their homes on the western side of Mosul.

Iraqi special forces have lost soldiers as the offensive continues today.

Security forces are looking to recapture the western side, which has remained a stronghold for ISIS.

Egypt’s Christians flee Sinai amid ISIS killing spree

Christian families and students fled Egypt’s North Sinai province in droves on Friday after ISIS terrorists murdered the seventh member of their community in just three weeks.

A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia’s Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.

Christian families from Al-Arish in the North Sinai Governorate arrive at the Evangelical Church in Ismailia


Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. ISIS, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.

“I am not going to wait for death,” Rami Mina, who left Arish on Friday morning, said by telephone. “I shut down my restaurant and got out of there. These people are ruthless.”


Sectarian attacks occur often in Egypt but are usually confined to home burning, crop razing, attacks on churches, and forced displacement.

Arish residents said terrorists circulated death lists online and on the streets, warning Christians to leave or die.

“My father is the second name on their list; anyone Christian they put on the list” Munir Adel, a vegetable seller who fled on Friday, said as he huddled with four family members at the Evangelical Church, waiting for church officials to find them a place to stay.

Adel’s parents did not leave Arish because of their old age, he said. “They could be killed at any moment.”


ISIS released a video on Sunday threatening Egypt’s Christians and vowing to escalate a campaign against them after it bombed a chapel adjoining Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic papacy, in December, killing 28 people.

“Oh crusaders in Egypt, this attack that struck you in your temple is just the first with many more to come, God willing,” said a masked man in battle-dress the group said blew himself up in the chapel.


Orthodox Copts, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people, are the Middle East’s largest Christian community. They have long complained of persecution.

The Coptic Orthodox Church denounced “the recurring terrorist incidents in North Sinai targeting Christian citizens” in a statement on Friday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told military and police chiefs “to completely eradicate terrorism in northern Sinai and defeat any attempts to target civilians or to undermine the unity of the national fabric”, in reference to the killings, his office said on Thursday.

Sinai’s Christians say security forces on the ground are unable to protect them and are overwhelmed by the terrorists.

“The government does nothing. There is no security in Sinai, they can’t even protect themselves,” said Adel.

“It was an officer who told us to leave.”

ISIS suicide bomber joined other jihadists on a Gaza ‘aid’ convoy

A ‘British’ former Guantanamo detainee able to flee Britain and blow himself up for ISIS went with other jihadists on a convoy to Gaza organized by George Galloway before he was paid up to £1million by the Government, it was revealed today.

Jamal al-Harith had joined other terrorists including Alexe Kotey, 32, a member of the gang known as The Beatles led by executioner in chief Jihadi John.

Mancunian Al-Harith, who was born Ronald Fiddler and was 50 when he became a suicide bomber in Mosul, reportedly travelled with the first Viva Palestina convoy in 2009.

When asked about the claims last night, Galloway said: ‘I’ve never heard of him or knowingly set eyes on him before the recent press coverage.’


According to The Times Mancunian Al-Harith joined hundreds of Muslims from across Britain on a convoy of around 100 vehicles carrying ‘aid’ to Gaza in 2009.

Also with him was Kotey, a father-of-two and QPR fan who last month was named as a member of the ISIS ‘Beatles’ terror cell led by executioner-in-chief Jihadi John.

The 33-year-old from London was part of a group who beheaded around two dozen hostages, including Britons David Haines and Alan Henning.

Kotey, is reportedly alive and living in Raqqa, Syria, has had all his assets frozen and is believed to be on a US and British ‘kill list’ of most wanted terrorists.


He was part of a team of British executioners was led by Londoner Mohammed Emwazi – Jihadi John – and was also responsible for the killing of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and US aid worker Peter Kassig.

Also on the Gaza convoy with them in 2009 was  Pakistani-born British citizen Munir Farooqi, who was jailed for life two years later because he ran a market stall as a recruitment centre for terrorists to wage war on British troops.

He at the center of a plot to persuade vulnerable young men to ‘fight, kill and die’ in a jihad, or holy war, in Afghanistan and used extremist literature and films to convert an estate agent, a former British soldier and members of a local criminal gang to Islam.

In 2011 Farooqi received four life sentences at Manchester Crown Court

Last night a political blame game erupted over the alleged £1million paid to a British Guantanamo Bay detainee unmasked as an ISIS suicide bomber.

Ronald Fiddler was handed taxpayer-funded compensation after claiming MI6 agents were complicit in his mistreatment by the Americans.

Despite lobbying by Tony Blair’s government for his release, the former web designer from Manchester this week carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq.

Fiddler’s family last night issued a statement saying he had not received as much as £1million.

But former terror laws watchdog Lord Carlile declared that he was an ‘enemy of the state’ and ‘plainly a terrorist’ who should never have been given a penny.

Blair – who was PM when Fiddler was released – pointed the finger at the Conservatives for agreeing the compensation in 2010, when Theresa May was Home Secretary, but others said the payout was set in train by Labour before it lost power. Downing Street refused to discuss May’s role, saying it was ‘an intelligence matter’.

Muslim convert Fiddler, 50, was released from Guantanamo in 2004 after intense pressure from the Labour government.

On his return to the UK, he and other British former inmates launched a legal action over their alleged mistreatment.

To avoid an embarrassing court battle, which could have revealed British complicity in rendition and torture, ministers agreed to pay millions to settle the claims.

Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said some of Fiddler’s share ‘has almost certainly’ gone to fund ISIS.

Fiddler, who adopted the Muslim name Jamal Al-Harith, appeared grinning in an ISIS video as he drove his explosives-laden car towards a target in Mosul.

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