The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

AMERICAN ALIYAH: JOINING JUDAISM AND ISRAEL UNDER FIRE!

September 16th, 2014

AMERICAN ALIYAH: JOINING JUDAISM AND ISRAEL UNDER FIRE!
By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar (Arutz Sheva News)

For Malachi and Tanya Avital Ben-Yehuda of Riverdale, New York, terrorist rockets peppering southern Israel were inconsequential compared to their firm dedication to the Jewish faith and homeland.

The Ben-Yehuda’s, an African-American couple who converted to Judaism four years ago, made aliyah (immigration) to Israel on July 21, even as counter-terror Operation Protective Edge continued and terror rocket attacks raged.

Not only did they immigrate – they arrived at an absorption center in Be’er Sheva in the south where rockets have been falling frequently, and they plan to move to Ashkelon which has been a main target of Hamas. Arutz Sheva joined the couple on their aliyah flight.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva in New York before departing to the Holy Land, Malachi, a 55-year-old former American serviceman, recalled how their rabbi was surprised by their decision, saying “you want to make aliyah? You just converted!”

For Malachi the decision was obvious. “We wouldn’t change it for the world, we wouldn’t go back, even at this time, we want to go forward,” stated the new immigrant.

“We love the land of Israel,” Malachi said while on his aliyah flight approaching Israel. After being around the world, he recalled how he and his wife arrived in Israel and “just wanted to kiss the ground, and I just felt like I was a part of the land, like I was supposed to be here, and my wife feels the same way.”

Tanya, a 51-year-old retired New York City corrections office, concurred, saying “we understand the situation that’s going on, and we’ve chosen to live here. We’ve chosen to show the terrorists that we’re not afraid and that we support Israel.”

“This is the best time to come,” added Malachi, noting the strong message of making aliyah under fire.

In the month of July, 546 American Jews made aliyah unintimidated by the Hamas rocket fire, including a flight of 109 “Lone Soldiers” immigrating and immediately beginning their army service. The aliyah has been aided by Nefesh B’Nefesh.

HEZBOLLAH: WE WON’T LEAVE SYRIA!

September 16th, 2014

HEZBOLLAH: WE WON’T LEAVE SYRIA!
by Ben Ariel (Arutz Sheva News)

Hezbollah official says the threat from the Islamic State means there “is a great need for Hezbollah to remain in Syria”.

A senior official with Hezbollah declared on Monday that the group will not leave Syria, citing the threat of the “Islamic State” (IS) and other radical groups, reports the Lebanese-based Daily Star.

Speaking at a ceremony in the southern village of Aita Shaab, Nabil Qaouk, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s executive council, said, “There could never be a war of words between ISIS and us, but there is the field where we will defeat them. We will not engage in a war of statements or political disputes.”

“Day after day, it is becoming clear to Lebanon and the Arab, Muslim and international communities that there is a great need for Hezbollah to remain in Syria,” he declared.

“The current situation today imposes the need for Hezbollah to stay in Syria more than any other time,” added Qaouk, according to the Daily Star.

Referring to last month’s clashes between the Lebanese Army and fighters from IS and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, he said a battle with radical groups had been imposed on Lebanon, which was now in the eye of the storm.

Hezbollah has made no secret of the fact that it is heavily involved in the Syrian civil war, sending fighters to battle rebels alongside Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s troops.

The group has also expressed concerns over IS. Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah recently warned that the group is an “existential threat” menacing Lebanon and the whole region.

“The Lebanese need to be aware of this existential threat and the need to confront it,” Nasrallah said, adding, “We must find true, realistic and serious means to counter this threat.”

JORDAN IN DANGER – ISRAEL IS NEXT IN LINE!

September 14th, 2014

JORDAN IN DANGER – ISRAEL IS NEXT IN LINE!
by Cynthia Blank (Arutz Sheva News)

Floods of refugees from regional turmoil could pose an existential threat to both Jordan and Israel – or result in a Palestinian state.

In a new article, Professor Arnon Sofer, head of the Chaikin Chair of Geo-Strategy at the University of Haifa, and Anton Berkovsky discuss the danger of immigration from the turmoil-filled Arab states to Israel.

“Countries in the Middle East are currently in states of internal and external war, pressing the State of Israel to prepare for waves of immigrants from Arab countries to Israeli territory, which may endanger her existence,” they wrote.

According to Sofer and Berkovsky, the waves of immigrants already constitute a real danger to the future of Jordan. The worst case scenario being the movement of ISIS into Jordan, and subsequently creating a pure “Islamic State” within the country.

According to the data presented in the article, 2013 showed a record number of immigrants in the world – more than 232 million people, or about 3.2% of the world’s population. Professor Sofer suggests that the Middle East presents a unique picture. “Within 30 years (1950-1980), the population doubled, and in the next 30 years (1980-2010), the population doubled again. This is one of the main reasons why the demographics, economics, and politics of the Middle East have resulted in disorder and instability.” Sofer added that climate changes which led to severe water shortages in areas like North East Syria near the border with Turkey and Iraq, should also be taken into account.

Sofer argues that the events of the Arab Spring, the Civil War in Syria, and repeated crises in Iraq, have already created waves of refugees, resulting in demographic changes in the population map that are beyond recognition. According to estimates, following the Civil War in Syria, 3-4 million people became refugees outside of Syria, and another 8 million have become refugees in their own homeland. Wars between the various factions in Iraq have led to 750 thousand refugees, who have already left Iraq – mainly to Jordan, and another 3 million refugees inside Iraq. These refugees, who flood into neighboring countries cause societal changes that threaten the stability of such countries.

The most troubling possibility is Jordan. A million to a million and a half refugees from Iraq and Syria have become part of the population of 6.5 million citizens of Jordan. The Palestinian population rate decreased from 70% to about 60% of the total population, according to the study, while the percentage of Syrian refugees is estimated between 8%-15%.

“The Jordan of 2014 presents a new ethnic mosaic, and the national dynamic has completely changed. It should be remembered that some of the refugees are intruders from extremist groups, such as ISIS. Other refugees are in such a terrible situation that it is easy for such radical groups to recruit them ” noted Professor Sofer.

Sofer suggests three possibilities: The first, and optimistic approach – allowing massive Western aid to maintain Jordan’s stability; The second – The collapse of the kingdom and the outbreak of civil war, similar to the situation in Syria. In this scenario, Sofer envisions the Palestinians trying to take over the kingdom and establish a Palestinian state; The third and most dangerous option is for ISIS to take over large parts of the country thereby joining Jordan to their Sunni caliphate. The last two possibilities will cause hundreds of thousands of additional refugees to the Middle East.

According to Prof. Sofer, if such events materialize and instability grows, there is a real danger to Israel. Not only would it mean the existence of unstable regimes, extreme and hostile, close to its borders, but also the fact that a considerable portion of the hundreds of thousands of refugees could attempt to enter Israel.

The authors say that according to the 2013 data, an estimated 250,000 immigrants remained in Israel illegally. Additionally, thousands of Palestinians have entered Israel since 1967. The dangers of demographic turmoil taking place in neighboring countries could cause these numbers to grow significantly.

“Therefore, we must quickly prepare for new waves of immigration, in addition to those who have already entered Israel, mostly Palestinian and Arab immigrants from Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon,” concluded Professor Sofer.

UN IS UNWORTHY OF SHINING ISRAEL’S SHOES

September 12th, 2014

UN IS UNWORTHY OF SHINING ISRAEL’S SHOES
by Giulio Meotti (Arutz Sheva News)

So Schabas is going to investigate? Ban Ki Moon will punish Israel for hitting rocket-infested schools?

So the United Nations has launched another legal and political blood libel against the State of Israel, its officials and citizens-soldiers, this time for the war of defense in Gaza.

It is amazing to observe the moral presumption and ideological arrogance of the world’s most absurd organization.

An organization whose “blue helmets” not only drank champagne while in Bosnia people were killing each other, but also sexually abused children around the world, from Cambodia to Kenya. An organization which asked Iran to head its department against death penalty.

An organization which allowed Saudi Arabia to lead the global fight against female discrimination.

An organization once headed by someone whose offspirng managed the world’s largest corruption operation (do you remember Kofi Anan’s son?) through its channels.

An organization which basically stated that genocide in Darfur is part of global warming.

An organization whose officials compared Jews to dogs (Richard Falk docet).

An organization whose schools shelter Hamas rockets and terrorists.

An organization which has always been deaf and blind on the Israeli Jews’ suffering and is now hunting not only the “settlers”, but also the Israelis in the Tel Aviv coastal area.

An organization which was born in 1945 because of the Holocaust and which now facilitates another Holocaust by fomenting anti-Semitism in the world’s legal offices, by preaching anti-Judaism over the Temple Mount and by downplaying the worst terror organizations.

I hope the UN will fall apart and cease to exist in the near future. Democracies, decent people and Western civilization deserve a better world agency. The Spanish diplomat and writer, Salvador de Madariaga, rightly called the UN “una mierda” (feces).

Meanwhile, the UN is unworthy even of shining Israel’s shoes.

TED CRUZ HEADLINES CONFERENCE FEATURING HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTERS

September 11th, 2014

TED CRUZ HEADLINES CONFERENCE FEATURING HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTERS
by Alana Goodman
Conference funded by controversial Clinton donor

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is headlined a conference on Wednesday funded by a controversial Clinton donor that will feature pro-Hezbollah and pro-Assad speakers in Washington, D.C.

The “In Defense of Christians” summit is a gathering of Middle Eastern Christian leaders that seeks to raise awareness about the threats to Arab minorities from ISIL.

However, critics fear several of the speakers will try to use the event to bolster Washington’s support for the Syrian regime in its ongoing civil war and help Bashar al-Assad restore his legitimacy and power.

The roster of speakers includes some of the Assad regime’s most vocal Christian supporters, as well as religious leaders allied with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

Other Washington policymakers scheduled to attend include Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), and Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.).

“Some Members were unable to participate as originally scheduled,” the conference’s spokesperson Joseph Cella told the Washington Free Beacon. “Considering the number of speakers we have, this sort of thing happens.”

Funding for the conference was provided by Clinton donor and Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, according to organizers. The wealthy businessman pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.

Chagoury is also reportedly backer of Lebanese politician Michel Aoun, Hezbollah’s top Christian ally in the country, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks.

Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, who was scheduled to speak during the same keynote slot as Cruz on Wednesday evening, has called Israel an “enemy state that is occupying Lebanese territory” and defended Hezbollah’s right to attack the Jewish state.

“Everyone says why is Hezbollah carrying arms?” said Rai in a 2011 interview with Al-Arabiya. “We responded that the international community did not exert pressure on Israel to withdraw from Lebanese territory. As long as there is an occupied Lebanese territory, Hezbollah will maintain that it wants to carry arms in defense of its land. What will we say to it then? Isn’t Hezbollah right?”

The Maronite leader said earlier this month that he would welcome a meeting with Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah to discuss the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) threat against Christians.

“A dialogue committee already exists between the Lebanon Maronite Church and Hezbollah, and we are ready to hold any meeting in this respect,” said Rai.

Others at the summit have also aligned themselves with the Iranian-backed terrorist group. Syriac Orthodox Church Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II posted photos from his meeting with a “high level delegation from Hezbollah” on his official Facebook page last week.

Participants included Al-Sayyed Ibrahim Amin Al-Sayed, President of the Political Council in Hezbollah, and Ghaleb Abou Zeynad, the terror group’s Christian relations attaché. The group discussed the threats facing Christians the need for international intervention to combat ISIL, according to the Syriac Orthodox Church website.

Another conference speaker, Antioch Church patriarch Gregory III Laham has claimed a “Zionist conspiracy against Islam” is responsible for al Qaeda attacks on Iraqi Christians.

“It is actually a conspiracy planned by Zionism and some Christians with Zionist orientations, and it aims at undermining and giving a bad image of Islam,” Laham said in 2010, according to the Daily Star.

The Syrian patriarch has been the subject of controversy inside the Catholic Church. In a published message welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to Lebanon in 2012, he called on the Holy See to recognize the State of Palestine, causing what the Vatican Insider described as “a great embarrassment to Rome.” In 2013, a prominent French bishop accused Laham of being “an ally politically and financially” of Bashar al-Assad.

Other summit speakers, including Antioch Church leader John X (Yazigi) and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan, have been consistent defenders of the Assad regime.

Younan said last May that Western nations were responsible for the instability in Syria, adding that the notion that the United States was promoting democracy “is a lie, this is hypocrisy.”

“Since the beginning, Western nations just stood against the regime, calling it a dictatorship, saying the dictatorship must fall,” said Younan. “Now it’s over 25 months, the conflict is getting worse, and the ones who are paying the price are the innocent people.”

A spokesperson for Cruz said the senator will still speak at the conference despite the controversial participants because he is committed to raising awareness about the persecution of Middle East Christians.

“Sen. Cruz is appearing at the In Defense of Christians event tonight because he wants to take every opportunity to highlight this crisis, the unspeakable persecution of Christians,” said Catherine Frazier. “America has been silent for far too long, and we need to speak with a united voice against this horror. Sen. Cruz is speaking to make the unequivocal point that religious bigotry in all its forms–be it targeting Christians, Jews, or minority Muslim sects–is an evil that must be exposed and combatted.”

Lebanese Information Center president Joseph Gebeily, a Lebanese Christian who staunchly opposes Assad, said he was “shocked” by many of the invited speakers, but decided to attend the conference after he learned members of Congress would be present.

“I decided we should be present and not let the bad representatives of Middle East Christians hijack the true message of Christianity, which is basically democracy, tolerance, co-existence, inclusiveness,” said Gebeily.

“It wasn’t a very quick and easy decision, but since we were given this opportunity, I said let’s go and see and face those advocates of tyranny and crimes against humanity.”

THE OSLO ACCORD REALITY CHECK

September 11th, 2014

THE OSLO ACCORD REALITY CHECK
by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

On October 24, 2013 (the Diplomatic Conference) and October 16, 2013 (the memorial ceremony for Prime Minister Rabin), President Peres, the architect of the September, 1993 Oslo Accord, claimed that the Israeli-Palestinian accord was the “opening to dialogue and peace.” Is Peres’ claim vindicated by a reality check?

The Oslo state of mind

The Oslo state of mind was most accurately pronounced by Peres, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, on Sept. 16, 2000, on the eve of the 2nd Intifada, 2000-2005 wave of Palestinian terrorism: “I believe that the previous borders, made of barbed wire, minefields, military positions, are irrelevant to our life…. I sincerely believe that a good hotel on the border will provide more peace and security than a military position…. I can see very little use for the past. Two things lose their importance: land and history. … To imagine is more important than to remember…. War is out of the question now…. I doubt very much if the Palestinians will go back to terror. … Once a nation’s economy turns from a focus on land to a focus on brains, borders are irrelevant….”

The blueprint for the Oslo Accord was documented by Peres in his October, 1993 book, The New Middle East: “The international political setting is no longer conducive to war (p. 80)…. Peace is the means for security (p. 84)…. We need soft – not rigid – borders…. While signing the documents on the lawn of the White House… you could almost hear the heavy tread of boots leaving the stage…. You could have listened to the gentle tiptoeing of new steps making a debut in the awaiting world of peace (p. 194)…. ”

The new – VS the real – Middle East

The Oslo Accord state of mind, and the new Middle East vision, have been trounced by the Arab Tsunami, which imploded the real Middle East, transitioning the region toward further fanaticism, terrorism, tyranny and anti-”infidel” sentiments, away from moderation, peace, democracy and tolerance.

The Oslo state of mind underestimated the potency of the deeply-rooted 1,400 year old fundamentals of the real Middle East, which are sweeping the combusting Arab Street in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and other Arab countries: violent unpredictability, uncertainty, unreliability, instability and shifty regimes and policies; religious, ethnic, ideological and geographic fragmentation; violent intolerance toward other Muslims and the “infidel;” no freedom of speech, religion, press and association and no gender equality; no intra-Arab comprehensive peace and no compliance with most intra-Arab agreements, which are tenuous in nature.

Has Oslo transformed Israel and the Palestinians?

Ariel University’s Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ohanna, formerly with the Mossad and one of Israel’s leading experts on the Palestinian issue, documented in Line of Furrow and Fire- the conflict for the Land of Israel, 1860-2013 (Achiasaf Publishing, 2013) that the 1993 Oslo Accord snatched the PLO from the jaws of oblivion. Arab regimes severed financial assistance to – and most contacts with – the PLO, due to the PLO’s collaboration with Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The US suspended its dialogue with the PLO in 1990. The 1st Intifadah – wave of Palestinian terrorism – was largely subdued by Israel in 1991. The PLO lost two key co-founders, Khalil al-Wazir (1988) and Salah al-Khalaf (1991). Its popularity, among Palestinians, was significantly marred by corruption and embezzlement, attributed primarily to Arafat and his wife, Suha, Mahmoud Abbas and his sons, Yasser and Tareq, Arafat’s financial advisor, Muhammad Rashid, and the Tsumud (steadfastness) Fund. The Oslo Accord resuscitated the PLO, which still oversees the Palestinian Authority, legally and operationally.

The Oslo Accord transformed Israeli policy dramatically, strategically and tangibly. Israel made concessions to the Palestinians, never extended by the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate or the Arabs, transferring parts of Israel’s own cradle of history to its arch-enemy and advancing Palestinian sovereignty. Israel imported some 70,000 Palestinian terrorists from Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia to Gaza and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – the door steps of their intended victims – arming them with weapons and lobbying on their behalf in Washington, DC.

Contrary to Israel, the PLO was transformed tactically and intangibly, while sustaining its strategy, as enunciated by its 1964 Covenant, considering the Land of Israel a divinely ordained Muslim land (Waqf). Arafat stated that the Oslo Accord was provisional, aiming to destroy Israel, triggering an unprecedented level of Palestinian non-compliance with agreements. Mahmoud Abbas established a hate-education system. And, an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism erupted in April, 1994, producing so far over 1,600 Israeli fatalities, five times as large as the toll of the twenty years prior to Oslo. 160 Israelis were murdered during the pre-Oslo 1st Intifadah, compared with 1,000 during the post-Oslo 2nd Intifada. In June 2001, Faisal Husseini, the PLO darling of the Western media, clarified that the Oslo Accord provided the Palestinians with a Trojan horse in the heart of Israel.

The Oslo-driven Palestinian conduct has been consistent with the Palestinian intra-Arab track record of subversion and treachery, which caused Arafat’s and Mahmoud Abbas’ expulsion from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait. It has also been consistent with the Palestinian collaboration with the Nazis, the Communist Bloc, Khomeini, Saddam Hussein and Bin-Laden.

The Oslo Accord reality check documents that contrary to the hope of its architects, the Palestinian leopard does not change spots, only tactic.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAMAS AND ISIS?

September 11th, 2014

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAMAS AND ISIS?
by Ari Soffer (IsraelNationalNews)

Senior Fatah official Tawfiq Tirawi slams Hamas executions, brutalization of Fatah members in Gaza, compares with ISIS.

A leading Fatah party member has compared Hamas’s methods of executing and brutalizing its political opponents in Gaza to the gruesome executions carried out by the “Islamic State” terrorist group, or ISIS.

In an interview with the Palestinian Authority’s official TV station, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi expressed his anger over a string of executions and shootings of Fatah members in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, and said the “unity deal” between Hamas and the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority was “a mistake.”

Prior to his interview, which was translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), Al-Awda TV aired footage from an interview with a Fatah member from Gaza who said he was maimed by Hamas gunmen for leaving his home after being put under house arrest.

“I was told that I was under house arrest – I was forbidden to leave home – for reasons unknown to me,” the man, who was lying on a hospital bed with his wounded legs under a sheet. His identity was hidden for obvious security reasons.

He said that despite that fact he went outside “but stayed close to home. I didn’t go far away.”

“All of a sudden, a car with three men stopped. They got out and told us to stay where we were,” he recalled. “They asked me my name, and I told them, and then all three of them opened fire at me.”

His story matches dozens of other accounts by Fatah members who say Hamas used the fog of war to settle political scores with its rivals.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has spoken out against the attacks on several occasions, most recently in an interview last week. But Tirawi was distinctly less diplomatic.

“I do not believe that we can keep quiet about what was done to our people in Gaza,” he said, blasting Hamas for what he later described as the “nightmarish” way it was treating members of its supposed “unity government” partner, Fatah.

“National unity is not just an agreement that you sign,” he fired.

“That agreement was a mistake, a mistake, a mistake. It was dictated from above. A bulls*** agreement with no details and no mechanism for implementation,” such as who would actually run Gaza and its numerous “security agencies”.

Tirawi also accused Hamas of undermining efforts to fight against Israel.

“If we want to wage war we must be united and prepared. How can we possibly be prepared, when Fatah members in (Gaza) are forbidden to bear arms and fight?”

He claimed that several of the more than two dozen men summarily executed by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge were “officers in the security agencies.”

“Hamas says they are spies. Did they place them on trial? Did they interrogate them? Where are the confessions?” he demanded.

“According to what laws did they execute these people? What is the difference between (Hamas) and Al-Zarqawi, not to mention ISIS?” he continued. Abu Mousab Al-Zarqawi was the infamous and brutal founder and head of ISIS’s predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq.

“I don’t want to mention ISIS, which beheads people,” he went on, but then asked: “What is the difference between beheading people and executing them by gunfire? Aren’t they both killers, regardless of the execution method, which we all denounce?”

Hamas proudly and openly broadcast news of the executions, including photos of menacing-looking masked gunmen lining up the victims for execution, in an attempt to project strength in the aftermath of a series of Israeli airstrikes targeting key Hamas leaders.

But the images – as well as the very use of summary, public executions without trial – caused many people to compare Hamas to the Islamic State, which broadcast footage of the brutal beheading of US journalist James Foley at around the same time.

The comments surface after tensions between Hamas and the PA have begun to boil over, with Hamas ordering its members in Judea and Samaria to resist summonses for investigation by PA forces earlier this month; recently Hamas staged a failed coup attempt on Abbas in Judea and Samaria.

DO PEOPLE IN ISRAEL SUPPORT ISLAMIC STATE?

September 11th, 2014

DO PEOPLE IN ISRAEL SUPPORT ISLAMIC STATE?

Israel should be concerned with the possibility that its own citizens will potentially volunteer to join the Islamic State terrorist group, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy warned on Sunday.

Speaking during an interview with Army Radio, Halevy said Israeli-Arabs volunteering for the group pose a greater threat than the possibility of the organization threatening Israel’s borders.

“There are signs of sympathy for the Islamic State among Israeli citizens,” Halevy told Army Radio. “When a backdrop of sympathy exists, there are usually some who cross over to wider action.”

He said a similar process “occured in western Europe and could already be happening here.”

He said Israel must also keep an eye out for Islamic State activity in Jordan and Gaza, “despite the fact that in Gaza there is already an effective actor in the struggle against Islamic State – Hamas.”

Islamic State, fighting to redraw the map of the Middle East, has been coaching Egypt’s most dangerous militant group, complicating efforts to stabilize the biggest Arab nation.

Confirmation that Islamic State, currently the most successful of the region’s jihadi groups, is extending its influence to Egypt will sound alarm bells in Cairo, where the authorities are already facing a security challenge from home-grown militants.

A senior commander from the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has killed hundreds of members of the Egyptian security forces over the past year, said Islamic State has provided instructions on how to operate more effectively.

“They teach us how to carry out operations. We communicate through the internet,” the commander, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.

“They don’t give us weapons or fighters. But they teach us how to create secret cells, consisting of five people. Only one person has contact with other cells.”

Militant groups and the Egyptian state are old foes. Some of al-Qaida’s most notorious commanders, including its current leader Ayman al-Zawahri, are Egyptian.

One Egyptian President after another has crushed militant groups but they have always resurfaced.

The success of Islamic State in seizing large parts of Syria and Iraq has raised concerns in Egypt, where authorities are battling Ansar as well as militants who have capitalized on the chaos in post-Gaddafi Libya to set up over the border.

Islamic State became the first jihadi group to defeat an Arab army in a major operation after steamrolling through northern Iraq in June almost unopposed by the Iraqi military.

LEADER OF SYRIAN ISLAMIST GROUP KILLED IN BOMB BLAST

September 10th, 2014

LEADER OF SYRIAN ISLAMIST GROUP KILLED IN BOMB BLAST
by Arutz Sheva Staff

Hassan Abboud, leader of Ahrar al-Sham, killed with other top commanders in a bomb blast in the north-western town of Ram Hamdan.

Hassan Abboud, the leader of the Syrian Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, has been killed with other top commanders in a bomb blast at a meeting, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Activists said a suicide bomber detonated a vest in the attack in the north-western town of Ram Hamdan.

Ahrar al-Sham is part of the Islamic Front, a coalition of seven Islamist rebel groups.

In February, Ahrar al-Sham blamed the rival Islamic State group for an attack which killed several of its members.

Activist groups say at least 40 people may have died in the attack, although the exact death toll is not clear.

Although Ahrar al-Sham is hard-line Islamist in orientation, it has opposed and clashed with the Islamic State (IS), noted the BBC.

IS was blamed when another Ahrar al-Sham leader, Abu Khaled al-Suri, was killed in a suicide bomb attack on his headquarters in Aleppo in February.

The death of Hassan Abboud comes at a moment when the Americans are seeking to unify the Syrian opposition into a coordinated fighting force against IS, although Ahrar al-Sham would have made an unlikely partner in such an American-led campaign, the report noted.

In an interview with the BBC in June, Abboud had denounced IS, saying it represented “the worst image ever of Islam”.

Abboud said that, unlike IS, Ahrar al-Sham would never pledge loyalty to outsiders and would only fight in Syria.

ISRAEL HAILS US EFFORTS AGAINST IS, BUT FEARS IRAN RAPPROCHEMENT

September 10th, 2014

ISRAEL HAILS US EFFORTS AGAINST IS, BUT FEARS IRAN RAPPROCHEMENT
by Arutz Sheva Staff

Israeli ministers voice support for anti-Islamic State coalition, but worried that Obama admin drawing closer to Tehran as a result.

US airstrikes have directly aided Iranian-backed Shia militiasReuters
Israel on Wednesday hailed US efforts to form an alliance to fight jihadists in Syria and Iraq but raised concerns of a rapprochement between Washington and Israel’s arch-foe Iran.

“I praise the American initiative to take action and form a coalition against the Islamic State, and hope those efforts will succeed,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in comments broadcast on public radio early Wednesday, shortly after he left for a visit to Lithuania and the United States.

His remarks came as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit at the start of a Middle East tour aimed at building a regional coalition to combat the extremist Sunni militants who have taken over swathes of territory either side of the Syria-Iraq border.

Liberman’s comments follow calls yesterday by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for greater cooperation between global intelligence agencies to defeat IS.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, who is close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, also praised the initiative but warned it may signal closer ties between the United States and Iran, which has also pledged to join the struggle.

“There could be some kind of flexibility vis-a-vis Iran by the Americans in the fight against IS,” he said.

American airstrikes have already directly supported Iranian-backed Shia Islamist militias, including during the breaking of the Islamic State’s siege of the Shia town of Amerli last week. Apart from funding, equipping and training Iraqi Shia militias, Iran has also sent some of its own special forces to back the push against IS – a push that is being aided by US bombers.

Israel bitterly opposed an interim deal that Washington and other powers reached with Tehran last November, paving the way for the talks on a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s future nuclear activities.

Iran and the six powers – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany – had been working to a July target date for a comprehensive agreement to allay international concerns about its ambitions.

But they agreed to extend the talks until November 24 to allow more time to reach a historic deal. The new talks are to open in New York ahead of the opening of the UN General Assembly on September 16.

Israel has refused to rule out military action against Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent any possibility of it developing the technology for an atomic bomb.


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