Netanyahu Demands Palestinian Condemnation for Couple's Murder

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday called on the international community to condemn the Palestinian leadership's praise for the terrorists who murder Israeli civilians, reports the Jerusalem Post.

"Fanaticism, zealotry is there...When we hear incitement and praise for terrorists from supposed peace partners, we say, 'Cut it out'," said Netanyahu in a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.

A Fatah affiliated cell claimed responsibility for opening fire on Eitam and Na'ama Henkin's car – an Israeli couple in their 30s – while they were driving home with four of their children. The children – ranging in age from four months to nine years old – witnessed the murder of their parents but were not injured.

"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah, accepted responsibility for the Itamar operation (the murder of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin), carried out against settlers, leading to their deaths," posted Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul on his official Facebook page, reports Palestinian Media Watch.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not mention the attack, let alone condemn it, during an appearance Friday evening. Several Palestinian factions, including Hamas, praised the attack as heroic.

This attack comes amidst increased Palestinian violent incitement against Jews and growing hostilities in Jerusalem.

"The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours... and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem... We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah," Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas said in a speech, segments of which were aired on official PA TV and posted on his website.

Netanyahu contrasted the silence from Palestinian officials to the Henkins' murder to a firebombing by Israeli extremists in Duma which killed a Palestinian toddler. Israeli officials of all stripes condemned the attack.

"Compare this to the silence of the Palestinian leadership now," Netanyahu said Friday. "I have not heard their condemnation."

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By IPT News  |  October 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm  |  Permalink

Rouhani Offers Futile Bribe to Hardliners for Nuclear Deal Support

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seeking to bribe the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to cease its efforts to undermine the nuclear deal with global powers, reports Ali Alfonen – a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – writing for the Arab Weekly.

In a Sept. 15 address to the IRGC's senior leadership, Rouhani bragged about the "revolutionary deed" of "breaking the unjust sanctions regime" and called for the IRGC and other military and security apparatuses to "help the government and the people in production, development and economic growth."

According Alfonen – an expert on the IRGC – Rouhani's message suggests that if the IRGC supports the agreement, a significant amount of money released to Iran as part of the economic sanctions relief will reach the IRGC's extensive business dealings.

Alfonen argues that Rouhani's risky tactic will not prevent the IRGC from accepting the bribe while continuing its staunch opposition to the nuclear agreement. For Rouhani to deliver such an address, the IRGC leadership would have been consulted beforehand, indicating that the hard-line faction accepted the bribe.

But the continued opposition, as Alfonen's headline indicates, could "could torpedo" the nuclear deal.

Increased financial flows to the IRGC's widespread economic interests will lead to more clients and political influence over Iran's elites. Such a situation would only further undermine Rouhani and the relatively pragmatic camp's power struggle with hardliners who actively oppose the nuclear agreement.

This type of deal is reminiscent of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's attempt to encourage the IRGC to stay out of political concerns in return for taking control of significant post Iran-Iraq war reconstruction projects. The IRGC exploited that opportunity to create its now bourgeoning business empire which encompasses major construction, energy, and airline contracts.

Many critics of the Iran deal argue that economic sanctions relief will empower the IRGC and enable hardline factions in Iran to enhance their regional hegemonic ambitions and state sponsorship of terrorism globally.

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By IPT News  |  October 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm  |  Permalink

Abbas Unilaterally Disengages from Oslo Accords Despite U.S. Pressure

The Palestinian Authority (PA) no longer adheres to the 1993 Oslo Accords, President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Wednesday in an address to the United Nations General Assembly, eliciting a swift rebuttal from the Israeli government.

Abbas blamed the Jewish state for fuelling hostilities in Jerusalem and declared that Israel must "fully assume all its responsibilities as an occupying power ... our patience for a long time has come to an end."

However, the Israeli government was quick to denounce Abbas' accusations as "deceitful."

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Abbas' speech misrepresented reality and contributed to further incitement of violence against Israelis.

"Abu Mazen's [Abbas] speech was filled with falsehoods that will only promote incitement and disaster in the Middle East," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

"Unlike the Palestinians, Israel preserves the status quo on the Temple Mount and will continue to do so, based on agreements with Jordan and the Wakf," the statement said.

Abbas has rejected Netanyahu's calls for new direct negotiations, which "is the best proof that his face is not turned in the direction of peace."

Last week, Abbas glorified Palestinians fighting Israelis in Jerusalem and encouraged Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque by any means necessary.

"The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours... and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem... We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah," Abbas said in a speech, segments of which were aired on official PA TV and posted on his website.

Before Wednesday's speech, reports indicated Abbas would not make any dramatic policy announcements. An adviser hinted that American pressure deterred Abbas from announcing Palestine as a state "under Israeli occupation."

Nevertheless, Abbas went ahead with the unilateral declaration in violation of previous understandings that underpinned relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority since 1993.

Netanyahu is scheduled to speak at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday and is expected to counter many of Abbas' inflammatory points from Wednesday's address.

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By IPT News  |  September 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm  |  Permalink

Bangladesh Group's Hit List Targets More Secular Bloggers

A radical Islamist group in Bangladesh is threatening to take its jihad against secular writers global.

The Ansarullah Bangla Team, which is suspected of acting on threats and slaying at least four secular bloggers this year, has released a "hit list" of new targets. American Avijit Roy was among those murdered in 2015.

Roy was hacked to death when he returned to Bangladesh for a book fair in February. He, like the other slain bloggers, criticized religious extremism and some tenets of Islam, drawing the wrath of the Bangladesh Islamist group with alleged ties to al-Qaida.

Roy's wife, who was injured by survived the attack on her husband, is among those named on the new list, the Guardian reports. The list includes two people living in the United States, one in Canada, one in Sweden and nine in the United Kingdom.

Several Ansarullah Bangla members recently were arrested in connection with the killings, but that does not seem to have deterred the group. Its list included what the Guardian described as "an incoherent demand to strip bloggers of their citizenship" in Bangladesh and calls the writers "enemies of Islam and [Muslim religious] education, atheists, apostates, unbelievers, anti-Islamic ... bloggers [and] agents of India."

Ansarullah Bangla issued a video called "Eradicate Democracy," which argues democracy is incompatible and in conflict with Islam.

Police in Great Britain have advised the bloggers named to be cautious.

One writer, Ananya Azad, who left Bangladesh after being warned he was the assassins' "next" target, vowed to continue writing despite the threats.

"Our weapon is [the] pen, and we can use it without hurting anybody. We just want to make people conscious about their rights," he told the Guardian.

"Fundamentalists have threatened that they will come and kill me. I can't say that I am fully safe, as the fundamentalists know where I am residing. I can't say what will happen in future, but I can give you this assurance that I will write until the end of my life."

In addition to Roy, the slain bloggers in 2015 include Niloy Neel, Ananta Bijoy Das and Washiqur Rahman. In 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was murdered after he advocated for war crimes tribunals against people responsible for mass killings at the end of Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

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By IPT News  |  September 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm  |  Permalink

UN Chief Criticizes Abbas' Incitement Against Jews in Jerusalem

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas that he worried Abbas' recent incitement will enhance confrontations in Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reports, citing Israel Radio.

Abbas blatantly incited violence last week and praised Palestinian fighters attacking Jews in Jerusalem, calling for Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering Al-Aqsa with "everything in our power."

"The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours... and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem... We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah," Abbas said in a speech translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), segments of which were aired on official PA TV and posted on his website.

In response to Abbas' statements, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the recent increase in Palestinian violence was "of course joined by the choir, by the Palestinian Authority, with incitement and even anti-Semitic expressions regarding the prohibition for Jews with their 'filthy feet' to visit the Temple Mount and other over-the-top expressions."

Meanwhile, a Palestinian woman tried to stab IDF soldiers at a Hebron checkpoint on Tuesday. The soldiers fired back, and the 18-year-old attacker later died from her injuries.

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By IPT News  |  September 22, 2015 at 2:09 pm  |  Permalink

Abbas: "Filthy" Jews' Feet Not Allowed on Temple Mount

The International Union of Muslim Scholars is calling on Palestinians to "Rescue al-Aqsa" and rise up against Israel, according to several Twitter posts translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

One of the tweets features a picture of Israeli police about to enter Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque. In reality, the Israeli authorities are pursuing Palestinian rioters who took refuge in the mosque and terrorists who were plotting to conduct attacks against Jewish worshippers. The picture – which is clearly intended to provoke Palestinians to continue stirring up trouble for Israeli citizens – includes the following quote:

"The International Union of Muslim Scholars requests the Ulema [Muslim community] and preachers of the Muslims to begin the campaign 'Rescue al Aqsa' and proclaim a state of general alarm among the sons of the Muslims in the world to defend al Aqsa mosque, and divulge the plans of the Zionists, and also to summon the Islamic Umma to hold protests, and to devote this Friday's sermons to discuss Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and Palestine."

The hashtag #RescueAlAqsa is also included in a subsequent tweet featuring a picture of flames engulfing the al-Aqsa with a sniper's target fixated on the dome of the mosque.

"Al-Aqsa is burning Oh Umma of a billion and a half Muslims!!!," reads the slogan on the provocative tweet.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas glorified Palestinians fighting Israelis in Jerusalem and called for Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering Al-Aqsa with "everything in our power," Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports.

"The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours... and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem... We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah," Abbas said in a speech, segments of which were aired on official PA TV and posted on his website.

"Today the world is divided between those trying to undermine religious coexistence and those trying to protect it," Israel's Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold said in a statement Thursday. "By saying that the 'filthy feet' of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount desecrate it, Mahmoud Abbas has now clarified on which side he stands."

Relative quiet returned to the Temple Mount on Wednesday, after three days of violent confrontations between Muslims and Israeli authorities during the Jewish New Year.

Acting Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau ordered hundreds of Israeli security personnel to Jerusalem to restore calm in light of "an upsurge" in attacks, such as firebombs and stone-throwing targeting Israeli police and civilians.

On Sunday, Palestinians throwing stones killed an Israeli civilian – 64-year-old Alexander Levlovitz – after he lost control of his car and crashed into a lamppost in Jerusalem's East Talpiot neighborhood.

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By IPT News  |  September 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm  |  Permalink

Islamic State-linked Twitter Account Threatens New Attacks In US For 9/11

Several tweets from an Islamic State follower identifying himself as Abu Mohammed al-Khorasani hint that the terror group could be plotting new attacks inside the U.S. on the upcoming anniversary of 9/11.

A tweet featuring the Twitter hashtags ILLINOIS#, #11septmber and #KillAllAmericans went out at 12:04 p.m. Monday Aug. 31 saying, "Peace on the P.K. [a kind Russian machine gun] Its shots are thematic (rhymes) It strikes America. Our State is victorious." A photo of the second airliner just before it hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 appeared in the tweet.

Six minutes later, al-Khorasani tweeted the same hashtags together with a muddled Arabic phrase saying, "If you say to me, Dushka (a kind of Russian machine gun) Oh God, You have a petitioner (Masha, rhymes with Dushka) He strikes America [sic] and our State is victorious." A graphic saying, "every American citizen is a legitimate target for us," followed the text.

On Sunday, al-Khorasani wrote a similar threat, saying "SOON," accompanied by an image of Osama Bin Laden and images of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

He showed his affection for Bin Laden in a tweet today, taunting Americans, "When you killed Sheikh Osama thrown his pure body in the sea for fear of Dead But U did not know that we have millions of #Sheikh Osama."

Talk and images of what appeared to be a suicide vest or vests immediately followed the threats which included the #ISIS and #IslamicState hashtags.

Al-Khorasani wrote in a tweet at 12:38 p.m., "You have the aircraft You have the rockets You have the launchers We have explosive belts to kill U #IslamicState." He tweeted again at 12:44 p.m.: "You have F22 You have tanks You have guns But we have Belts #IslamicState #ISIS."

These tweets follow a summer of Islamic State followers posting images of the Statue of Liberty in ruins, with New York in flames in the background, and saying, "Coming Soon." Additionally, the image depicting the aftermath of an attack on an American city has not been isolated to New York. One such image tweeted from an Islamic State account on July 28 addressed to Lone Wolves showed a masked jihadist running from an explosion in an unnamed American city.

A statement ominously saying, "O Cross Worshipers Lone Wolves Will Hunt You In America's Streets" overlaid the graphic. Another tweet by Islamic State supporter nightwalker/lonewolfe posted Aug. 21 depicted jihadists in Times Square with the script, "We Are Everywhere."

In April, the New York Post reported that Islamic State supporters released a video threatening to unleash a new September 11-style attack, saying that the group's fighters are stronger than those who brought down the Twin Towers."Thus they are able to burn United States again," the video said.

One thing is clear, Islamic State supporters want to remind Americans the group wants to strike against Americans on their own soil at a time and place of the terrorists' choosing.

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By John Rossomando  |  September 1, 2015 at 12:54 am  |  Permalink

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Planned Terrorist Attack at Joseph's Tomb

Israeli authorities foiled a Palestinian cell's plan to conduct a terrorist attack targeting Jewish worshipers at Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank, Israel's domestic security agency Shin Bet announced.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization reportedly armed and directed the cell to carry out a bombing and shooting attack, featuring people associated with various Palestinian factions and demonstrating a high level of cohesion.

Four Palestinians were arrested, including Nassim Damiri, 30, who is affiliated with Fatah and was arrested on numerous occasions in the past; Mahmed Damiri, 23, a Palestinian Authority police officer; Yasser Tzarawi, 25, a Hamas operative with a prison record; and Adwan Nazel, 24, of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also among the detained.

The plan allegedly involved Nazel and Tzarawi providing logistical support, weapons, surveillance and cover, while the Damiri cousins conduct the terrorist attack.

This development comes amid rising tensions between Israel the Islamic Jihad, as the group threatens to retaliate against Israel if Mohammad Allan – the former hunger-striking detainee affiliated with the terrorist group – is harmed.

Last week, the Israel Defense Forces blamed Islamic Jihad operatives in Syria for firing four rockets which landed in the Golan Heights and the Upper Galilee – signalling the first time that rockets from Syria struck Israel proper since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

While the terrorist group denied involvement in the cross-border missile barrage, Israel accused Iran of funding and ordering the attack.

"We have credible information that the attack was carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization and was facilitated and directed by an Iranian operative Saeed Izaddhi, who heads the Palestinian unit in the Al-Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps," said Israel's Foreign Ministry in a statement sent to the world powers that signed a nuclear agreement with Iran last month.

While touring Israel's northern border with senior military officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warned that part of the Iranian funds to be released in conjunction with the nuclear deal will be transferred to Iranian sponsored terrorist proxies dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Israeli officials revealed that retaliatory air strikes killed at least four operatives from the cell responsible for the rocket attack.

The Islamic Jihad has close ties with Iran and maintains a significant rocket arsenal in Gaza, however these latest developments signal the group's intentions to expand their bases of operations to the West Bank and Israel's northern border at Iran's behest.

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By IPT News  |  August 25, 2015 at 1:56 pm  |  Permalink

Victims' Attorney Disappointed by Low PA Bond Requirement

The lead attorney for 10 American families who secured $655 million in civil damages against the Palestinian Authority (PA) for past terror support expressed disappointment Monday with a judge's bond order.

Kent Yalowitz, whose clients either lost loved ones or were injured in terror attacks either carried out or aided by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA, had asked for $30 million monthly payments to serve as bond while a jury's February civil verdict is appealed.

During a hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ordered the PA to deposit $10 million into an account within the next month. After that, the PA must deposit an additional $1 million per month. The money serves as a bond in the event the judgment is upheld after the PA's appeal is resolved.

The installments are so insignificant compared to the PA's resources that Yalowitz likened the amount to a "rounding error."

But the judge acknowledged giving "serious consideration" to a statement submitted earlier this month by a deputy secretary of state urging Daniels to consider the PA's precarious financial state in imposing a bond order. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the prospect that the PA could collapse under the weight of the payments, which "would undermine several decades of U.S. foreign policy and add a new destabilizing factor to the region, compromising national security.'

The attacks took place between 2001 and 2004. The victims sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which includes provisions which tripled the jury's $218.5 million damage award.

The PA's finances are not nearly so fragile, Yalowitz's team argued. A payment plan supporting jailed terrorists and the families of PLO members killed during attacks remains in effect. That payment system was among the items jurors learned about during the trial, along with internal PA and PLO records with information about terror cells and their activities.

Other records included handwritten notes from longtime PLO and PA leader Yasser Arafat approving those payments.

The PA initially argued against any bond requirement pending appeals.

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By IPT News  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:44 pm  |  Permalink

UN Will Allow Iran to Inspect Its Own Nuclear Site

Under an unprecedented secret agreement, the United Nations (UN) will allow Iranian experts to inspect their own country's military site reportedly used to develop nuclear weapons, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.

Usually, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is tasked with inspecting a member nation's nuclear weapons sites. However, the UN agency reached a separate deal with Iran concerning inspections at the Parchin military site without consent from the United States and the other international powers who signed the broader Iran nuclear agreement.

This unprecedented move transfers the IAEA's investigative authority of a key component in Iran's nuclear program to Iran itself – directly contradicting advocates of the nuclear deal who claim the agreement is transparent and forces the Islamic Republic to be accountable for their actions.

The White House denies that a secret "side deal" exists, but Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that no one from the Obama administration has had access to the secret document.

"We are aware of what the basics of it are... [the agreement] is not shared with the world, but we do get briefed on it," said Kerry.

Olli Heinonen, a former deputy IAEA director general tasked with monitoring Iran's nuclear activity, said that he cannot recall a time when a country under investigation was allowed to conduct its own inspections.

In congruence with U.S., Israel, and other intelligence reports, the IAEA believes that Iran experimented with high-explosive detonators for nuclear weapons at the Parchin military base, siting evidence based on satellite images and Iranian attempts to clear the site of nuclear activity.

The document, called "separate arrangement II," implies that there is another secret deal between Iran and the IAEA and suggests that the IAEA's role is diminished to monitoring Iranian inspectors at the military site.

Under this confidential agreement, Iran will give IAEA experts photos and videos of sensitive nuclear activities, "taking into account military concerns." Iranian technicians will also be tasked with conducting environmental samples for evidence of nuclear activity – a role traditionally reserved for IAEA inspectors.

Not only will the Iranian experts take the lead on the investigations, it also is only obliged to provide selective information at its own discretion.

"Activities will be carried out using Iran's authenticated equipment consistent with technical specifications provided by the agency," the agreement says. The IAEA "will ensure the technical authenticity" of Iran's inspection, but fails to lay out exactly how the procedure will be enforced.

This separate agreement reinforces concerns that the complex deal fails to provide the necessary transparency and accountability to assure Iran's pathway to nuclear weapons is effectively obstructed.

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By IPT News  |  August 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm  |  Permalink

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