Hamas Exploits Easing of Gaza Blockade to Smuggle More Weapons

Palestinian terrorist groups continue to exploit Israel's relaxation of Gaza's naval blockade to smuggle weapons meant to strike the Jewish state, Israel's domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, said in a Times of Israel report.

Israel's Navy detained a Hamas-affiliated operative last month, accused of smuggling weapons and outlawed building materials into the Gaza Strip. Under interrogation, Salim Jamal Hassan Naman admitted that he helped smuggle in "materials used in the production of rockets, like fiberglass resin," Shin Bet said.

In April, Israel allowed Gaza's boats to operate up to nine nautical miles from the shores, extending the permitted distance from six miles. Naman was detained after deviating beyond the new threshold. Though the operative is most closely aligned with Hamas, he acknowledged that the smuggling operation involved supplying weapons to various Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Naman also revealed Hamas' plans to exploit Gazan fisherman as a "camouflage" for the group's terrorist operations.

"The information revealed in this interrogation, along with the interrogations of the other Hamas terror operatives who have been arrested recently, reveal another aspect of the numerous efforts made by Hamas in order to prepare itself for advancing its violent terrorist actions. This time, it's through taking advantage of the relief provided by Israel for the population of Gazan fisherman," the Shin Bet said.

Hamas continues to focus its efforts on enhancing its terrorist capabilities to confront Israel militarily and terrorize its population. Instead of utilizing the extra nautical miles off the coast to the benefit of Gazan fisherman, Hamas squanders the opportunity to improve the Strip's economic situation. Whether by rebuilding its underground tunnel infrastructure or exploiting naval smuggling opportunities, Hamas clearly prioritizes its violent Jihad against Israel over the well-being of its citizens.

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By IPT News  |  May 16, 2016 at 12:50 pm  |  Permalink

Michigan Public Radio Station Bars Donor's Israel Birthday Message

The University of Michigan's public radio group – Michigan Radio – denied one of its donors the ability to wish Israel a "Happy 68th Birthday" to mark the country's independence on air, reports Deadline Detroit.

Lisa Lis and her husband, Hannan Lis, donate $40 per month to the radio station, allowing the couple to sponsor a day's broadcast to have a message read on air six times.

Michigan Radio claims that it is "the state's most listened-to public radio services... with a broadcast signal that reaches 80% of Michigan's population."

Initially, the radio station claimed it could not air the Israel birthday wish because it required notice two months in advances. Then the station admitted to rejecting the message because it "could imply advocacy."

"We have determined that this message would compromise the station's commitment to impartiality and that it crosses over into advocacy, or could imply advocacy," wrote Alison Warren, associate director of development, in an April 26 email.

Lisa Lis was baffled such a simple message was seen as too political.

"It's sad. There's plenty anti- Israel messages out there, and they won't allow something for Israel," she said.

The couple argued their point in several emails, forcing the station to revise its policy on such issues to "make it clearer for individuals."

When pressed, the station said it would not allow birthday wishes to other countries.

"The answer to your question about whether or not we would allow a 'Happy Birthday Norway' is no. . . We would not air such a message. Harmless as it may seem, it forces us to make the choice between which countries or political bodies are worthy of on-air recognition and which are not," wrote Michigan Radio development director Larry Jonas.

The station's earlier response argued that offering well wishes to Israel "would compromise the station's commitment to impartiality and that it crosses over into advocacy, or could imply advocacy." It is difficult to fathom a similar situation unfolding, however, if Norway was replaced with Israel in this context.

While dozens of countries remain embroiled in political conflicts, the level of scrutiny surrounding anything Israel related, even a basic "Happy Birthday," is unparalleled.

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By IPT News  |  May 13, 2016 at 11:42 am  |  Permalink

FSA-linked Commander Threatens Kurdish Civilians

A radio transmission between the commander of an Islamist brigade with ties to the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a Kurdish man contained a chilling message threatening to slaughter Kurdish civilians in Syria.

"My fighters are just like lions, and you know the people of Homs and that they always meet their words with action. We will crackdown on their mothers, sisters, fathers. We will target women before men. Do not talk to me anymore, and you can keep our martyrs with you," the commander said in Arabic.

"We will deal with you in our own way, and we will find the Kurds wherever they go, in Aleppo or anywhere else."

The exchange came in the retaliation for a video showing Kurdish forces parading the bodies of hundreds of FSA fighters killed after attacking the Kurds on the back of a trailer truck through a Kurdish town north of Aleppo. Representatives of the Kurdish factions condemned the incident as did the U.S. State Department.

A pro-Kurdish Twitter account @FuriousKurd published the exchange threatening the lives of Kurdish civilians on Saturday. The exchange originally was released by a pro al-Qaida account on Telegram.

Jaysh Al-Sunna, the commander's faction, also is part of the Army of the Conquest (Jaish al-Fateh), a coalition of Islamist and other rebel factions supported by that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that includes Al-Qaida's affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. News reports show that CIA-backed groups have cooperated with Jaish al-Fateh. The FSA also has received CIA support.

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By John Rossomando  |  May 4, 2016 at 4:19 pm  |  Permalink

Pro-ISIS Account Posts Suicide Vest Instructional Video

The Investigative Project on Terrorism examines trends in the Islamic State's propaganda since the Paris attacks in an upcoming article.

A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) hacking group calling itself "Cyber Kahilafah" released a step-by-step video in Arabic Sunday showing how to build a suicide vest.

It appears to be a mashup of earlier videos, borrowing its beginning from a January video that showed the ISIS Paris attackers engaging in beheadings and other brutal activities. That video was produced by the ISIS-controlled Al-Hayat Media. Cyber Kahilafah's video is grainier and cruder than typical Al-Hayat productions.

Arabic instructions are superimposed over earlier ones written in the Cyrillic alphabet, likely in Russian.

The video shows how to build the bomb vest using Semtex, a plastic explosive that has military and construction applications. It is a favorite of terrorists due to its light weight and ease of concealment. The Libyan operatives who destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 used Semtex, which is readily available for sale on the dark web.

A raid in the Czech Republic last year netted 220 lbs. of the explosive that was slated to be sold on the black market.

In the video, Arabic instructions give the user a step-by-step guide to assembling the suicide vest's components, including detonating cord, buckshot, switches, wires, a trigger button, cardboard, LEDs, a nine-volt battery and a detonator housing. At the same time an instructor assembles the components, while an Islamic nasheed (chant) is heard in the background singing about jihad against the unbelievers.

This isn't the first time jihadis have showed how to make a suicide vest online. Back in 2004, an unknown jihadist group produced a similar video for a bomb vest using a different design.

This is the latest example of ISIS supporters trying to show potential terrorists how to make improvised weapons. If terrorists are determined they can find just about everything they need on the Internet.

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By John Rossomando  |  May 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm  |  Permalink

Hamas Caught Smuggling Rocket Material as Israel Considers Re-Opening Gaza Border

Israel's Tax Authority says it intercepted roughly four tons of ammonium chloride – enough to produce hundreds of rockets – that were being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

The chemical was hidden in salt shipments to Gaza early last month which were transported through the Nitzana crossing between Egypt and Israel.

"Ammonium chloride is defined as a dual-use substance and its passage into the Gaza Strip requires a permit since it is liable to be used by Gaza-based terrorist organizations – such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad – in the production of long-range rockets," a Tax Authority statement said.

The Shin Bet, Israel's domestic intelligence agency, believes the salt importer has "ties to the Hamas military wing" and "sought to bring the material into the Strip for use in Hamas's production facilities."

Israeli authorities have thwarted dozens of attempts to smuggle prohibited material into Gaza. This latest interdiction reinforces the fact that Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza continue trying to smuggle material intended for terrorist activities cloaked as goods meant for Gaza's civilians.

Despite deeply concerning smuggling activities, Israel plans to reopen the Erez crossing into Gaza following eight years of closure.

"It is in our interests that a significant amount of truckloads of food continues to go to Gaza...It is our interest that Gazans live in dignity. Both from a humanitarian point of view and because this is a way to protect the peace, in addition to existing security deterrents," a spokesperson for Israel's defense minister Moshe Ya'alon said in a statement.

The Defense Ministry revealed that 513 trucks of humanitarian and commercial goods entered the Gaza Strip on Sunday alone.

Many in the international community demands that Israel open all border crossings and end the blockade of Gaza. Unfortunately, many of the individuals and states pressuring Israel overlook the fact that Gaza's rulers exploit existing border entry points to enhance their terrorist infrastructure at the expense of local reconstruction efforts.

Until Hamas' ceases to prioritize its jihad against Israel over the well-being of its citizens, Palestinians in Gaza will continue to suffer. In the meantime, the overwhelming evidence confirms that Israel is going above and beyond to balance its legitimate security considerations with humanitarian concerns in Gaza.

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By IPT News  |  May 3, 2016 at 11:51 am  |  Permalink

Palestinian Children Kill Israelis in Hamas "Play"

Palestinian children simulated murdering Israelis while participating in a cultural festival in the Gaza Strip this week, according to Israel's Channel 2 News and reported by the Times of Israel.

A Hamas television channel, available in both Gaza and the West Bank, broadcasted the event featuring young Palestinian kids in military fatigues wielding machine guns and knives.

The play, part of the Palestine Festival for Children and Education, depicts a young girl with a knife stabbing Israelis in an attempt to free a Palestinian prisoner. She is subsequently "shot" as other young girls approach the "body" and cry.

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"Do not be angry with her. She is your blood, your flesh and your honor," proclaims a voice on the loudspeaker.

The next scene shows a masked boy shooting an Israeli soldier followed by joyful music along the cheer: "Rejoice! The sniper has arrived!"

"When Palestinians send their kids to act in this school play no wonder their kids commit [sic] attacks when they're older," tweeted Ofir Gendelman, the Arab media spokesperson at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Palestinians from across the political spectrum often incite violence against Israelis and Jews through official institutions, including school books and the media. "Cultural" events such as this play glorifying terrorism are frequent and serve as a testament to the culture of martyrdom prevalent throughout Palestinian society. Violence against Israelis is systematically glorified and future generations are encouraged to emulate notorious terrorists responsible for murder.

While U.S. Islamists on occasion condemn ISIS terrorism and its propaganda targeting youth, there is complete silence concerning Palestinian incitement to violence. The double standard suggests that prominent American Islamists tolerate Palestinian indoctrination of children and view the murder of Israelis as justified "resistance."

For many years, the Investigative Project on Terrorism and others have called for U.S. Islamists to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization, to no avail. Palestinian advocates claim that they seek better lives for the people in Gaza, yet never challenge the notion that Hamas prioritizes its jihad to destroy Israel over providing a better future for its people.

This is particularly evident as Hamas invests significant resources to rebuild its underground tunnel infrastructure at the expense of civilian reconstruction projects.

This latest "cultural" play confirms Hamas' objectives – to brainwash the next generation of Palestinian youth to kill Israelis instead of giving them hope for a better life.

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By IPT News  |  April 27, 2016 at 11:55 am  |  Permalink

Report: Iran May Send Hamas to Fight ISIS

Iran is reportedly planning to deploy Hamas operatives to fight the Islamic State in Mosul, according to a-Sharq al-Awsat and reported by the Jerusalem Post.

The report suggests that Iran still maintains significant influence over the Palestinian terrorist organization. In the battle for Mosul, Hamas terrorists would fight with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Lebanese Hizballah, and Shi'ite Houthi militias.

Hizballah and Houthi fighters remain bogged down in the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars. Nevertheless, their main benefactor, Iran, continues to exploit its main terrorist proxies to pursue its regional hegemonic ambitions at the expense of local considerations.

Now Hamas is reportedly expected to divert its forces to the Iraqi theatre, despite Gaza's economic woes and growing Salafi-jihadist internal threat.

According to the report, Hamas would also help take over Kirkuk, the oil-rich city under Kurdish control since June 2014, in order to destabilize the Kurdistan region in pursuit of Iran's interests.

This development would further signal that the Palestinian terrorist organization prioritizes its relationship with Iran and its terrorist ambitions over the domestic needs of Gaza's population.

Hamas continues to divert significant resources in rebuilding and enhancing its underground tunnel network to attack Israel instead of investing in civilian reconstruction projects.

Moreover, Hamas claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem last week, as the terrorist group seeks to enhance its presence in the West Bank and reignite a violent Palestinian uprising targeting Israelis.

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By IPT News  |  April 25, 2016 at 3:01 pm  |  Permalink

Prosecutors: ISIS Ebook Helped Inspire Aborted Attack on Pamela Geller

An Islamic State (ISIS) ebook, "How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid's Guide," may have contributed to a plot by two accused Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists from Boston to behead free-speech advocate Pamela Geller, federal prosecutors say. Boston police killed a third conspirator on June 2 before they could carry out their attack against Geller.

David Dawoud Wright, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim and Nicholas Rovinski answered ISIS's call to commit terrorist acts in Western countries beginning in January 2015, a superseding indictment issued Thursday said. The three were inspired by the terrorist organization's online magazine Dabiq and also looked to "How to Survive in the West" for guidance in forming a sleeper cell after it appeared in March 2015.

Wright wrote organizational documents for a "Martyrdom Operations Cell" in April 2015. He also researched firearms, tranquilizer guns and law-enforcement capabilities. His search queries included: "what is the most flammable chemical;" "Which tranquilizer puts humans to sleep instantly;" and "how to start a secret militia in [the] US."

Most of these topics are also found in "How to Survive in the West."

Rahim communicated with several ISIS members abroad, including Junaid Hussain, also known as "Abu Hussain al-Britani." Hussain was a British hacker who helped ISIS recruit jihadis and identify targets in the West prior to his death in a drone strike last August.

By May, the plotters wanted to behead Geller, who was organizing a draw Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas. Geller was targeted for murder in a May 6 ISIS fatwa. Hussain told Rahim to kill Geller because she had insulted Muhammad, and Rahim passed along Hussain's instructions to Wright. He also told Rahim to carry a knife if the "feds" tried to arrest him.

The plot moved away from Geller and the group allegedly discussed attacking closer to home. Rahim was killed by police in June after intercepted conversations indicated he was about to attack police officers. Hussain hailed Rahim as a "martyr" on Twitter.

Independent of this plot, Geller was targeted by two other ISIS-inspired terrorists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. Both men were killed by a Garland traffic police officer during a shootout.

"How to Survive in the West" also includes instructions to kill anyone who depicts Muhammad in a manner Muslims find blasphemous.

"Allah is asking us; why don't you fight a people who broke their covenant of peace (with the Muslims) first, then reviled our religion (by promoting insulting pictures of Prophet Muhammad) and started (Arabic: bada'*) the attack against you first?" a passage from How to Survive in the West said. [Emphasis original.]," "How to Survive in the West" says.

Disturbingly, Rovinski continued to support ISIS from behind bars after he was arrested. Prosecutors say Rovinski reaffirmed his support for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in August. He also tried to recruit other prisoners to commit terrorist acts.

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By John Rossomando  |  April 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm  |  Permalink

Video Captures Palestinians Hailing Jerusalem Bomber

In recent weeks, we at the Investigative Project on Terrorism have emphasized the difference between Israeli and Palestinian reactions to violent attacks.

When an Israeli soldier shot and killed a wounded Palestinian – after the Palestinian tried to stab someone – Israeli political and military leaders quickly condemned the act. The soldier has been charged with manslaughter.

Contrast that swift expression of outrage with the hero's treatment Palestinian demonstrators gave to Abdel-Hamid Abu Srour. He was a Hamas terrorist who blew himself up Monday on a Jerusalem bus. Twenty innocent people were wounded.

When Abu Srour's identity was released, hundreds of demonstrators marched near his home near Bethlehem.

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Among the chants, Palestinians told Abu Srour's mother "how lucky you are. I wish that my mother were like you." The dead terrorist was described as a hero: "From here we proclaim it, You are a star in its sky."

Before his death, Abu Srour, 19, often praised Hamas on social media, the Jerusalem Post reports. He singled out infamous Hamas bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash for adulation.

"Ayyash will come back," the marchers chanted.

Few government officials, if any, in the United States or Europe, will comment about the spectacle of a suicide bomber being hailed as a hero by a people that are supposed to be partners in a potential peace. Again, imagine if Israelis celebrated an attack on Palestinians in a manner remotely similar. Newspapers would spend days running front page stories, while governments expressed outrage over such wanton bloodlust.

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By IPT News  |  April 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm  |  Permalink

Report: German Refugee Program Money Given to Hizballah Operatives

Hizballah activists continue to operate freely in Germany and serve as senior employees of a German government-funded theater project intended to aid refugees in the country, according to the Berliner Zeitung daily and reported by the Jerusalem Post.

Two directors of the Refugee Club Impulse (RCI), sisters Nadia and Maryam Grassman, were central organizers of the annual pro-Iran/pro-Hizballah al-Quds Day rally in 2015 featuring "anti-Semitic slogans" and calls for "the abolition of Israel."

Video and photographic evidence showed Nadia chanting on a loudspeaker while Maryam disseminated fliers and posters and collected donations during the anti-Semitic rally. It is uncertain whether the donations were intended to fund Hizballah's terrorist operations in Syria and against Israel.

The RCI is expected to receive €100,000 ($113,260 USD) from the German government for the refugee project. Public taxpayer money has been transferred to the organization for several years.

There are roughly 250 active Hizballah operatives in Berlin and a total of 950 Hizballah members throughout Germany, according to a 2014 Berlin intelligence report summarized by the Jerusalem Post. Though the number of Hizballah supporters is believed to be far higher in Germany than listed in the report.

Radical Islamists are "the greatest danger to Germany...Germany is on the spectrum of goals for Islamic terrorists," said Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's domestic intelligence agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

In 2014, Germany closed down the Lebanon Orphan Children Project for providing money to the al-Shahid ("The Martyr") Association in Lebanon. Al-Shahid was "disguised as a humanitarian organization" and "promotes violence and terrorism in the Middle East using donations collected in Germany and elsewhere," German security expert Alexander Ritzmann said in a 2009 European Foundation for Democracy report.

While the European Union, including Germany, designated Hizballah's military wing as a terrorist entity, Germany allows Hizballah's political wing to operate freely in the country. The U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization entirely. Even senior Hizballah officials have noted the futility in distinguishing between its political and military wings, acknowledging that Hizballah is a hierarchical and bureaucratic organization with a clear chain of command. Therefore the organization's terrorist and military wings answer to its senior leadership and political echelons, including its main benefactor – Iran.

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By IPT News  |  April 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm  |  Permalink

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