Posts tagged terror
IDF soldiers captured close to a dozen pipe bombs at the Salem Crossing near Jenin in the northern West Bank on Sunday, thwarting what appears to have been a major terrorist attack, possibly against a nearby military court.
Four Palestinians were arrested at the crossing and were found to be in possession of 11 pipe bombs, a homemade pistol and a commando knife. They were transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for interrogation.
The soldiers shut down the crossing and ordered the Palestinian to undress and discovered three pipe bombs. Another eight were discovered in his bag together with a homemade pistol, several bullets and a commando knife. The four were last in line to enter the Samaria Military Court when one of the soldiers stationed at the crossing, from the Military Police, spotted wires protruding from under his jacket.
“I don’t remember such a large cache of bombs caught on one person,” Lt.-Col. Erez, commander of the Haruv Battalion said. Three other Palestinians who were in line with the man carrying the weapons were also detained. The IDF suspects that the attack was planned against the Samaria Military Court, since the line the Palestinians were standing in only goes into the court and back out.
The thwarted attack came a week after the IDF captured a number of weapons in a home in Kfar Salem, near Nablus, including an M-16 and an Uzi and after the Shin Bet recorded an increase in the number of attacks in December in the West Bank. source – JPost
Capable of wiping out millions of people at one shot
Scientists who developed a deadly strain of bird flu to help create vaccines have been told their research is a terrorist threat. Dutch researchers have for the first time been able to mutate the H5N1 strain of avian influenza so that it can be transmitted easily through the air.
Previously it was thought that H5N1 bird flu could only be transmitted between humans if they came into very close physical contact. The team of scientists at the Erasmus Medical in Rotterdam were hoping their work would help with the development of drugs and vaccines to counter mutations of the disease.
But the groundbreaking investigation may never see the light of day amid fears that it could be used to develop a biological weapon.
At the end of November, MailOnline reported that there were fears the modified strain of the virus is more dangerous than anthrax and could be more dangerous than anthrax.
At the time, virologist Ron Fouchier admitted the strain is ‘one of the most dangerous viruses you can make’ but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.
The findings had been due to be published in the American journal Science, but the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity is now reviewing the paper to assess whether it should be blocked from publication.
One senior scientific advisor to the U.S. Government was last night quoted as saying ‘The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic the mortality and cost to the world could be massive. The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine.’
The mutated virus is being stored under lock and key in a basement building at the centre in Rotterdam, but is without armed guards.
Dr Fouchier, who led the study, said that by experimenting on ferrets, whose immune system is very similar to humans, it is possible to create a highly-infectious strain through just a few mutations.
The decision on whether the findings should be published has divided academics as well as security specialists.
Thomas Inglesby, of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, told the New Scientist: ‘The benefits of publishing this work do not outweigh the dangers of showing other how to replicate it.’
Some critics have said that the research should never have been carried out because there is a risk that the dangerous form of flu could escape from the laboratory.
But Dr Fouchier defended the experiment, saying: ‘We know which mutation to watch for in the case of an outbreak and we can then stop the outbreak before it is too late. Furthermore, the finding will help in the timely development of vaccinations and medication.’
A second team of independent researchers at the universities of Wisconsin and Tokyo have carried out a similar study and are thought to have found similar results, which shows how easy it is to create a more contagious strain. source – Daily Mail UK
Let’s call it a Muslim terror attack
Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.
During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.
Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in 2009, and the number of alleged plots targeting the military has grown significantly since then. Lawmakers said there have been 33 plots against the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, and 70 percent of those threats have been since mid-2009. Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, who is being held for the attacks, allegedly was inspired by radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September. The two men exchanged as many as 20 emails, according to U.S. officials, and Awlaki declared Hasan a hero.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a “direct target of violent Islamist extremism” within the United States.
“The stark reality is that the American service member is increasingly in the terrorists’ scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting,” Lieberman told Fox News before the start of Wednesday’s hearing.
In June, two men allegedly plotted to attack a Seattle, Wash., military installation using guns and grenades. In July, Army Pvt. Naser Abdo was accused of planning a second attack on Fort Hood. And in November, New York police arrested Jose Pimentel, who alleged sought to kill service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Both Pimentel and Abdo also allegedly drew inspiration from al-Awlaki and the online jihadist magazine Inspire, which includes a spread on how to “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”
Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said military service members are “symbols of America’s power, symbols of America’s might.”
“And if they (military personnel) can be killed, then that is a great propaganda victory for al Qaeda,” King told Fox News.
King said there is also evidence that extremists have joined the services.
“There is a serious threat within the military from people who have enlisted who are radical jihadists,” King said. “The Defense Department is very concerned about them. They feel they’re a threat to the military both for what they can do within the military itself and also because of the weapons skills they acquire while they’re in the military.”
The witnesses testifying before the joint session include Paul N. Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense; Jim Stuteville, U.S. Army senior adviser for counterintelligence operations and liaison to the FBI; Lt. Col. Reid L. Sawyer, director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, and Darius Long, whose son, Army Pvt. William Andrew Long, was shot and killed at an Arkansas military recruitment center in 2009.
A second private was also injured in the Arkansas attack. Both victims had just finished basic training and had not been deployed. They were outside the Arkansas recruitment center when the shooter opened fire from a passing truck. The shooter, Carlos Bledsoe, pleaded guilty to the crime earlier this year.
In a letter to the court, Bledsoe said he carried out the attack on behalf of al Qaeda in Yemen — the group that was behind the last two major plots targeting the U.S. airline industry.
“My faith in government is diminished. It invents euphemisms … Little Rock is a drive by and Fort Hood is just workplace violence. The truth is denied,” Long testified.
King said the web is the driver of the new digital jihad.
“It enables people — rather than having to travel to Afghanistan to learn about jihad or to be trained, they can do it right over the Internet,” he said. “And this is a growing role.”
And while Awlaki and his colleague Samir Khan, who was behind the magazine Inspire, were killed in a CIA-led operation in September, King warned against overconfidence that al Qaeda in Yemen was done.
“This is a definite short-term victory for us. There’s no doubt they are going to regroup, that there will be others who will be providing Internet data, inspiration to jihadists in this country, instructions on how to make bombs,” he said.
While King was heavily criticized, in some quarters, for launching his hearings 10 months ago on homegrown terrorism, the congressman said the joint session shows the threat is legitimate, and recognized as such by other members of Congress.
“To me it’s a validation of what I’ve been trying to do all year,” King emphasized. “There’s a definite threat from Islamic radicalization in various parts of our society, including within the military, and we can’t allow political correctness to keep us from exposing this threat for what it is.” source – Fox News
Remembering the day that America forever changed
written by Peggy Noonan
People are discussing the geopolitical implications of 9/11 and how the tragedy changed our country, and most of what’s been said has been worthy and serious. But my thoughts, as we hit the 10th anniversary, are more local and particular. I’m in a New York state of mind.
There were two targets, Washington and New York. Washington saw a great military institution attacked, and quickly rebuilt. In Washington people ran barefoot from the White House and the Capitol. But New York saw a world end. New York saw the buildings come down.
That was the thing. It’s not that the towers were hit—we could have taken that. It’s not the fire, we could have taken that too. They bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and took out five floors, and the next day we were back in business.
It’s that the buildings came down, in front of our eyes. They were there and proud and strong, they were massive, two pillars at the end of the island. And then they groaned to the ground and there was a cloud and when people could finally see they looked back and the buildings weren’t there breaking through the clouds anymore. The buildings were a cloud. The buildings were gone and that was too much to bear because they couldn’t be gone, they couldn’t have fallen. Because no one could knock down those buildings.
And it changed everything. It marked a psychic shift in our town between “safe” and “not safe.” It marked the end of impregnable America and began an age of vulnerability. It marked the end of “we are protected” and the beginning of something else.
When you ask New Yorkers now what they remember, they start with something big—the first news report, the phone call in which someone said, “Turn on the TV.” But then they go to the kind of small thing that when you first saw it you had no idea it would stay in your mind forever. The look on the face of a young Asian woman on Sixth Avenue in the 20s, as she looked upward. The votive candles on the street and the spontaneous shrines that popped up, the pictures of saints. The Xeroxed signs that covered every street pole downtown. A man or a woman in a family picture from a wedding or a birthday or bar mitzvah. “Have you seen Carla? Last seen Tuesday morning in Windows on the World.”
The bus driver as I fumbled in my wallet to find my transit card. “Free rides today,” he mumbled, in a voice on autopilot. The Pompeii-like ash that left a film on everything in town, all the way to the Bronx. The smell of burning plastic that lingered for weeks. A man who worked at Ground Zero told me: “It’s the computers.” They didn’t melt or decompose, and they wouldn’t stop burning. The doctors and nurses who lined up outside St. Vincent’s Hospital with gurneys, thinking thousands would come, and the shock when they didn’t. The spontaneous Dunkirk-like fleet of ferries that took survivors to New Jersey.
The old woman with her grandchild in a stroller. On the stroller she had written a sign in magic marker: “America You Are Not Alone, Mexico Is With You.” She was all by herself in the darkness, on the side of the West Side Highway, as we stood to cheer the workers who were barreling downtown in trucks to begin the dig-out, and to see if they could find someone still alive.
The notes neighbors left under each other’s doors. “Are you OK? Haven’t seen you and just thought I’d make sure all is all right.” The flags in every bodega, on every storefront, in the windows of apartments, up and down the proud facades of Park Avenue. My beautiful cynical town covered in flags, swept by love and protectiveness toward our country.
At first we didn’t know what to call it, so we called it what happened. “Do you believe what happened?” “They think he died in what happened.” It was weeks before we called it 9/11. Sometimes tragedy takes time to find a name.
We were half crazy those days. We were half nuts and didn’t know it. The trauma on Tuesday was followed in the middle of Thursday night by a storm, a howling banshee that shook buildings—thunder like a cannonade, lightning tearing through the sky. And then there were the stories. We kept hearing about guys who dug themselves out of the rubble. We’d hear a guy came out of the rubble and said, “There’s 20 firemen down there in an air pocket,” and we’d all put on the news and it was never true. I will never forget this one: As the first tower went down some guy on the 50th floor grabbed a steel girder that was flying by, and he held on for dear life and it landed on a pile of rubble 30 floors below and he got up, brushed himself off, and walked away. That wasn’t true either. The stories whipped through the town like the wind, and people grabbed onto them.
And there were the firemen. They were the heart of it all, the guys who went up the stairs with 50 to 75 pounds of gear and tools on their back. The other people who were there in the towers, they were innocent victims, they went to work that morning and wound up in the middle of a disaster. But the firemen saw the disaster before they went into it, they knew what they were getting into, they made a decision. And a lot of them were scared, you can see it on their faces on the pictures people took in the stairwells. The firemen would be going up one side of the stairs, and the fleeing workers would be going down on the other, right next to them, and they’d call out, “Good luck, son,” and, “Thank you, boys.”
They were tough men from Queens and Brooklyn and Staten Island, and they had families, wives and kids, and they went up those stairs. Captain Terry Hatton of Rescue 1 got as high as the 83rd floor. That’s the last time he was seen.
Three hundred forty-three firemen gave their lives that day. Three hundred forty-three! It was impossible, like everything else.
Many heartbreaking things happened after 9/11 and maybe the worst is that there’s no heroic statue to them, no big marking of what they were and what they gave, at the new World Trade Center memorial.
But New York will never get over what they did. They live in a lot of hearts.
They tell us to get over it, they say to move on, and they mean it well: We can’t bring an air of tragedy into the future. But I will never get over it. To get over it is to get over the guy who stayed behind on a high floor with his friend who was in a wheelchair. To get over it is to get over the woman by herself with the sign in the darkness: “America You Are Not Alone.” To get over it is to get over the guys who ran into the fire and not away from the fire.
You’ve got to be loyal to pain sometimes to be loyal to the glory that came out of it. source – Wall Street Journal/Written by Peggy Noonan
The U.S. has received specific and “credible” intelligence that al Qaeda militants in Pakistan may be pursuing a plot to carry out car or truck bombings in Washington and New York City, timed with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said.
U.S. officials said they received the intelligence within the last 48 hours, and that they are taking it seriously because of its proximity to the 9/11 anniversary. As one sign of the importance with which it is being handled, President Barack Obama was briefed on the threat multiple times on Thursday, and directed U.S. intelligence officials to “take all necessary steps to ensure vigilance,” a White House official said.
Officials didn’t specify the nature of the plot, or whether it was to target tunnels, bridges or specific sites. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was briefed twice on the threat Thursday and called it “very specific, and it’s credible, but so far it has not been confirmed.”
The U.S. has long been aware of al Qaeda’s interest in carrying out a 9/11 anniversary attack, in part because of materials seized by U.S. forces in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. The government already had begun to intensify security at airports, train stations, military bases and public buildings in anticipation of a possible attack.
The threat comes as Americans and officials across the country, including President Obama and former President George W. Bush, are set to mark the anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday with high-profile events at each site of the attacks—New York City, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon in Virginia. source – WSJ
As the September deadline approaches, terror attacks rise in Israel
In the 10 days after Palestinian raiders killed eight Israelis on the Eilat highway on Aug. 18, Israel has suffered five terrorist attacks, the latest in Tel Aviv Sunday night which targeted a big teenagers’ back-to- school party. Five of the eight people injured were police officers and the club’s security guard. Israeli failure to respond commensurately to the Eilat Highway attack, the first in the series, blew another big hole in Israel’s military deterrence.
The policy of military restraint pursued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak was shown by the Tel Aviv attack by a Palestinian jihadi yelling Allah Akhbar to have crossed a dangerous red line: Civilians are being left in harm’s way to serve diplomatic interests such as not further straining relations with the new rulers in Cairo. Israel received due warning ahead of the Eilat highway attack, for which15-20 gunmen from Gaza crossed into Israel from Egyptian Sinai. But no preventive action was taken. Eight Israelis paid with their lives for this restraint and another 33 were inured.
Since then, Israel has received a specific warning that another attack is building up fast: A Jihad Islami team has departed the Gaza Strip for Sinai where it has set up another multiple attack from the Egyptian border on southern Israel.
debkafile’s military sources say this warning is a red herring. The Iranian-sponsored coordinated strike is planned to be more elaborate than the first, consisting on a raid on a southern Israeli highway near the Egyptian border and another assaulting civilian locations abutting the Gaza Strip, already battered year after year by Palestinian missiles.
Palestinian Jihad Islami, which declared a missile ceasefire last Thursday, Aug. 25 – to fend off a damaging Israeli reprisal for the first Palestinian attack and the 150 missiles fired into Israel since then – saw Israel was sitting on its hands and was encouraged to go for more outrages.
debkafile’s military sources report that Israel sent notice of this threat to Cairo last week in the expectation of Egyptian action to thwart the attack before it reached the Israeli border. However, nothing was done and as the peril advanced, Jerusalem let the public know Monday, Aug. 29, that Egypt was in the picture in the hope of prodding its rulers into action.
But failing military action, sovereign Israel is shrinking back under a terrorist threat. Sunday night, dire security concerns closed two national highways, 12 and 10, to traffic, suspending the road links between northern Israel and the South – causing major disruptions in the entire affective region. Even contractors on a rush job to finish the defensive wall going up along the 200-kilometer Egyptian border were told to wait for adequate security measures.
Since last week, Jerusalem has been on high terror alert level. Various signs of preparation for several attacks in the capital were spotted by security forces at sensitive locations.
Since the onset of the latest Palestinian terrorist-cum-missile offensive, popular pressure on the government has increasingly demanded seriously punitive action for cutting the offensive short and providing a deterrent for the future. After the Eilat Highway attack, the prime minister publicly pledged due punishment for the perpetrators. Now, his spokesmen are explaining that Israel needs to act with restraint, “using its brain not its gut,” because of the approaching Palestinian application for UN recognition on Sept. 20 – which is anyway a lost battle for Israel because of the Palestinians’ automatic majority – and the incendiary climate engendered by the Arab revolts in the lands around Israel.
Such statements are worse than counter-productive; they are harmful.
Palestinian extremists treat them as open invitations to batter Israel without fear of IDF retaliation. The belief in Jerusalem that if Israel let terror goes unpunished – or even foiled – this will guarantee Israel a smooth, bloodless ride past Sept. 20 is no more than a foolish illusion. Faced with an unthreatening Israel, Palestinian terrorists have never felt safer to do their worst. The level of violence will rise rather than decline around that date.
A spineless Israeli government is thus leading the country day by day down a slippery slope to the next Palestinian uprising (Intifada).
It is no coincidence that these circumstances are strongly reminiscent of the situation which produced the suicide-powered Palestinian uprising of 2000, because it happened during Ehud Barak’s brief stint as prime minister. Then too, he instructed Israeli soldiers not to shoot straight at Palestinian positions but dip their guns and aim at the foreground. This of course did not put Yasser Arafat off and went right ahead to blow up buses, markets and cafes across Israel’s cities, a hellish experience lasting two years.
Barak did not last long as prime minister; popular frustration with his passivity was expressed in a vote for his ouster from power.
But he has not changed.
This Monday, shortly before a Palestinian from Nablus set about him among Israelis with a knife after running them down in a stolen cab, a “senior defensive official” stated in a briefing to foreign correspondents that Israel would not be able to halt Iran’s quest for atomic weapons by a single attack.
Declining to be identified, he said: “We’re not talking about Iraq or Syria where one strike would derail a program” – a reference to Israel’s 1981 air strikes that destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor and Syria’s plutonic plant in 2007.
He concluded that the US stood a better chance than Israel of forcing Iran to change its mind about a nuclear weapon. “With all respect to Israel – the greatest fear of the [Iranian] regime is the USA.”
The admission that the Iranians fear American military strength – but not Israel’s – is tantamount to a formal acknowledgement that Israel has lost its military deterrence.
Binyamin Netanyahu and his right-of-center Likud have much to answer for.
A pledge to eradicate Iran’s military nuclear program topped their election platform two and a half years ago. Since forming a broad coalition government in 2009, he has not lifted a finger to promote that objective or stem Iranian expansion across the Middle East and its boosts in arms and funding for Israel’s terrorist enemies.
Netanyahu seems to be satisfied with passing the buck to America, knowing perfectly well that President Barack Obama has no intention of picking it up. The Netanyahu-Barack duo have opted for the same passive approach to Palestinian terror – as though that too is someone else’s business. source – DEBKA
First ever Palestinian bonds sold
Let’s not forget, that no matter how much they try to repackage it, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In their own charter and papers of incorporation, they call the the destruction of Israel. But don’t take my word for it, listen to what they have to say about it.
So today they announced the raising of $70 million dollars in a bond sale to provide funds for “tourism”. This is one of many first steps they are taking n a bid for statehood.
“The transaction raised $70m for the Palestinian Development and Investment Co, with the money coming from Palestinian and Jordanian banks. The proceeds will be used towards building a new power plant as well as a tourism centre on the West Bank. The move comes amid tentative steps towards a planned declaration of an independent Palestinian state later this year.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been encouraging private companies to issue bonds, and plans to sell some itself, according to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. ”The Palestinian Authority is determined to build the foundations of an independent state,” said Mr Fayyad. The PA has previously indicated it would declare statehood this summer and has lined up many governments ready to recognise it as such. The ability to borrow money via the bond market will be of more than purely symbolic importance.
Israel suspended the transfer of tax revenues to the PA last week in response to the reconciliation agreement between the ruling Fatah faction and Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. The tax transfers represent about 70% of the PA’s revenues.” source – BBC