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Israel: Iran Received 12 Cruise Missiles with a 3,000-Km Range from Ukraine, Capable of Carrying Nuclear Warheads - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
Hizballah Highly Skilled at Infiltrating Technology, Experts Say - Marina Jimenez (Globe and Mail-Canada)
Russia to Transport Natural Gas to Israel - Ofer Petersburg
Saudi Scholars: Enemy's Defeat is "Obvious" (SITE Institute)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The German government disclosed Tuesday that it had freed Hizballah member Mohammed Ali Hammadi, 41, who had been convicted of hijacking a TWA airliner in 1985 during which U.S. sailor Robert Dean Stethem was murdered, despite long-standing requests from the U.S. to hand him over for trial. The State Department said Tuesday that the U.S government still wanted to put Hammadi on trial. (Washington Post)
See also Who Was Robert Stethem? - Mark Crawford
When the plane was at the Beirut airport in Lebanon, Petty Officer Stethem was singled out because he was in the U.S. military. After many hours of being cruelly beaten, tortured, and finally killed by the terrorists, they threw his body from the plane in a final disgraceful, cowardly act. The wounds were so terrible that his body had to be identified by its fingerprints. Throughout the ordeal, Robert Stethem did not yield, and instead encouraged his fellow passengers to endure by his example. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroism and bravery. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery. (American Victims of Islamic and Arab Terrorists)
Insurgents could be using satellite images from the popular website Google Earth to mount attacks on British and American bases in Iraq, defense experts said Saturday. "Websites like Google Earth give these people [insurgents] the possibility of leveling the playing field a bit. If you can locate a target on the image it will give you very accurate co-ordinates and a terrorist will know exactly where to aim a missile. If you also have a GPS then you know exactly where you are and you can sit there with your PC and look at these very high resolution satellite images and you will know where to fire your missile from and what to fire it at," said Brian Collins, a professor of information systems at Cranfield University. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the IDF to prepare for an expected terror wave from the Gaza Strip, in a meeting with IDF Southern Command officials Tuesday. The defense minister estimates that terror groups, headed by Hamas, are planning to resume their violence in full force ahead of the upcoming Palestinian elections, scheduled for late January. "The Palestinian Authority isn't functioning in the Strip, there's no guiding hand," he said. "Palestinian security forces are not following the PA chairman's orders." (Ynet News)
On Sunday, after Palestinians fired a Kassam rocket from Gaza that landed not far from an Israel Electric Corporation power plant south of Ashkelon, Israel told the PA that it planned to shut off power for two hours in the early hours of Monday morning, as a warning of things to come if the rocket fire did not stop. Implementation was postponed to give the main Palestinian hospital in Gaza time to purchase emergency generators. Five Palestinian rockets struck Israel Tuesday, one at an army base. The Red Dawn warning system in Sderot went off twice Tuesday evening, sending the town's residents scurrying for shelter. (Ha'aretz)
See also Ashkelon to Get Rocket Warning System - Yuval Azoulay
The industrial zone south of Ashkelon will be connected to the Red Dawn rocket launch warning system within two weeks, the Israel Defense Forces has promised, after two Kassam rockets landed in the zone during the past week. The IDF decided to make the system operational only in the industrial zone since it does not believe that Palestinian terrorist organizations are capable of launching rockets into the city itself as of yet. The city council said it wanted to prevent the sirens from sending residents into panic throughout Ashkelon when most parts of the city are out of firing range. (Ha'aretz)
PA Chairman Abbas is expected to visit Cairo soon for talks with President Mubarak on the possibility of delaying next month's parliamentary elections, PA officials in Ramallah said on Tuesday. According to the officials, Egypt supports postponing the elections for fear that Hamas would score a landslide victory. Abbas is also under tremendous pressure from many members of Fatah to call off the elections because of the continued power struggle in the ruling party. However, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Tuesday that "postponing the elections will lead to violence, chaos, and bloodshed." Hamas said Tuesday that parliamentary elections were the only way to rid the Palestinians of the many crises they are facing. (Jerusalem Post)
At least 15 masked Fatah gunmen armed with rifles and pistols stormed the Bethlehem Municipality building in Manger Square on Tuesday, demanding money and jobs in the PA security forces. Their demands included recruiting more than 320 Fatah militiamen to the security forces, resuming monthly payments to each one of them, and guarantees that Israel would stop pursuing them. The attackers left the building 90 minutes later after receiving assurances from PA Chairman Abbas that their demands would be met.
In Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, about 100 Fatah gunmen on Tuesday occupied the local governorate headquarters to demand jobs and money. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Palestinian Gunmen in Gaza Kidnap Foreign School Administrators
Palestinian gunmen abducted a Dutch school principal and his Australian deputy Wednesday, as they drove to work at a private American school north of Gaza City. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's combustive rhetoric about wiping out Israel, denying the Holocaust, and asserting Iran's inalienable right to nuclear power - a potential cloak for developing nuclear weapons - have triggered alarm bells around the world. The president is believed to be devoted to the cult of the 12th Imam, the Shi'ite savior better known as the Mahdi, whose return would usher in an apocalyptic revolution of the oppressed over the forces of injustice.
In September, he told Newsweek: "Our religion prohibits us from having nuclear weapons." After his recent outbursts, nobody takes him at his word any longer. We have been here before. History would have been different if Hitler had stuck to painting and Pol Pot to teaching. Once again, it's three minutes to midnight. (Sunday Times-UK)
Authorities fear that they have unearthed only the tip of a larger network of North African militants in Europe, many tied to the Algeria-based Salafist Group for Call and Combat (in French, GSPC). The group has developed an extensive European exile support network, now with much broader ambitions. Some U.S. officials now believe that the GSPC, after years of contacts with al-Qaeda leaders, has formally allied itself with bin Laden.
GSPC operatives have been implicated in several serious plots, including Ahmed Ressam's attempt to blow up the Los Angeles airport in 1999 and one against the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, in 2000. The GSPC kidnapped 32 European tourists in the Algerian desert in 2003, and more recently claimed responsibility for an attack on a remote Mauritanian Army post that killed 15 soldiers.
U.S. officials say they have picked up signs that the GSPC is working with Zarqawi to direct foreign fighters to Iraq. Some U.S. officials believe there might be times when Zarqawi is receiving more foreign fighters than his group can safely absorb and that some could get diverted to North Africa to reinforce the GSPC. (U.S. News)
Israeli Security Experts: How to Deter an Iranian Attack - C. Hart (WorldNetDaily)
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