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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
August 21, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Claims Responsibility for Kidnapping and Murder of Three Israeli Teens - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    Salach al-Aruri, a senior Hamas official based in Turkey, boasted during a conference in Istanbul on Wednesday that Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades were behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June.
    "The al-Qassam's mujahedeen were the ones to carry out [the abduction]," he told an event organized by the International Union of Muslim Scholars.
    Previously, Hamas had refrained from taking responsibility for the abduction and murder.

Video: Hamas Takes Responsibility for "Heroic" Murder of Israeli Teens (International Union of Muslim Scholars)

Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Returns to Armed Struggle and Terror - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    On July 26, 2007, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced the disarmament of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement, which he heads.
    On July 22, 2014, the headquarters of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank announced an "open war against the Zionist enemy in all ways."
    On August 16, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades published a list of 30 terror attacks it had carried out in July and the first half of August in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Family of "Righteous Gentile" Featured in New York Times Story Was Hosting Hamas Terrorist - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    The New York Times on Friday ran a front-page profile on Henk Zanoli, who was awarded a medal by Israel for his family's efforts to save a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Zanoli recently returned his medal to protest an Israeli airstrike on a home in Gaza that killed six of his relatives by marriage.
    Zanoli and the Times failed to mention that a Hamas operative, Al Qassam Brigades member Mohammed Mahmoud al-Maqadma, was in the family's home at the time of the airstrike, according to publicly available information.

Headless Corpses of Four Men Found in Sinai (AFP-Times of Israel)
    The decapitated bodies of four men were found near Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai on Wednesday, Egyptian security officials said.
    They suspect jihadists had killed the victims in the belief they were supporting the army.

Israeli Ship Unloads Cargo in U.S. Despite Protest (AP)
    An Israeli-owned commercial ship unloaded its cargo at the Port of Oakland in California Tuesday night after being delayed for days by a group of pro-Palestinian protesters.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • After Journalist's Beheading, Obama Calls for "Common Effort to Extract This Cancer"
    In response to the murder of American journalist Jim Foley, President Barack Obama said Wednesday: "Let's be clear about ISIL [ISIS]. They have rampaged across cities and villages - killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims - both Sunni and Shia - by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion."
        "The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done....There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread."  (White House)
        See also U.S. Tried to Rescue Slain Journalist - Adam Goldman and Karen DeYoung
    U.S. Special Operations forces staged an unsuccessful operation this summer to rescue photojournalist James Foley and other Americans being held in Syria by Islamic State militants, according to senior Obama administration officials. (Washington Post)
  • Islamic State Warns It Has Sleeper Cells in the West - Michael Georgy and Mariam Karouny
    One Islamic State fighter told Reuters: "The West are idiots and fools. They think we are waiting for them to give us visas to go and attack them or that we will attack with our beards or even Islamic outfits....They don't know we can play their game in intelligence. They infiltrated us with those who pretend to be Muslims and we have also penetrated them with those who look like them."
        Another Islamic State militant said: "America will send its rockets, and we will send our bombs. Our land will not be attacked while their land is safe."  (Reuters)
  • Hamas Says It Fired Rockets at Off-Shore Israeli Gas Well
    Hamas said it fired two rockets at Israel's Noa gas installation about 30 km. off the coast of Gaza on Wednesday. While Noa is technically within range of Hamas rockets, the weapons are highly inaccurate and the chances of hitting a relatively small platform at sea are extremely unlikely. (Reuters)
        See also Rocket Fire on Israeli Gas Platforms - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Iran's Parliament Dismisses Minister Accused of Supporting Pro-Western Voices - Ali Akbar Dareini
    Iran's parliament impeached a minister in President Hassan Rouhani's cabinet on Wednesday. The country's science minister, Reza Faraji Dana, was dismissed over his alleged support for pro-Western voices at universities, in a rebuke to Rouhani who had called on lawmakers to support the minister. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Three Senior Hamas Commanders Killed in Gaza - Elior Levy and Yoav Zitun
    Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades announced Thursday that an Israeli airstrike killed three of its senior commanders - Rafah Division commander Raed al-Attar, Southern Division commander Mohammed Abu Shmallah and Rafah Division senior commander Mohammed Barhoum. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel Kills Senior Hamas Military Commanders in Airstrike
    Mohammed Abu Shmallah, 39, was responsible for all operations in Rafah and Khan Yunis, and was a long-time member of Hamas' core leadership in the al-Qassam Brigades. He was one of the main planners of the Kerem Shalom tunnel attack in 2006, in which two IDF soldiers were killed and Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. Raed al-Attar, 39, was an architect of the Hamas offensive tunnel network in south Gaza and took part in a long line of deadly attacks on IDF soldiers over the past twenty years. (Reuters-Jerusalem Post)
        See also Photo: Raed al-Attar (far left) with Gilad Shalit (NBC News)
  • Targeting Senior Terrorists Aimed at Reasserting Deterrence - Yaakov Lappin
    The attempt to kill Muhammad Deif, the head of Hamas' military wing, on Tuesday is one component of a wider strategy to reassert Israeli deterrence, former Israel Navy chief Vice-Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom said Wednesday. Keeping senior terrorists on the run forces them to go on the defensive and spend less time trying to murder Israeli civilians, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire 168 Rockets at Israel on Wednesday - Yoav Zitun
    Gaza militants on Wednesday fired at least 168 rockets at Israel. Some 23 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Islamic State's Campaign of Terror Will Take More than Words to Stop - Editorial
    With each day, the barbarism of the Islamist extremists terrorizing Syria and Iraq becomes more evident - as does the need for the U.S. and its allies to act more vigorously to block their rise. Islamist extremists in Syria and Iraq are training hundreds of foreign terrorists, including from Europe and the U.S., who could easily slip back into their home countries with malign intent. They proudly proclaim their enmity to America. America needs a genuine strategy in response. (Washington Post)
        See also Destroy the Islamic State Now - Gen. John Allen (ret.)
    If all the actions of the Islamic State, or IS, to date weren't sufficiently reprehensible, the brutal murder of the brave American journalist James Foley and the potential for other similar acts will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger IS poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America. Make no mistake, the abomination of IS is a clear and present danger to the U.S.
        The U.S. is now firmly in the game and remains the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence and strike capacity to deal with IS. The Islamic State is an entity beyond the pale of humanity and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later. The writer, former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, is a distinguished fellow of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. (Defense One)
  • Stop Blaming Israel and Wake Up: The Black Flag of Jihad Is the Real Threat - Douglas Murray
    There are those who think that Israel is somehow the cause of the world's problems, or that in defending themselves from Islamic extremists Israel is somehow causing Islamic extremism. Nothing could be further from the truth. The extremists of Hamas are the ideological bedfellows of the extremists of ISIS who are rampaging through Syria and Iraq, crucifying and beheading as they go.
        It is the duty of all decent people - including decent Muslims - to turn on these barbarians and make it clear they will not win. Rather than offer up beleaguered Israel, we should send another message. That the extremists will not win in their desire to take over Israel any more than they will win in their stated desire to raise the black flag of jihad over Rome, Washington, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. Israel is not the cause of the world's problems. It is simply on the front line of them. But increasingly so are we all. The writer is the Associate Director at the Henry Jackson Society. (Daily Express-UK)

The Leaders of Hamas Cannot Be Safe While They Target Innocent Civilians - Yair Lapid (Times of Israel)

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Wednesday at Platform 17, the Holocaust memorial site in Berlin:

  • What would I do if I was a German in Berlin on October 18, 1941, when the first train left this platform, heading east and on it 1,013 Jews - children, women, the elderly - all destined for death.
  • The Holocaust taught us that we must be able to defend ourselves at any price. The security of the State of Israel and its citizens must forever be in our hands alone. We must not, and we cannot, rely on anyone but ourselves. The need to survive teaches us to strike hard to defend ourselves.
  • In the past weeks, thousands of rockets were fired at our citizens, and armed terrorists dug tunnels next to kindergartens with the aim of killing or kidnapping our children. Hamas wants to kill Jews. Young or old, men or women, soldiers or civilians, they see no difference. We are Jews and that is reason enough to murder us.
  • Here in Europe, people sit in their comfortable homes, watching the evening news, and tell us that we are failing the test of morality because in Gaza people suffer more. When we explain to them that Hamas uses the children of Gaza as human shields, that Hamas sacrifices the lives of the young to win its propaganda war, people refuse to believe it. Why? Because good people always refuse to recognize the totality of evil until it's too late.
  • The leaders of Hamas, an anti-Western, anti-Semitic terrorist organization, cannot be safe while they continue to target innocent civilians. Just as every European leader would do, just as the U.S. did with Osama Bin Laden, so we will pursue every leader of Hamas.
  • This is the evil which we all face and Israel stands at the front. Europe must know, if we will fail to stop them, they will come for you. We must do everything to avoid suffering and the death of innocents, but we stand in the right place from which to say to the entire world: We will not board the train again. We will protect ourselves from total evil.

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