ISIS Fighter Reveals ISIS-Sinai's Ties to Hamas (MEMRI)
A letter posted on social media on Feb. 24 by ISIS fighter Abu 'Abdallah Al-Muhajir, a Gazan who joined ISIS in Syria, confirms the close ties between ISIS' Sinai province and Hamas.
Abu 'Abdallah says ISIS fighters in Sinai are smuggling weapons into Gaza for Hamas; Hamas is producing weapons and explosive devices for ISIS Sinai; Hamas is providing logistical assistance to ISIS Sinai, including communications systems and hospitalization for its wounded fighters in Gaza; and ISIS Sinai officials are visiting Gaza and dining at the homes of Hamas government and military officials.
See also below Observations: Egypt's Leaders View Israel as an Ally - Ben Caspit (Al-Monitor)
Egypt Parliament Expels MP for Dining with Israeli Ambassador (AFP)
More than two-thirds of Egypt's parliament voted on Wednesday to dismiss parliament member Tawfiq Okasha for hosting Israel's ambassador to Cairo Haim Koren at a dinner last week.
See also Security Ties Not Affecting Egyptian Public's Hatred of Israel - Ariel Ben Solomon (Jerusalem Post)
Chinese Muslims Fighting with Al-Nusra in Syria - Mohanad Hage Ali (Al Arabiya)
Fighters from China's Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang province are in Syria.
A year ago, there were hundreds of Uighur fighters in Syria, belonging to the Al-Nusra Front-allied Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP). Today, according to several sources, there are several thousand Uighur fighters.
The Uighur militants reportedly moved into Syria following a Chinese-backed Pakistani campaign against their bases on the borders with Afghanistan.
Gulf Arab States Designate Hizbullah a Terrorist Organization (Reuters)
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) named Hizbullah a terrorist organization on Wednesday.
The council already imposed sanctions on Hizbullah in 2013 after it entered Syria's war in support of President Assad.
GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani accused Hizbullah of committing "hostile acts" against GCC states, including recruiting men to carry out "terrorist attacks, smuggling weapons and explosives, stirring up sedition and incitement to chaos and violence."
Cisco Buying Israel's Leaba Semiconductor for $320 Million (Reuters)
Cisco Systems said on Wednesday it plans to acquire Israel's Leaba Semiconductor, a designer of networking chips, for $320 million.
Indiana Passes Bill Banning Anti-Israel Boycotts (JTA)
The Indiana Senate voted 47-3 on Tuesday to approve a bill banning state dealings with entities that boycott Israel or territories it controls.
The state House of Representatives passed the measure in January.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- NATO Commander: Refugee Crisis Masking Infiltration of Terrorists to Europe and U.S. - L. Todd Wood
NATO's top commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that ISIS is using the Syrian refugee crisis to "mask the movement" of terrorists infiltrating Europe and the U.S. He said the Islamic State was "spreading like cancer" among the flow of migrants from the Middle East, "taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own."
Breedlove also said Russia's indiscriminate bombing of civilians is intended to "get them on the road" to Europe, where they can weaken the EU and NATO with violence and division. Russia is thus "weaponizing" the Syrian refugees. He added that at least 1,500 ISIS fighters have returned to Europe.
- Jordan Troops Hunt Militants at Syria Border
Jordanian security forces killed several Islamist militants on Tuesday in the northern city of Irbid near the border with Syria, security officials said. A Jordanian police officer was also killed in the sweep against sleeper cells of sympathizers of hard-line Islamist groups. Most of the wanted fugitives were holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the heart of the city.
Jordan has put on trial and sentenced dozens of militants who returned from Syria, some of whom were recruited by Syria's al-Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front, or the Islamic State group. (Reuters-New York Times)
See also Islamists Killed in Irbid Had Ties to Islamic State and Planned Attacks in Jordan - Omar Akour
Seven men killed in armed clashes with Jordanian special forces had ties to Islamic State and had planned attacks on military and civilian targets in the kingdom, the country's intelligence service said Wednesday. The men killed in the raid wore explosives belts, and weapons and explosives were found at the scene.
- Ex-Spy Links Argentine Government to AMIA Prosecutor Nisman's Death
Antonio "Jaime" Stiuso, the former operations chief of Argentina's Intelligence Secretariat (SI), on Tuesday accused the government of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of being responsible for the death of AMIA bombing prosecutor Alberto Nisman on Jan. 18, 2015. The Argentine media reported that Stiuso said Nisman's death "was intimately linked with the complaint that he made" accusing the Kirchner government of deciding to "not incriminate" former senior officials of Iran and trying to "erase" their roles in planning the bombing.
Stiuso had assisted Nisman in the investigation into the 1994 attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish center, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded. According to Stiuso, Nisman was murdered for not stopping the investigation, as Kirchner had requested. "She decided to negotiate the pact with Iran and ordered the SI to stop providing evidence or information to the AMIA case," Stiuso reportedly said.
See also Nisman's Murder to Be Investigated by Argentine Federal Court - Luciana Bertoia (Buenos Aires Herald-Argentina)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israeli Policeman Stabbed near Jericho Thursday - Gili Cohen
An Israeli policeman was wounded Thursday by a 14-year-old Palestinian female as he was directing traffic on a highway in the Jordan Valley village of Auja in the West Bank. The assailant was arrested.
See also Two Israeli Soldiers Stabbed in West Bank Wednesday - Elisha Ben Kimon
Two Palestinian terrorists stabbed and wounded two soldiers in Har Bracha in the West Bank on Wednesday and then fled.
See also No Longer "Lone Wolves," Palestinian Attackers Pair Up - Avi Issacharoff
Palestinian attackers are now setting out in pairs, sometimes even in threes, to kill Israelis, in a shift from the previous lone-wolf style of attacks.
(Times of Israel)
- Report: No Education toward Two States in Palestinian Textbooks - Dov Lieber
Israel is routinely left off maps, Israeli cities are said to be in Palestine, martyrdom is celebrated, and there is not a single mention of the Holocaust in more than 70 official Palestinian Authority textbooks, Israel Radio reported Tuesday. Palestinian affairs correspondent Gal Berger looked over textbooks for grades 1-12 and found a systematic blurring out of Israel's existence. "In the textbooks of the Palestinian Authority, there is no education towards two states or a Palestinian state [alongside Israel] within the '67 lines," he said.
In the Palestinian history books for grades 10-12, there are full chapters dedicated to World War II but no mention of the Holocaust, Berger reported. A fourth grade textbook invites the children to write about a Palestinian martyr of their choice.
(Times of Israel)
- The Delusion of Separation from the Palestinians - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
The Palestinians have no interest in "separation" because their struggle is being waged against Zionism, not just the occupation of the 1967 territories. Their objective is the 1948 territories, which is why, even after the separation from Gaza, the terror from Gaza continued.
If, in line with the idea of separation, the building of the fence is completed and a few Jerusalem neighborhoods are transferred to the Palestinians' rule, will their goals change? And if some of the settlements are moved to blocs, while the IDF keeps operating in all of the territories, will these steps bring an end to the terror? The terror will only intensify, both because it will get a tailwind and because it will be easier to mount attacks.
Most Jews hope for a real peace based on the principle of dividing the homeland into two national states with mutual recognition and appropriate security arrangements. Yet most of the Palestinians, who reject the existence of the Jewish people and of a Jewish historical bond to the Land of Israel, see their aim as the defeat of Zionism.
After the first stage, with the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, this state will keep working for Palestinian sovereignty in Haifa and Jaffa. The writer was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.
- Hamas Is to Blame for Gaza's Terrible State, Not Israel - Ben-Dror Yemini
Gaza has a 40% unemployment rate, no electricity during most of the daylight hours, and polluted water that does not always flow. The only relief comes in the form of hundreds of supply trucks that arrive daily from Israel. This is the last barrier that prevents hunger. Don't say it's Israel's fault. The day Israel left Gaza was supposed to be a turning point. For the first time in history, the Palestinians got independence and sovereignty over territory.
Egypt and Jordan, which controlled Gaza and the West Bank, respectively, from 1949 to 1967, never dreamed of giving the Palestinians independence. An independent Gaza could have become a model of welfare and prosperity. They could have sent a message to the whole world - and particularly Israel - that they can be trusted. This did not happen. They chose the industry of death and hate.
Anywhere an Islamic organization takes over, the result is destruction and ruin. It has nothing to do with Israel. It has to do with the essence of political Islam. It does not know how to build. It knows how to destroy. The same is happening in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Sinai, and Libya. (Ynet News)
Egypt's Leaders View Israel as an Ally - Ben Caspit (Al-Monitor)
- Egypt's higher stratums view Israel as an important, powerful ally in regional struggles.
Egyptian President Sisi, in an interview with the Washington Post in March 2015, said he speaks to Prime Minister Netanyahu frequently, sometimes several times a month. In reality, Sisi talks to Netanyahu even more than that, and not only to Netanyahu.
- On the list of Egypt's close allies, Israel is a front-runner. Many of the interests of the two countries have converged and complement one another. Even the list of enemies held by Israel and Egypt includes the same names, more or less.
- "Sisi understands the situation," said a high-ranking Israeli security source. "He knows exactly whom he can trust in the region and whom he can't. He knows what's good for Egypt and, under the correct circumstances, what's good for Egypt is also good for Israel."
- Sisi is also well-acquainted with Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. They once served in parallel positions in the Israel Defense Forces and the Egyptian army and their cooperation extends over many years.
- Intelligence information is almost totally shared between the sides with regard to the struggle against the Islamic State (IS) branch in the Sinai Peninsula. Israel and Egypt also rely on one another in their joint struggle against Hamas.
- According to a high-placed Israeli military source, "The efficacy of the Egyptian army in its war against IS is gradually improving. This is true for intelligence, for preciseness and for rapid response. The Egyptians know that Gaza's Hamas provides IS with military experts, they know that wounded Sinai IS operatives are treated in Gaza, they know that there is a direct, close connection between the sides. Thus, they try to block all passageways between the Gaza Strip and Sinai."
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