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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
March 29, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Easter Sunday Suicide Bombing Targets Pakistan's Christians, 72 Killed - Adam Taylor (Washington Post-Reuters)
    At least 72 people died in a suicide bombing at a park in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday where Christians were celebrating Easter Sunday.
    A faction of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attack.
    A rescue services spokeswoman said at least 29 children, 7 women and 34 men had been killed and 340 people wounded.
    See also Pain in Pakistan over Shattered Lives - Daniyal Hassan (New York Times)

Report: Hamas Pulling Forces Out of Sinai - Maayan Groisman (Jerusalem Post)
    According to Palestinian reports, Hamas sent a six-man force through the tunnels into Sinai on Friday to kidnap one of its members there, Ghassan Arjani, who had refused to obey orders to return to Gaza.
    The mission was a sign of Hamas' pledge to Egypt to eliminate its presence in Sinai.

Iranian MP Joins Revolutionary Guards Fighting in Syria - Maayan Groisman (Jerusalem Post)
    Ali Mohammad Ghafari, 60, a member of the Iranian Parliament, has recently joined Iran's Revolutionary Guards forces fighting in Syria, Iranian news sites reported.
    He said, "I am heading to Syria to sacrifice myself for Sayyidah Zeinab," whose shrine in Damascus is a major Shi'ite symbol.

Georgia Passes Anti-BDS Legislation (JTA)
    The Georgia State Senate approved legislation in a 41-8 vote on March 24 that forbids the state government from contracting with individuals or companies that fail to certify that they are not boycotting Israel or businesses in Israeli-controlled territories.
    The Georgia House of Representatives passed the measure in a 95-71 vote two days earlier.

A Safe Haven for Terrorists in Brussels - Matthew Levitt (Politico)
    The municipality of Molenbeek, a subsection of Brussels, is a terrorist safe haven in the heart of the capital of the European Union, and no one quite knows what to do about it.
    Only 8 of 114 imams in Brussels speak any of the local languages.
    The majority Muslim municipality of about 100,000 people is the second poorest in the country. Islamic State offers residents a fast track from zero to hero.
    Salafism [a radical Islamist ideology] is mainstream in Belgium.
    The writer is Director of the Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Islamic State Planning "Imminent" Attack on Jewish Schools in Turkey - Sam Kiley
    Terrorists from the Islamic State have advanced plans to murder Jewish children in Turkey, targeting kindergartens, schools and youth centers. Information on what intelligence officials described as an "imminent" attack was obtained from six IS operatives arrested last week. "This is a more than credible threat. This is an active plot," an intelligence source said. (Sky News-UK)
  • Israel: Russian Air Power in Syria Remains Robust - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Russian air power in Syria remains substantial, with newly deployed attack helicopters replacing many of the fighter bombers that returned home, a senior Israel Air Force officer said. Russian President Vladimir Putin "changed the shape of the forces, but he didn't evacuate. He's brought in different assets and returned things he had less use for....Now there's more emphasis on air support by attack helicopters....He still has a significant force there [with which] he can do almost whatever he wants."
        Contrary to expectations of a large-scale withdrawal, Israeli intelligence assessments project a protracted Russian presence in Syria, including indefinite deployment of S400 air defenses. The officer praised the professional manner in which Israeli and Russian forces have been working to prevent unintended clashes in the skies over Syria. (Defense News)
  • Long Before Brussels, ISIS Sent Terror Operatives to Europe - Rukmini Callimachi
    In the two years before the deadly assaults in Paris last November and in Brussels this month, Islamic State dispatched at least 21 operatives trained in Syria to carry out small attacks meant to test and stretch Europe's security apparatus, according to court proceedings, interrogation transcripts and records of European wiretaps obtained by the New York Times. Yet local authorities repeatedly discounted each successive plot, describing them as isolated or random acts, the connection to the Islamic State either overlooked or played down.
        "They have been contemplating external attacks ever since the group moved into Syria in 2012," said Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael T. Flynn, who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014. "All of the signals were there," said Michael S. Smith II, a counterterrorism analyst. "For anyone paying attention, these signals became deafening by mid-2014."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hijacked EgyptAir Plane Not a Terrorist Incident - Jack Khoury
    An Egyptian airliner forced to make an emergency landing in Cyprus on Tuesday was hijacked by an Egyptian national initially thought to be wearing an explosives belt, but who turned out to be acting for personal rather than terrorist motives. Cypriot television reported that the man's ex-wife lives in Cyprus. EgyptAir said it had negotiated the release of all on board except four foreigners and the crew, while 56 passengers were allowed to disembark. (Ha'aretz-Ynet News)
  • Jerusalem Muslim Cleric Who Called for Slaughter of Jews Convicted of Incitement - Nir Hasson
    The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court has convicted Muslim preacher Omar Abu Sara of incitement to violence. A video shows him speaking at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on November 28, 2014, saying: "I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come. The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come."
        Abu Sara claimed that he was merely quoting the Koran, but Judge Shmuel Herbst did not agree. Herbst wrote, "I look at the defendant and see before me a person. It is a great pity that he looks at me and sees the image of a monkey or a pig, whose fate it is to be slaughtered without mercy."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Unite to Defeat Radical Jihadism - Peggy Noonan
    Radical jihadism is not going to go away, not for a long time, probably decades. It will not be effectively fought with guilt, ambivalence or double-mindedness. That, in the West, will have to change. The jihadists' weapons and means will get worse. Right now it's guns and suicide vests. Their future weapons will be more sophisticated and deadly.
        As Graeme Wood wrote a year ago in "What ISIS Really Wants," "We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide...and that it considers itself a harbinger of - and headline player in - the imminent end of the world." ISIS is essentially "committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people."
        Asked to state his exact strategic goals vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, former President Ronald Reagan replied: "We win, they lose." That's where we are now. The "they" is radical Islamic jihadism. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Is Turkey Planning to Destabilize Lebanon? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
    The Turkish leadership saw the uprising in Syria and Egypt as an opportunity to intervene and change the regimes opposed to Turkey's policies in the Middle East and replace them with Islamic regimes close to Turkey's ideological stand. In both countries, the Islamic opposition was headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, natural allies of Turkish President Erdogan.
        In Syria, Turkish Military Intelligence (MIT) was instructed to assist rebel factions opposed to the Assad regime almost from the very first days of the civil war. Turkey chose to shelter, train, arm, and finance rebel groups, and allow almost total free movement of jihadists inside Turkey en route to their units in Syria.
        It now appears that in its efforts to destabilize Assad, Turkey may have chosen to take advantage of the already boiling situation inside Lebanon between Hizbullah and its Sunni opponents and try to provoke a renewed civil war in Lebanon, a situation that would force Hizbullah to withdraw its troops from Syria and return home to fight. Sending weapons to radical Sunni Islamists in northern Lebanon is but the tip of the iceberg. A ship loaded with weapons supposedly destined for Muslim radicals in northern Lebanon was intercepted by the Greek Coast Guard on February 28, 2016.
        Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • UK Funds Hand-Outs for Palestinian Militants, Killers - Mark Wood and Nick Craven
    Thousands of Palestinian terrorists, including men who have masterminded suicide bombings and murdered children, are given cash handouts from aid money, according to a Mail on Sunday investigation. In the West Bank and Gaza, despite promises by the ruling Palestinian Authority (PA) to end the practice of paying aid money to convicted terrorists, they simply duped the West by allowing the Palestine Liberation Organization to hand out the cash instead.
        The PA openly admits supporting terrorists whom it hails as heroes, awarding lifetime payments that rise depending on time spent in jail and the seriousness of crimes. One Hamas master bomber has reportedly been given more than £100,000. Other "salaries" go to the families of suicide bombers and even teenagers involved in the latest upsurge of deadly attacks on Israel. (Mail on Sunday-UK)

BDS Is the Modern Form of Anti-Semitism - Ronald S. Lauder (Jerusalem Post)

  • There is a worldwide effort to isolate Israel. To undermine Israel. To destroy Israel. It is called the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Our enemies, having failed to destroy Israel militarily and economically, are trying to destroy Israel politically.
  • BDS tries to present itself as some sort of democratic movement concerned with human rights. That's a lie. BDS is an international campaign to incite hostility toward Israel and the Jewish people.
  • The BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies. BDS has no interest in peace and no interest in improving the daily lives of Palestinians. Its real aim is the destruction of Israel.
  • BDS seeks to boycott Israeli goods, Israeli scholars, Israeli doctors. But these academic boycotts are no different than the Nuremberg laws that kept Jewish professors out of German universities.
  • Academic boycotts run counter to the very mission of colleges and universities. Colleges and universities should encourage the free flow of ideas. But too often, we have seen Israel's viewpoint shouted down or shut out.
  • Schools that condone hate speech should be exposed. Alumni and donors who care about Israel need to make their voices heard. They should pressure university boards of trustees to punish hate speech against Israel. And we should not hesitate to bring legal actions. We will take on the anti-Semites. And we will win.

    The writer is president of the World Jewish Congress. This is based on his speech at Monday's Yediot Aharonot anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem.

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