Islamic State Guided Women in Paris Terrorist Plan - Matthew Dalton and Noemie Bisserbe (Wall Street Journal)
Islamic State militants in Syria directed a group of women who gathered materials for a car bomb left near Notre Dame Cathedral, French prosecutors said Friday.
Three radicalized women were detained Thursday after a violent clash with police, in which two officers were stabbed.
"The young women were remotely controlled by individuals located in Syria within the ranks of the terrorist organization Daesh [Islamic State]," said Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins.
One had a note that read: "Answering Abu Mohammed al-Adnani's call, I attack you on your land to strike your minds and terrorize you."
Adnani, chief spokesman for Islamic State, was killed in Syria last month.
Germany Warns of Threat from 520 "Potential Attackers" (Reuters)
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, in an interview with Bild newspaper, has warned that the country is home to at least 520 Islamic militants who could be capable of carrying out assaults on their own or as members of "hit teams."
He said another 360 "relevant" people were known to police because of their close proximity to the potential attackers.
"The terror threat now stems from foreign hit teams as well as fanatical lone wolves in Germany," de Maiziere said.
"The hit teams are secretly smuggled into Europe and prepare their actions without being noticed, as we saw with the attacks in Paris and Brussels."
See also France's Premier Warns of New Attacks, 15,000 People on Police Radar (Reuters)
Paris was put on high alert last week when French officials said they dismantled a "terrorist cell" that planned to attack a railway station under the direction of Islamic State.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Sunday, "This week at least two attacks were foiled....There will be new attacks, there will be innocent victims...this is also my role to tell this truth to the French people."
Valls said there were 15,000 people on the radar of police and intelligent services who were in the process of being radicalized.
See also ISIS Plotting to Massacre Christians in Belgian Shopping Mall - Julian Robinson (Daily Mail-UK)
ISIS fanatics are hatching a plot to butcher Christians in a shopping center using chainsaws, according to the teenage son of a radical Imam in the eastern Belgian city of Verviers, who was arrested after a video emerged of him calling in Arabic for the murder of Christians.
In a police interview, he is said to have revealed that the terror group is recruiting extremists to carry out such a massacre. He said that jihadists who went to Syria were trying to convince those who stayed at home to perpetrate terror attacks.
Verviers has been described as one of the centers of Belgian radical Islam together with the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.
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- U.S., Russia Reach Deal on Cease-Fire in Syria - Karen DeYoung
The U.S. and Russia agreed in Geneva on Friday to the renewal of a cease-fire in Syria, to begin Monday with the cessation of all air and ground attacks by all parties. If the truce holds for seven consecutive days and humanitarian aid begins to flow unimpeded to besieged areas, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. and Russia will then establish a "Joint Implementation Center" to coordinate their intelligence and air attacks against agreed terrorist targets in Syria.
Russia is to ensure that Assad's air force will no longer fly combat missions over opposition and civilian areas. "By all accounts, Assad air attacks have been the main driver of civilian casualties and migration flows" out of Syria, Kerry said.
See also Israel Skeptical of Syrian Ceasefire Agreement - Alex Fishman
Israel does not believe the newest Syria truce agreement announced by the U.S. and Russia will be implemented, excluding perhaps local ceasefires and temporary windows allowing for humanitarian aid.
See also Can the Deal to End Syria's Civil War Succeed? - Yossi Melman
The deal that was reached is not guaranteed to bring calm to the chaos. However, it does provide hope for at least some lessening of the bloodshed and lowering of the flames.
- Netanyahu Says Palestinians Want a State Without Jews
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected international criticism of West Bank settlement construction on Friday, equating it to "ethnic cleansing" of Jews and insisting the settlements are not an obstacle to peace, in a video that drew a rare rebuke from the U.S. Netanyahu said he has "always been perplexed" by claims that Israeli settlement building is "an obstacle to peace."
"No one would seriously claim that the nearly 2 million Arabs living inside Israel, that they're an obstacle to peace," Netanyahu said. "Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: No Jews. There's a phrase for that: It's called ethnic cleansing....It's even more outrageous that the world doesn't find this outrageous. Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?"
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said,
"We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful."
Netanyahu said in the video, "I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don't pursue peace." (AP-New York Times)
See also Video: Netanyahu Says Palestinians Want to "Ethnically Cleanse" Jews from West Bank - William Booth (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: On 9/11, Israel Stands Shoulder-to-Shoulder with the U.S., Its "Greatest Ally" - Herb Keinon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened Sunday's cabinet meeting by remembering 9/11, and saying that Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with "our greatest ally, the United States of America." Netanyahu said Israel also stands with other international partners in "the battle against militant Islamic terrorism that spreads its fear, dread and murder around the world. Our memories are long, our determination is boundless." Civilized societies "must band together to defeat these forces of darkness." (Jerusalem Post)
- Archeologists Are Scientifically Proving the Jewish People's Connection to Jerusalem - Tamara Zieve
Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold told the City of David's 17th Annual Archeological Conference on Thursday, "Our affinity to Jerusalem is a certain historical truth - not just a narrative," as archeologists are scientifically proving the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem.
Gold addressed "the international attempt to disengage Jerusalem from Jewish history, focusing specifically on a UNESCO resolution adopted in April which ignored Judaism's ties to its holiest site, the Temple Mount. He accused UNESCO of promoting the distortion of history.
Gold also referred to British documentation of a Jewish majority in Jerusalem in 1863, and cited U.S. jurist Stephen Schwebel's finding after the Six-Day War that Israel had "better title" in Jerusalem than other claimants.
- U.S.-Israel Aid Deal Held Up over Dispute with Congress - Josh Rogin
Israel and the Obama administration have agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a military aid package for the next 10 years which would raise annual aid from $3.1 billion to $3.3 billion starting in 2018. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the foreign affairs budget, has already marked up a bill that would give Israel $3.4 billion next year, more than the number the White House negotiated. In Graham's view, Congress has no obligation to agree to the deal, given that it was not included in the negotiations.
Graham said the MOU should be a base, not a ceiling, for how much security aid the U.S. gives to Israel. Every Democrat on Graham's subcommittee voted for his bill, and in July, 37 senators, including vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine (D-Va.), signed a letter calling on Congress to increase Israeli missile-defense funding above the administration's request.
- The Syria Deal: A Bridge to Nowhere - Eyal Zisser
The Russian and American foreign ministers have announced for the umpteenth time that a deal has been reached to end the war in Syria.
A glance at the details of the agreement reveals a lack of real content and a near-zero chance of implementation.
First, the deal fails to include a large portion of the rebel camp, most notably the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, and we can assume that the Syrian regime will be quick to violate the terms of the deal. Second, the agreement does not include any framework or practical steps to advance a political process.
The important part of the deal is the Russian-American declaration of a joint effort to combat terrorism. But Islamic State is not among the Russians' list of priorities in Syria. They are instead concerned about the moderate rebel groups that the U.S. supports, and which pose a threat to Assad's rule in western Syria. The writer, Vice Rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
Amid Cease-Fire Countdown, Syria's Conflicts Deepen - Anne Barnard (New York Times)
- The conflict in Syria is intensifying and growing more volatile.
Turkey is laying electric wires across the Syrian border to power villages it recently helped seize, a step toward establishing the "buffer zone" it has long wanted to house Syrian refugees and fend off Syrian Kurdish militants.
- Syrian Kurdish groups are moving ahead with plans for a semiautonomous area.
- In this fast-moving chess game, an informal division of Syria is continuing to take shape: a Turkish-sponsored rebel enclave in the north, Kurds restricted to the northeast, the Iran- and Russian-backed government in control of Damascus and the coast, and Hizbullah controlling large strips of territory bordering Lebanon.
- The U.S. has leaned hard on rebel groups it supports not to make new advances around Aleppo, and American-backed rebels in southern Syria have been quiescent for months on the orders of American, Jordanian and allied backers because the Americans believe any offensives would upset the cease-fire talks.
- That has aided the Syrian government's strategy of squeezing rebels out of the suburbs around Damascus. The government is forcing surrenders from besieged rebel towns near the capital and busing residents hundreds of miles to insurgent territory, in what its opponents are calling ethnic cleansing.
- The way things are going, say diplomats and analysts, by the time President Obama is gone, the non-Islamic State opposition groups could be reduced to besieged or isolated pockets, with little hope of regaining enough leverage to force the power-sharing deal that is nominally the American goal.
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