Syrian Army on the Offensive East of Ceasefire Zone - Chris Tomson (Al-Masdar Al-'Arabi)
A video of battle footage shows the Syrian Army capturing 20 villages in a blitz campaign in eastern Sweida province in southern Syria on Monday.
A U.S.-Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement in effect in southwestern Syria carefully excluded Sweida province's eastern countryside from the agreement.
IDF: Terror Tunnels "Will Become Deathtrap for Hamas in Next War" - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
Senior IDF officials said Thursday that while Hamas is sparing no efforts to rebuild its grid of terror tunnels, IDF countermeasures will turn them into a "deathtrap" for Hamas terrorists.
Over the past three years, the IDF has developed technological solutions to deal with the tunnel threat, and has expanded the training of soldiers for underground warfare.
Palestinian Authority Crackdown on Media Raises Alarm - Jacob Burns and Lubna Masarwa (Middle East Eye-UK)
Jihad Barakat, a journalist with the Palestine Today channel, was arrested by Palestinian security forces on Friday near Tulkarem after filming the convoy of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, marking a new attempt by the PA to drastically restrict journalism in the West Bank.
"Since the beginning of June...we have seen a big increase in the violations against journalists," said Omar Nazzal, head of the Palestinian Journalists' Union. "The number of violations the PA committed against journalists was triple the number the Israelis committed."
Israel Developing Closed-Hatch Tanks for Urban Warfare - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
Israel will soon demonstrate a smart helmet-mounted system that allows commanders to essentially see through the walls of tanks for safe and effective ground-maneuvering combat.
Developed by Elbit Systems, the Iron Vision system allows crews operating in urban environments to locate, identify, track and engage enemy forces without the commander being exposed to sniper fire.
"The important thing is to know what is happening at all times outside of the tank, while operating efficiently and safely from inside," said Brig.-Gen. Guy Hasson, chief armored officer for the Israel Defense Forces.
Symantec to Buy Israeli Cybersecurity Firm Fireglass - Liana B. Baker (Reuters)
Symantec Corp. is acquiring Israeli cybersecurity startup Fireglass, the company said on Thursday, in a deal designed to boost its products that protect corporate email and web browsing from threats.
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- Iran Still on the Hunt for Nuclear Weapons Technology Across Germany - Benjamin Weinthal
German intelligence reports shows the Tehran regime is working to illegally obtain technology and know-how to advance its nuclear weapons and missile programs, despite the 2015 agreement to curb its nuclear program.
A report from the state of Hamburg noted that the federal prosecutor filed criminal charges against three German citizens for violations of the export law due to deliveries of 51 special valves to an Iranian company that can be used for the Arak heavy water reactor.
A report from Baden-Wurttemberg's state intelligence agency outlines the technology Iran is seeking: "Products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well [as] missile technology." Iran's illegal procurement and terrorist activities are cited 49 times in the report.
A third intelligence report from last month, from another German state, says that in 2016, "German companies located in Rhineland-Palatinate were contacted for illegal procurement attempts by [Pakistan, North Korea and Iran]."
- Turks Stage Largest Show of Opposition Against Erdogan Government in Years - Kareem Shaheen and Gozde Hatunoglu
Hundreds of thousands of Turks took to the streets of Istanbul on Sunday in the largest opposition rally in years, in a serious rebuke to the government's large-scale crackdown on opponents since last year's attempted coup. The rally was the final stop in a 280-mile march from Ankara led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People's party - the main opposition party.
- President of European Parliament Rebukes MEP for Offering Platform to Relatives of Convicted Palestinian Terrorists
The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, directly admonished the chairman of the parliament's delegation for relations with Palestine (DPAL), MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis, for offering a platform to relatives of convicted Palestinian terrorists. 17 Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum had written to Tajani denouncing the delegation for hosting in Strasbourg as guest speakers relatives of two convicted terrorists, Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa'adat, under the pretext of discussing ''the situation of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails."
Swedish MEP Lars Adaktusson reminded the European Parliament president that Barghouti and Sa'adat are members of two organizations listed as terrorist by the European Union.
(European Jewish Press)
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- Palestinian Wounds IDF Soldier in Car-Ramming Attack in West Bank - Yotam Berger and Gili Cohen
Palestinian driver Muhammad Ibrahim Jabrin from Tuqua in the West Bank sped toward a group of Israeli soldiers near his village on Monday, wounding one. Jabrin then exited the car while brandishing a knife and attempted to stab the soldiers before he was shot and killed.
- Interrogation of Palestinian Terrorist Proves PA Payments Motivate Terror -
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Khaled Rajoub, who tried unsuccessfully to murder Israelis in a vehicular attack on Feb. 2, 2014, told his Israel Police interrogators that his motivation was that his family would receive monthly payments from the PA. "The important thing is that I will die and they will kill me, so that my children will receive a [PA] allowance and live happily."
"Too bad I couldn't kill anyone, and I am determined. Meaning if you release me now, I will take a car, look for soldiers, run them over, and kill them." (Palestinian Media Watch)
- ISIS, Despite Heavy Losses, Still Inspires Global Attacks - Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt
The loss of its two largest cities will not spell a final defeat for the Islamic State. The group has already shifted back to its roots as an insurgent force, but one that now has an international reach and an ideology that continues to motivate attackers around the world. Even while its physical hold slips, its surviving cadres - middle managers, weapons technicians, propagandists and other operatives - will invest their experience in the group's future operations.
Islamic State is in no way homeless yet. In Iraq, the group still controls Tal Afar, Hawija, other towns, and much of Anbar Province. In Syria,
towns are still under ISIS control in the Euphrates River valley. Many top operatives have relocated to Mayadeen, 110 miles southeast of Raqqa.
Senior American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say that more than 60,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed since June 2014, including much of the group's leadership. But those officials say Islamic State has retained much of its ability to inspire, enable, and direct terrorist attacks.
(New York Times)
- AJC: Disciples of Christ Resolution Defames Israel
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) adopted a resolution at its General Assembly in Indianapolis
which singles out Israel for harsh condemnation over its treatment of Palestinian children detained after engaging in violence against Israelis, while giving the Palestinian leadership a pass on their responsibility for violence perpetrated by Palestinian children.
The Disciples statement mirrors almost word for word a United Church of Christ resolution adopted last week. Both fail to acknowledge that Palestinian leaders continue to support violence against Israelis, regularly demonize Israel, deny Israel's right to exist, and encourage children to act violently through textbooks and paramilitary camps.
"People of good will should be encouraging negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a two-state solution, not offering transparently lopsided indictments of Israel that lead nowhere," said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. Israel has consistently demonstrated its commitment to peace, negotiating peace accords with Egypt and Jordan, and attempting innumerable negotiations with the Palestinians that they have torpedoed.
(American Jewish Committee)
- Referendum on Independent Kurdistan Puts Iran at Crossroads - Fazel Hawramy
Ahead of a referendum by Iraqi Kurds on independence in September, Turkey, Iraq and Iran have all announced their opposition. "The Islamic Republic of Iran opposes some murmurs about holding a referendum in order to separate one part of Iraq," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in June.
There are over 13 million Kurds on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border. Whether under the shah or the Islamic Republic, Iran has been the only country that has had an overall cordial relationship with Iraqi Kurds. Ironically, Iran's continuous support for the Kurdish peshmerga in past decades has ensured that the desire for independence continued burning among Kurdish fighters. (Al-Monitor)
If the Palestinians Care about Peace, Why Do They Pay Salaries to Terrorists? - Robert Fulford (National Post)
- All over the world, people take the side of the Palestinians without knowing much about them and their collective beliefs and intentions.
- For many years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) or one of its offshoots has been paying regular salaries to the families of dead or imprisoned terrorists. The 2016 PA budget says it pays relatives of "martyrs" the equivalent of $183 million a year and families of imprisoned terrorists $135 million.
The Palestinians have paid out $1.12 billion during the last four years to terrorists and their families. The money comes from foreign aid grants.
- Recently, the official Facebook page of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' party, Fatah, carried his statement: "Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary of a martyr or a prisoner."
- Fatah central committee member Jamal Muhaisen explained that the payments are connected to the "Palestinian historical narrative" and that the prisoners and martyrs "represent our Palestinian people's struggle."
- The recipients of the salaries are encouraged to believe that their actions, whether blowing up a bus or knifing an old man, are part of a sacred historic movement.
- That's the point. Many Palestinians (and certainly the leaders they elect) assume that terrorists who randomly slaughter men, women and children are heroes.
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