In The Middle East ..... The Short news!

July 13, 2006

Hizballah fires rockets at Haifa

The crisis escalates. Breaking news: "Hezbollah fires rockets at Haifa," from the BBC:

The militant Lebanese group Hezbollah has fired rockets at the Israeli port city of Haifa, reports say.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Haifa, Israel's third largest city, is situated more than 30km (18 miles) from the Lebanese border and was thought to be out of Hezbollah's range.

Iran threatens to quit nuclear treaty

1938 Alert from AFP:

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that Tehran could halt UN inspections and quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if subjected to increased pressure over its disputed nuclear programme.

The threat came the day after world powers referred the crisis back to the Security Council -- which could impose sanctions -- over a failure by the Islamic republic to respond to demands it suspend work that could lead to the production of nuclear weapons.

Iran has provoked the diplomatic equivalent of being sent to the principal's office in elementary school. A note will be sent home: "Does not play well with others."

"Up to now the Iranian people have acted within the framework of the NPT and the IAEA," the president asserted in reference to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

Sure. They're not enriching uranium in their kitchens. It's just their government that has laughed off that "framework."

"But if they reach the conclusion that Western countries do not have goodwill and sincerity... they (the Iranian people) will revise their policy," he said in comments carried by the website of Iranian state television.

Iran says it only wants to enrich uranium to make reactor fuel, and rejects accusations that it wants to acquire the capacity to make weapons.

But on Wednesday the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany decided they had lost patience with Iran.

"The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are ready to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said in a statement agreed with his colleagues from the United States, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

Iran had been offered trade, diplomatic and technology incentives as well as multilateral talks -- involving the United States -- if it agreed to a suspension.

"We express profound disappointment over this situation. We have no choice but to return to the United Nations Security Council," Douste-Blazy said.

The US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said he hoped the Security Council would be able to take action "early next week" on a draft resolution that would make a halt to Iran's uranium enrichment mandatory.

"China has agreed, Russia has agreed" on the steps to be taken, a senior US official also said, but added the specific sanctions had not yet been decided.

But Ahmadinejad told the world powers to "be patient and not disturb the current climate", arguing that Iran was still looking into the offer.

"We will try to conduct a positive examination (of the offer) and will give our reply at the end of Mordad," the Iranian month that ends on August 22, he was quoted as saying.

"We want to solve the problem calmly," he asserted, rejecting Western accusations that Iran's hardline leadership was merely trying to buy time and exploit international divisions.

But the president also repeated that "we will not renounce our absolute right to use peaceful nuclear technology" -- in yet another signal the country was unwilling to freeze enrichment.

Iran resumed enrichment in January, and has already ignored a non-binding Security Council demand for the work to stop pending the result of a three-year-old and still inconclusive IAEA investigation.

Iranian leaders have already moved to limit IAEA inspections, and have in the past threatened to follow the path of North Korea by abandoning the NPT -- the cornerstone of the global effort against the spread of nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad: World will soon witness the demise of Israel

The sooner the world witnesses the rapid collapse of this criminal's regime, the better. More Hitlerian saber-rattling from the Thug-In-Chief, via Iran Focus, with thanks to JE:

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 12 – Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the world will soon witness the demise of Israel, the government-run news agency Fars reported.

“In the near future we will witness the rapid collapse of the Zionist regime”, Ahmadinejad told a crowd in the north-western city of Jolfa.

“The nations of the region will record the names of states that support the Zionist regime alongside the Zionist’s crimes”, he added.

Afghanistan: Jihadist killed by his own grenade at religious school

Class schedule for Thursday, July 13, 2006 (17 Jumaada al-Thaany 1427 A.H.):

8:00 AM: Islamic Theology.
9:00 AM: Qur'an Memorization.
10:00 AM: Introduction to Sharia.
11:00 AM: Grenades.

The 12:00 class, Target Practice, has been canceled today due to an unfortunate accident during Grenades Class.

"Militant killed by own hand grenade," from AFP, with thanks to Kisan:

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A suspected pro-Taliban militant was killed when a grenade he was handling went off at a religious school, a security official said on Wednesday.

The man identified as Abdul Rahman died and two companions were wounded when the grenade’s pin was accidentally removed, the official said requesting anonymity.

Al Qaeda surfaces in Kashmir

Praise for the Mumbai bombings and a call for Indian Muslims to wage jihad. Jammu-Kashmir Jihad Update from IANS, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

Srinagar, July 13 (IANS) A statement faxed to the office of a local news agency here Thursday announced the formation of Al Qaeda's Jammu and Kashmir unit.

The group's spokesperson identifying himself as Abu Al-Hadeed also phoned the Current News Service saying: 'Jammu and Kashmir Al Qaeda group has been formed with Abu Abdul Rahman Ansari as its chief.'

'Those who carried out the blasts needed to be encouraged as the bombings targeted those who had oppressed Muslims in India,' he said.

The statement 'appreciated recent serial bombings in Mumbai and expressed pleasure at the serial blasts'.

It also called upon 'Indian Muslims to rise in Jehad in favour of Islam and freedom' and said the 'objectives of the group would be made public soon as the foundation of the group had been laid today in Jammu and Kashmir'.

Toronto Muslim worked as police informer within jihad cell

Now this is the sort of thing we need to see much more often. "Mounties had mole in alleged terror cell," from the Toronto Star, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

A well-known member of Toronto's Muslim community worked as a police agent to infiltrate an alleged terrorism cell that police say was planning attacks in Canada, the Toronto Star has learned.

Although his identity is now known within the community and also to some of the 17 terrorism suspects arrested June 2, his name cannot be published due to Canadian laws.

Sources say the man worked for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, and then became a paid RCMP agent once a criminal investigation was launched.

It's an offence under the Witness Protection Program Act to disclose the name of an RCMP agent.

While the names of sources in national security cases are often protected, this witness has agreed to testify in open court when his identity will be made public, sources say.

Pray, then, for his protection.

Thailand: Bomb blast kills one, wounds six in Narathiwat

Thai Jihad Update: "Bomb blast kills one, wounds six in Narathiwat," from The Nation (Thailand), with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

Narathiwat - One person was killed and six others wounded on Thursday after a bomb went off at a busy morning market in border province of Narathiwat.

The bomb went off at 9.20am, killing one soldier instantly. Three other soldiers and three villagers were wounded and taken to nearby Sungai Kolok district hospital.

The remote-controlled device was hidden in a motorcycle parked near the market in Narathiwat province, police said.

Three killed, five wounded in Kirkuk car bomb attack

Iraq Jihad Update from IOL, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

A car bomb struck a police patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk today, killing three policemen and wounding five others.

The explosion occurred at about 11.30am local time in the oil-rich city 180 miles north of Baghdad that has seen a series of recent attacks.

White House condemns Hizballah, blames Iran, Syria

A White House spokesman identifies the sponsors of Hizballah. "White House condemns Hezbollah, blames Iran, Syria," from AFP, with thanks to JE:

ROSTOCK, Germany, July 12, 2006 (AFP) - The White House on Wednesday denounced the abduction of two Israeli soldiers by Lebanese militia Hezbollah and said it held Syria and Iran responsible for the attack.

"We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the two soldiers. We also hold Syria and Iran, which directly support Hezbollah, responsible for this attack and for the ensuing violence," said national security spokesman Frederick Jones....

The United States, United Nations, Russia, Britain, Japan and the European Union condemned the kidnappings and Hezbollah rocket attacks against Israel, saying they had dangerously escalated Middle East tensions.

"We condemn in the strongest terms Hezbollah's unprovoked attack on Israel and the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers. We know that Hezbollah also launched unprovoked rocket attacks on civilian targets in Israel as part of this offensive," said Jones.

"This is a terrorist attack, and it is clearly timed to exacerbate already high tensions in the region and sow further violence," the spokesman said.

"Hezbollah terrorism is not in Lebanon's interest," said Jones, adding that the group's efforts to arm itself and carry out attacks from Lebanon are "a direct threat to the security of the Lebanese people, and the sovereignty of the Lebanese government."

Kabul: police arrest man planting bomb

The Taliban continues its jihad in Free Democratic Afghanistan. "Police arrest man planting bomb," from AFP, with thanks to JE:

POLICE in Afghanistan's capital Kabul today arrested a man they said was planting a 10-kilogram bomb outside the Information Ministry.

The arrest came a day after six other men were caught in the capital with bombs and remote-control detonators, police said.

"A terrorist was arrested while planting a bomb in front of the Ministry of Information and Culture," Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai said.

"He had some Taliban-related documents on him."

Israel hits Palestinian ministry

Israel attacks a nerve center of the jihad that has been relentlessly waged against it. The story that follows here is a detestable propaganda piece. The hopeless dhimmis of the BBC, of course, focus in the lead paragraph on the wounding of 10 people in the area; they have never shown similar attention to the long-standing Palestinian practice of launching attacks from civilian areas in hopes of provoking a response that will hurt civilians and thus allow them to score propaganda points. The Beeb also portrays Zahhar as wanting peace while the Israelis want war, a risible notion given that Zahhar represents a gang of murderous thugs who have gloried in murdering Israeli civilians for years. From the BBC, with thanks to JE:

Israeli jets have attacked the Palestinian foreign ministry building in Gaza in a new air strike, wounding at least 10 people living nearby.

Israel said the pre-dawn raid was aimed at Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahhar, who it accused of complicity in the capture of an Israeli soldier two weeks ago.

Earlier, Mr Zahhar said negotiations were the only way to end the crisis.

At least 23 civilians have died in 24 hours, including nine in one family whose Gaza City home was bombed.

The leader of Hamas's military wing was among the injured in that attack.

Mixed messages

The strike against the foreign ministry occurred at 0130 local time (2230 GMT Wednesday), when the building was likely to have been empty.

Parts of the five-storey building were destroyed, and there was widespread damage to nearby areas.

There were no reports of injuries inside the ministry, but at least 10 people, including several children, were injured in nearby homes, Palestinian medics said.

Israel confirmed the air strike on the Palestinian foreign ministry, and accused Mahmoud Zahhar and Hamas of direct involvement in "terrorism and violence".

"He had knowledge of the recent hostage taking, and he is part of a leadership that has orchestrated rocket attacks, countless rocket attacks, countless missile attacks against Israeli urban areas," said government spokesman Mark Regev.

But the BBC's Wyre Davies, in Gaza City, says that before the attack Mr Zahhar gave a series of media interviews suggesting both sides needed to make a deal.

Israel responded by bombing Mr Zahhar's office, offering a clear message, our correspondent says: Israel will not negotiate and insists that Cpl Gilad Shalit is released without conditions.

For once Israel acts as if it realizes that peace overtures from the Palestinians are hollow. Would that the BBC realized it also.

In Wednesday's violence, a couple and their seven children died when an Israeli air strike targeted the Gaza City home of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif.

Hamas denied he was in the house at the time, but the BBC has learnt that he was in fact injured in the attack.

At least 14 other Palestinians died in military action as Israeli troops occupied positions in central Gaza.

Some 80 Palestinians and one Israeli have died since Cpl Gilad Shalit, 19, was seized at a border post.

Oh, those terrible Israelis. Let the Palestinians end their jihad against Israel, and stop glorifying murder and genocide, and voila! Palestinians will stop being killed by Israeli military actions.

Israeli warplanes attack Beirut airport

Lebanon has tolerated Hizballah operating a jihad against Israel from within its borders for years. This response is long overdue. From AP, with thanks to JE:

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon on Thursday, blasting Beirut's international airport and the southern part of the country in its heaviest air campaign against its neighbor in 24 years. More than two dozen civilians were killed, officials said.

The strikes on the airport, which damaged three runways, came hours before Israel said it was imposing an air and naval blockade on Lebanon to cut off supply routes to Lebanese militants.

The airport, located in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut, was closed after the attacks and flights were diverted to nearby Cyprus. It was the first time since Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon and occupation of Beirut that the airport was hit by Israel.

Israel also fired a missile at the building housing the studios of Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Thursday morning, the channel's press officer Ibrahim Farhat told The Associated Press. One person was hurt, but the station continued to broadcast.

Fitzgerald: Olmert must go

Israel now faces war both to the north and to the south. And if Olmert's crazed plan were to be instituted, to the east as well. Israel has already given up territory to which it had a superior claim. In the case of the Sinai, which was won (twice, the first time given back in exchange for worthless promises by Nasser in 1956, and the second time for empty promises by Sadat in 1978) in a war of self-defense, and most of which had become "historic Egyptian territory" only in 1922 (this keeps being forgotten, by Israel, and by the rest of the world -- why?), the right comes from the laws of war. The claim to Sinai is the same as those which redrew the boundaries of Europe after World War II, or after World War I, and which gave Italy formerly Austrian Sudtirol, now the Alto Adige, thus completing the "elmo" (helmet) of Italy's anthem. When Italy was handed the Sudtirol, the territory was 98% ethnic German, German-speaking. Yet no one objected then, and no one objects now. Under no conditions should Italy ever hand back that territory. And there so many other such examples.

Is there to be one law for all other countries in the world, and a separate law for Israel, regarding what it wins in a war of self-defense? Is that the new rule, the rule of the O.I.C., and the U.N., and the E.U.? Sorry, that nonsense is over.

Except possibly in the mind of Ehud Olmert and those who still support his disastrous misunderstanding of the nature of Arab and Muslim opposition to Israel.

Fitzgerald: Bleeding the West

Not enough attention is given in the Western, and especially in the American, press, to all those Al Qaeda bulletins about "bleeding" the West of its economic resources. There is a keen understanding of how much this "war on terror" costs the West, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Administration, no doubt, would prefer that the public not focus on this. But the "wealth weapon," or the economic weapon, is a key instrument of the worldwide Jihad. Money that the Muslims possess is used to spread Islam, to pay for mosques, madrasas, propaganda, and Western hirelings. And simultaneously, there is an effort to bleed the West, to have it engage in the most expensive counter-measures.

The Administration appears unable to consider the cheapest ways to weaken the camp of Islam, and hence the camp of Jihad. It thinks only in expensive military terms. It thinks of huge expenditures to swat a gnat or two -- three terrorists over here, and on a good day, perhaps as many as twenty, or thirty. Are they crazy? These numbers are absurd. They are absurd by comparison with any other war. And they are absurd because these terrorists are easily replaced -- replaced by recruits who simply continue recruiting, aided by the texts of Islam, by what it says in Qur'an and Hadith.

Misunderstanders of Islam tighten grip on Mogadishu

They're instituting "strict Qur'anic rule." Well, that's a relief. Soon we will see Somalia flower as a haven of peace, tolerance, free intellectual inquiry, and scientific exploration.

What's that? They're instituting a nightmare regime of totalitarian control and draconian punishments? What are you, some kind of Islamophobe?

"Islamic militia tightens grip on Mogadishu," from the Mail & Guardian, with thanks to DFS:

A junior minister handed control of the Somali capital's sea port to Islamic militia on Wednesday, a day after they defeated hundreds of fighters who were resisting the group's strict Qur'anic rule.

Mohamed Jama Furuh, Deputy Ports Minister in the weak transitional government, handed over the Mogadishu port after days of negotiations with the radical Supreme Islamic Courts Council, whose fighters consolidated its grip on Mogadishu following ferocious fighting that ended on Tuesday.

The Islamic group took over the national asset, despite a warning issued by regional leaders last month that Somali armed groups must hand over to the beleaguered transitional government sea and air ports, together with other national assets.

Both the national sea port and airport in Mogadishu had been closed for the past 15 years, after rival armed groups in the capital failed to agree on who should run the facilities.

"We are happy and would like to see all other government infrastructure be handed over like this," said Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, one of the leaders of the Islamic group whose fighters wrested control of Mogadishu from secular warlords in June.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people returned to homes they fled to escape the latest fighting that erupted on Sunday, when Islamic fighters sought to subdue rivals. The fighting killed more than 70 people and wounded 150, and the death toll was expected to rise as severely wounded victims streamed into hospitals. The bloodshed on Tuesday was the latest sign that the increasingly radical militia would not tolerate opposition to its tightening grip on power....

The Islamic militia has grown increasingly radical since seizing Mogadishu and establishing strict courts based on the Qur'an. On Tuesday, Ahmed said Somalis should be ready for a holy war against neighbouring Ethiopia, Somalia's long-time enemy.

The Islamists have repeatedly accused Ethiopia of sending troops across the border to boost the transitional government. Somalia's interim President, Abdullahi Yusuf, is allied with Ethiopia and has asked for its support.

On Tuesday, a former member of the secular alliance, Mohamed Dheere, was meeting the interim government after spending weeks in Ethiopia trying to build support there to overcome the Islamic militia. The topics of discussion were not released.

Ethiopia denies sending troops. "The Islamic courts use these allegations to divert the truth to hide the fact that there are terrorists in Somalia," said Solomon Abebe, spokesperson for Ethiopia's foreign ministry.

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