Reader posted links for July 1 – 2015

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In order to preserve the flow of conversation about various posted items, and also in order to make it easier for visitors to find the list of related links being shared by other readers, regulars and interested parties in one place, each day a post is automatically created at a minute past midnight ET.

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

63 Replies to “Reader posted links for July 1 – 2015”

  1. Pentagon: Afghan forces inadequate to fight Taliban (washingtontimes, June 30, 2015)
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/30/afghani-forces-inadequate-to-fight-taliban/

    “Afghanistan defense forces suffered a whopping 59 percent increase in battlefield casualties the past six months compared with 2014, mostly by the national police force, which remains ill-equipped to counter Taliban offenses and/or to hold recaptured territory, says a new Pentagon report.

    The downsized U.S.-led coalition has handed over virtually all the fighting to the Afghan Defense and Security Force. It numbers over 300,000, for which the national police make up about half.

    Yet as important as the police (ANP) and adjunct local police militias (ALP) are to protecting the regime, the force remains dogged by corruption as well as poor leadership and tactics, states the Pentagon’s latest biannual report on the nearly 14-year war…..”

  2. ‘Religion of peace’ is not a harmless platitude

    The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

    In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. It is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris. And it is what David Cameron said yesterday after 38 people, mainly British, were murdered on a beach in Tunisia and a man was beheaded in France.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/06/religion-of-peace-is-not-a-harmless-platitude/

  3. Sharia Watch UK and Vive Charlie are pleased to announce our plan to host a UK ‘Mohammed Cartoon Exhibition’ in Central London in September 2015. The event has been organised in honour of the cartoonists, bloggers, and artists around the world who risk their lives in defence of free expression, and of those who have been murdered in this cause.

    We are further delighted to announce that Mr Geert Wilders, Member of Parliament of the Netherlands, will speak at the event.

    Anne Marie Waters, Director of Sharia Watch UK said: “We at Sharia Watch and Vive Charlie are delighted that Mr Wilders has agreed to attend and speak at our exhibition. It is vital, in this era of censorship and fear, that we stand together in defiance and demand our right to free expression. We will not, and cannot, succumb to violent threats. The outlook for our democracy depends on the actions we take today. We owe it to future generations to pass on the freedom we have enjoyed”.

    http://www.shariawatch.org.uk/articles/mohammed-cartoon-exhibit-uk#.VZOxmhtVikq

  4. 15 security sites attacked simultaneously in North Sinai, says IS

    Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province, previously known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for the ongoing attacks on military sites in North Sinai that have killed at least 20 soldiers so far.

    In a statement circulated on Twitter accounts affiliated to the group, IS explained that its allies had mounted 15 simultaneously attacks on military sites, including “martyrdom operations” on Al-Arish’s officers club and two checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid.

    Eleven checkpoints and a police station in Sheikh Zuweid were attacked by militants using missiles, the statement added.

    As reported by news outlets, the group said that it had prevented reinforcements from approaching the attack sites, and used air defence missiles in response to attacks by Egyptian military jets.

    Sinai Province has claimed responsibility for a number of large-scale attacks across Egypt.

    In October last year, at least 31 security officers and soldiers were killed in two separate attacks on military checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid and Al-Arish.

    Moreover, the group claimed in January that it had raided six different military and police sites in North Sinai in attacks which left at least 44 killed.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/134246/Egypt/Politics-/-security-sites-attacked-simultaneously-in-North-S.aspx

    LIVE UPDATES – Largest attack on restive Sinai in years leaves dozens dead

    Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province launch simultaneous attacks on security sites in North Sinai

    At least 20 Egyptian policemen and soldiers have been killed and 30 wounded in ongoing clashes with IS-affiliated militants in North Sinai on Wednesday, an official source said, marking the first major attack in the restive peninsula in five months.

    The security source, who preferred to remain anonymous until an official statement is issued, said 38 armed men have also been killed in the clashes that continue in the city of Sheikh Zuweid, according to Ahram’s Arabic news website.

    16:15 Romain Nadal, spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expresses his condolences to the families of the Sinai attack victims, says France will stand by Egypt in its war against terrorism.

    16:15 Army spokesman releases two aerial photographs showing militants’ vehicles hit by the Egyptian air force in North Sinai.

    The militants are running away in the picture, he adds.

    16:05 Italian foreign ministry condemns the terrorist attacks in Sinai and says Italy will continue to support the Egyptian government.

    “Egypt is a pillar of stability in the region and the escalation of the terrorist threat will not succeed in weakening the determination of its people and government,” the statement read.

    15:55 A senior official at Al-Azhar, Abbas Shoman, condemns today’s violent terrorist acts in Sinai because they are “against the teachings of God and Islam.”

    The main role of Al-Azhar, the most important Sunni Islamic institute in the world, is to spread correct Islamic knowledge and stress the sanctity of human life, he adds.

    15:50 Two explosions are heard in the North Sinai city of Rafah, which borders the Gaza Strip, Reuters reports, citing security sources and witnesses.

    The cause of the blasts is not immediately clear.

    15:45 Former liberal parliamentarian Amr Hamzawy, a government critic, states on Twitter: “God bless the martyrs of the homeland and Sinai. The taking of all blood is forbidden, every justification for terrorism is corrupt, and all celebrating over the dead bodies is morally shocking.”

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/134218/Egypt/Politics-/LIVE-UPDATES-Largest-attack-on-restive-Sinai-in-ye.aspx

    • 13 ‘terrorists’ killed in Cairo’s October 6 suburb – security source

      CAIRO, Jul 1 (Aswat Masriya) – Thirteen “terrorists” were killed by Egyptian security forces after a gunfire exchange in Cairo’s October 6 suburb on Wednesday, a security source said.

      This comes in tandemn with ongoing clashes in between security forces and militants in North Sinai.

      The nine were killed in a raid on headquarters that they were using to hide, the source added.

      On Tuesday, three “terrorists” were killed in the same neighbourhood while trying to bomb a car in the vicinity of the October 6 Police Station, security sources said.

      Meanwhile, attacks on security checkpoints and facilities have left 60 casualties among security personnel, ranging from deaths to injuries, a security source said.

      The attacks were followed by clashes with militants. So far over 30 militants have been killed in the clashes, the source added.

      The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq last November, changing its name to Sinai Province.

      http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=6a71c6f6-e2e7-494f-94e8-75edb605badc

      ==========================================
      Islamic State: Militant attacks kill at least 36 in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

      An unprecedented wave of Islamic State (IS) attacks on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula has killed at least 36 people — mostly troops — with the toll expected to rise, officials say.

      Security sources said five military checkpoints and a police station were targeted by militants.

      The dead included several civilians, according to security and medical officials, who said 38 militants were also killed as they battled soldiers and policemen in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid.

      The attacks were the most brazen in their scope since jihadists launched an insurgency in 2013 following the army’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

      “It’s war. The battle is ongoing,” a senior military official said.

      “It’s unprecedented, in the number of terrorists involved and the type of weapons they are using.”

      Militants took over rooftops and fired rocket-propelled grenades at a police station in Sheikh Zuweid after mining its exits to block reinforcements, a police colonel said.

      IS said its jihadists were surrounding the police station after launching the morning attacks on 15 checkpoints and security installations using suicide car bombers and rockets.

      In a statement released online, IS said it had carried out the multi-pronged assault that involved three suicide bombers.

      “In a blessed raid enabled by God, the lions of the caliphate have simultaneously attacked more than 15 checkpoints belonging to the apostate army,” the group said.

      Security and medical officials said ambulances could not get to the scene of the attacks because of heavy fighting in which the military brought in Apache helicopters.

      “Ambulances are waiting in front of the hospital,” a health official said.

      “They can’t leave. People are bringing in the casualties.”

      A medic said one woman killed in the clashes had been brought to hospital by civilians.

      Islamic State claims attacks in online statement

      Troops regularly come under attack in the Sinai, where jihadists have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since Morsi’s overthrow.

      The most active militant group in the region is Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to IS.

      IS urged its followers to escalate attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which started in mid-June, though it did not specify Egypt as a target.

      The attacks came two days after the country’s top public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was assassinated in a car bomb attack on his convoy in Cairo.

      He was the most senior government official killed in the jihadist insurgency.

      President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged to toughen laws and suggested fast-track executions following Mr Barakat’s death, and a cabinet meeting on Wednesday was expected to pass the amendments.

      The government designated Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist group” in December 2013, as part of a crackdown on the opposition that has left hundreds of his supporters dead and thousands in jail.

      Courts have sentenced hundreds to death, including Morsi, who was convicted of involvement in attacks on police stations.

      His sentence is being appealed.

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-02/islamic-state-attacks-kill-at-least-36-in-egypt-sinai/6588410

      video – CAIRO explosion in the October 6 suburb –

      • Egyptian army kills 9 Muslim Brotherhood members in Cairo attack

        Amongst those killed in a flat in the Sixth of October area was a former MP

        Nine members of the Muslim Brotherhood group were killed by Egyptian security forces in a flat in the Sixth of October area in Cairo on Wednesday.

        An anonymous security source told the Egyptian daily Watan that Nasser al-Hafi, a former member of parliament, was amongst the dead.

        Another security official called the Muslim Brotherhood members as “militants” and said that the group were hiding in a den in the flat. The official maintained that the group opened fire first, and in the resulting gun battle, nine were killed.

        According to Muslim Brotherhood sources, the nine killed were well known lawyers and belonged to a legal team that represented imprisoned MB supporters.

        The incident comes hours after militants pledging allegiance to the Islamic State staged a string of large-scale attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. The clashes are ongoing with at the Egyptian army sending in jets to bomb parts of the Sinai. So far, at least 36 mainly soldiers have been killed although some media has put the figure at above 50.

        The Egyptian authorities have repeatedly accused the Muslim Brotherhood of backing the militants, although the Muslim Brotherhood denies this.

        http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/9-muslim-brotherhood-members-killed-cairo-688879342

  5. Germany: Germany’s first interest-free Islamic bank Kuveyt Turk opens in Frankfurt

    […]SOT, Gurbuz Gunduz, KT Branch Manager for Frankfurt (German): “Our bank doesn’t invest in speculation, we don’t invest in arms, prostitution, alcohol, tobacco and gambling. Everything that is related to speculation and is not compatible with Islamic values is no target group for us. We think that Islamic values are universal and because of these universal values we don’t work in the fields I have mentioned before.”

    Germany’s first non-interest Islamic bank, the Kuveyt Turk (KT) Bank, opened its doors in Frankfurt, Wednesday.

    Islamic banking practices adhere to the legal system of sharia law, which prohibits the acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money, whether the paying is floating or fixed. Furthermore KT, in accordance with sharia law, is prohibited from investing in businesses that provide goods which are considered haram (sinful) including businesses which trade in weapons, alcohol, gambling and prostitution among others. Its target group are the 4.5 million Muslims residing in Germany.

    Apart from Frankfurt, branches of the KT Bank have opened in Mannheim and Berlin with further offshoots planned in Cologne, Hamburg and Munich.

    https://ruptly.tv/vod/view/30920/germany-germanys-first-interest-free-islamic-bank-kuveyt-turk-opens-in-frankfurt

  6. ITALY – Ten arrested in Italian-Albanian anti-terror swoop

    Ten people, including Italians, Albanians and a Canadian suspected of supporting ISIL were arrested on Wednesday in an operation in Italy and Albania, Italian police said.

    The 10 were detained in three Italian cities and an unnamed location in Albania, a statement said, adding that some were suspected of helping Italians to reach Syria to fight for ISIL.

    They included four Italians, five Albanians and one Canadian.

    They were suspected of violating Italian anti-terrorism laws, including one that prohibits organising trips to support foreign terrorist groups.

    The arrested included Italians who had converted to Islam and Albanians living in Italy. The investigation began after police discovered that an Italian woman who had converted to Islam left for Syria with her husband to join ISIL.

    Searches and arrests were carried out in the northern cities of Milan and Bergamo and in the Tuscan city ofGrosseto, where those detained included a family of Albanian nationals.

    The role of the Canadian citizen was not clear in the statement. Police were holding a news conference later on Wednesday to disclose details.

    In a separate operation in Rome, police said they had arrested two people from north Africa suspected of running an website that incited readers to plan attacks in Italy and the Maghreb countries of north Africa.

    http://www.worldbulletin.net/news/161534/ten-arrested-in-italian-albanian-anti-terror-swoop
    ======================================

    2 North Africans arrested in Italy for plotting terror attacks

    Rome : Italian police on Wednesday arrested two North Africans on suspicion of planning Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist attacks in Italy and the Maghreb. A third suspect is already in custody for alleged terrorism in Morocco.

    The cell was allegedly plotting terror attacks in Italy and North Africa — besides one at the Moroccan capital Rabat’s annual Mawazine music festival in 2012 which was thwarted by Italian and Moroccan authorities.

    Police did not say where in Italy the two suspects were arrested but said warrants were issued by prosecutors in the Italian capital, Rome.

    Wednesday’s ‘Jweb 7’ police operation followed the identification by investigators of a website allegedly set up by the suspects to indoctrinate and train recruits, police said.

    Also on Wednesday, 10 suspected Islamic State supporters were arrested in Italy and Albania, in one of Europe’s first operations against the extremist group.

    Interior Minister Angelino Alfano praised the security forces for Wednesday’s arrests, which he said had “dealt a severe blow to terrorist cells located in Italy”.

    “Our (anti-terrorism) laws are working and are showing themselves to be indispensable to national security,” Alfano said.

    http://twocircles.net/2015jul01/1435765172.html

    —————————————————————————————————————————–
    video ( In Italian )

    • ITALY – Lombardy mayor calls for radical mosques across Italy to be shut down

      Italy should follow the example of Tunisia who in the aftermath of the Sousse terror attack which killed 39 people said it would close dozens of mosques accused of extremist preaching

      The governor of Lombardy has called for radical mosques to be closed down in Italy in the wake of the Tunisia terror attack.

      Roberto Maroni, who leads Italy’s most economically important region, said that the country should follow the example of Tunisia, which is to close dozens of mosques accused of extremist preaching as part of a security crack down following last week’s attack in Sousse.

      Mr Maroni said the security of Italy’s citizens should be the country’s primary concern.

      “If Tunisia has closed some mosques, it means that it is a road that we have to consider and also follow,” said Mr Maroni, who is a member of Italy’s Right-wing Northern League party. “So I hope that the interior ministry and the government do not bow to ideologies of any kind, and focus instead on the safety of citizens and eventually, if necessary, on the closing of the mosques.”

      Habib Essid, Tunisia’s prime minister, said political parties with radical beliefs, as well as those with suspicious funding, would be closed down. Around 80 mosques known for extremist preaching will also be shut.

      Simona Bordonali, head of security and immigration in Lombardy, echoed Mr Maroni’s wish to see similar mosques closed in Italy.

      “I hope that we don’t have to witness a terrorist attack in Italy before realising that we have to tackle radical Islam,” she said.

      “Tunisia, after the shocking attack in recent days, has decided to close 80 mosques which are known to incite violence and religious hatred. I hope that the Italian government takes similar preventive measures and acts to limit the dangers. ”

      However, there are fears that recent terrorist attacks in Europe and north Africa have allowed anti-Islamic racism to spread in Italy. In January, a regional government commission in the northern Lombardy region approved a bill that placed limits on the opening of new, non-Catholic places of worship.

      The bill also stipulated that security cameras should be installed in places of worship, sparking opposition from the centre-Left and from civil liberties advocates.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11709585/Lombardy-mayor-calls-for-radical-mosques-across-Italy-to-be-shut-down.html

      • Isis: Family of Italian female jihadist Maria Giulia Sergio arrested in antiterror operation

        Italian antiterrorism police have arrested 10 people who were allegedly preparing to go to Syria to fight for Islamic State (Isis).

        The suspects – four Italians, five Albanians and a Canadian – are all linked to infamous Italian Muslim convert Maria Giulia Sergio, 27, who travelled to the Middle East in 2014 along with her Albanian-born husband to fight for the jihadist group.
        ***************************************************************************
        Sergio’s parents and sister are among those arrested, according to Italian media reports. Antiterrorism police wiretapped conversations between the young woman and her parents, in which Sergio urged them to “hate the unbelievers and cut their heads”.
        ***************************************************************************
        “I can’t wait to die as a martyr,” she said, according to L’Espresso magazine, which published some extracts.
        *****************************************************************************
        “Dad, you are called by Islam, you are the master at home: bring mum here in Syria. You are her husband: she’s obliged to obey,” she said in another wiretapped conversation.
        ****************************************************************************
        The suspects were detained in Milan, Bergamo, Grosseto and in an unnamed Albanian city.

        The five Albanians, who are connected to Sergio’s husband, have been accused of organising the trip to Syria and recruiting foreign fighters for the extremist group.

        A few dozen Italian residents or citizens are fighting within the ranks of IS in Iraq and Syria.

        Italy has also expelled several Islamic militants in the past year.

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-family-italian-female-jihadist-maria-giulia-sergio-arrested-antiterror-operation-1508758

  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-33347117

    A family of 12 from Luton, including a baby and two grandparents, could have travelled to Syria after going missing, police have said.
    They have not been seen since 17 May after visiting their home country of Bangladesh.
    It is believed the family stopped in Turkey on their way home before entering the war-torn country.
    A statement from relatives in the UK said they were “devastated” and the disappearance was “out of character”.
    Bedfordshire Police said it had not confirmed whether the family had crossed the border, but inquiries were ongoing. It has not said whether any family member was on any terror lists.
    null
    The family is:
    Muhammed Abdul Mannan, 75, and his wife Minera Khatun, 53
    Their daughter Rajia Khanom, 21, and sons Mohammed Zayd Hussain, 25, Mohammed Toufique Hussain, 19, Mohammed Abil Kashem Saker, 31, and his wife Sheida Khanam, 27
    Mohammed Saleh Hussain, 26, and his wife Roshanara Begum, 24, along with three children, aged between one and 11
    null
    The BBC understands Muhammed Mannan has diabetes and his wife Minera Khatun has cancer.
    The couple live in Luton with other family members.

  8. German Chancellor Merkel joins iftar, calls Islam ‘part of Germany’

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has attended an iftar for the first time as the German head of government, repeating once again that Islam “is a part of Germany.”

    “It is obvious that Islam is a part of Germany,” Merkel said in her speech at the iftar held at Villa Borsig, the official guest house of the German Foreign Ministry, in Berlin on Tuesday. Calling for more inter-religious trust and respect for Islam in Germany and across Europe, Merkel described Ramadan — the holy month of Islam when Muslims fast during daylight hours — as a time when Muslims reflect and examine their lives.
    *************************************************************************************
    Recalling the increase in the number of violent acts perpetrated in the name of different religions in recent years, Merkel said that “it is unfortunate that most of these acts are attributed to Islam.”
    **************************************************************************************
    Merkel also said she does not approve of discrimination against German Muslims and opposes those who regard Muslims with suspicion because she considers that Islam is part of Germany.

    **********************************************************************************
    Merkel’s pro-Islam statement comes after her clear repudiation of anti-immigration and anti-Islam marches led by a German group called Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) in January, when she first said that Islam belongs to Germany. Merkel accused PEGIDA and its representatives and supporters of having “hatred in their hearts.”
    **********************************************************************************
    “Hatred, racism and extremism have no place in this country… We are a country based on democracy, tolerance and openness to the world,” Merkel was quoted as saying in mid-January. In her speech on Tuesday, while discussing attacks on mosques in Germany, Merkel said that incidents targeting places of worship are “a blow to all of us” because these attacks go against freedom of religion and democracy. She added that it is important not to remain silent about this issue.

    During the iftar, Merkel was joined by Integration Minister Aydan Özo?uz, a German politician of Turkish origin, Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany (KRM) spokesperson Nurhan Soykan, Central Council of Jews in Germany (ZJD) President Josef Schuster, Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm and Central Committee of German Catholics (ZDK) President Alois Glück.

    This was the first time Merkel has attended an iftar as German chancellor. Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert has also announced that Merkel is planning to host an iftar for the first time next year. Seibert said the iftar is expected to be held in the building of the Chancellery and will host representatives of Muslim civil society organizations in Germany. According to Seibert, the iftar will become an annual event.

    http://en.cihan.com.tr/en/german-chancellor-merkel-joins-iftar-calls-islam-part-of-germany-1811483.htm

  9. EGYPT – JULY 01 2015 – Islamic State attack in Egypt’s North Sinai kills more than 100

    Islamic State insurgents attacked several military checkpoints in Egypt’s North Sinai on Wednesday in a co-ordinated assault that killed more than 100 people – one of the biggest militant strikes in Egypt’s modern history.

    Soldiers, policemen, civilians and militants were among the dead.

    Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility and said that it had attacked more than 15 security sites and carried out three suicide bombings.

    Egypt’s armed forces said that at least 100 militants and 17 soldiers had been killed.

    One security source said about 300 militants, armed with heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weaponry, had taken part in the attacks while the army said five checkpoints were hit and the fighting had raged for more than eight hours.

    The assault – a significant escalation in violence in the Sinai Peninsula that lies between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal – was the second high-profile attack in Egypt this week. On Monday, a bomb killed the prosecutor-general in Cairo.

    The insurgents, who have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, want to topple the Cairo government and have stepped up their campaign since 2013, when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood after mass protests against his rule.

    Sisi, who regards the Brotherhood as a threat to national security, has since overseen a harsh crackdown on Islamists.

    Security sources said the militants had planned to lay siege to the town of Sheikh Zuweid.

    “But we have dealt with them and broke the siege on Sheikh Zuweid,” one of the sources said.

    Army F-16 jets and Apache helicopters strafed the region. Soldiers had destroyed three SUVs fitted with anti-aircraft guns, the army said.

    BOOBY TRAPS AT SHEIKH ZUWEID

    Security sources said militants had surrounded a police station in Sheikh Zuweid and had planted bombs around it to prevent forces from leaving.

    The militants also planted bombs along a road between Sheikh Zuweid and al-Zuhour army camp to prevent the movement of any army supplies or reinforcements. They also seized two armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition, the sources said.

    “We are not allowed to leave our homes. Clashes are ongoing. A short while ago I saw five Land Cruisers with masked gunmen waving black flags,” said Suleiman al-Sayed, a 49-year-old Sheikh Zuweid resident.

    Ambulance medic Yousef Abdelsalam said he was at the entrance to Sheikh Zuweid but could not enter because of warnings that the road was rigged with bombs.

    Witnesses and security sources also reported hearing two explosions in the nearby town of Rafah, which borders Gaza. The sources said all roads leading to Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid were shut down. The interior ministry in the Gaza Strip, run by the Islamist Hamas group, reinforced its forces along the border with Egypt.

    “It is a sharp reminder that despite the intensive counter

    terrorism military campaign in the Sinai over the past 6 months, the IS ranks are not decreasing – if anything they are increasing in numbers as well as sophistication, training and daring,” Aimen Dean, a former al Qaeda insider who now runs a Gulf-based security consultancy, said in a note.

    CAIRO CARNAGE

    In Cairo, security forces stormed an apartment in a western suburb and killed nine men whom they said were armed, security sources said.

    The sources said authorities received information the group was planning to carry out an attack. Among those dead was Nasser al-Hafi, a prominent lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood and a former lawmaker. The Brotherhood denied the group was armed.

    Islamic State had urged its followers to escalate attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which started in mid-June, though it did not specify Egypt as a target. In April, the army extended by three months a state of emergency imposed in parts of Sinai.

    The army has taken several measures to crush the insurgency. Besides bombardments in the region, they have destroyed tunnels into the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip and created a security buffer zone in northern Sinai. The army is also digging a trench along the border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling.

    Under the terms of Egypt’s 1979 peace accord with Israel, the Sinai is largely demilitarized. But Israel has regularly agreed to Egypt bringing in reinforcements to tackle the Sinai insurgency, and one Israeli official signaled there could be further such deployments following Wednesday’s attacks.

    “This incident is a game-changer,” an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

    The courts have sentenced hundreds of alleged Brotherhood supporters to death in recent months. Mursi himself, and other senior Brotherhood figures, also face the death penalty.

    Sisi’s government does not distinguish between the now-outlawed Brotherhood – which says it is committed to peaceful activism – and other militants.

    The cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft anti-terrorism law, which it said would “achieve quick and just deterrence”.

    “Any terrorist or criminal attacks that aim to sow chaos … will be confronted,” the cabinet said, citing the interior minister.

    • I figured as much about Michael Oren. He made all the ambiguous and wrong moves Doran singles out here. Oren’s seen the light, fine, but I wouldn’t vote for him if I were an Israeli.

      (Doran’s piece about Obama and Iran is devastating, by the way. See the link near this article.)

      Great that Oren’s making a lot of noise and has everybody’s attention now. He’s got enormous credibility because he spent most of his life as a typical, wide-eyed American- Jewish- liberal- Democrat. The kind he excoriates in the book and the ones who are even now dreaming of 8 years with Hillary.

      Fact is, the O administration hit Israel with a sledgehammer while our fair-haired boy was serving as ambassador. That it took so much for him to wake-up is itself a comment. Dyed in the wool liberal finds himself on the road to Damascus. Yet he chose to align himself with a center-left party when he returned to Israel.

      As Americans we’re all stunned at the depravity of our executive branch, the occupation of the White House by the enemy. Getting the low-down on the State Dept from the inside holds a perverse fascination, like listening to ex-Mohammedans retail their experiences.

      If I sound harsh, it’s because I know others like Michael Oren. Ones who have yet to be hit personally with the sledgehammer.

      At least he chose to stand up and speak out now. As a soldier, he showed exceptional courage under fire in two wars. We’ll see how that plays out in the political theatre.

    • Turkey Uneasy as U.S. Support of Syrian Kurds Grows
      ISTANBUL — The United States has stepped up its military support for Syrian Kurdish militias fighting the Islamic State, efforts that have angered Turkey, a longtime ally and NATO member, which is now weighing new measures to contain the ambitions of the Kurds, including a buffer zone within Syria.

      […] Turkey, which has long supported groups seeking the ouster of Mr. Assad, has been accused by the United States and other Western allies of enabling the Islamic State through lax border policies that allow the free flow of foreign fighters and supplies. Turkey has denied this, but officials and the pro-government news media that support them have suggested they see Kurdish autonomy in Syria as a greater threat to Turkey than ISIS.

      After the recent takeover of Tal Abyad, for instance, Sabah, a pro-government newspaper here, ran a headline that read, “The P.Y.D. is more dangerous than ISIS.” […]

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/world/middleeast/turkey-uneasy-as-us-support-of-syrian-kurds-grows.html?_r=1

  10. EGYPT – Islamist militants in Sinai rely on sophisticated networks of support, military experts say

    Ahram Online spoke to two military experts on implications of Wednesday’s of IS group terrorist attack on the Egyptian army in North Sinai on Wednesday

    Major General Hisham El-Halaby who teaches at the National Defence College of the Nasser Military academy- told Ahram Online that the initial number of militants who attacked the army in North Sinai earlier in the day was around 70.

    “Those 70 who attacked the forces in Sheikh Zuweid represented the first wave of attackers. The total number of attackers throughout the day might exceed 300 elements or even more. This is a new technique that the militants have been using in their operations,” El-Halaby explained.

    However, El-Halaby says that there were gaps in the military’s preparedness, which were capitalised on by the militants who receive instructions from foreign intelligence agencies.

    He believes that the perpetrators — whom he described as highly organized and trained — sought to deliver several messages through this attack, whether in terms of its timing or organization, or the type of deployment of the elements that implemented it.

    “The militants attempted to control new territories around their current strongholds in the areas of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah — just as their sister groups have been doing in Iraq and Libya — in order to begin to expand west towards the Suez Canal areas.

    “This plan failed,” said El-Halaby.
    *********************************************************************************
    Within security institutions — including the military — El-Halaby said there is a belief that the militant operation was planned by foreign intelligence agencies.

    “We are facing intelligence bodies that chose the timing, prepared the attack and the elements that executed it, seeking to confront the Egyptian state and military.”
    ********************************************************************************
    El-Halaby reasoned that the weapons used in Wednesday’s attack are usually owned by armies, not other armed groups operating in the Nile Valley or Delta region.

    El-Halaby explained that anti-aircraft and C4 explosives used on Wednesday by the IS group are “ten times powerful than TNT explosives,” which are used elsewhere in Egypt by other Islamist militants.

    El-Halaby said he also believes some Sinai Bedouins lend support to the militants by selling them with “modern and expensive vehicles” that “most probably have legal registration.”
    *************************************************************************
    “Some rights groups, whose members are above suspicion, provide a legal cover for transactions that Islamists need completed to access money to spend on operations, he claimed.
    *************************************************************************
    On the ability of authorities to gather intelligence, El-Halaby believes it is a difficult task to fulfill in such “a complex environment.”

    “Militants adopt a counter-tactic of spreading false information, but unfortunately we have to admit there is a shortage in information that we or nobody else can overcome.”

    “For instance, some sites for weapons storage have not been discovered yet. Also some tunnels are still functioning efficiently and these allow elements who are based in the Gaza Strip to pass through them. One of them was discovered in the past few days, and most probably it was used in this operation.”

    Meanwhile, Major General Talaat Moussa, former head of Egypt’s military intelligence, concurred Ahram Online that some Bedouins support hundreds of domestic and foreign Islamist militants that execute armed operations against government forces in Northern Sinai.

    “They [militants] have been present in Northern Sinai for a while, they didn’t all come out of the blue. Why didn’t the Bedouins report this issue to the government? There is definitely a common interest between both sides”, he said.
    **********************************************************************
    Moussa believes that primary indicators about the planning, preparation and implementation of Wednesday’s militant attack “point to the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially after considering the timing and aim of the attack.”
    ***********************************************************************

    He believes that the [beleaguered] Muslim Brotherhood has recently managed to regain its “strategic balance” and reorganised itself through cooperation with other movements abroad – groups which also harbour the Brotherhood’s goal of “confronting the Egyptian state, bringing down the regime and proving that the armed forces are incapable of handling such confrontation.”
    ***************************************************************************
    “Such arrangements took place in Turkey via leading figures of the international Muslim Brotherhood organisation. They are all partners in the terrorist attacks’ claimed Moussa.
    ***************************************************************************
    The aftermath of the militant operation should make security forces adopt policies of “widening the circle of suspicion” and “combing of the borders,” he argued.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/134314/Egypt/Politics-/Islamist-militants-in-Sinai-rely-on-sophisticated-.aspx

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