Iraqi Army troops have a good time showing off their kill – Islamic State leader Abu Musab al-Saudi.
Terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took over Iraq’s biggest dam unopposed by Kurdish fighters, who also lost three towns and an oilfield on Sunday to the Sunni militant group, witnesses said.
Reuters (h/t Maria J) Capture of the electricity-generating Mosul Dam, after an offensive of barely 24 hours, could give the Sunni militants the ability to flood major Iraqi cities or withhold water from farms, raising the stakes in their bid to topple Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government.
CP A catastrophic failure of the largest dam in Iraq would send a wave 65ft high hurtling down the valley of the river Tigris, killing up to 500,000 people, US engineers warned yesterday. “If a small problem [at] Mosul dam occurs, failure is likely.” The collapse of the two-mile long, earth-filled dam would release eight billion cubic metres of water in the lake behind it in a giant wave which would flood Mosul–a city of 1.7 million people 20 miles downstream–to a depth of 60ft.
“The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State have taken control of Mosul Dam after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces without a fight,” said Iraqi state television. The swift withdrawal of Kurdish “peshmerga” troops was an apparent severe blow to one of the only forces in Iraq that until now had stood firm against the Sunni Islamist fighters who aim to redraw the borders of the Middle East.
The Islamic State, which sees Iraq’s majority Shi’ites as apostates who deserve to be killed, also seized the Ain Zalah oil field – adding to four others already under its control that provide funding for operations – and three towns.
Tunisia has closed its main border crossing with Libya after thousands of stranded Egyptian and other foreign nationals tried to break through. Tunisia is the main escape route as fighting escalates in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where rival militias have been battling for weeks for control of the airport.
Last week a convoy carrying medical supplies to Gaza from Egypt was turned back by Egyptian soldiers over 100km from the border. The convoy’s organizers knew they risked being stopped – but that was part of the point. “It was expected.” “They do not want Egyptians to show support for Palestinians. They want to make sure that this siege and this isolation continues.”
The Guardian During this latest Gazan war, the conflict has been predominantly portrayed as one between Israel and Hamas. But a third party has exacerbated the tensions in Israel’s favour: Egypt. A traditional broker of Israeli-Palestinian relations, Egypt is usually assumed to act with Gaza’s best interests at heart – and has done its best to maintain that perception in recent weeks.
It has condemned Gazan deaths, called for a ceasefire, and allowed a few critically injured Gazans to be treated in Egyptian hospitals..but that’s about it.
Other Egyptian actions – both over the past year, and in recent days – have led to accusations that Egypt is indifferent to Gazan suffering – and that its interests are aligned with Israel’s. Since last July Egypt has bolstered Israel’s blockade on Gaza by destroying over 1,600 tunnels that smugglers once used to bring crucial goods (and weapons) into the territory. The end of the tunnel trade, which Egypt had tolerated for years, crippled Gaza economically, since the simultaneous closure of Egypt’s formal border at Rafah meant Gazans had no other way of importing many supplies.
Hamas’s decision to carry on fighting in recent weeks despite catastrophic civilian losses owed as much to Egypt’s refusal to lift this blockade as it does to Israel’s. Egypt wanted Hamas to accept an immediate ceasefire without preconditions. But Hamas wanted Egypt to spell out how it might ease the siege before it did so.
Egypt’s leaders are loathe to help Hamas because the group is an offshoot and ally of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood – whose scion, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted from office last July. To shore up its power, Egypt’s new regime, headed by the former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has since waged a brutal crackdown on the Brotherhood inside Egypt. The squeeze on Hamas is part of the attempt to starve the Brotherhood of any remaining support.
To this end, Egypt has banned Hamas from operating inside Egypt, accused the group of aiding Egyptian terrorists, accused it of espionage, and tried many of its members in absentia. As Egypt’s counter-revolution gathered steam, Hamas was even blamed for a jailbreak during the 2011 Egyptian uprising.
Egypt’s pliant media have provided rhetorical backing to the government’s war on the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas – and parts are doing something similar with Gaza. The country’s media are usually sympathetic to Gazans, but this time several columnists and presenters have appeared far more hostile.
Some journalists have even denied any distinction between Gaza and Hamas. As Israel began its ground invasion earlier this month, Adel Naaman, a columnist for al-Watan, a private Egyptian newspaper, wrote: “I’m sorry people of Gaza: I’m not going to sympathise with you until you get rid of Hamas’s gang.”
The public’s attitudes are harder to gauge. Returning from the blocked aid convoy to Gaza, Salma Said said her colleagues’ work had revealed huge sympathy for Gazans among ordinary Egyptians. “The television makes it seem like no one in Egypt wants to help Gaza – but we are trying to show that’s wrong,” said Said.
Three weeks into the conflict, there are signs that Egypt’s official stance may be softening too – but for political reasons rather than wholly humanitarian ones. Rival countries – Qatar and Turkey – are also angling to broker a ceasefire, and the fear that Egypt may lose its traditional mediation role may finally spark its leaders into easing their stance. (Not likely. Egypt has kicked out al-Jazeera, cut ties with Qatar, banned Turkey’s PM Erdogan from entering Gaza, boycotted Turkish products, and banned the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.)
ISIS has released a new video of Iraqis whom they executed in cold blood, According to the video description, the place of the incident was Tikrit, and the victims are described as Rafidis, which include Shiites, Iranians, Alawites.
Mercifully, the horrendous music audio has been turned off but it looks like the victims are pleading for their lives.
Border guards of the Second Field Army demolished 13 tunnels under the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and Gaza, bringing the total number of tunnels ruined to 1,639, military spokesperson Mohamed Samir announced on the Egyptian Armed Forces’ Facebook page. They also seized a truck carrying 68 packs of carcinogens agricultural pesticides.
The Cairo Post Border guards of the Third Field Army also seized three trucks carrying 187 kilograms of the drug bangoplant and 60 kilograms of raw opium. Tunnel trade is almost worth $10 billion a year, including smuggling of all kinds of goods and commodities, former director of the Armed Forces Center for Research and Strategic Studies Hossam Sweilem told The Cairo Post Sunday.
Sweilem said the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas formed a committee to follow up on the affairs of the tunnels as well as determine the appropriate tax on each smuggled goods and collecting these taxes from the owners of these tunnels. This committee is responsible for granting licenses required to open new tunnels. “The tunnel trade became the major source of income and wealth for Gaza’s government treasury,” Sweilem said.
Hamas is using their tunneling to smuggle weapons, goods, funds, natural gas, diesel, cigarettes, and cement, Youm7 reported Wednesday. Economists anticipated that over 15 percent of Hamas’ budget came from the tunnel trade, in addition to the taxes imposed on goods and funds received by Hamas from Iran and Syria.
Many of alleged Hamas militants have been arrested, including ousted President Mohamed Morsi, in trials for organizing jailbreaks and storming police stations during the January 25 Reovlution in 2011 that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
As a part of his effort to protect Egypt from all those who harm its security, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a presidential decree to toughen up punishment against anyone involved in digging tunnels or constructing roads and routes on the border to be used for purposes that are against the law, Presidential Spokesman Ehab Badawy said on July 3. “Rigorous imprisonment is the penalty for those digging tunnels around border areas,” the new decree stated.
Since the ousting Morsi in July, Egypt-Hamas ties have been strained since armed forces have destroyed smuggling tunnels at the Gaza-Egypt border. Cairo has accused Hamas of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in carrying out terror attacks in the past few years but Hamas has repeatedly denied all accusations.
On March 4, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned any activities of Hamas within Egyptian territories. “Hamas has no existence in Egypt,” Hamas leader and deputy head of foreign affairs Ghazi Hamad told The Cairo Post via telephone in March.
Below video is from Hamas-supporting Iranian Press TV
Or any of the other 170,000 Syrians who have been killed by Western-backed Islamic jihadists?
He may be a lone voice, but there are a lot of Egyptians standing with Israel now, including the President of Egypt. The Western media refuse to report this.
The United States suspended operations at its embassy in Libya Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said.
FOX News The withdrawal underscored the Obama administration’s concern about the heightened risk to American diplomats abroad, particularly in Libya where memories of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in the eastern city of Benghazi are still vivid and the political uproar over it remain fresh ahead of a new congressional investigation into the incident. A senior military official told Fox News the Pentagon has been advising the State Department leave the post for weeks.
“Securing our facilities and ensuring the safety of our personnel are top department priorities, and we did not make this decision lightly,” Harf said. “Security has to come first. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions.”
American personnel at the Tripoli embassy, which had already been operating with limited staffing, left the capital around dawn and traveled by road to neighboring Tunisia, according to Harf. Roughly 70 embassy staffers were driven out of the city in a caravan by 80 Marines, Fox News has learned.
“At the request of the Department of State, the U.S. military assisted in the relocation of personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli,” a spokesman from the U.S. Department of Defense said.
“During movement, F-16’s, ISR assets and an Airborne Response Force with MV-22 Ospreys provided security,” the statement said. The evacuation was not announced in advance in order to ensure the staffers safe departure. The department said embassy operations will be suspended until a determination is made that the security situation has improved. Tripoli has been embroiled for weeks in inter-militia violence that has killed and wounded dozens on all sides.
The department said embassy operations will be suspended until a determination is made that the security situation has improved. Tripoli has been embroiled for weeks in inter-militia violence that has killed and wounded dozens on all sides.
The fighting has been particularly intense at the city’s airport where militias are fighting for control. Residents near the airport have been forced to evacuate their homes after they were hit by shells. On Friday, the official Libyan news agency LANA reported that explosions were heard early in the day near the airport area and continued into the afternoon.
The U.S. evacuation follows Turkey, which on Friday announced that it had closed down its embassy, as the United Nations, aid groups and foreign envoys also chose to leave the region.
The State Department also issued a travel warning for Libya urging Americans not to go to the country and recommending that those already there leave immediately. “The Libyan government has not been able to adequately build its military and police forces and improve security,” it said. “Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation.”
FSA, ISIS, and al-Nusra jihadists in Raqqah City are slaughtering Syrian soldiers as well as each other and as you can see here are filming their victories.
ISIS has claimed that they have seized a large Syrian military base on the outskirts of the city of Raqqa and have beheaded several captured soldiers.
Liveleak Apparently, the infighting between the two al-Qaeda linked jihadist groups has been going on since 2012 when the US began funding, training, and arming these rebel groups.
Welcome to the new and improved Egypt, thanks to newly-elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
h/t Susan K
Israeli news website, Kooker posted undated German footage, shot in Gaza, of what it said were Hamas enforcers violently beating and coercing residents to remain in their homes, despite their pleading that the IDF called on them to evacuate the area.
Algemeiner (h/t Liz) In the video, armed enforcers, some wielding batons, are seen beating and punching recalcitrant residents, and, at several points turn on the camera crew, and try to cover the lens. Some of the dialogue in the video is also telling:
(00:41) Man: “Camera out! Turn the camera off!”, (00:51) Man: “Stop the film!”, (00:53) Man: “You’ve filmed enough!”, (1:26) Woman to enforcers: “This is a crime – I’ve already paid for this!”.
(1:29) Interviewer to man in black shirt: “Are you afraid? Man: “I’m more than 90 percent sure that this is not a real event. Normally, I don’t have a lot of fear about this, but when they tell us to get out, then we’ll do it together.”
Narrator: “Hamas police are pushing back against the protesters.” (Police seen trying to break up a prayer session)
Enforcer to protesters: “You’re always getting in our way!”
(2:18) Woman to security official: “You’re worse than the Jews!”
Security official: “What are you saying? We’re not the Jews!”
Woman: “You can go beat the Jews more! We are not bad people; what have you done here?”
The so-called “moderate” rebels that Obama wants to give $500 million of US taxpayers money recently filmed themselves blowing up a gas pipeline that runs along the Damascus-Qaryatein road in the eastern Homs countryside. The gas pipeline is vital to many industries operating in the area.