Israel: Hamas Tied to Jihadists in Sinai Assault - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
Hamas' military wing is maintaining ties with Wilayat Sinai (Sinai
Province) - whose fighters were behind the massive attack on Egyptian
forces in Sinai on Wednesday - despite objections from Hamas'
political leadership, Israeli defense sources said.
Hamas also is treating wounded militants from the Sinai jihadist groups in Gazan hospitals.
Peacekeepers at Risk from IS in Sinai - Ludovico Carlino
The Sinai Province of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a
June 9 rocket attack targeting El Gorah airport in north Sinai, operated
by the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeepers deployed
there as part of the 1979 treaty between Egypt and Israel.
According to Egyptian media, after the rocket attack, security
forces were able to stop two vehicles approaching the MFO camp in El
Gorah, killing all six militants.
This indicates that the group's intention was to assault the MFO camp.
"Humanitarian Aid" Aboard Gaza Flotilla Fit in Two Cardboard Boxes - William Booth
The humanitarian aid brought by pro-Palestinian activists aboard a
Swedish vessel that failed to break through Israel's maritime
blockade of Gaza this week consisted of a solar panel and a small
cardboard box containing a nebulizer, a machine used to inhale
Fewer than 100 Syrian Rebels Currently Being Trained by U.S. - Robert Burns
On June 26, 2014, the White House asked Congress for $500 million
for a three-year program to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight the
Yet as of last week, fewer than 100 Syrians are currently being trained by the U.S. military.
The main problem has been finding enough Syrian recruits untainted
by extremist affiliations or disqualified by physical or other flaws.
Moreover, many Syrian rebel volunteers prefer to use their training
to fight the government of President Assad, the original target of
Tunisia Hotel Attack Victims Included 30 Britons - Tarek Amara (Reuters)
All 38 victims of the terror attack at a Tunisian hotel on Friday
have been formally identified, Tunisia's health ministry said
The victims included 30 Britons, three Irish, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and one Russian.
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- Islamic State Militants Launch Major Assault in Egypt's Sinai - Erin Cunningham and Loveday Morris
Militants linked with the Islamic State unleashed a wave of attacks on
the military in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, briefly seizing
key checkpoints. As many as 70 soldiers and civilians were killed in one
of the most sophisticated attacks on the Egyptian army in decades.
Throughout the day, militants were perched on rooftops in Sheikh
Zuweid, a town of 60,000, firing on security installations.
Zack Gold, a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security
Studies in Tel Aviv, said
of the militants who now call themselves the "Sinai Province" of the
Islamic State: "This isn't one of their regular hit-and-run attacks.
They seem to be setting up for the longer haul." However, "the
[Egyptian] military is more cohesive [than in Iraq] and has more
firepower." (Washington Post)
See also Egypt's Army Fights Back Against IS Assaults - Marina Barsoum
For the third year in a row, Islamist militants targeted Egyptian
security forces on a large scale during the Islamic holy month of
Ramadan. Militants launched simultaneous attacks on checkpoints in
Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah using car bombs and other weaponry. The
Egyptian army used F-16 jet fighters, Apache helicopters and tanks to
stop the militants. Maj.-Gen. Hisham El-Halaby said the total number of
attackers exceeded 300.
See also Egypt: IS Used Sophisticated Weapons in Sinai Attack
Islamic State-linked militants who attacked Egyptian troops in Sinai
used Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles, mortars, and
anti-aircraft guns, the el-Watan daily reported Thursday. (AP)
- Egyptian Security Forces Kill Nine Muslim Brotherhood Leaders in Cairo
Egypt's Interior Ministry says nine people killed in a raid on a Cairo
apartment on Wednesday were fugitive Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had
been meeting to plan terrorist plots.
See also Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Calls for Rebellion after Raid (AP-New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: We Are Partners with Egypt in the Fight Against ISIS - Herb Keinon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday:
"Terrorism is knocking on our borders. Islamic State is not only across
from the Golan Heights, it is also in Egypt....We are together with
Egypt and many other states in the Middle East and the world in the
struggle against extreme Islamic terrorism." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Fearing Fighting Spillover, IDF Deploys Extra Troops on Sinai Border - Marissa Newman
The Israeli army deployed additional troops and was on high alert along
its border with Egypt, Israel Radio reported Wednesday. The army was
monitoring the fighting across the border using UAVs and was preparing
for every scenario, including infiltration by jihadists.
(Times of Israel)
See also Israel to Okay Bolstered Egyptian Forces in Sinai after Deadly Attacks
Israel has decided to grant all Egyptian requests to reinforce troops
in the Sinai Peninsula after the attacks Wednesday, Israel Channel 2
reported. (Jerusalem Post)
- Egypt Surprised by IS Attacks in Sinai - Zvi Mazel
The Egyptian security services had no advance warning of a major
concerted operation that must have involved considerable planning. Their
surprise was such that soldiers reacted sluggishly and only after
having suffered significant losses. The Egyptian Army lacks special
forces trained to fight in the desert and mountainous regions where
terrorists are sheltering. Furthermore, the terrorists are aided and
abetted by the local Bedouin population, neglected for decades by the
Egyptian President Sisi is not getting any help from the U.S. or
Europe, both still calling him a military dictator who forcibly ejected a
democratically elected president. Neither understood that Muslim
Brotherhood President Morsi was about to set up an Islamic dictatorship.
The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt, and Sweden.
- Israel Breaks Up Hamas Terror Cell in West Bank - Yoav Zitun
The Israel Security Agency has uncovered a large Hamas cell in the city
of Nablus in the West Bank, it was reported Wednesday. Some 40 people
were arrested, including senior Hamas members who have been jailed
repeatedly. Hamas sought to establish a central headquarters in Nablus,
appoint regional chiefs, and set up infrastructure in areas such as
education, finance, communications, intelligence, gaining support,
charity, transferring financial assistance to Hamas prisoners and their
families, and laying the foundation for military action. Husam Badran,
49, who lives in Qatar, was responsible for organizing the cell and
transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to it. (Ynet News)
See also Hamas Terror Cell Exposed in Nablus (IDF News Desk-IMRA)
- Can the U.S. Get a Good Iran Deal? - Aaron David Miller
Any really good deal was lost once Iran mastered the fuel cycle, the
international community conceded Iran's right to enrich uranium, and the
regime created a vast nuclear infrastructure. The issue for any deal
now is managing and reducing risk.
The deal is coming. It will produce a slower, smaller, more easily
monitored Iranian nuclear program. But we should be under no illusion
that this agreement will produce an end state in which Iran will give up
its nuclear weapons aspirations.
Only transformation of the regime into something else - a more
moderate, normal state - might allow for the possibility that Iran would
give up permanently its desire to remain a nuclear weapons threshold
But the odds of a quick transformation are pretty small. And freed from
sanctions relief and open for business, Iran will have additional
resources to pursue its regional aspirations.
The writer is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
- What to Do About an Imperial Iran - James Stavridis
About 2,500 years ago the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great ruled over
40% of the global population from what is today Libya to Afghanistan.
Being an imperial power is woven into the Iranians' national DNA and
cultural outlook. And we need to decide how to deal with the reality of
Iranian geopolitical outreach, which will be significantly empowered by
the lifting of economic sanctions.
We need to reassure increasingly nervous allies in the region that
we are aware of the broad campaign of Iranian imperial activity. If we
do manage to solve the nuclear issue with Iran, the next problem will be
an ambitious and relatively well-funded nation with distinct ambitions
in not only its region, but globally. The writer is a retired
four-star U.S. Navy admiral and NATO supreme allied commander who serves
today as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts
A Good Bad Deal? - Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times)
You'd never know that "Iran is the one hemorrhaging hundreds of
billions of dollars due to sanctions, tens of billions because of fallen
oil prices and billions sustaining the Assad regime in Syria," said
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment. And "it's
Ali Khamenei, not John Kerry, who presides over a population desperate
to see sanctions relief."
Yet, for the past year every time there is a sticking point,
it keeps feeling as if it's always our side looking to accommodate
Johns Hopkins University foreign policy specialist Michael
Mandelbaum says: "In the current negotiations...the United States is far
stronger than Iran, yet it is the United States that has made major
"After beginning the negotiations by insisting that the Tehran
regime relinquish all its suspect enrichment facilities and cease all
its nuclear activities relevant to making a bomb, the Obama
administration has ended by permitting Iran to keep virtually all of
those facilities and continue some of those activities."
An Iran that is unshackled from sanctions and gets an
injection of over $100 billion in cash will be even more superior in
power than all of its Arab neighbors.
the U.S. needs to take the lead in initiating a modus vivendi between
Sunni Arabs and Persian Shiites and curb Iran's belligerence toward
Israel. If we can't help defuse those conflicts, a good bad deal could
very easily fuel a wider regional war.