White Phosphorus Use in Aleppo Countryside Confirmed

Several videos have emerged on Monday showing cases of severe burns among civilians in the town of Urm South west of Aleppo in close vicinity to Khan-Alaassal, where chemical-weapon attacks have previously been reported. On Tuesday, activists confirmed the reports regarding the use of White Phosphorus by the regime in Urm after managing to hospitalize some of the wounded to Turkish hospitals where doctors studied the cases and found undeniable evidence of White Phosphorus use.

UPDATE#1
Field Hospital Doctor Provides Account Regarding Use of White Phosphorus in Aleppo Countryside

In the video below, a makeshift hospital doctor from Atareb, an Aleppo Countryside village, provides an account regarding the cases he examined on Monday. He says that, 35 cases have been received, the wounds have varied between second and first degree burns.

According to our sources, activists have managed to take some of the cases to Turkish hospitals across the borders, where they underwent acute examination of which the results indicated use of white phosphorus.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ecFQDR8sA4&feature=player_embedded

Man shot dead by Palestinian security forces

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Palestinian security forces killed a man in a Nablus-area refugee camp late Tuesday, officials and witnesses said.

Amjad Odeh, 37, died in what Palestinian officials described as an exchange of fire between the security forces and a wanted man in Askar refugee camp.

Odeh was taken to Rafidia hospital were he was pronounced dead. There were reports of other injuries.

Witnesses told Ma’an that dozens of Palestinians attacked security forces with rocks after the incident.

In Al-Fara refugee camp, angry residents managed to shut off the main street connecting Nablus and Tubas and set tires on fire to protest the shooting.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

Fatah official: PA will soon make ‘painful decisions’ against Hamas

Azzam al-Ahmed says Hamas will no longer be considered a partner in any process after implementation of decisions.

Palestinian Hamas rally

Palestinian Hamas rally

The Palestinian Authority will soon take “painful decisions” against Hamas, senior Fatah official Azzam al- Ahmed announced on Sunday.

Ahmed did not specify the nature of the decisions.

The official denied that the PA leadership in the West Bank was considering declaring the Gaza Strip a “rogue entity.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas had already declared the Gaza Strip a “rebellious entity” back in 2007 after Hamas seized control of the area.

But Abbas’s decision then did not stop him from continuing to seek reconciliation with Hamas and from reaching three unity agreements with its leaders.

Nor did Abbas’s decision back then stop the PA from allocating about 55 percent of its annual budget to the Gaza Strip.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have since continued to receive salaries from the PA, although most of them have been left jobless after Hamas took control of the enclave.

Sources close to the PA said that the “painful decisions” planned by the PA leadership may include cutting off financial aid to the Gaza Strip.

The crisis in Egypt has further escalated tensions between Fatah and Hamas.

While Fatah supports the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, Hamas has strongly condemned the move as a military coup.

Morsi’s removal from power has left many PA and Fatah officials hoping that the Egyptian experience would be copied in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Fatah of “political extortion” and attempting to recruit “outside parties” in its campaign against the Islamist movement.

“We call on Fatah to abandon the illusion of ousting Hamas from power,” Abu Zuhri said. He accused Fatah of inciting the Egyptians against Hamas and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Wasfi Qabaha, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, insisted that the PA leadership was considering declaring the Gaza a “rogue entity.”

He said that the purpose behind such a move was to show the world that Hamas had revolted against Palestinian “legitimacy.”

Other Hamas officials said that the PA was trying to drive a wedge between their movement and the Egyptians, with the hope that the Egyptian army would intervene.

Emad al-Ifranji, a Hamas-affiliated political analyst, said that no force in the world would be able to remove Hamas from power.

He said he did not rule out the possibility that the PA would seek the help of Israel to regain control over the Gaza Strip.

In a related development, Fatah and other Palestinian factions rejected Hamas’s offer to participate in managing the affairs of the Gaza Strip. The offer was made last week by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

The factions said that the proposal would only consolidate divisions among the Palestinians and save Hamas from its current crisis.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

Islam is Good Neighborliness to All, Believers and Unbelievers

Mosque and Church

By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Islam teaches us to be good neighbors to everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Allah said:

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away…

Surah An-Nisa 4:36

Al-Qurtubi comments on this verse, saying:

قُلْتُ وَعَلَى هَذَا فَالْوَصَاةُ بِالْجَارِ مَأْمُورٌ بِهَا مَنْدُوبٌ إِلَيْهَا مُسْلِمًا كَانَ أَوْ كَافِرًا وَهُوَ الصَّحِيحُ وَالْإِحْسَانُ قَدْ يَكُونُ بِمَعْنَى الْمُوَاسَاةِ وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِمَعْنَى حُسْنِ الْعِشْرَةِ وَكَفِّ الْأَذَى وَالْمُحَامَاةِ دُونَهُ

I say: based upon this, kind treatment of neighbors is enjoined and is recommended, whether they are Muslim or an unbeliever, and this is the right thing to do. Kind treatment may be in the sense of helping or it may be in the sense of being kind, refraining from annoyance, and supporting them.

Source: Tafseer Al-Qurtubi, verse 4:36

A Muslims should love for his neighbor what he loves for himself; that is, to treat his neighbor the way he would like to be treated.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

None of you has faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbor what he loves for himself.

Source: Sahih Muslim 45, Grade: Mutaffaqun Alayhi

An-Nawawi comments on this tradition, saying:

الأولى أن يحمل ذلك على عموم الأخوة حتى يشمل الكافر والمسلم

This is to be interpreted as brotherhood in general, such that it includes the Muslim and the unbeliever.

Source: Sharh Arba’een An-Nawawi

A Muslim should behave towards his neighbor as if he were an extended member of his family, even if the neighbor is not a Muslim.

 

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لَيُوَرِّثَنَّهُ

Gabriel continued to advise me to treat neighbors well until I thought he would make them my heirs.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2624, Grade: Sahih

Mujahid reported: I was with Abdullah ibn Amr while his servant was skinning a sheep. He said, “O boy, when you finish up, then start with the Jewish neighbor.” A man there exclaimed, “Jewish? May Allah correct you!” He replied:

إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُوصِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى خَشِينَا أَوْ رُئِينَا أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ

I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, recommending that we treat our neighbors well until we thought that he would order us to make them our heirs.

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 128, Grade: Hasan

Therefore, Muslims should not annoy their neighbors, for whoever does so will not have complete faith.

Abu Shuraih reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ

By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!

It was said, “Who is it, O Messenger of Allah?” He said:

الَّذِي لَا يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَايِقَهُ

He whose neighbor is not safe from his evil.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5670, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ لَا يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَائِقَهُ

He will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not secure from his evil.

Source: Sahih Muslim 46, Grade: Sahih

Likewise, a Muslim’s ritual acts of worship will not save him from the Hellfire if he is evil to his neighbor.

Abu Huraira reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, a woman prays, fasts, and gives charity often but she annoys her neighbor with her sharp tongue.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

هِيَ فِي النَّارِ

She will be in the Hellfire.

He said, “O Messenger of Allah, another woman prays, fasts, and gives in charity very little but she does give some cheese in charity and she does not annoy her neighbor with her tongue.” He said:

هِيَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ

She will be in Paradise.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 9383, Grade: Sahih

Furthermore, a Muslim should never allow his neighbor to go hungry while he himself has food.

Ibn Az-Zubair reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يَشْبَعُ وَجَارُهُ جَائِعٌ إِلَى جَنْبِهِ

He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side goes hungry.

Source: Sunan Al-Kubra Al-Bayhaqi 19049, Grade: Sahih

All of this can be summarized in the principle that the best neighbor to Allah is the one who is best to his neighbors.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

خَيْرُ الأَصْحَابِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرُهُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَخَيْرُ الْجِيرَانِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرُهُمْ لِجَارِهِ

The best companion to Allah is the best to his companions, and the best neighbor to Allah is the best to his neighbors.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1944, Grade: Sahih

In conclusion, a Muslim must honor all of his neighbors, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. He must fulfill their basic rights, ensure their well-being, refrain from causing annoyance, and generally treat them with the same respect and kindness he expects for himself.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

Syria crisis: Where key countries stand

A boy shouts slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in Syria in YemenThe possibility of Western strikes on Syria has divided opinion in the region

The US and its allies are said to be considering military action against sites in Syria. But what do countries in the region and beyond think about any possible action?

Syria’s neighbours

Turkey

The Turkish government has been one of the most strident critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since early on in the uprising. On Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper that the country was ready to join an international coalition for action against Syria even in the absence of agreement at the UN Security Council.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf

The monarchies of the Gulf are said to have been key in funding and supplying the rebel forces fighting against forces loyal to President Assad. Saudi Arabia has been a rival of the Syrian government for years and has been particularly active in pushing for action against Mr Assad, with former Saudi ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultanreportedly trying in recent weeks to garner international support for further support for the rebels.

Israel

Despite initially avoiding becoming involved in the conflict, Israel has carried out three strikes on targets in Syria this year, reportedly to prevent weapons shipments reaching the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Shelling and gunfire from Syria has also hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, drawing return Israeli fire.

In recent days, Israeli officials have condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces and hinted at support for military action. “Our finger must always be on the pulse. Ours is a responsible finger and if necessary, it will also be on the trigger,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

However, Israeli officials will be aware that any Western action against Syria risks a repeat of events in the first Gulf War in 1991, when Iraq attacked Tel Aviv with Scud missiles in attempt to draw Israel into the conflict and prompt the withdrawal of Arab countries from the war. Reports say sales of gas masks in Israel have gone up in response to speculation over military action.

A burning car is seen at the entrance of a mosque which was attacked by a car bomb, in the northern city of Tripoli, LebanonLebanon is seeing increasing violence linked to the conflict in Syria

Lebanon

The Lebanese Foreign Minister Adana Mansour told Lebanese radio on Monday that he did not support the idea of strikes on Syria, saying: “I don’t think this action would serve peace, stability and security in the region.”

Two bomb attacks which killed almost 60 people in Lebanon this month were linked to tensions over the Syrian conflict. The Lebanese Shia militant movement Hezbollah has openly taken part in combat in Syria on the side of the government, and there have been reports of some in the Sunni community fighting on the side of the rebels. In addition, the country is already playing host to the largest number of Syrian refugees of any country.

Iran

Iran has been Syria’s main backer in the region since well before the current conflict and has been highly critical of any prospect of intervention.

On Tuesday, Iran warned a top UN official visiting Tehran of “serious consequences” of any military action.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi also repeated claims that it was in fact rebels who used chemical weapons, AFP reports.

Outside the region

US

Following a cautious reaction to the initial reports of a chemical weapons attack, American rhetoric has hardened in recent days. Secretary of State John Kerry said the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government was “undeniable” and a “moral obscenity”.

Washington has recently bolstered its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, prompting speculation that preparation for an attack is underway. Analysts believe the most likely US action would be sea-launched cruise missiles targeting Syrian military installations.

 boy, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, is treated at a hospital in the DumaUS President Barack Obama had previously said the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line”

UK

The UK is drawing up contingency plans for military action, Prime Minster David Cameron’s office has said. Any action would be “proportionate”, lawful and follow agreement with international allies, a spokesman for Mr Cameron said.

On Monday Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC that diplomatic pressure on Syria had failed and that the UK, “the United States, [and] many other countries including France, are clear that we can’t allow the idea in the 21st Century that chemical weapons can be used with impunity”.

France

The day after the reports of the attack near Damascus, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for “a reaction of force” if the use of chemical weapons was proven. He has also suggested that the UN Security Council could be bypassed “in certain circumstances”.

France has been amongst the most hawkish Western countries with regard to Syria, being the first Western power to recognise the main opposition coalition as the Syrian people’s legitimate representative. In May France, along with the UK, successfully lobbied for the EU’s arms embargo to be lifted so as to allow further supplies to the rebels.

Russia

Russia is one of Mr Assad’s most important international backers and has stressed the need for a political solution to be found to the crisis.

It has sharply criticised any possibility of Western strikes on Syria, saying action taken outside the security council threatened “catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa”.

China

China has joined Russia in blocking resolutions critical of Syria at the UN Security Council. It has also criticised the prospect of strikes against Syria.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said Western powers were rushing to conclusions about who might have used chemical weapons in Syria before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

Benjamin Netanyahu ‘losing trust’ in Israel chief negotiator Tzipi Livni

Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly losing trust in the performance of Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator, in peace talks with the Palestinians, amid suggestions that she is offering too many concessions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah
The Israeli prime minister is said to be unhappy that Mrs Livni has “strayed from the official line” during the first two sessions of the recently revived talks.

His discontent has been fuelled by reports that she has offered compromises and territorial concessions in informal conversations with Palestinian negotiators and American mediators that have taken place away from the main negotiation sessions.

Gaps have also emerged between Mrs Livni, the most dovish member of the Israeli cabinet who also serves as justice minister, and Yitzhak Molcho, Mr Netanyahu’s personal envoy who accompanies her in the talks, the newspaper Ma’ariv reported.

While Mrs Livni favours “large working teams” that would seek to reach a historic “final status agreement” at the end of the nine months allotted to the talks, Mr Molho — representing the views of his boss — believes that to be unrealistic. Instead he favours only an “agreement in principle” on the core issues that can be consolidated into a formal pact at a later stage.

But the pair are divided by more fundamental issues, Ma’ariv reported. “The problem Molcho has with Livni is far deeper and pertains to the question of how much trust Netanyahu has in Livni as the head of the Israeli negotiating team with the Palestinians,” the newspaper’s commentator, Eli Bardenstein wrote.

“According to information that was presented to Netanyahu, while Livni has always carefully toed the line set by the prime minister in all the formal talks held with Molcho at her side, in talks [she] has held with American officials and in hallway conversations she has held with Palestinians officials, Netanyahu and Molcho have heard that Livni has strayed from the official line, and her statements would indicate that Israel was prepared to make concessions on its official positions at the current stage of things.”

Mr Netanyahu has been reportedly upset that Mrs Livni offered to compromise on Jerusalem, which both Israel and the Palestinians claim as their capital. She has also spoken of withdrawing from the West Bank, where around 350,000 Israeli settlers live, and dismantling settlements.

While such concessions are widely seen as essential to any peace agreement, the prime minister is understood to oppose putting them on the table before it is known what the Palestinians will give in return.

In a statement, Mrs Livni’s office said she had “close and good working relations” with Mr Molcho. “We have not and will not make any comment about the content of the negotiations, and this should not be viewed as either a denial or a confirmation of the report,” the statement added.

Mrs Livni and Mr Molcho have held at least two meetings with Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, and Mohammed Shtayyeh, personal envoy of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, since the formal revival of peace talks last month.

Amid a media black-out, there has been little indication of progress.

Palestinian officials said talks scheduled for Monday in the West Bank city of Jericho were cancelled in protest after three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Qalandiyah refugee camp in the West Bank. However, Israeli media reported that a meeting had taken place.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

US ‘ready’ to strike Syria

A video grab shows an opposition fighter on Aug. 26, 2013 during clashes over the strategic area of Khanasser

DAMASCUS (AFP) — The US defense chief said Tuesday his forces are ready to launch strikes against the Syrian regime over alleged chemical attacks, amid growing Western and Arab calls for action.

Syria vowed defiantly to defend itself against any attack with “surprise” measures, while its close ally Russia warned that any use of force would have “catastrophic consequences” in the region.

Global stock markets dived and world oil prices hit a six-month high over fears of possible military intervention, as the drumbeat of war grew louder.

Speaking in Brunei, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military was prepared to act once President Barack Obama gave the order.

“We are prepared. We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” he said.

“We are ready to go, like that.”

The Washington Post cited senior US administration officials as saying such action would probably last no more than two days and involve missiles or long-range bombers, striking military targets not directly linked to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

In Paris, French President Francois Hollande said his country was “ready to punish” those behind the alleged chemical attacks which the opposition claims killed hundreds in Damascus suburbs last week.

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has vehemently denied it was responsible and has instead accused the rebels of using chemical weapons.

Hollande also said France would ‘increase military support’ to the main Syrian opposition. “I have decided to increase our military support to the Syrian National Coalition,” he said without elaborating.

Britain, meanwhile, said its armed forces were drawing up contingency plans for action in Syria, and Prime Minister David Cameron recalled parliament from its summer break to debate the crisis.

But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Britain was not seeking to topple Assad. “What we’re considering is a serious response… What we’re not considering is regime change, trying to topple the Assad regime,” he said.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said the suspected chemical attack was a “crime against humanity” that “cannot go unpunished.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has provided Syria’s regime with diplomatic cover by blocking Security Council action, was unimpressed by what the West has called mounting evidence of an atrocity.

He told Cameron on Monday there was no proof Damascus had used chemical weapons, the British premier’s office said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow would not get involved in any military conflict, and it has warned that intervention would have “catastrophic consequences” for the volatile Middle East.

Nevertheless, senior military officers from Western and Muslim countries met in Jordan to discuss the regional impact of the war in Syria, wrapping up a two-day meeting on Tuesday.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said “the situation calls for a firm and serious attitude to put an end to the human tragedy of the Syrian people.”

And permanent representatives of the 22-member Arab League meeting in Cairo said the Assad regime bore the “entire responsibility” for the August 21 attacks.

An official of Syria’s opposition National Coalition said it expects a Western military intervention within days and has been consulted over targets.

“It’s a question of days and not weeks,” said Ahmad Ramadan, adding that “there have been meetings between the Coalition, the (rebel) Free Syrian Army and allied countries during which possible targets have been discussed.”

They included airports, military bases and arms depots, he said.

Ramadan also said bases used to fire missiles and Scuds, especially the army’s Brigade 155 near Damascus, were in line for punitive strikes, after medical charity Doctors Without Borders said 355 people died of “neurotoxic symptoms” last week.

During a defiant news conference, Syria Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Damascus would defend itself against any strikes.

“We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal,” he said.

“The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves.”

Muallem said Syria had capabilities that would “surprise” the world, and warned that any military action against it would serve the interests of Israel and Al-Qaeda.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a serious retaliation of his country were attacked.

“The State of Israel is prepared for every scenario,” he said following consultations on the crisis. “We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we detect any attempt to hurt us, we will react, and react fiercely.”

Meanwhile, UN chemical weapons experts postponed efforts to collect more evidence from the site of the alleged attacks.

They had been due to make a second visit to the sites on Tuesday, but Muallem said the mission had been put off because rebels failed to guarantee their security. That was confirmed by the United Nations.

The UN convoy had come under sniper fire on Monday as it tried to approach a suburb where a chemical attack apparently took place, but managed to interview victims receiving treatment in two hospitals.

The increasing signs of impending military action sparked sharp swings on oil and global stock markets.

Oil prices soared, with Brent crude striking six-month highs on Middle East supply concerns.

Most European equities fell sharply as investors ignored solid data from Germany and eyed possible military intervention in Syria, sending the price of safe-haven gold soaring.

While London’s FTSE 100 index slid 0.79 percent to 6.440.97 points, other markets were down over two percent. New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average opened 0.72 percent lower.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

Abdullah Azzam Brigades claims responsibility for rocket attack on Israel

 

Abdullah Azzam Brigades Rockets August 2013.jpgIn a statement posted to jihadist forums yesterday, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades took official responsibility for the Aug. 22 rocket attack on Israel from Lebanon. In the statement, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the group said that fighters from its Ziad Jarrah Battalions fired four Grad rockets towards the northern Israeli cities of Acre and Nahariya.

“This operation comes within the series of our jihadi work directed at the Jews,” the statement said.

The statement from the jihadist group denounced the “flagrant intervention” of Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the ongoing Syrian civil war. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades went on to allege that Israel, Iran, and Hezbollah maintain “a strategic alliance in the region and common interests.” This alliance, the statement said, seeks to thwart the Syrian revolution and has done so through various acts, “some of which are extremely flagrant and some of which are managed in secrecy.”

The statement further charged that “the Jews” along with Western states are providing “cover” to the Assad regime and have given Hezbollah a “green light” to fight in Syria with the hopes of preserving Israel’s security.

“[T]his blessed operation came as a message” that these efforts will not succeed and Israel’s security will not be maintained, the communique said.

Hezbollah’s actions in Syria, the jihadist group said, will bring them “closer to the fire of the mujahideen and more exposed in front of them.” With regard to Israel, the group warned that “Haifa should be adorned with its fanciest coffins to receive our rockets.”

Yesterday’s statement, which was released with two time-stamped photos of some of the rockets used, comes four days after an official from the Abdullah Azzam Brigades took responsibility for the attack, on Twitter.

In response to the rocket attack, the Israeli Air Force struck at least one target south of Beirut on Aug. 23. The pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) claimed that the strike targeted one of its facilities, in a statement posted on its website. The Lebanese Armed Forces confirmed that underground tunnels belonging to a Palestinian faction were targeted. A Lebanese security source told Reuters the targeted site “was home as well to Islamist militants.”

Background on the Abdullah Azzam Brigades

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades was formed by Saleh al Qarawi sometime after 2004 as an offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, and was tasked with hitting targets in the Levant and throughout the Middle East. Al Qarawi is now believed to be in Saudi custody. The group is now led by Majid bin Muhammad al Majid.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades is named after al Qaeda’s co-founder and Osama bin Laden’s mentor. The group was added to the US’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in May 2012.

Qarawi has been described as a “field commander” by Flashpoint Intel, which published a translation of an interview that was released in April 2010. According to Qarawi, he fought with former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Fallujah (presumably in the two battles in 2004), and was ordered by Zarqawi to form the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.

“Allah rewarded me to participate with my brothers in Fallujah, and I came to know the Sheikh Abu Musab al Zarqawi–may Allah have mercy on him–closely, and he assigned me to a job outside of Iraq,” he said.

In the same interview, Qarawi said that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades are tasked with striking not only with striking in Lebanon but also elsewhere.

“[The Abdullah Azzam Brigades] are not confined to Lebanon but there are targets that our fires will reach Allah‐willing in the near future … the Brigades are formed of a number of groups that are spread in numerous places … and the groups of ‘Ziad al‐Jarrah’ in Lebanon are only some of our groups, and we rushed to create these groups and announced them because of the urgency of the battle with the Jews and the priority of the initiative at the time and the place, but the rest of the groups are outside Lebanon.”

The “Ziad al Jarrah” is one of several battalions in the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. It operates primarily in Lebanon, and is named after Ziad al Jarrah, a Lebanese citizen who was one of the masterminds of the Sept. 11 attacks on the US. He was the pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Shanksville, Penn. after passengers attempted to retake the plane from the terrorist hijackers.

Yusuf al ‘Uyayri Battalion, another unit in the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, operates on the Arabian Peninsula and has claimed it executed the attack on the M Star, a Japanese oil tanker traveling off the coast of Oman from Qatar to Japan.

The US State Department has said that the group “is responsible for numerous indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.” In addition to the rocket fire from Lebanon noted by the State Dept., the group has also claimed responsibility for rockets fired from Gaza into Israel on multiple occasions.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades releases propaganda on a routine basis. Over the past three years, the group has advocated for the overthrow of the Saudi government and called for an uprising in Lebanon, as well as voiced support for jihad in Syria. The terror group also released a statement immediately after the death of al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

“May Allah have mercy on Osama, the Sheikh of Jihad, the Imam of Piety, the example of asceticism and the model of patience, the pioneer of glory in this age, and the awakener of the Ummah from its slumber,” the terror group said, in a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. The group also said it had been formed “after incitation” by bin Laden.

“We in the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam bear witness that we only went out for jihad after incitation from Sheikh Osama bin Laden, by his words and his actions. He is the one enacted among the people of the time, the tradition to invade infidels in their homes, and created a front to fight the Jews and the Crusaders,” the statement said.

More recently, on Aug. 17, Sirajuddin Zurayqat, a member of the jihadist group, offered a eulogy in video posted to jihadist forums for former deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula Said al Shihri, who was confirmed dead by AQAP on July 16.

Additionally, the group has expressed strong disdain for Hezbollah’s role in the ongoing Syrian civil war. In a recent statement, Majid bin Muhammad al Majid, a leader in the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, called on Sunnis to fight Hezbollah and its interests, which he deemed “legitimate targets.”

(Source / 27.08.2013)

Palestinian hunger strikers in serious condition

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The health of two Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike is rapidly deteriorating, lawyers from the Palestinian Authority ministry of prisoners said Tuesday.

Lawyer Hanin al-Khatib told Ma’an that Abed al-Majid Khdeirat is suffering from a kidney infection, breathing problems, and severe back pain.

Israeli prison guards punished Khdeirat by not allowing any visits for 6 months and banned him from buying anything at the prison canteen.

Guards are always using psychological intimidation to force him to end his hunger strike, his lawyer said. He has lost 27 kilograms since beginning his strike action on July 1.

Khdeirat, 45, is from Tubas and works in the PA national security forces. He spent 11 years in an Israeli jail before being released in the Shalit swap deal.

He was rearrested in May.

Another Palestinian hunger striker, Hussam Matar, is also in a serious condition and is currently being treated in hospital, PA lawyer Karim Ajwa said.

He suffers from kidney and liver problems and has lost 33 kilograms since launching strike action on June 1.

Matar, from Jerusalem, is sentenced to life imprisonment and is demanding better visitation rights, clothes and conditions for sick detainees.

(Source / 27.08.2013)

IOF arrests Hamas leader Mazen Abu Natsheh

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AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested on Monday the leader in Hamas movement Sheikh Mazen Abu Natsheh, 42, from al-Khalil.

Natsheh had been released six months ago, after having spent nearly seven years in Israeli jails mostly in administrative detention.

The Israeli forces brutally stormed and searched the liberated prisoner’s house for hours before arresting him, Natsheh’s wife told the PIC reporter.

She said that her husband was handcuffed and transferred to an unknown destination despite his difficult health condition.

(Source / 27.08.2013)