by Deccan Herald
At least 800 extremists recruited by Islamic State or groups affiliated to the al-Qaeda are prepared “to do anything” to launch attacks in Europe, media reports said today.
The Islamist fighters who have returned from Syria or Iraq are preparing to launch attacks in Europe, The Times reported citing Spanish counterterrorism officers.
The Spanish officers referred to the number of jihadists residing on the continent who have been recruited by Islamic State or groups affiliated to al-Qaeda.
Another 350 or so Britons have returned from fighting in the war zone, with security sources acknowledging that some are plotting attacks in the UK specifically.
The warnings came as Spain and Morocco arrested 14 people in a joint operation targeting suspected recruiters for IS.
Those arrested are suspected of involvement in a network to send fighters to areas of Syria and Iraq under IS control, the BBC reported.
Also on Friday, Ayoub El Khazzani, 25, a Moroccan gunman, was overpowered on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. He was said to be an “Islamist returner,” apparently having left France for Syria last year.
Counterterrorism sources quoted by Cadena Ser, a Spanish radio station, said about 800 extremists on the continent had been recruited by Islamic State or al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.
They said they were waiting for instructions from support networks to commit atrocities when the opportunities arose.
The sources were quoted as saying that they believed El Khazzani had been armed and given instructions by others before boarding the train, and discounted his claim that he was trying to carry out a robbery and was not a terrorist.
Anti-terrorist sources said they were tracking the movements of some of the 800 “returners”, but did not know the whereabouts of all of them.
All have returned from conflict zones and are awaiting their opportunities to carry out an attack, they said.
“These people are not well trained, but they are poised and prepared to do anything. Once they have been indoctrinated, they receive the minimum training,” the radio station’s unnamed source said.
More than 700 Britons are thought to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to support or fight for jihadist organizations. According to Scotland Yard, half of them have returned.
So that means around 350 of those terrorists, who pose a clear and present danger to British people are behind bars, right? Nope! Many are free and able to plan the next 7/7 style bombings.
And whilst it’s true to say they are a small ‘active minority’. The Nazis were also once a small active minority! Don’t be deceived by the mushroom fertilizer shovelled on you by the main stream media. 30 to 40% of British Muslims express support for IS ideology. That means far too close to half fall into the ‘radical’ category.
Doesn’t look like the media portrayal of an insignificant minority anymore, does it?
by Julie Stahl
Cultural differences and leaving family behind can make immigrating to Israel difficult. But more and more Jewish Americans are making Israel their permanent home.
Seeing Jewish people return to Israel is like watching Bible prophecy unfold before your eyes. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel all speak of the Jewish return to the land.
It’s an exciting day. Immigrants from North America landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport to make Israel their home.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and government officials welcomed the group.
“Only think for a moment about your fathers, your grandfathers, your great grandfathers, all those generations of your families who were dreaming and praying next year in Jerusalem and you did it,” Sharansky told the new arrivals.
Max Kresch, 19, came from Detroit. He is one of 59 newcomers joining the Israel Defense Forces as a “lone soldier” or one without any family here.
“I came to yeshiva (Torah seminary) last year and being in Israel, learning in Israel, living in Israel made me realize how much I really loved being here,” Kresch told CBN News.
Almost 30 families with 75 children make up this group of new immigrants. They include Lisa and David Parshan and their two children.
“It was very nice to watch people just like us coming off.. all jet lagged but with a smile on their face. It was really a very exciting experience,” Lisa Parshan said.
Their older daughter, Shira, paved the way for her family two years ago.
“You know Mashiach is coming,” Shira told CBN News. “I know that Israel is the place to be and I made aliyah (immigrate to Israel) when I was 17 years old.”
This group arrived on an El Al flight chartered by Nefesh B’Nefesh. The organization partners with the government to help North American and British Jews make aliyah and adjust to Israeli life.
“I just think that every Jew should be struggling with the issue of the Jewish homeland, and that’s not just a slogan but it’s rather an opportunity,” Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, cofounder of Nefesh B’Nefesh told CBN News.
Since its establishment in 2002, it has brought about 45,000 immigrants from the United States, Canada, and England. Rabbi Fass explained why they come.
“We don’t want the immigration from America to be an aliyah of necessity, of running away from something, of distress, duress, persecution. You don’t want that,” he said. “The beauty of North American immigration is that people are choosing to come.”
by Thomas D. Williams
A debate is raging among African and Arab theologians regarding how far Christians can go in good conscience to hide their faith and pretend to be Muslims in order to save their lives at the hands of Islamist extremists.
It often happens that during jihadist raids, militants will try to ascertain quickly whether persons they are attacking are Christians or Muslims by asking them questions about Islam or having them recite the Muslim creed in Arabic.
For example, during the 2013 terror attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, al Shabaab gunmen paused for a moment to announce in English: “Muslims, get out of here!
An Indian man stepped forward, but when the gunmen asked him, “What is the name of Muhammad’s mother?” he couldn’t answer, and so they shot him.
Another of those trying to escape was a student named Joshua Hakim, who covered up the Christian name on his voter card as he showed it to the gunmen. Hakim was allowed to go.
Other terror attacks by radical Islamists have followed a similar pattern. Those who could show they were Muslim—by reciting a prayer in Arabic or answering questions about Islam—were allowed to go free. Those who couldn’t were killed.
As a result, some Christians have started sharing tips on how to “act Muslim” and so avoid being killed by attackers. These tips—shared by word of mouth or even on the internet—include activities such as learning to recite the shahada—Islam’s central creed—in Arabic.
Christian theologians, however, are divided on whether such a practice amounts to a denial of Christ or “apostasy.”
One Kenyan pastor, David Oginde, the head of the 45,000-member Christ is the Answer Ministries, says that such pretending to be Muslim is unworthy behavior for a Christian. “A true Christian must be ready to live and to die for the faith,” he said.
Others disagree. Two professors at St. Paul’s University, an Anglican institution in Nairobi, have said that the answer isn’t that clear-cut. Reciting the shahada doesn’t amount to denying Christ, says Samuel Githinji, a theology lecturer.
“Christians are obligated to save their lives and others’ lives as much as possible,” Githinji said. “Denying the faith is more subtle than the mere voicing of certain words.”
Christian persecution from the Islamic State and other jihadist groups has provided ample opportunities for Christians to show their mettle.
One of the twenty-one Egyptian men beheaded on a Libyan beach last February, Mathew Ayairga, was asked the question, “Do you reject Christ?” Though Ayairga was not even a Christian up until then, he chose to identify with the other Egyptians and their Christian faith. His reply to his captors was, “Their God is my God!” and he was killed with the rest.
The question of what constitutes apostasy and how Christians should act in situations of persecution is as old as Christianity itself. During the most severe Roman persecutions, notably those of Emperors Nero, Decius, Valerian. and Diocletian, apostasy was fairly common, since holding to one’s faith meant the loss of property, position, citizens’ rights, and even one’s life.
Even in those early centuries, Christians debated over what compromises were licit and which could never be engaged in. When persecutions slowed, the Church had to address the question of how Christians who had apostatized should be dealt with.
George Sabra, president of Near East School of Theology in Lebanon, says Christians should rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in such situations. Sabra says that Christians should not say the shahada, but if they do, they should be treated with compassion.
“To be a Christian is not about learning tactics for survival,” he said. “But denying Christ is not an unforgivable sin. We may not despair of God’s love and mercy. Even Peter, the head of the disciples, was a denier of Christ.”
The only answer to this is for Christians the world over, to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters. And to make this a political issue in their respective countries. Demand real action against the perpetrators and their supporters. Many of whom reside in the comfort of Christian countries.
by Paul Alster
An unsettling surge in terrorism by Iranian proxies has many Israelis convinced the release to Tehran of tens of billions of dollars in frozen funds is already putting the Jewish state in danger.
In recent days, rockets have rained down on Israel from Gaza in the south and the Golan Heights to the north, Israeli forces foiled a bomb plot at the tomb of biblical patriarch Joseph, and Gaza-based terrorist groups that also have a presence in the West Bank have openly appealed for aid on Iranian television. Israeli officials fear the terrorist activity is spiking as groups audition for funding from Tehran, which is set to receive the long-frozen funds as part of its deal to allow limited nuclear inspections. They say the international focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions has left its more conventional methods of attacking regional adversaries unaddressed.
“The nuclear context is just one aspect of the negative Iranian activities in the region,” Emmanuel Nahshon, senior Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, told FoxNews.com. “We can see the demonstration of this on a daily basis in Syria, in Yemen, and in Iraq. We see it also when we see the [Iranian] support of Hezbollah and other groups who operate against Israel.”
Last month, National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted that some of the money due to be released as part of the deal negotiated by the U.S. led P5+1 “would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region.”
Aside from the soon-to-be-released billions, Iran’s finances will also be strengthened by the easing of trade embargoes that have seen a horde of major international business – many from P5+1 countries – rushing to sign lucrative deals with the ayatollahs. Earlier this week, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond scoffed at the fears of Israel and many Arab countries in the Middle East, saying the deal would “slowly rebuild their sense that Iran is not a threat to them.” Less than 24 hours later, the spokesman for Iran’s top parliament member said, “Our positions against [Israel] have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated.”
If that remains Iran’s intention, terror groups Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are showing a renewed eagerness to continue as its proxies. Four rockets apparently fired by the PIJ from Syria into northern Israel last week – two into the Golan Heights and two more into the Upper Galilee – were the first such attacks since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war more than four years ago. Israel responded with targeted missile strikes, including one which hit a car killing “five or six PIJ terrorists.”
On Aug. 18, Iranian state TV broadcast images of a new, 2.5-mile tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel. Dug by the Fatah-linked terror group the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and seemingly competing with arch-rivals Hamas for a share of the imminently unfrozen Iranian funds, the terrorists made an unabashed appeal for more cash. In a segment translated by Palestinian Media Watch, the terror group’s representatives said, “This is why we are asking for money… especially from Iran, which is a known long-time supporter of the resistance and the Palestinian cause.”
On Tuesday, Israeli officials revealed that a joint Israeli internal security and military operation thwarted a potentially lethal bomb attack planned by the Islamic Jihad on visitors to Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, the resting place of the biblical figure revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
The pace of attacks, as well as the diversity of their perpetrators, has prompted speculation that terrorist groups are competing for Iranian funding, and trying to show they are capable of giving Tehran bang for its buck. The terrorist groups however operate on budgets that are tiny given the scale of Iran’s financing capability.
“The amount that Iran gives Hezbollah is not very much – around $200 million – not even 1 percent of Iran’s budget last year,” Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Israeli expert on the region who writes at http://www.middleastanalyst.com, told FoxNews.com. “If you want to stop Iranian support of Hezbollah you would need to have inspectors on the ground in Syria and Lebanon, the most dangerous of places, checking Hezbollah’s arsenal, bank accounts, bases, and Syrian bases which Hezbollah uses. I don’t see any UN force, or anyone else volunteering to do that.”
British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond scoffed at the fears of Israel and many Arab countries in the Middle East, saying the deal would “slowly rebuild their sense that Iran is not a threat to them.” Less than 24 hours later, the spokesman for Iran’s top parliament member said, “Our positions against [Israel] have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated.”
To say Hammond is a fool would be an understatement. This man, and any others who think like him, are in the Neville Chamberlain class of idiots.
by Elhanan Miller
Hamas is about to sign a “comprehensive” agreement with Israel for the lifting of an eight-year blockade placed on the Gaza Strip in return for a long-term ceasefire, a senior Turkish official said on Sunday.
But the agreement is facing domestic opposition from without, as Palestinian factions consider it a potential danger to the political unity of Gaza and the West Bank as stipulated by the Oslo Accords.
In an interview with Hamas daily al-Resalah, Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, said that Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashaal came to Ankara last week to update the Turkish leadership on the details of an agreement reached with Israel and mediated by former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Details of the imminent agreement, reported first by London-based daily al-Hayat on Thursday, have begun to emerge on Hamas news outlets as well over the weekend. According to the reports, Gaza will be allowed to import merchandise through a “floating port” located 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) off the coast. An intermediary port will be established in Cyprus, where all Gaza-bound merchandise will be scrutinized by NATO representatives.
According to Hamas daily al-Resalah, Israel would like to see a larger package deal that would include the exchange of “live and dead Israeli prisoners” held by Hamas — likely a reference to Ethiopian-Israeli citizen Avraham Abere Mengistu and a Bedouin man who both entered the Gaza Strip voluntarily, as well as the remains of Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge last summer — in return for Hamas prisoners jailed by Israel.
Israeli Arabic-language website al-Masdar reported on Sunday that Hamas’s leadership held a meeting in Gaza on Friday, specifying the deal’s details. According to al-Masdar’s unnamed Hamas source, Israel has also agreed to allow in thousands of Gazan day laborers through the Erez crossing in return for Hamas’s agreement to stop launching rockets into Israel and digging subterranean attack tunnels underneath the border for a period of at least eight years.
Officials in Israel would not comment on the reported agreement with Hamas.
Hamas’s Shura Council, the movement’s highest deliberative body, endorsed the agreement following a three-hour debate. According to al-Masdar, former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh expressed concern that the agreement may harm the newly improved relations with Egypt.
“This agreement is no longer just rumors or blabber, but will be signed any minute,” said Walid Awadh, a member of the political office of the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), formerly the Communist Party, in Gaza. Officials of PLO factions, such as PPP, have been receiving updates from Hamas on the talks with Blair over the past month, he told The Times of Israel.
Awadh said that his party, like all other PLO factions, is opposed in principle to the deal reached between Hamas and Israel. The agreement, carried out unilaterally by Hamas without consulting the PA, strengthens the political divide with Fatah and will eventually detach Gaza completely from the West Bank and Jerusalem, he argued.
“Gaza faces an unknown future,” he said. “This agreement leads us from political divide to [Gaza’s] secession, making it impossible for Gaza to be part of the future Palestinian state.”
A peace treaty with Hamas will not be worth the paper it’s written on. And that’s a fact both sides are well aware of!