Monday, August 25, 2014

More Rockets Into Israel From Lebanon

Israel Returns Fire After Rockets Shot At Galilee From Lebanon

A rocket fired from Lebanon crashed into northern Israel on Monday night, the army said, without any immediate reports of injuries.
“At least one rocket fired from Lebanon hit the Upper Galilee,” the army said in a statement. The rocket was reported to hit outside a community near the town of Kiryat Shmona.

The IDF said a second rocket was fired, but did not detail an impact site.

Israeli media indicated the rocket hit near the ceasefire line, possibly on the Lebanese side.
Israeli artillery returned fire, toward the source of the launch, the army said.

There was no immediate reaction from UNIFIL, the United Nations force tasked with monitoring the border between Israel and Lebanon.
It was the third consecutive day in which Israel came under rocket fire from the north as well from the Gaza Strip in the south.

Five rockets from Syria hit the Golan Heights early Sunday and the night before a rocket was fired from Lebanon.
There were no casualties in any of those attacks and no Israeli fire in response.

IDF confirms strikes on Lebanon; Lebanese forces en route to launch site

The IDF confirmed late Monday that two rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon and that it retaliated with artillery fire at the source of the attack.
According to Lebanese news outlet MTV, Israeli planes were seen flying over the southern Lebanon towns of Nabatieh and Jormok, after the rockets were reportedly fired from the latter town. Lebanese army forces were en route to the launch site, Lebanon’s government news outlet said.

Poll shows massive drop in Netanyahu ratings

A series of public-opinion polls broadcast Monday found a massive drop in support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The surveys, conducted by Shiluv Millward Brown and published on Channel 2, showed that Netanyahu’s approval rating dropped from 82 percent to 38% in the past month, and by 17% in the past four days alone.
The size of the surveyed population, or the questions asked, were not detailed in the Channel 2 segment, and the statistics were not immediately available on the website of Shiluv Millward Brown.

US Defense Secretary said on Thursday that Islamic State militants could possibly pose an even bigger threat to the United States than Al-Qaeda, and pledged efforts to weaken the group would continue.
Speaking at a press conference at the Pentagon, Hagel also said that potential airstrikes in Syria are on the table, and defended the unsuccessful attempt by American Special Forces to rescue murdered photojournalist James Foley and other Western hostages.
“[Islamic State militants] are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.
Responding to a question on whether or not the extremists are a threat on the scale of Al-Qaeda, which carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Hagel noted that “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen.”
“They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything,” he added.

Israel can easily manufacture replacements to US-UK weapon systems locally or purchase comparable systems from Russia, thereby letting US state department beurocrats choke on their “embargo”, as was the case with the Apache AH-64 Helicopters fleet upgrade. After all, one of the very few foreign made guided missiles in use by the US Air Force since the 1980′s is the Israeli made Popeye cruise missile. Surely anyone who can produce the Popeye missile can produce something comparable to the “embargoed” Hellfire missiles. Long term solution to the problem would be to unilateraly opt out of the US “foregin aid” scam which has been shown to have an abysmall cost-to-benefit ratio.

Recent halt on shipment of US missiles has led Israel to look to new military equipment and munition sources
With the recent US announcement of that the Pentagon put on hold a shipment of ‘Hellfire’ missiles to Israel as a warning to Jerusalem, the country is turning to other arms and munition sources to acquire new weapons.
Israel purchased hundreds of Russian-made shoulder-fire missiles in recent years, Israeli daily Haaretzreported Monday, although most weapons the army uses are produced locally. A significant portion of the IDF’s weapons is acquired with the use of American funds, totaling over $3 billion per year.
According to the report, a quarter of the weapons and munitions manufactured in Israel is destined for army use while the rest is exported.
The Defense Ministry has remained vague with regards to its arms trade, but several reports submitted to the UN’s Register of Conventional Arms reveal much on the matter. Ukraine for instance sold Israel 193 missiles and 32 launchers, of which many were Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles.
Other countries have also sold Russian-made arms, including the Czech Republic, which in 2006 sold Tochka tactical missile systems to Israel. In 2004, Bulgaria sold Israel six 130 mm artillery systems.

Tom R. Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was supposed to fly to West Africa on Monday to gauge the effects of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak.
Then his flight was canceled.
Brussels Airlines was forced to halt flights to the affected region after Senegal’s refusal over the weekend to allow the Belgium-based carrier to touch down in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, for crew changes. Senegal was sending a clear signal that it wanted nothing to do with flights going to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone, where the outbreak rages on. This move was just the latest by a growing wave of countries and airlines that appear to want to stave off the Ebola threat by stopping travel in and out of places confronting the virus.
The World Health Organization warned Monday that these curbs will only make the outbreak harder to deal with. That message was reinforced by the United Nations, which said that moving in medical supplies and personnel was being “severely hampered” by the restrictions.

David Nabarro, who is leading WHO’s Ebola response effort, acknowledged Monday that the unprecedented scale of the outbreak is scary but stressed the importance of maintaining regular air routes and normal borders.

Borders are being closed, too. South Africa banned travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Senegal closed its border with Guinea. Chad closed its border with Nigeria.

Last week, Kenya Airways stopped flying to Liberia and Sierra Leone. The small airliner Gambia Bird had already stopped flights to the affected region.
In Sierra Leone, just two commercial airliners — Royal Air Maroc and Air France — still serve Lungi International Airport.
Air France, which flies to Guinea and Sierra Leone, is under pressure from a crew union to stop its flights because some staff members are worried about being exposed to the deadly virus. The union called the continuation of flights “inconceivable” given the risks.

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