Monday, June 30, 2014

Epicenter On The Brink (II): Hamas-Israeli Tensions Increase

I was expecting to find some interesting news relating to ISIS and their movements into Jordan, possibly triggering an Israeli response (due to agreements between Israel and Jordan), which could predictably escalate things in the Middle East dramatically. 

However, as all things seem to be converging now, we now have the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli youths who were kidnapped. This situation marks another big step towards the prophetic conflicts to come. 

The Israeli Air Force struck 34 targets in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, carrying out “precision strikes” against Hamas and Islamic Jihad structures, the IDF said in a statement early Tuesday.

According to reports, sites in Khan Younes, Rafah and Beit lahia were hit.

“Following over 18 rockets which were fired at Israel since Sunday evening, IAF aircraft carried out a precision strike against 34 targets in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.

“The IDF will continue to act in order to restore the peaceful living to the civilians of the state of Israel. The Hamas terror organization and its extensions are solely responsible for any terror activities emanating from the Gaza Strip,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip early Tuesday landed in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing damage to several cars and a fire close to a packaging plant, which was quickly put out by emergency services.
Another rocket landed in the Sdot Negev region, causing no damage or injuries.
The air strikes and rocket attacks came hours after the bodies of kidnapped Israeli teenagers — Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 — were found partially buried in a field near the West Bank village of Halhul, north of Hebron.
The bodies were found at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, bound and partially buried, in an open field in a hard-to-access area. The site is less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from where the teens had been abducted.
Israel is on the hunt for two Hamas men it says were behind the kidnappings, Marwan Kawasme and Amer Aby Aysha.
Since the start of Operation Brother’s Keeper to find them, 18 days of searches had seen the arrests of over 400 Palestinians, a majority of them members of Hamas.
On Monday, Hamas operatives launched a large volley of rockets which slammed into Israel, the first time in years the Islamist group has directly challenged the Jewish state, according to Israeli defense officials.
At least 16 rockets were fired at Israel Monday morning, most of them hitting open areas in the Eshkol region, the army said.
The security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, assessed that Hamas had probably launched the barrage in revenge for an Israeli airstrike several hours earlier which killed one person and injured three more.

Politicians across the spectrum condemned the murder of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel after their bodies were found Monday night, and many called for war on Hamas.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein interrupted the Knesset meeting taking place in the evening, and all MKs with bills set to go to a vote pulled them. Tuesday’s Knesset committee meetings and votes were canceled as well.
“In this time I support the noble Shaer, Fraenkel and Yifrah families, which taught us all about love for the people of Israel and mankind,” Edelstein said. “Israel must fight an uncompromising war against terrorism, in general, and against Hamas, specifically.”
Edelstein added that the time had come for the Palestinians to learn that Hamas was leading them to the abyss, and to denounce the terrorist organization.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) said it was time for “action and not talk.”
“There is no forgiveness for those who murder children,” Bennett said. “Our hearts are with the families.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) said “the kidnapping and murder of innocent teens in the dead of the night is an unforgivable crime. It has no explanation or justification and I am convinced that the long arm of the security forces will reach the murderers.
We experienced painful, difficult terrorist attacks in the past and we overcame them, as we will now. That is life in this land.”
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud Beytenu) said Israel must “use all its strength to destroy the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. We must teach Hamas a lesson it will never forget.”
“In war we must strike the terrorists without mercy on the one hand, and give an appropriate Zionist response on the other. The eternal nation is not afraid of a long journey,” Ariel said, referring to the title of a ruling by the iconic religious-Zionist Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said the kidnapping’s tragic ending should bring tragedy to Hamas as well.
“We must exterminate terrorism,” Danon declared. “We must destroy the houses of Hamas members, destroy their arsenals wherever they are, and stop money that is being used directly and indirectly to keeping the flame of terrorism burning. We must deter every organization that thinks it will kidnap an Israeli citizen or threaten Israel.”

“Kidnapping and murdering teens is a war crime that must be punished to the full extent of the law,” Gal-On said. “At the same time, in these moments we must differentiate between those who are responsible for the criminal act and the Palestinians who rejected it, like Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas... We must take diplomatic action that will strengthen the moderates.”

Hamas is responsible for the murder of the Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gil-Ad Shaer, and Hamas will pay, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday evening at the start of an emergency security cabinet meeting called to determine how to respond to the murders.
Netanyahu said that the three teens were murdered in cold blood, and that the entire country is weeping with the families.
“We will bury the boys,” Netanyahu said. Then, paraphrasing Haim Nahman Bialik's famous line that “Satan has not yet created vengeance for the blood of a small child,” he added, “nor for the blood of pure teens that were on their way home to see their parents, and who will never see them again.”

The emergency cabinet meeting was expected to determine what actions to take in light of the murders, with options ranging from an intensive military operation against Hamas – which Israel holds responsible for the murders – to announcements of building in the settlements.
In addition, Netanyahu is widely expected to push for stepping up the campaign to press Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve his unity pact with Hamas.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman who was in Berlin on Monday announced soon after the bodies were found that he would cancel a planned visit to Prague to return to Israel and take part in the security deliberations.

A Hamas spokesman denied responsibility Monday evening for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers, threatening to “open the gates of hell” against Israel if it launched an attack against the Gaza Strip.

“The story of the disappearance and killing of the three settlers is based on the Israeli narrative only,” Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. “The Israeli occupation is trying to refer to this narrative in order to justify its wide-scale war against our people, against the resistance and against Hamas.”

“If Netanyahu launches a war against Gaza, the gates of hell will open on him,” Abu Zuhri added on his Facebook page.

Channel 2 news reported that personnel at Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities in Gaza abandoned their buildings late Monday, apparently fearing Israeli airstrikes.

Meanwhile, PA President Mahmoud Abbas convened an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership Monday evening to discuss “the political developments and the repercussions of the recent events,” the official Wafa news agency reported.

Izzat Al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, took the opportunity to lambaste the Palestinian Authority for assisting Israel to crack down on Hamas in the West Bank.

The Epicenter On The Brink

We see ISIS threatening Israel from the east. We see the Golan Heights threatened by Radical Islam as Syria loses control of the region. We already know that Iran is being allowed to develop nuclear weapons as 'the nations' continue useless debate on the topic. And more recently, the escalating crisis of rocket fire from Gaza will lead to another Israeli incursion into the area - one that will ignite even more anti-Israeli passions in the region. 

This powder-keg is about to blow:

At least fifteen rockets exploded around southern Israel following a number of Code Red rocket alert sirens that sounded throughout Monday morning, the IDF said.
A number of homes were lightly damaged from the shrapnel of one of the rockets, police said.

Around 40 rockets have been launched into Israel in the past 18 days since 3 Israeli teens, all yeshiva students, went missing in the West Bank.

A volley of rockets slammed into southern Israel Monday morning, hours after a tense night which saw tit-for-tat Israeli airstrikes and Gazan missile attacks.

In the Sdot Negev region, two people were treated for shock after a high-trajectory rocket hit near two homes, causing light damage, according to police.

“We heard a very loud explosion and afterward saw the broken window and damaged door,” an occupant of one of the homes told the Ynet news site.
An agricultural grove where the rocket landed also suffered damage, Israel Radio reported.
Media reports put the number of rockets fired at Israel over the morning at over a dozen, though exact figures varied.
The other rockets all landed in open areas, and caused no injuries or property damage.
Earlier Monday morning, three rockets from the Gaza Strip struck open areas in the same region, the military said.
Haim Yellin, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, warned that the deterrent effect achieved by Israel’s last major engagement with Gaza, 2012′s Operation Pillar of Defense, had waned.
“Israel’s government has two arms, political and military, and it needs to use both wisely to return quiet to the region,” he said according to Ynet.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that Israel would take action to stop rocket fire from Gaza if the quiet which followed Operation Pillar of Defense continues to be violated.
Netanyahu was speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, hours after some 15 rocketsfrom Gaza were fired at southern Israel, causing damage to a number of homes in the western Negev.
The prime minister warned Hamas that it is responsible for reining in the rocket fire. "I want to make clear that if the silence from Operation Pillar of Defense is violated and the shooting continues, their are two options: either Hamas will stop the rocket fire, or we will."

Muslims and Buddhists are working together to destroy the lives of 1500 Christians.

The Buddhist nation of Sri Lanka is driving out from its country 1500 Pakistani Christians back to Pakistan where they will be either imprisoned or executed.

Local news in Sri Lanka said that "These people were to be deported because of their alleged involvement in 'anti-state activities' in India and Pakistan".

By "Anti-state activities" they of course mean the Christians' affronting the state religion of Sri Lanka, Buddhism. Here is a video that previously posted showing a line of dead Christians murdered by Buddhists in Sri Lanka:

Pakistan is totally pleased with the measure and is cooperating with Sri Lanka because it wants the Christian refugees in its hands to shed their blood.
The Buddhists are using their Buddhist blasphemy law in order to help Islamic blasphemy law in Pakistan. As our Pakistani contact informed us:
2nd Week of June, 2014 Sri-Lanka Started Arresting the Pakistani Christian Asylum seekers, without arrest warrants from native country through Interpol.
Two months ago Pakistani intelligence agencies started off loading Christians from there confirm flights of Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Thailand. More than 800 Pakistani Christians were unlawfully off loaded from Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore Airports.
It was the start of Crack down; Later on they used some so-called Christian politicians and Church leaders to collect the data of Pakistani Christian Asylum seekers from Sri-Lanka and Thailand.
Sri-Lankan authorities arrested 1,500 Asylum seekers according to the NEWS.

Pakistani Authorities are also working a similar action in Thailand and Malaysia, however our team leader in Thailand is working on this important issue.
Pakistan will charge these Christians with high treason cases. And there is NO guarantee of their lives. Please stand with us to Save Christianity in Middle East and East Asia .

West Africa's first-ever Ebola outbreak in humans is now the most deadly and geographically widespread outbreak on record and is threatening to spread, health officials say.

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 635 cases of Ebola across three countries in the region since the outbreak was first declared in southeastern Guinea in March. It has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. At least 399 people have died.

"It's very much a serious outbreak," said Daniel Epstein, spokesperson for the WHO. "I wouldn't say it's out of control, but the emergence of this outbreak definitely threatens regional public health security. We've ramped up our response, in so far as we can, but we have to continue to improve our work to contain this outbreak."

About 150 WHO experts are now on the ground, working alongside local health ministries and clinics as well as international partners to stop the transmission chain, prevent new cases and treat those currently affected.

WHO announced Friday that key players from 11 countries in the region will meet in Ghana starting Wednesday to discuss the outbreak, as well as how countries in the region can work together to step up response efforts.

One of America’s leading physicians is warning it’s time to stop looking at the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico as a political issue to be bantered about, but a serious medical issue that could erupt into an emergency room “catastrophe.”
Dr. Jane Orient, an internal medicine specialist and the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, was interviewed on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s 970 AM The Answer Sunday.
“This really should not be a political issue, but rather a public health and humanitarian issue,” Orient said. “We already have overburdened emergency rooms, we already have a serious shortage of intravenous solutions for rehydrating people, so, you know, when you’re importing, say, up to 100,000 people who are susceptible to something like [tuberculosis or norovirus], it affects not only those children but anyone they come in contact with.”

As WND has reported, several health experts have warned the tens of thousands of immigrants entering the nation without health screenings or vaccinations, potentially carrying diseases largely stamped out or unknown in the U.S., is becoming a medical crisis.

Klein talked with Orient about the dangers of tuberculosis, norovirus and the measles, specifically, then asked her if an outbreak or epidemic in the U.S. is inevitable.

“We could very easily have a big public health catastrophe,” Orient answered. “This could really put a huge burden on our public health facilities as well as just our emergency rooms for treating common diseases.”
“Tuberculosis is the single most dangerous disease because it is highly contagious and can be easily picked up at the mall, at a school, or on the bus,” Orient told Breitbart News in an earlier interview. “Cases coming from south of the U.S. border can be very resistant to medications. They don’t respond to traditional antibiotics, and the few drugs they may respond to are often toxic, with lots of side effects.
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., told WND, “President Obama’s non-enforcement immigration doctrine seemingly invites illegal border crossings, which brings with it a wave of illnesses and diseases that have long been stamped out in America.”
Gingrey, a 30-year practicing physician, said the threat posed to American families is very real.
“There is a logistical nightmare these scarce diseases impose on the medical community,” he said. “The White House must stop neglecting the consequences of its reckless, open-border policies and protect the health and safety of our citizens – not to mention the security of our nation.”
“TB is highly contagious – you catch it anywhere around infected people: schools, malls, buses, etc. The drug-resistant TB now coming across our borders requires a complex, extremely expensive treatment regimen that has serious side effects and a low cure rate.”
Chagas, or “kissing bug” disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is carried by the triatomine bug that transmits disease to humans, Vliet reported. Although “kissing bugs” are already here, they are not as widespread as in Latin America. Right now, Chagas disease is uncommon in the U.S., so many doctors do not think to check for it.
Furthermore, Texas public health officials have confirmed a new wave of dengue fever has cropped up in the southernmost tip of Texas, marking the first outbreak the state has seen since 2005, according to reports in the Scientific American. Texas public health officials announced that the same area that saw an outbreak almost a decade ago now has 18 confirmed cases of the disease. Seven are believed to have been locally acquired (rather than contracted when traveling to a dengue-endemic region), according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The dengue outbreak in southern Texas’s Cameron County and neighboring Hidalgo County comes after there had been an uptick in cases directly across the Texas-Mexico border in Tamaulipas over the last couple of months.

Also see: 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Earthquake Cluster In Southwest U.S.

From the Seismic monitor it appears that we have had a 4.2 quake in Utah, a 5.2 in Arizona and a 4.4 in northern Mexico. This is in addition to the 4.0 quake in Oklahoma yesterday. There have been a number of aftershocks. The last article below comes from the EU Times and contains some interesting information (apply the usual caveats regarding various websites and our effort to look at all available information - even with that caveat, this one seems a little far-fetched):  

Four earthquakes occurred overnight between around 10 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. Sunday along the Arizona-New Mexico border ranging from a 3.4- to 5.2-magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The earthquakes all occurred within the same general location, about 30 miles northwest of Lordsburg, N.M.

The largest earthquake, a 5.2-magnitude, occurred around 10 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a 3.5, 3.4 and 3.6-magnitude earthquake that finished Sunday morning, according to USGS.

Arizona residents in Graham County, Safford, Tucson, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and other areas have reported feeling the tremor.

An ominous report prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) that is circulating in the Kremlin today states that confirmation has been received from China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) that the world’s largest ever military maritime exercises now underway in the Pacific Ocean have been ordered to their “highest alert” status after the 5.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Arizona hours ago was confirmed as being a part of the still expanding, and mysterious, North American magnetic anomaly.

Important to note, and as we had reported on in our 13 June report Russia Issues Grim Report On North American Magnetic Anomaly, Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force Lieutenant-General Viktor Bondarev then warned that a “catastrophic event” may be nearing for the North American region his forces had “electronically swept” for “magnetic anomalies” barely a fortnight ago stretching from Alaska to California.
Within 10-days of General Bondarev’s 13 June warning, this new GRU report says, a “precursor” to this potential “catastrophic event” did indeed occur in Alaska when this region was struck by a powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake on 23 June and described by witnesses as lasting “several minutes” and was felt as a “steady shake and roll, shake and roll, shake and roll”.
Of graver concern, however, than the 23 June 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Alaska, this report continues, was the5.2 magnitude earthquake occurring earlier today at 00:59:33 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) (9:59 PDT local time) that was centered about 50 km (31 miles) northwest of the city of Lordsburg, New Mexico, and felt some 240 km (150 miles) west in the city of Tucson, Arizona, and 480 km (300 miles) in Roswell, New Mexico.
Raising the grave concerns about the 5.2 magnitude Arizona earthquake, GRU experts in this report say, was its “well defined magnetic anomalous connection” with not only the 13 June 7.9 magnitude Alaska earthquake, but a series of other quakes occurring within a 5-hour time span immediately prior to and after it…which include:

Following the 5.2 Arizona earthquake, this report continues, it was followed by a 3.5 magnitude aftershock a little over an hour later at 01:08:44 UTC, with the last earthquake occurring in this “anomalous magnetic hyper-sequence” (that stretched from Alaska to Utah, over to California, back to Utah, over to Arizona and then back to Alaska in this 5-hour period) the 3.0 earthquake that struck Middleton Island, Alaska, nearly 9-minutes later at 01:17:28 UTC. [Note: Check all locations and times HERE]
Important to note, and as General Bondarev had previously reported, Russian military information regarding these events was necessitated by a “severe mysterious magnetic anomaly” detected by the Kosmos 2473 satellite on 3 June occurring in the Yellowstone region of the Western United States which resulted in what is called an “earthquake swarm”.
Also to note about the 3 June Yellowstone “magnetic anomaly”, General Bondarev’s report stated, was that satellite measurements showed it being precipitated by the mysterious earthquake swarm hitting the Brooks Range Mountains in Alaska which seismologists are still at a loss to explain.
The information relating to the linking of these two “events” was further verified by the United States Geological Survey (USGSmagnetic anomaly maps and data for North America showing a strange magnetic “disturbance/ripple” emanating from Brooks Range and ending at Yellowstone on 3 June, both of these areas, it is important to note, being part of the Rocky Mountains that stretch more than 4,830 km (3,000 miles) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States.

The “profound significance” of RIMPAC going into such a “high alert” status so soon into their 26-June to 1 August Pacific Ocean exercise, this report concludes, was its “mission objective” which, according to the MSS, is to “render all aid and assistance, and restore public order, to the American region that has just suffered a catastrophic natural event.”

Closing In: ISIS Edging Closer To Israel And Declares Islamic State With 'New Era Of International Jihad'

ISIS jihadists have declared the captured territories from Iraq's Diyala province to Syria's Aleppo a new Islamic State - a ‘caliphate.' They removed 'Iraq and the Levant' from their name and urged other radical Sunni groups to pledge their allegiance.

ISIS announced that it should now be called 'The Islamic State' and declared its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as "the caliph" of the new state and "leader for Muslims everywhere," the radical Sunni militant group said in an audio recording distributed online on Sunday.
This is the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 that a Caliph – which means a political successor to Prophet Muhammad – has been declared. The decision was made following the group’s Shura Council meeting on Sunday, according to ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani.

The new Islamic State has marked its borders, spanning the territory captured by the group in a bloody rampage, from Iraq's volatile Diyala province to Syria's war-torn Aleppo.
The jihadist group has also claimed that they are now a legitimate state.
The Islamic State has called on Al-Qaeda and other radical Sunni militants in the region to immediately pledge their allegiance, ushering in “a new era of international jihad.”
"The Shura [Council] of the Islamic State met and discussed this issue…The Islamic State decided to establish an Islamic caliphate and to designate a caliph for the state of the Muslims," said group spokesman Adnani.

Speaking Sunday, former National Security Council director Yaakov Amidror said that if Jordan requested Israeli assistance in preventing its border with Iraq from being overrun by forces belong to to ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, then Israel would have little choice but to help.

“It's not just in Jordan's interest, but in Israel's as well to work together to solve this problem," he said.

As the Sunni Islamist forces of ISIS have overrun Iraq, edging ever closer to that country's border with Jordan, Amman has expressed nervousness that it could be the group's next target. Some ISIS sources have already made unconfirmed claims to have seized a Jordanian town, although those reports appear to be false.

Jordan on Friday deployed massive army forces on its Iraqi border, including tanks, army vehicles, missile launchers and soldiers, reportedYedioth Aharonoth, citing the Arab news source Asharq Al-Aswat

In the Arabic report, Jordanian sources were quoted as claiming that the Iraqi army still controls the area just over the Jordanian border, but that they have already lost control over adjacent areas. A senior Jordanian captain told the paper the army is at maximum preparedness so as to be able to get involved at a moment's notice.

Jordan has good reason to worry; ISIS Islamists have publicly calledfor Jordanian King Abdullah's execution, declaring him a traitor to Islam who has joined forces with the West.
ISIS threatened to "slaughter" the "tyrant" Abdullah in a recent video, which was uploaded to YouTube. The video features a Jordanian citizen and member of the Islamist group, who is seen tearing up his passport and throwing it in a fire while vowing to launch a suicide attack inside Jordan.

Earlier this month, former Israeli intelligence expert Jacques Neriah suggested in a CNN interview that Israel must prepare itself for the eventuality that the battle could reach the shores of Tel Aviv - despite the fact that the fighting rages more than 915 kilometers (595 miles) away.

According to Neriah, the current crisis in the Middle East has made Israel relatively quiet, and could buy the IDF time to prepare.

Meanwhile, a report in the Daily Beast claimed that Israeli and US officials have already confirmed that their countries would join the battle against ISIS should it attack Jordan, with whom Israel has a peace treaty.

Thomas Sanderson, co-director for transnational threats at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Daily Beast that in his estimation any ISIS attack on Jordan would be viewed in both Washington and Jerusalem as a threat to national security.  

"I think Israel and the United States would identify a substantial threat to Jordan as a threat to themselves and would offer all appropriate assets to the Jordanians," he said.
Concerns in Israel over ISIS's rapid territorial gains in Syria and Iraq comes amid claims ISIS-linked terror cells have been involved in recent rocket fire against southern Israel. On Saturday it was revealed that two Gazan terrorists killed in an IAF precision strike for launching rockets against Israeli civilians were members of a jihadi group linked to ISIS.

'Return Of The Rockets' In S. Israel, ISIS Destroying Borders, Putin Plays Waiting Game

Return Of The Rockets

With so much drama in the Gaza Strip over the weekend, it’s kinda hard for the press to keep up. But, somehow, someway, the media wraps up the to-and-fro on Sunday.

Rounding up two days of rockets and airstrikes, Haaretz reports at least eight Israeli hits on the Palestinian enclave, including one that killed twooperatives from the Salah al-Din Brigades; it says 11 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, one of which hit a paint factory in the town of Sderot. It details the firefighters’ battle to control the blaze, which caused light injuries to three factory workers.

One of the factory workers injured in the rocket attack told Yedioth Ahronoth that a gigantic fireball surged “200 meters from the burning factory into Sderot.” The paper employs a clever headline to describe the blaze, “Color red,” which is also the Hebrew term for the rocket alert sirens that sounded throughout the weekend. The paper dramatizes the incident, which destroyed the factory but caused no loss of life — all four factory employees on site were safely rescued — writing “it’s terrifying to think what may have happened had the rocket hit the factory during the middle of a workday.”

Israel Hayom kicks up the drama on its front page, screaming “Escalation in the south” alongside photos of firefighters lit with a demonic red glow and the wreckage of the Palestinian car destroyed in the Israeli airstrike. The paper quotes a senior Israeli official calling the Gaza Strip “a powder keg. It can explode at any time.”
It reports that tensions reached their apogee on Saturday night when a rocket scored a direct hit on the highly flammable paint factory. Contrary to Haaretz, Israel Hayom tallies up 13 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend.

Meanwhile, 'the nations' ignore the rocket fire coming into S Israel from Gaza, and choose to focus on what is important to them: 

Israel’s ongoing settlement enterprise has garnered warnings from five European Union states, who cautioned their citizens against conducting business with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, Haaretz reports. According to the paper, Italy and Spain published the warning Friday, joining similar warnings made by France, Great Britain and Germany. Because they don’t recognize Israeli settlements as legal under international law, Rome and Madrid said there are economic and legal risks for individuals and companies that engage in business activity over the Green Line.
Israel Hayom reports that Spanish and French diplomats said last week that this was not the end of the matter, and that other EU countries would follow suit and publish similar warnings to their citizens. The paper notes that Israeli officials didn’t comment on the matter.

Israeli officials called Sunday for Israel to undertake a large operation against the Gaza Strip following a weekend salvo of rockets that destroyed a Sderot factory.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, speaking to a slew of media outlets Sunday morning, said the Israeli military should consider re-taking full control of the Gaza Strip

Over a dozen rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza over the weekend, with one destroying a paint factory, and injuring four. Israeli jets responded by hitting 12 sites in the strip, including concealed rocket launchers and “terror sites,” the military said.

“We have to decide if we are heading to a scenario of re-taking full control of the strip,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We’ve seen that a limited operation just strengthens Hamas, so the alternative is clear. There is no scenario in between.”

“Over the weekend, the Israeli government proved that the hand of the IDF can reach anywhere,” he said, according to Israeli news site Ynet. “What we are seeing in Sderot — at night missiles struck, and this morning [people] returned to work and continued their lives — this is the way of the State of Israel.”

There has been an increase in rocket fire toward Israel this month, with over 60 rockets launched from Gaza, with many followed by Israeli reprisal air raids.
The increased rocket fire comes as the army carries out a wide-ranging operation against the Hamas in the West Bank and searches for three Israeli teens who Israel says were abducted by the Palestinian terrorist group.
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi called for an “extensive” IDF operation in the Gaza strip.

A former senior security policy maker in the administration of Primer Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel should offer to bolster Jordan’s defenses against Sunni militants nearing their border.

Yaakov Amidror, who until recently served as the national security adviser, said with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant advancing in Iraq, Israel should come to Amman’s aid should it need it.

“If Jordan asks for assistance, we should help,” Amidror told Army Radio. “We need to help with whatever they may need in order to overcome the problems developing on their eastern borders.”

According to Israeli officials, Israel has not changed its military deployment on its border with Jordan, but is closely watching ISIL’s activities in both Iraq and Syria.

According to a report by The Daily Beast, the officials told senators in a classified briefing earlier this week that ISIL is eyeing Jordan as well as its war-torn neighbors, and that some of its jihadists have already tweeted out photos and messages saying they have seized a key Jordanian town.
The Daily Beast quoted one of the Senate staff members who attended the briefing as saying that, according to the administration officials, if Jordan were to face a military onslaught from ISIL, it would “ask Israel and the United States for as much help as they can get.”
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994.

The first ten Russian Sukhoi (Su-24) fighter jets arrived in Iraq on Saturday, the country’s Defense Ministry said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping the jets will make a key difference in the fight against ISIS.
“The fighter jets landed today in the morning on different military airfields,” MP Abbas al-Bayati told Iraqi media.
The official spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Mohammed al-Askari, also confirmed the information, Al Iraqiya TV channel reported.
The fighter jets will be stationed at an airbase located in the southern part of the country, PressTV reported, citing military sources.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Maliki revealed that Iraq purchased jets from Russia and Belarus in order to help its fight against Sunni militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL).
At the same time, Maliki criticized the US for taking too long to deliver on its own contract after Iraq purchased F-16 jets from America.
On Friday, Iraqi Air Force Commander Hameed al-Maliki confirmed the shipment of MI-35 and MI-28 Russian helicopter fighters to "keep the momentum" in the attacks against ISIS, Ruptly reported.
The commander said that he signed three contracts with the Russians and stressed the importance of the choppers as "excellent anti-terrorism weapons."

Claiming its goal is to smash the “partitioning of Muslim lands by crusader powers,” the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, has set out its goal of redrawing the map of the Middle East.
This goal is outlined in an article from its latest weekly web magazine, The Islamic State Report, a professionally designed mouthpiece meant to recruit would-be jihadist fighters from the West.

ISIS’ web magazine began in June and has just published its fifth issue. Its fourth issue talks about redrawing the map of the Middle East, and on its cover shows ISIS fighters crossing between Syria and Iraq without any sign of a demarcation between the two countries. The web magazine is published every Saturday.
The article seeks to justify creation of an Islamic caliphate to re-establish the Middle East region before it was carved up by the British and French following World War I.

In outlining how it is reshaping the Middle East map, ISIS in said its goal is to correct an injustice that goes back to a secret arrangement between the British and French, known as the 1916 Sykes-Picot Treaty. That treaty created the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan and later contributed to Israel’s creation.
Middle East experts say some of these nation-states won’t survive in their present form, and while some will, the bottom line is the United States won’t be able to stop a process that is well underway.
Before the treaty, which went into effect following the end of World War I, those countries didn’t exist but were part of the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with Germany. The Empire went out of existence once WWI ended, closing out its reign from 1299 to 1923.

ISIS claims it is out to rectify these past events. However, the jihadist group still has a challenge in showing it can govern the caliphate it seeks to create, even though it has become a rallying point and sparked the imagination of disgruntled, unemployed young people to become jihadists with its dramatic military successes.
ISIS’ success also has shown just how limited U.S. influence now is in that region, as these sectarian and ethnic groups within these countries try to sort out things for themselves.

A top U.S. Defense Department analyst under President Bush says Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to use chaos and turmoil in the Middle East to make further advances in Ukraine and the Baltic states.

But for right now, he appears to be waiting.

In an exclusive interview with WND Michael Maloof, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs and senior staff writer for WND, called Russian President Vladimir Putin “the ultimate puppeteer.”
As Putin is committing Russia to back the al-Maliki regime in Iraq against the rising tide of jihadist radicals, ceasefire orders in Ukraine are breaking down. As a result, Russian advances in those strategic regions are expected.

Maloof, author of “A Nation Forsaken,” says as ISIS faces opposition moving into the Shiite-dominated southern portions of Iraq, they are likely to turn back north and move into southeastern portions of Turkey.
If ISIS insurgents move to attack Turkey, as Maloof believes they will, he says the Turkish government is likely to invoke Article 5 of the NATO pact. That subsequently would catapult the U.S. and its allies into direct combat in the Middle East.

Article 5, a principal of collective defense, provides that if a NATO ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the ally attacked.
That would open the door for Russia, he said.
“Russia will probably use that opportunity to make further moves into Ukraine,” he said.
“I think policy thinkers and strategists are thinking about that. And they have to. They have to be watching all these things,” Maloof said. “And I’m afraid the community organizer who became president is incapable of thinking strategically at all, but Putin is on top of it, he’s the ultimate puppeteer in this.”

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EU leaders on Friday (27 June) nominated Jean-Claude Juncker to be European Commission president, simultaneously doling out a major diplomatic defeat for London and handing a large chunk of power to the European Parliament.
"Decision made. The European Council proposes Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission," EU council president Herman Van Rompuy tweeted during the meeting.

The Luxembourger and former head of the eurogroup, who has maintained a media blackout over recent weeks, still has to be elected into office by a majority in the EP (376 out of 751 MEPs), with the vote to take place on 16 July.
EU leaders are then to meet later that same day to decide on the post of EU foreign policy chief and EU Council president.
If Juncker makes it through parliament, it will represent the first time in EU history that the commission president has not been chosen by EU leaders.
It would also likely strengthen the Spitzenkandidate process for 2019, the next EU vote.

Britain's tabloid The Sun portrayed him as "the most dangerous man in Europe". Prime Minister David Cameron linked Britain's EU membership to him, while other leaders and MEPs said that without him as Commission chief, democracy itself would be undermined.
All the buzz surrounding Britain's opposition to his nomination has made him probably the first widely-known head of an EU institution. But who is Jean-Claude Juncker?
The 59-year old Luxembourg politician was the EU's longest serving prime minister until last year, when he lost his post due to an illegal wiretapping scandal.
Luxembourg's intelligence service (SREL) last year was embroiled in a scandal when it emerged that it had carried out illegal wiretaps, kept secret files on people and run a fictional counterterror operation to cover for a Russian oligarch.
Juncker said he was not aware of the abuses, but he had to step down, prompting early elections, in which his party gained the most seats. But the Grand Duke of Luxembourg tasked Liberal Xavier Bettel, not Juncker, with forming a government.
Often portrayed as a 'veteran' in EU politics, Juncker was a finance minister when Germany was governed by Chancellor Helmut Kohl, with whom he helped lay down the foundations of the euro.

From 2005 until 2013, Juncker was also chairman of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, which became instrumental in negotiating and supervising bailout packages for the countries that faced bankruptcy in the euro crisis: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.
Back in 2011, during a debate in Brussels recorded by EUobserver Juncker admitted that he often had to lie to journalists about secret meetings held at the height of the euro-crisis, in order to prevent markets from betting against troubled countries.
"I am for secret, dark debates," he quipped.

He recalled an instance where journalists asked him if there would be a meeting in Paris the following weekend.
"I said no. I had to lie. I am a Christian Democrat, a Catholic, so when it becomes serious we have to lie. The same applies to economic and monetary policy in the Union, I am very serious about it. If you are pre-indicating policy decisions, you are feeding speculations on the financial markets," he explained.
He described calls for transparency of Eurogroup meetings as "naive".