Tuesday, January 27, 2015

High Alert As Rockets Fired At Golan Heights

High Alert In North As Rockets Fired At Golan Heights

Air raid sirens went off in the northern Golan Heights on Tuesday as at least two rockets landed in the Israeli-controlled region. No injuries or damage were reported.

The rockets were reportedly launched from Syrian territory, but it wasn’t immediately clear who was responsible or whether it was an intentional attack on Israeli territory.
The IDF confirmed that at least two rockets had hit the northern Golan Heights and a spokesperson said that the Mount Hermon ski slopes were being evacuated. Some reports said as many as four missiles were fired.

Kurds press offensive against IS in Shiran

Activists say Kurdish fighters are advancing after driving Islamic State members from the Syrian border town of Kobani a day earlier.
Mustafa Bali, a Kobani-based activist, says Tuesday’s fighting is centered on the village of Shiran, southeast of the town, after Kurdish fighters captured the nearby village of Qarah Hlanj.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the capture of Qarah Hlanj and says the fighting near Shiran has intensified.
Bali says hundreds of people, including Kurds who crossed from Turkey, are celebrating in Kobani, which Kurdish fighters retook on Monday following four months of heavy fighting.

IDF fires 20 artillery shells into Syria

Israeli artillery units fire 20 shells to Syria in response to the rocket fire – one of the heaviest shelling rounds into Syria in years.
Al Manar, a Lebanese TV network affiliated with Hezbollah, reports that Israeli aircraft are circling the Golan Heights’ skies on the Israeli side of the border.
Police closed several junctions in order to prevent vehicles from traveling north, as officers scan the area looking for the locations where rockets landed.

Rocket alarms have sounded in the Golan Heights, the Home Front Command announced Tuesday afternoon.
Affected areas include Majdal Shams, Odem, Krum, Kafr Bukaata, Massadeh, Neve Ativ, Nimrod and Ein Kenya.
A military source told Channel 2 that despite earlier reports, two rockets did hit Israeli soil - one in the Hermon region, one in El Rom. Two additional rockets were fired from Syria as well, but struck Syrian soil, according to Walla! News.
IDF forces have returned fire. The IDF Spokesperson's Office confirmed at 2:00 pm that it had successfully injured the source of the rocket fire.
Tensions soar

The rocket fire follows reports aired less than 24 hours ago that the IDF has been building trenches along the Syrian border ahead of possible escalation with any number of rebel groups and outposts which pose a threat against Israel.

Northern residents and the IDF have been on high alert throughout the week, after an IAF airstrike in the Syrian Golan Heights killed a senior Hezbollah commander and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general last Sunday, along with several other Hezbollah and Iranian fighters.

Hezbollah responded by vowing an attack on Israel, but made clear it does not want another full-scale war.
But the IDF has nonetheless remained on high alert, and covertly moved Iron Dome batteries close to its northern borders shortly after the airstrike.

Ahead of possible retaliatory strikes, the IDF also closed several roads in the north last week, including the old road between the towns of Avivim and Dovev, the road between the moshav Zar'it and the Lebanese border.

Hours earlier, a convoy of civilian vehicles with Hezbollah flags fired shots in the air close to the border with Israel, raising concerns further. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday it was a “disgrace” that Jews in Germany faced insults, threats or violence, as she marked 70 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Merkel joined survivors of the former camp, created by Nazi Germany in southern Poland, for a somber and moving event in the German capital ahead of Tuesday’s anniversary.

Auschwitz is a “warning” of what people can do to each other, Merkel said, adding that the camp — the site of the largest single number of murders committed during World War II — had been an “atrocious departure” in the course of history.

She said more than 100,000 Jews have today made Germany their home, but that it was “unfortunately not without cause” that some feared insult or assault.

“It’s a disgrace that people in Germany are abused, threatened or attacked when they indicate somehow they are Jewish or when they side with the State of Israel,” she said, to applause.
Merkel said the fact that synagogues and Jewish institutions had to be guarded by police was like a “stain on our country.”

The number of anti-Semitic acts doubled in France during 2014, with acts involving physical violence leading the increase, the country’s main Jewish group said on Tuesday.

Some 851 anti-Semitic acts were registered in 2014, compared with 423 the previous year, with acts of physical violence jumping to 241 from 105, the CRIF said.

The numbers were released as world leaders readied to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland and less than three weeks after an Islamist gunman shot dead four Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris.

“These anti-Semitic acts represent 51 percent of racist acts committed in France while Jews make up only one percent of the French population,” said the group in a statement.
The Jewish population in France, the biggest in Europe, is thought to number between 500,000 and 600,000.
The CRIF group said there was a “very significant and very worrying increase in the violence of anti-Semitic acts” and warned that “anti-Semitic” prejudices were rife in the country.

The head of the World Health Organization is warning about an “alarming” plague outbreak in Madagascar that could worsen, particularly as fleas that transmit the disease to humans have developed immunity to insecticide.
In her address to the WHO’s executive board meeting Monday, executive director Margaret Chan reviewed the ongoing threat from “emerging and epidemic-prone diseases,” including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, avian influenza, and the growing threat of human resistance to antibiotics.
But she also warned of a plague outbreak in Madagascar that began last November, but is receiving little public attention despite its “disturbing dimensions.” Of particular concern is the fact that fleas that transmit the disease from rodents to humans have developed resistance to the main insecticide used to control their population.

“This is alarming, as around eight per cent of cases progress to the lethal pneumonic form, which transmits directly from person to person,” she said.
A recent tropical storm has exacerbated the threat of the disease spreading from “untold numbers of rats” that have been displaced by flooding.

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