Israeli forces arrested 20 members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, including three lawmakers, in a raid early Monday in the West Bank, Hamas officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed arrests were made but would not elaborate further.
According to several Hamas officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, the arrests took place in the early morning all across the territory. One of those arrested was in charge of reconciliation talks between Hamas and its rival, the secular Fatah, according to the Hamas officials.
Palestinians have been deeply divided since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, ousting forces from the Fatah party, led by the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in bloody street battles. Abbas has since ruled only in parts of the West Bank, and Hamas has held sway in Gaza.
Multiple attempts to reach a long-elusive reconciliation agreement between the two Palestinian groups have not succeeded so far. And while efforts to end the split have failed, the two sides have tried to make a show of unity since Hamas' fierce battle with Israel in November and Fatah's subsequent recognition bid at the United Nations.
Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization because it has carried out scores of deadly attacks, including suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
Hamas lawmakers have been subject to arrests by Israel since the group defeated Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election.
Typical AP stuff. "Israel considers..." That should be: "Hamas is a terrorist that has launched thousands of deadly attacks, including suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, rocket attacks, and kidnappings."
Posted by: Eric Jablow ||
Yeah, but coming out and actually saying it lacks 'nuance', Eric.
Muslim rebel group said Monday it attacked Abu Sayyaf gunmen after the al-Qaida-linked militants refused to free hostages, sparking fierce jungle clashes that left up to 22 combatants dead in the southern Philippines.
There was no word on whether the hostages were hurt in the fighting, but they remained in the grip of the Abu Sayyaf militants, police said.
Rebel commander Khabir Malik of the Moro National Liberation Front, which has an autonomy deal with the government, said his group decided to attack the Abu Sayyaf in the rugged mountains of Patikul town in southern Sulu province after negotiations collapsed on the release of several of its foreign hostages, including a Jordanian TV journalist and two European men who have been held since last year.
Abu Sayyaf militants did release two Filipino hostages over the weekend after an unspecified ransom was paid, security officials said, adding the captives were let loose on their own and not turned over to the Moro rebels.
"We had no choice," Malik told The Associated Press by telephone from Patikul. "They told us they won't hand over their hostages to us even if they die."
The Moro rebels battled the Abu Sayyaf with guns and knives at close range Sunday, Malik said, adding his group lost eight men, including one who was beheaded and a few others who were hacked to death.
Military and police officials in Sulu said up to 14 Abu Sayyaf men were killed, citing intelligence.
This is somewhat similar to the somali situation where Islamist on Islamist killings become SOP.
Posted by: lord garth ||
"This is somewhat similar to the somali situation where Islamist on Islamist killings become SOP."
Great. How do we sustain & broaden this phenomenon?
Posted by: American Delight ||
Well, in Egypt, there is potential for Islamist on Islamist violence but it first requires the secularists to be finished off. Also, in Mali, there are 5 different Islamist groups but France and the Mali govt look to take over instead. There is also a form of Islamist vs Islamist going on in Iran, although it has elements of personal grudges. Of course, to many observers the Shiite vs Sunni violence looks Islamist but its really a different phenomenon.
Posted by: lord garth ||
Lebanese media says transmission tower reportedly hit, and Sky News Arabia reports Israeli planes in the area, but Hezbollah says 'kaboom' was just a stun grenade
Either things are happening or the bad guys are starting to live on their nerves. Now is the time to send in the spy squirrels to chew on some wires, and the spy vultures to do whatever it is that spy vultures do.
Hezbollah denied Lebanese media reports late Sunday that the Israeli Air Force struck targets in the southern part of the country. The reports, following days of alleged "mock raids" by Israel, claimed a transmission tower was hit.
However the Shi'ite terror group, whose TV station initially reported the "strike," later said the blast was merely caused by a stun grenade, and Lebanese state TV said the same.
Tensions are acutely high on and across Israel's northern border, following a reported Israeli Arclight airstrike on Syria early last Wednesday, which apparently hit a convoy of SA-17 missiles en route to Hezbollah and damaged a Syrian WMD research facility.
Leb's FutureTV said the kaboom late Sunday was heard at approximately 10:30 PM local time in the area of Al-Fuar, near the coastal city of Tyre. Hezbollah, whose stronghold is in southern Leb, sealed off access to the area, according to the report.
The Hezbollah-run Al-Manar television station initially reported that it was the country's anti-aircraft system which first detected Israeli aircraft entering Lebanese airspace. Sky News in Arabic also reported that Israeli planes were seen in the area. Later, though, Hezbollah denied there had been an Israeli raid.
Israel had no official comment on the reports.
Earlier Sunday, Leb's Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour protested three successive days of reported Israeli "mock raids" over Leb, and branded last Wednesday's strike in Syria as an act of "aggression" against Leb, too.)
Mansour urged a diplomatic and economic boycott of Israel, declaring, "Israeli jets continue to invade Leb's airspace every day. We must stand up against the Israeli attacks, but not just with calls, statements and condemnation."
Also Sunday, in his first comments since an Arclight airstrike reportedly carried out by Israel targeted his country, Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad The Scourge of Hama... said Syria's military was capable of confronting any "aggression."
In the aftermath of that alleged attack early Wednesday, Syria said the target was a scientific research center, while US officials indicated that the strike had destroyed a convoy of anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah.
Syrian state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
said Assad spoke during a meeting with visiting top Iranian official Saeed Jalili.
On Sunday morning, Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted that Israel was involved in last week's strike. Barak said Israel was adamant that advanced weapons systems should not be allowed to reach Leb from Syria.
Israel has not commented directly on the strike, but in the days ahead of the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other brass hats repeatedly warned of the dangers of Syrian weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah and other hostile elements in the region.
North Korea has virtually finished preparations for nuclear tests in two tunnels at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Hamgyong Province, observers believe.
A South Korean government source said analysis of satellite images showed brisk activity of support vehicles and personnel at a tunnel on the southern side of the test site, and on Saturday the area was cleaned and personnel left.
Intelligence agencies suspect that this means a nuclear test is imminent. Preparations at a tunnel on the western side of the site were apparently completed earlier. The government here is now watching for the possibility of two separate nuclear tests either simultaneously or in quick succession.
"There is a chance that the southern tunnel is a decoy, but we aren't ruling out that the regime will conduct nuclear tests simultaneously at both tunnels," a military source said.
The source said it might help North Korea to produce smaller nuclear warheads that could be mounted on missiles if it tests a couple of different devices at the same time.
In 1998, Pakistan conducted eight nuclear tests over two days, which allowed it to accelerate the miniaturization of nuclear weapons.
And boy howdy we all know what a nuclear power Pakistain is...
And boy howdy we all know what a nuclear power Pakistain is...
It's enough of one for us to give them a couple billion dollars a year for the right to fight their middlemen in their funding of the 9/11 attacks.
If Pakistan _didn't_ have nukes... the 9/11 attacks would have been stopped on 8/11 when Osama Bin Laden was hung by the Taliban for being a Zionist spy, with even more passion than they've imprisoned Dr. Afridi for allegedly helping the Taliban.
That's the night that the light went out in N'awlins
That's the night that they welded a fender amp's bus
Don't trust your Bowl to no southern machine mayor
'Cause the league's got money riding on the duck...
[An Nahar] At least 13 non-combatants were killed Sunday in a missile attack by the Syrian army on a rebel-held neighborhood in the embattled northern city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said.
"We have documented the names of nine people, while we can confirm at least another four were also killed. All were civilians," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The watchdog warned that the number of casualties could rise as people scrambled to sift through the rubble of a five-story building that collapsed in the attack on Ansari district, in southwestern Aleppo.
A picture taken by an amateur photograph and distributed by the Observatory showed people gathered around a pile of rubble and the watchdog said two other buildings were damaged in the attack.
[Bangla Daily Star] Taliban roadside kabooms killed five civilians, including a family of four, and two coppers in the country's troubled south at the weekend, officials said Sunday.
The family -- mother, father and two daughters aged eight and nine -- died along with their driver in Helmand ...an Afghan province populated mostly by Pashtuns, adjacent to Injun country in Pak Balochistan... province's Khanishin district when their vehicle hit an improvised bomb late Saturday.
"The blast was so powerful that nothing was left of the bodies, they are shattered in small pieces," district governor Shah Mahmoud said, blaming Taliban hard boyz for the attack.
[MAGHAREBIA] Tunisia's Unified Democratic Patriots Party (PPDU) accused "mercenaries" hired by the ruling Ennahda party of carrying out an attack on a meeting of its members on Saturday (February 2nd) in El Kef, Tunisie Numerique reported.
Party chief Chokri Belaid told Shems FM that bearded salafists and Ennahda members were behind the attack and that a number of people were maimed in the festivities before the intervention of the security services.
In related news, forty men armed with sticks and other weapons tried to ransack a Tunis office of opposition party Nidaa Tounes late on Saturday. Some twenty young supporters of the party repelled the attack.
[Tolo News] Two myrmidon leaders have been captured in joint Afghan and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... troop operations in Afghanistan, Isaf said Sunday.
"An Afghan and coalition security force placed in durance vile Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! a Taliban improvised bomb attack coordinator in Khanabad district, Kunduz province, Friday," Isaf said in a statement.
The enjugged Book 'im, Mahmoud! Taliban IED attack coordinator planned and executed attacks throughout Khanabad district. He is believed to have conducted attacks against government officials as well as security forces. The forces also seized IED-making materials during the operation, the statement added.
An Haqqani leader was captured in a joint forces operation in the Khost district of eastern Khost province ... across the border from Miranshah, within commuting distance of Haqqani hangouts such as Datta Khel and probably within sight of Mordor. Khost is populated by six different tribes of Pashtuns, the largest probably being the Khostwal, from which it takes its name... on Friday.
The detained Haqqani leader is an IED expert and believed responsible for IED facilitation and attacks in Khost district. He is accused of coordinating the acquisition and transfer of homemade explosives, weapons and IEDs for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, Isaf said.
The security force also detained one suspected myrmidon and seized multiple assault rifles as a result of the operation.
Meanwhile, ...back at the the precinct, Lieutenant Queeg was stumped. Who could be leaking Mahoney's information like that?... two other hard boyz were captured in Baghlan-e-Jadid district of northern Baghlan province on Sunday.
[Tolo News] A district governor in eastern Nangarhar The unfortunate Afghan province located adjacent to Mohmand, Kurram, and Khyber Agencies. The capital is Jalalabad. The province was the fief of Younus Khalis after the Soviets departed and one of his sons is the current provincial Taliban commander. Nangarhar is Haqqani country.. province survived the blast from a roadside kaboom Saturday morning, but one of his bodyguards was killed and two others were maimed, local officials said.
Khoghyani district governor Sayed Rahman was travelling in the Nangarhar's Pate Koat district when his vehicle struck a roadside kaboom around 10:00am, Pate Koat district governor Murza Mohammad Nasrat told TOLOnews.
"Haji Sayed Rahman survived the blast, but one of his bodyguards was killed and two others were maimed," he said.
Rahman also confirmed the blast which occurred while he was travelling from his home to the office.
[Al Ahram] Jordanian riot police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse Syrian refugees at a northern desert camp as they fought over tents being distributed by a Norwegian charity, an official said.
"A Norwegian charity was giving away tents to Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp. They rioted and clashed with each other, trying to attack security officers," Anmar Hmud, a government front man for refugee affairs, told AFP.
"The riot police intervened, firing tear gas to disperse them. One Syrian man was slightly hurt," Hmud said without giving further details.
Since it opened in July, the Zaatari camp, home to more than 90,000 Syrian refugees, has seen several protests against poor living conditions, including a lack of electricity.
[MAGHAREBIA] Algerian security services clashed with a group of bully boyz on Saturday evening (February 2nd) in Tigzirt, 35km north of blood-stained Tizi Ouzou, Tout sur l'Algerie reported. At least one hard boy was killed in the hour-long shootout.
[An Nahar] The South Sudanese army on Sunday accused Sudan of launching a deadly air assault along their volatile border, but Khartoum promptly denied the claims.
A front man for the South Sudanese army (SPLA) said the attack occurred on its soil along the border in Upper Nile state.
He said Sudan ground troops launched the attack, soon followed by air support, in the latest incident between the two foes.
"Khartoum sent two helicopter gunships that attacked the area at 10:30 am (0730 GMT), wounding three SPLA soldiers and killing one," military front man Philip Aguer told Agence La Belle France Presse.
"By 12 noon, the second round of air attacks took place with helicopter gunships, wounding one soldier," he added.
A Sudanese army front man, however, denied the claims.
"We didn't bombard any area inside South Sudan's border and we didn't have any military operation there, nor do we have a war or aggression against South Sudan," army front man Sawarmi Khaled Saad said, calling the South's claims "completely incorrect."
South Sudan won independence from Sudan in July 2011 after decades of civil war.
Though they had separated under a peace agreement, key issues including the demarcation of border zones that cut through oil-rich regions remain unresolved.
South Sudan has repeatedly accused Sudan of carrying out attacks on its territory and complained about these to the U.N. Security Council. Sudan regularly dismisses the accusations.
The two countries came close to all-out war in March and April last year, when their armies fought bitter battles over their disputed frontier.
Khartoum, for its part, accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels operating in Sudan, which has been a major obstacle to implementing the peace agreements.
The South, in turn, says Sudan backs faceless myrmidons on its territory, a tactic it used to deadly effect during the 1983-2005 civil war.
Since September, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and eventually appointed himself president-for-life. He has fallen out with his Islamic mentor, Hasan al-Turabi, tried to impose shariah on the Christian and animist south, resulting in its secessesion, and attempted to Arabize Darfur by unleashing the barbaric Janjaweed on it. Sudan's potential prosperity has been pissed away in warfare that has left as many as 400,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced. Omar has been indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court but nothing is expected to come of it. and his Southern counterpart Salva Kiir have met at African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... -mediated talks.
[An Nahar] The Shin Bet domestic spy agency said on Sunday that it had enjugged Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! members of a cell belonging to the radical Paleostinian Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the liquidation of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... group who had plotted to kidnap Israelis.
"A bid by Islamic Jihad to kidnap a soldier or an Israeli citizen was foiled by Shin Bet special forces and police," the agency said in a statement.
"Members of the cell were arrested on January 1... east of Kfar Saba" northeast of Tel Aviv, it added.
Two members of the cell are from the West Bank town of Jenin and a third is an Arab Israeli resident of Kalansua in central Israel, Shin Bet said.
Eight other suspects were arrested in Jenin as part of the investigation, it added.
Shin Bet said the cell had failed in an attempt at the end of December to kidnap Israelis from bus and train stations.
Ropes, adhesive tape, a Japanese knife, a fake pistol and mask were found in a car belonging to the group, it added.
[FRANCE24] The number-three leader of the armed Islamist group that controlled Timbuktu in northern Mali until last week, Mohamed Moussa Ag Mouhamed, has been tossed in the calaboose Into the paddy wagon wit' yez! near the Algerian border, sources said Sunday.
"The number three leader of Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith), the one who sowed terror, who ordered people's hands cut off, who supported the strict application of sharia, was arrested by an gang," a Malian security source said.
Mohamed Moussa, as he was known in Timbuktu, is being taken to the northeastern city of Kidal, the last bastion of rebels who controlled northern Mali for 10 months before being ousted in a French-led military operation launched on January 11, the source said.
The information was confirmed by a Kidal regional official, Abdoulaye Toure, though the two sources gave conflicting accounts on which of the area's rival groups had arrested him.
The arrest was believed to have been carried out either by the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), a Tuareg separatist movement, or an Ansar Dine splinter group, the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA).
Azawad is the Tuareg name for northern Mali.
"He was the ideologue of Ansar Dine in Timbuktu," Toure said.
"He was called Ansar Dine's number three, but in reality he was the brain of the organization, the doctrine in Timbuktu. He was arrested in Hallil near the Algerian border by a (formerly) allied gang."
Toure also said a man accused of taking part in the kidnapping of a French hostage in November had been arrested in the same area.
French officials say seven kidnapped Frenchies are believed to be held in the area, which is near where 30 French warplanes carried out major air strikes on Sunday.
Kidal, which French and Chadian troops have been working to secure, was an Ansar Dine stronghold, but the MIA recently broke away and renounced "extremism and terrorism".
[GUARDIAN.CO.UK] French aircraft struck Islamic myrmidon training camps and arms depots around Kidal and Tessalit in Mali's far north, defence officials said on Sunday, as the first convoy of food, fuel and parts to eastern Mali headed across the country.
The strikes also hit arms and fuel depots from Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday, according to army front man Colonel Thierry Burkhard. "It was an important aerial operation to the north of the town Kidal and in the Tessalit region where we targeted logistical depots and Islamist training camps ... some 20 sites," said Burkhard. He said 30 planes were used in the operation , including Mirage and Rafale jets.
Although troops have succeeded in ousting the rebels from the three main northern cities they occupied, the aerial operation highlights the fact that the French still see Death Eaters in the northern area near the border with Algeria as a threat. "Here, there are still various Islamist groups like the MUJAO [Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa] and Ansar Dine," he said.
As the first supply convoy for the eastern town of Gao since the conflict began neared its destination, crowds thronged the roads screaming, "Vive la La Belle France!" and old men in long flowing robes on bicycles waved as soldiers passed by. Even camels grazing in acacia trees perked up as the three-mile-long, 62-vehicle convoy lumbered by.
Still about 120 miles south-west of Gao on Sunday, it proceeded slowly because of concerns about landmines between Gossi and Gao. Four Malian soldiers died last week when one went kaboom!, and two others have been found in the vicinity since, said a Lieutenant Emmanuel, who gave only his first name in keeping with French military protocol. The convoy, carrying food, fuel and spare parts for the French military for 800 miles, underlines the logistical difficulties facing the mission in Mali.
"The distances are very long. In Afghanistan we could do it in a day. Now, it's eight days round trip here," said Emmanuel. The convoy is bringing a 15-day supply, he said.
Still, the successes of the operation were seen alongside the small villages where signs of life were returning to normal, and where there was no visible presence of the Islamic rebels who imposed harsh rule for months.
The approach of the convoy and the use of aerial assaults come three weeks after La Belle France unilaterally launched its military intervention -- and, significantly, just hours after President François Hollande left Mali soil.