Aircraft from the Israel Defense Forces have launched a number of missiles at a strategic target close to the Syrian capital, Damascus, Israeli and Arab media report.
Several missiles were reportedly fired toward a target in the countryside south of Damascus, with some intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense and others hitting their intended target.
Arab outlet Al-Masdar News, citing its sources, reported that the target was an ammunition depot of the Syrian Army, located between the towns of Kiswah (Kesweh) and Sahnaya. “Loud explosions” were heard as the missiles hit their target, the news service said.
Other sources, however, claim the target was an Iranian military base in the Kiswah area, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the city of Damascus.
According to a report by I24News at least one missile reached the base, while others were stopped by Syria’s anti-missile defenses.
The warplanes reportedly launched the missiles from Lebanese airspace.
Videos have emerged on social media purporting to show the moment one of the Israeli missiles was intercepted by Syrian Air Defense. rt.com
A military court on Wednesday convicted an Israeli soldier of manslaughter for shooting a Palestinian assailant in the head as he lay wounded on the ground, laying down a decisive marker in a case that has polarized Israelis and rocked the pedestal on which the military normally stands.
With the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank approaching, the highly charged trial fueled a debate about military ethics and the place of the army in Israeli society. It became as much about the military’s value system as the conduct of the soldier, Sgt. Elor Azaria.
The military’s rules make clear that assailants must be quickly incapacitated, but that once neutralized, they should not be killed. But critics and rights groups have accused Israeli soldiers and police officers of being quick to pull the trigger, particularly in response to a recent spate of deadly stabbings, shootings and car attacks by Palestinians.
Many in Israel, a country where military service is a part of national identity, called for backing up young soldiers sent on dangerous missions. They said that Sergeant Azaria had been in an impossible situation and that the deck had been stacked against him, since an acquittal would have put his commanders in a bad light. nytimes.com
To Israel’s military prosecutors, a soldier who fired a bullet into the head of a wounded and motionless Palestinian assailant may be guilty of homicide. To many Israelis, he is a hero.
That has fuelled an unprecedented debate over the role and ethics of Israel’s conscript armed forces, long the symbol of national unity among the majority Jewish population where deep concern about security is largely shared across social and political divisions.
So while Israel’s military chief has cautioned against the use of excessive force against a wave of Palestinian street attacks, an opinion poll last week found 57 percent of Israelis think the soldier should never been arrested.
Only 5 percent said they would characterise the shooting, in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 24, as murder.
The soldier – whose name has been barred from publication – was captured on video shooting the Palestinian as the man lay wounded from army fire after taking part in a stabbing attack. A Palestinian pathologist said the defendant fired the fatal shot.
The soldier was initially held on a murder warrant but prosecutors later told a military court they expected to file a manslaughter indictment. Even under the lighter charge, reflecting a view that the killing was not premeditated, he could be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
His lawyers say the soldier opened fire fearing the Palestinian had a hidden bomb. reuters.com
Israel pressuring UN chief Ban not to include it in list – which also includes al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban – of organizations or countries that regularly cause harm to children.
The UN secretary-general’s envoy for Children and Armed Conflict recommended this week to include the IDF on a blacklist of countries and organizations accused of regularly causing harm to children.
The blacklist includes terror organizations like al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Islamic State, and Taliban, as well as African countries such as the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and others.
The list will be released soon as an appendix to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special report on the subject of children and armed conflict. ynetnews.com
The Ethiopian Jewish soldier at the center of a viral beating video that has sparked protests across Israel says he supports the anti-racism demonstrations, but condemns the violent clashes that erupted.
Cpl. Demas Fikadey, 21, told CNN he was a block away from his house in Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv, when he tried to cross the street. Fikadey says an officer stopped him from crossing, then grabbed his bike and cell phone. Fikadey says he urged the police officer not to use force, but by then, another officer had joined in.
The video shows the two officers push Fikadey to the ground and hold him down for approximately one minute before allowing him to stand up. The entire incident is caught on a nearby security camera, but the video has no sound. cnn.com
44 people were killed as Israeli fighter-jets bombed UN-controlled buildings. The organization also lashed out at Hamas which used some the sites to hide arms. But there were no weapons in the attacked premises, and those building where ammunition was found were empty. Yoav Kish – member of the Knesset from the Likud party – says it’s a war so there’s collateral damage but Israel does it can to prevent casualties.
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Press TV has obtained photos showing al-Qaeda-linked militants next to Israeli soldiers in the occupied Golan Heights.
New photos from the Golan Heights further prove Tel Aviv’s support for al-Qaeda-linked militants, especially al-Nusra Front, that have been wreaking havoc in Syria.
The photos obtained by Press TV show Takfiri militants from the terrorist al-Nusra Front next to Israeli soldiers.
Israel is known to have been providing medical, intelligence and military support for militants fighting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. A number of militant commanders wounded in government attacks on terrorist have reportedly been hospitalized in the occupied territories.
The images obtained by Press TV shows Israeli soldiers speaking face-to-face with militants in Golan. presstv.ir
A perennial PR theme of the Syrian regime since the civil war and uprising erupted in March 2011 was that the opposition was all Islamist extremists and Al-Qaeda, and that there were no secular or democratic forces involved in the uprising against the government.
On Monday, in an interview with Foreign Affairs magazine, Bashar Al-Assad reiterated this accusation. He also alleged Israel is helping Al-Qaeda in Syria. He said that some Syrians joke, semi-seriously: “How can you say that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force.” He claimed that periodic Israeli strikes on Syrian army positions all seemed well-timed to coincide with rebel offensives.
While claims that there are no legitimate grievances against the government should be dismissed, there is growing evidence that Israel may genuinely be working with the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
This is not as outlandish a claim as it may first appear. As I mentioned in my last column, Israel has long had a policy towards the Syrian civil war of letting “both [sides] bleed, haemorrhage to death” as one former official put it. In the same way that the US at different times armed both sides in the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war, western governments have an entirely cynical attitude to the war, and Israel is no exception to this.
While it’s true that the US, Europe and Israel have not been involved in arming the Assad regime (and indeed, have armed, trained and facilitated the fight of rebel groups against the government) neither do they seem too keen for the rebels to win an outright victory against Al-Assad. The preferred option seems to be for the civil war to continue for as long as possible, bleeding Al-Assad and Hezbollah: which have been implacable enemies of Israel.
But is there really evidence of Al-Nusra-Israel links?
In December, several rather low key media outlets summarised detailed reports from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), a peacekeeping force assigned since 1974 to separate Israeli and Syrian armies from each other in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (illegally occupied since 1967).
UNDOF observed Israeli contact with armed rebels on the Syrian-controlled side of the ceasefire line on 59 occasions “particularly during periods of heavy engagement between the Syrian armed forces and members of the armed opposition” between March and May “transferring 89 wounded persons” to the Israeli army on the Israeli-occupied side and the Israelis in turn “handing over 19 treated and two deceased individuals to the armed members of the opposition” on the Syrian side (see the 10 June 2014 UNDOF report).
This UN report does not comment on the affiliation of the “armed opposition” personnel in question. Propaganda in the Israeli press in recent years has portrayed such contacts as merely humanitarian, and only connected to “moderate rebel groups”.
But in fact, the supposedly moderate rebels of the Free Syrian Army (a term applied to anti-Assad rebel fighters) often fight alongside the Al-Nusra Front.
In the same June report, UNDOF also stated that they observed Israeli soldiers “handing over two boxes to armed members of the opposition” from the Israeli-occupied side to the Syrian-controlled side.
The day after Al-Qaeda overran the Quneitra crossing in August, a 1 December UN report said: “UNDOF sporadically observed armed members of the opposition interacting with IDF [the Israeli military] across the ceasefire line in the vicinity of United Nations position 85.”
While this does not definitively prove Israel-Al-Qaeda links, it is strongly suggestive of them.
Soon after the kidnap of the peacekeepers, Inna Lazareva, a Telegraph (and Sunday Times) correspondent in Israel who has strong contacts with the Israeli security establishment, rather astonishingly, quoted one Israeli source (the former head of the “Al-Qaeda and Global Jihad” desk for Israel’s military) as mitigating for Al-Qaeda and playing down its bloodthirsty reputation.
“Jabhat Al-Nusra is not ISIL (ISIS) at all,” said Major Aviv Oreg, referring to the “Islamic State” group (an offshoot of Al-Qaeda that has more recently been involved in a turf war with the Al-Nusra Front, who it is almost entirely ideologically identical to).
The Telegraph’s Ruth Sherlock reported: “There has been growing anecdotal evidence of interaction between Israel and rebel opposition groups, including Al-Nusra, that are operating close to the Golan Heights.”
Recent reporting by online publications Vice News and Al-Monitor also suggest Israeli-Al-Nusra contacts in the same area (although the latter is based on anonymous sources).
A video has emerged online showing Israeli police putting handcuffs on a Palestinian boy in the city of Hebron in the West Bank. The boy is mentally ill, but it didn’t prevent the soldiers from arresting him while blindfolded.
Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are detained EVERY year by the IDF. Around 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in Israeli military courts in the last 14 years.
“In the Now” with RT’s Senior Political correspondent Anissa Naouai is the first dedicated nightly Primetime show to air live out of our Moscow headquarters. Host Anissa Naouai has worked in the field for almost a decade and has reported from over 80 cities across the globe. Now from Monday to Thursday viewers can enjoy fresh, honest, and hard-hitting news coverage on some of the world’s most pressing issues with one of RT’s most experienced journalists . We’ll put the spotlight on stories you’ll never hear on mainstream networks or even in RT’s daily news bulletins. “In the Now” – 10pm Moscow, 7pm London, 2pm New York.
Israel responded with artillery fire toward two Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon, according to the Israeli military. The military said that two blasts had occurred, but that the second caused no injuries.
Hezbollah’s Al Manar channel said the group had detonated an explosive device in Shebaa Farms, a disputed area that Lebanon considers occupied by Israel and that is also claimed by Syria.
Hezbollah did not cite a reason for the attack, but noted that it was carried out by a unit named after “the martyr Hassan Ali Haidar.” Mr. Haidar was a Hezbollah military operative who was killed in September when an Israeli drone detonated a spying device he was dismantling in the southern coastal town of Adloun, Lebanese news media reported.
Hezbollah and Israel have largely sought to keep the border calm amid chaos elsewhere in the region, and the quick claim of responsibility, less than four hours after the blast, came as a surprise. Hezbollah has denied responsibility for several rocket attacks in recent years across the border into Israel, which were probably carried out by Palestinian militant groups. nytimes.com
Israel’s U.S. lobby official statement- 6th October:
Coordinated Israeli, Jordanian, and allied assistance in the south could boost the moderate Syrian rebels there, stave off an extremist takeover, and facilitate the ongoing international campaign against ISIS.
In recent weeks, a new situation has emerged in southern Syria, one that could present dangers to Israel but also significant opportunities to help shape the area’s future. Many observers still perceive the south as merely a secondary front in the ongoing civil war, but this view ignores the potential for drastic change there in a matter of months. In particular, the southern governorates of Quneitra and Deraa could become either the latest territories captured by radical forces — namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) — or a safe haven for non-Islamist rebel groups, some of which maintain contacts with Israel.
Given these rapidly changing developments, Israeli strategists are quietly considering their options. The main question is whether to stay the course of limited involvement in the frontier fighting or be more proactive in influencing the outcome. washingtoninstitute.org