Turkey Witnesses Jump in Crime Rates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Turkey Witnesses Jump in Crime Rates

Friday, 23 August, 2019 – 10:00
Turkey sees an increase in crime rates targeting Arab and foreign tourists (Getty)
Ankara – Saeed Abdelrazek
Crime rates in Turkey have risen in recent years. And an increase in the number of crimes such as kidnapping, rape, harassment and fraud as well as homicide due to the widespread use of licensed and unlicensed weapons, has drawn significant attention.

Over the past few years, Arab and foreign tourists have been the victims of such crimes, including abductions that end up with murder following robbery.

Last week, a Saudi woman was kidnapped in Istanbul near a hotel located in the Asian part of the city, where she was staying with her family.

No contact has been possible with her after she disappeared. Neither the Saudi consulate nor police have been able to know her whereabouts despite working tirelessly to locate her.

Turkish police said on Thursday that two people, suspected of assaulting on August 16 two Saudi nationals and stealing their phones and luggage in Istanbul, were arrested.

A security source said that police have checked the surveillance cameras in Istanbul’s Sisli neighborhood and the cafe, where two Saudi brothers were sitting when they were assaulted and robbed by unidentified men on a motorcycle.

After spending days processing video footage, police identified the assailants, the source noted.

He explained that police officers raided the two suspects’ houses and seized a weapon they had in their possession, a phone and the Saudis’ luggage.

They were later referred to the public prosecution after being questioned by the police.

Abductions and murders in Turkey have increased amid the country’s complex political and economic crises and weak security following the crackdown on supporters of Fethullah Gulen whom the government accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey was ranked eighth among the top 10 countries in the rate of homicides, according to official data issued by the United Nations in 2016.

The Turkish Ministry of Justice has acknowledged the high crime rates after homicides increased from 21,716 in 2009 to 25,611 in 2013.

Israel: Teen Israeli girl killed as family hit by bomb at West Bank spring

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Teen Israeli girl killed as family hit by bomb at West Bank spring

Rina Shnerb, 17, succumbs to injuries as father, brother badly injured by blast at popular hiking spot near Dolev; army hunts for culprits as it decries ‘serious terror attack’

  • 17-year-old Rina Shnerb, killed in a bombing in the West Bank, August 23, 2019 (Courtesy of the family)
    17-year-old Rina Shnerb, killed in a bombing in the West Bank, August 23, 2019 (Courtesy of the family)
  • Israeli soldiers set up a roadblock as part of a search effort to find terrorists who set off a bomb near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing an Israeli teenage girl and seriously injuring two other people. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Israeli soldiers set up a roadblock as part of a search effort to find terrorists who set off a bomb near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing an Israeli teenage girl and seriously injuring two other people. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Israeli security forces stand at the site where a bomb exploded near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing an Israeli teenage girl and injuring two others (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
    Israeli security forces stand at the site where a bomb exploded near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing an Israeli teenage girl and injuring two others (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
  • Israeli medical teams and security forces and gather at the site where a bomb exploded in a terror attack near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing a teenage Israeli girl and seriously injuring her father and brother (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
    Israeli medical teams and security forces and gather at the site where a bomb exploded in a terror attack near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing a teenage Israeli girl and seriously injuring her father and brother (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
  • Israeli security forces gather at the site where a bomb exploded near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing a teenage Israeli girl and injuring two others (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
    Israeli security forces gather at the site where a bomb exploded near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing a teenage Israeli girl and injuring two others (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
  • An Israeli military helicopter picks up two victims of a terror attack in the central West Bank on August 23, 2019. (Dolev settlement)
    An Israeli military helicopter picks up two victims of a terror attack in the central West Bank on August 23, 2019. (Dolev settlement)

A teenage girl was killed and her father and brother were seriously injured in a terrorist bombing at a natural spring outside the central West Bank settlement of Dolev on Friday morning, Israeli officials said.

Rina Shnerb, 17, of Lod, was critically wounded in the attack and received treatment at the scene from civilian and military medics before being pronounced dead of her injuries. Her father Eitan, a rabbi in Lod, and brother Dvir, 19, were taken by military helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said the army considered the blast to be a “serious terror attack.”

Shnerb was laid to rest on Friday afternoon, with hundreds attending her funeral in her hometown of Lod in central Israel. Her father and brother were unable to attend, due to the serious injuries they sustained.

The army said an improvised explosive device was used in the attack. Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the spring and was triggered remotely when the family approached it.

17-year-old Rina Shnerb, killed in a bombing in the West Bank, August 23, 2019 (Courtesy of the family)

Security services were reportedly tracking a car that fled the scene shortly after the explosion. “IDF soldiers are searching the area,” the military said in a statement.

Manelis said the IDF did not yet know the identities of the culprits or if they belonged to an established terror group or were acting alone.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, said he was receiving constant updates on the search effort and would meet soon with the commanders of the country’s security forces.

In a statement Netanyahu offered his “deep condolences” to the family and wished swift recuperation to the wounded. “We will continue to strengthen [Jewish] communities. We will spread our roots deeper and strike out at our enemies.”

Rina Shnerb’s funeral was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in her hometown of Lod.

Troops were working to find the terrorists behind the attack as quickly as possible, under the general understanding that the more time they have to flee, the more difficult the search effort becomes.

“Security force are in pursuit of the vile terrorists. We will reach them. Our long arm will pay them their dues,” Netanyahu said.

The explosion occurred at the Bubin spring — a popular hiking spot — approximately 10 kilometers east of the city of Modiin.

“Our surroundings are full of natural springs and hiking to them is an inseparable part of residents’ lives,” Yael, a resident of Dolev, told Channel 12 news. “There is a difficult feeling.”

She said a bomb attack was “a severe escalation” the likes of which the community had not encountered “in over 20 years.”

Palestinian media reported that the IDF had begun setting up roadblocks and conducting searches in the western Ramallah area, southeast of Dolev.

Israeli sodleirs stand at the site where a bomb exploded near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, injuring three people (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

“This [search] mission is being led on several fronts — the first is the intelligence front with other intelligence services, the second front is the manhunt in the field with roadblocks… The third front is the regular security effort to prevent similar events,” IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said.

Another IDF spokesperson said the military was working with the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police to track the culprits.

She said additional troops were also being sent into the West Bank both to find the terrorists and to boost security to settlements in the area.

Large numbers of emergency response personnel were called to the area, including the IDF helicopter that evacuated the victims.

One of the Magen David Adom medics said: “When we arrived at the location, the scene was difficult… We saw three victims lying on the ground, a 46-year-old man who was fully conscious and suffering from wounds to his upper body. Lying next to him was a [19-year-old man] with injuries to his limbs and upper body and a 17-year-old girl with multi-system injuries.”

Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said the father, despite his injuries, had called in the medics.

The father and son were taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for treatment, MDA said.

A hospital spokesperson said the father was now considered to be in moderate, stable condition. The 19-year-old son sustained injuries throughout his body, including to his stomach, from the blast. He was unconscious and connected to a respirator.

Israeli ambulances leave the site where an explosive device killed an Israeli teenage girl and injured two others in a terror attack near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

The Dolev settlement told residents that they could not leave the community and that those outside should remain there for the time being in light of the bombing.

Israeli military officials have warned in recent weeks of an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the lead-up to next month’s Israeli elections.

“The army is dealing with attempted terror attacks, with lone-wolf assailants and with terror cells,” Manelis said.

Last Friday, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two Israeli teenage siblings, critically injuring one of them, outside the Elazar settlement in the central West Bank, just south of Jerusalem.

The car rolled over after the terror attack, and when the assailant tried to emerge from it, he was shot dead by an off duty police officer who was driving behind him.

Earlier this month, an Israeli religious seminary student, Dvir Sorek, was found stabbed to death outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. Israeli security forces tracked down the suspected killers in approximately 48 hours, arresting Palestinina cousins, Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank.

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Afghanistan: Bomb kills 63 at wedding in Kabul

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Afghanistan: Bomb kills 63 at wedding in Kabul

The wedding hall after the blastImage copyright AFP
Image caption The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack

Burials are taking place in the Afghan capital, Kabul after a bomb exploded at a wedding hall killing 63 people and wounding more than 180.

The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind for the attack.

The blast happened on Saturday during a wedding ceremony at around 22:40 local time (18.10 GMT).

President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the attack, describing it as “barbaric”. He blamed the Taliban for “providing a platform to terrorists.”

The Taliban has denied involvement and condemned the attack.

What happened?

An IS statement said that one of its fighters blew himself up at a “large gathering” while others “detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle” when emergency services arrived.

The Afghan interior ministry confirmed the death toll hours later. Pictures on social media showed bodies strewn across the wedding hall amid overturned chairs and tables.

Afghan weddings often include hundreds of guests who gather in large halls where the men are usually segregated from the women and children.

The groom who gave his name as Mirwais told local TV: “My family, my bride are in shock, they cannot even speak. My bride keeps fainting.

“I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again.”

“I can’t go to the funerals, I feel very weak … I know that this won’t be the last suffering for Afghans, the suffering will continue,” he said.

A funeral is held in KabulImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Burials are taking place in Kabul following the attack

The bride’s father told local media that 14 members of his family were killed in the attack.

Wedding guest Mohammad Farhag said he had been in the women’s section when he heard a huge explosion in the men’s area.

“Everyone ran outside shouting and crying,” he told AFP news agency.

“For about 20 minutes the hall was full of smoke. Almost everyone in the men’s section is either dead or wounded.”

Injured men receive treatment in hospitalImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption More than 180 people were injured in the bombing

A waiter at the hall, Sayed Agha Shah, said “everybody was running” after the blast.

“Several of our waiters were killed or wounded,” he added.

Media caption The floor of the wedding hall was covered in blood after the explosion

Writing on Twitter, president Ashraf Ghani said he had called a security meeting to “review and prevent such security lapses.”

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The explosion took place in the west of the city, mostly populated by Shia Muslims.

Sunni Muslim militants, including the Taliban and the Islamic State group, have repeatedly targeted Shia Hazara minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A Taliban spokesman said the group “strongly condemned” the attack.

“There is no justification for such deliberate and brutal killings and targeting of women and children,” Zabiullah Mujaheed said in a text message to the media.

What’s the background?

The latest blast comes just 10 days after a huge bomb outside a Kabul police station killed at least 14 people and injured nearly 150.

The Taliban said they carried out that attack.

On Friday a brother of Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada was killed by a bomb planted in a mosque near the Pakistani city of Quetta.

No group has so far claimed that attack.

A source in Afghan intelligence told the BBC that Hibatullah Akhundzada had been due to attend prayers at the mosque and was probably the intended target.

Tensions in the country have been high even though the Taliban and the US, which has thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan, are reportedly getting closer to announcing a peace deal.

A woman cries outside a hospital after the blastImage copyright EPA
Image caption Worried relatives gathered outside a hospital in Kabul on Saturday

How are Afghan peace talks progressing?

Taliban and US representatives have been holding peace talks in Qatar’s capital, Doha, and both sides have reported progress.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that both sides were “looking to make a deal – if possible”.

The deal would include a phased US troop pullout in exchange for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be used by extremist groups to attack US targets.

The Taliban would also begin negotiations with an Afghan delegation on a framework for peace including an eventual ceasefire. The militants have been refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government until a timetable for the US withdrawal is agreed upon.

The Taliban now control more territory than at any point since they were forced from power in 2001.

Trump Comes to Console. El Paso Says No Thanks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Trump Comes to Console. El Paso Says No Thanks.

Video

President Trump visited El Paso on Wednesday to meet victims of the deadly weekend shooting. Many residents were angry about the president’s visit and protested. Credit Calla Kessler/The New York Times

EL PASO — Earlier this year in his State of the Union address, President Trump described to the nation how the Texas border city of El Paso once had “extremely high rates of violent crime” and was considered “one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.” Then he turned it into the living argument for his border wall.

“With a powerful barrier in place,” he went on, “El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.”

In this West Texas border city, founded 360 years ago as an outpost of the Spanish empire, those words festered. So did words Mr. Trump repeated at a rally he held on the city’s outskirts a few weeks later. “Murders, murders, murders,” he said, in reference to immigrants, as the crowd chanted, “Build the wall!”

For many in El Paso, the potentially devastating consequences of the anger over immigration and race became apparent this weekend, when 22 people were killed at a Walmart and the white suspect warned of a “Hispanic invasion,” plunging the city into mourning. So Mr. Trump returned — this time to say he wanted to help the city grieve.

Simon Romero@viaSimonRomero

Latinos across the U.S. are expressing fear & alarm in the aftermath of the El Paso massacre. Read these quotes:

“It feels like like being hunted”

“It’s the death of the American dream”

“I live in this terror for my grandkids”

Read our story:https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/el-paso-shooting-latino-anxiety.html 

At a memorial for the victims of the shooting in El Paso, Tex., on Tuesday.

‘It Feels Like Being Hunted’: Latinos Across U.S. in Fear After El Paso Massacre

The shooting attack in El Paso has left many Latinos deeply shaken, raising questions about their place in American society.

nytimes.com

853 people are talking about this

But rarely in recent memory has a relationship between a president and a city been so fraught. As Mr. Trump arrived here on Wednesday to try to meet the victims, protesters gathered at a memorial outside the scene of the carnage, many angry at the president’s visit.

The El Paso Times published a letter to Mr. Trump defending the city — which lies just across the border from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez — and its deep sense of bi-cultural identity. “Our city and Juárez were always linked. Today, we are intertwined more than ever. The evil that visited us targeted people from El Paso and Juárez alike,” it said. “Our people are scared.”

ImageTensions rose between Trump supporters and protesters at a memorial for the shooting victims.
CreditCelia Talbot Tobin for The New York Times

[One Walmart worker said he hustled shoppers into empty steel shipping containers behind the store to help them survive the attack.]

And so this predominantly Hispanic city in a state whose leadership is tightly aligned with the administration’s anti-immigration agenda tried this week to chart its own course through America’s troubled political waters.

El Paso officials — pointing out that the Trump campaign still owes the city more than half a million dollars for the security costs of a rally in February — veered between rejecting the president’s politics and welcoming his attempt to recognize the city’s grief.

“This is the office of the mayor of El Paso in an official capacity welcoming the office of the president of the United States, which I consider is my formal duty,” said Dee Margo, the mayor.

Others in the city had no patience for such diplomacy.

“Absolutely everything that Trump stands for was concentrated and fired at the citizens of El Paso that day at Walmart,” said Christopher Bailey, 43, a project coordinator for an El Paso health clinic. “Shame should be hung around the neck for every supporter that continues to justify his language and his presidency.”

At the memorial outside the Walmart that was the scene of Saturday’s attack and at a poster-making event the night before the protest, many said the president should not have come.

Simon Romero@viaSimonRomero

This is the United States now: a 2-month-old baby, Paul Gilbert Anchondo, orphaned & wounded by the El Paso terror attack. Our story on his family and the victims: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/us/el-paso-victims.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share  via ⁦@nytimes

A vigil at Horizon High School in El Paso for Javier Amir Rodriguez, a 15-year-old student who was fatally shot at a local Walmart.

Families of El Paso Victims Waited in Anguish After Shooting

Relatives had confirmed the identities of some people killed inside a Walmart on Saturday, but the city did not release a list until Monday afternoon.

nytimes.com

85 people are talking about this
Image

Rarely in recent memory has a relationship between a president and a city been so fraught.
CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

“It’s his words that created the climate that led that hateful man to come to my community,” said Lyda Ness-Garcia, a lawyer and an organizer for the Women’s March of El Paso who was at the poster event.

[The victims of the El Paso attack included a couple who had three young children.]

She said that when Mr. Trump painted El Paso as a dangerous city that needed stronger barriers between it and Mexico he was using the city as nothing more than a prop. El Paso was one of the safest American cities of its size long before barriers went up at the border, and violent crime is relatively low.

“It’s factually false. It’s just untrue. It’s nothing but some mythed-up white rage,” she said. “He needs to apologize and take his words back.”

In an extraordinary series of tweets on the night before the president’s arrival, Representative Veronica Escobar, a Democrat representing El Paso in Congress, underscored the way in which the city was taking on a leading role — even in a conservative state like Texas — in opposing Mr. Trump. Only about 26 percent of the voters in El Paso County voted for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Rep. Veronica Escobar

@RepEscobar

The White House invited me to join @realDonaldTrump during his visit to El Paso. My response was clear. I requested a phone call with him today in order to share what I have now heard from many constituents, including some who are victims of Saturday’s attack.

17.6K people are talking about this

Ms. Escobar revealed that the White House had invited her to join Mr. Trump during Wednesday’s visit, but she said she had requested a phone call with the president in an effort to explain that the language he uses to describe Latinos, sometimes equating them with violent criminals, is dehumanizing.

“I have publicly said he has a responsibility to acknowledge the power of his words, apologize for them, and take them back because they are still hanging over us,” Ms. Escobar wrote.

Image

Police blocked traffic near the rally. City officials pointed out that the Trump campaign still owes El Paso more than half a million dollars for the security costs of a rally in February.
CreditIvan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times

The president, she said, was “too busy” to talk, and she declined to join him in his visit. “I refuse to be an accessory to his visit.”

El Paso treasures its place as part of a community that straddles two countries. Its vibrancy, many said, comes from its bond with Mexico, with a history that is older than that of the United States.

“He doesn’t really know who we are,” said Judy Lugo, president of the Texas State Employees Union, which represents some 10,000 state workers, of Mr. Trump’s visit. “He doesn’t know our culture, the long history we have. He doesn’t understand.”

“We are a community of love, a community of family,” Ms. Lugo said. “We are not what he says we are. We are not rapists. We are not dirty. We are not criminals.”

Across the city, some residents worried that Mr. Trump’s visit might do more harm than good.

“He’s just putting salt on the wound,” Ninamarie Ochoa, 29, a teacher, said of Mr. Trump’s visit. Referring to white nationalists who express views like those of the suspect in the attack and the recent detention in tent camps of thousands of migrants arriving in El Paso, she said, “I think that the way he has empowered those voices, to give them license to act on it, you see this in the way that people talk about ICE and Border Patrol and their complacency with the concentration camps.”

Wednesday’s visit was intended as an opportunity for Mr. Trump to console family members and survivors and help commemorate those who died in Saturday’s attack. But few seemed ready to bridge a gap between the city and the president that had grown wide even before the shooting.

Image

Across the city, some residents said Mr. Trump’s visit might do more harm than good.
CreditCalla Kessler/The New York Times

El Paso’s culture has been influenced both by its proximity to Mexico and its distance from so much of the rest of the state, said Richard Pineda, a political communications professor at the University of Texas, El Paso. In a previous era, before jet travel, a trip to El Paso from many cities could be 10 hours or more. It still takes 11 hours to drive there from Houston. It is in a different time zone than the rest of Texas.

The city, he said, was not as tolerant as some might portray it. Yet a certain influence comes from living so close to another country, with the vibrancy, poverty and sometimes violence of Ciudad Juárez visible on the other side of the border fence. “You literally get to see a totally different world,” he said.

As Mr. Trump has used El Paso as a stage for promoting his immigration policies, some of the city’s politicians have used it as an example of a counternarrative. The city’s former representative in Congress, Beto O’Rourke, now running as a Democrat for president, often talks about El Paso’s experience as a bicultural city to criticize the administration’s handling of the surge in migrant arrivals at the southern border. Ms. Escobar has made frequent appearances on television condemning the treatment of migrants in crowded detention centers, many of them in El Paso and nearby.

Yet some of Mr. Trump’s messages have found support in El Paso — though few were eager to talk about it much in the mood of grieving and anger that prevailed on Wednesday.

Jordan Flores, 20, who buses tables at Peter Piper Pizza, showed up outside the Walmart wearing a MAGA hat. He said he remained a supporter of the president, though he felt uneasy about the killings.

“For people to put me into the rhetoric that I am supposed to be this racist or homophobic person, it’s just not true,” Mr. Flores said. “My heart goes out to every single person that was affected by this massacre.”

Jason Carr, 53, who described himself as a libertarian, said it was clear even to him that it would have been better for the president not to have come to El Paso.

“It’s pretty clear he wasn’t wanted,” he said. “You can see the hurt in people’s eyes,” he said of the attack, still so fresh after only a few days. “It’s just so wrong. There’s just so many layers of how wrong it was.”

Arturo Rubio and Erin Coulehan contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: El Paso Says Trump Doesn’t ‘Know Who We Are’. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Israel: Hamas and Islamic Jihad praise ‘heroic’ West Bank slaying of student

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad praise ‘heroic’ West Bank slaying of student

Terror groups stop short of claiming responsibility for killing Dvir Sorek; Islamic Jihad hints attack partially in response to razing of homes near East Jerusalem last month

Palestinians look on as Israeli soldiers take part in a house-to-house search operation in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem on August 8, 2019, following a stabbing attack. (HAZEM BADER / AFP)

Palestinians look on as Israeli soldiers take part in a house-to-house search operation in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem on August 8, 2019, following a stabbing attack. (HAZEM BADER / AFP)

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad heaped praise on a deadly attack on a student in the West Bank Thursday, but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the fatal knifing.

The body of Dvir Sorek, 18, was discovered bearing stabbing marks in the predawn hours of Thursday outside of a West Bank settlement where he was studying, the Israel Defense Forces said, describing the killing as a terror attack.

The army has launched a massive manhunt for the killer or killers centered around the Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.

In a statement, Hamas said it praised “our people’s heroic fighters who carried out the heroic operation that killed a soldier in the occupation’s army.”

Sorek studied at the Machanayim yeshiva in the Migdal Oz settlement as part of a military program known in Hebrew as hesder. Though formally a soldier, he was unarmed and not in uniform at the time of the attack, nor had he yet undergone military training.

Hazem Qassim, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror group, told the Gaza-based Shehab news outlet that the attack was proof of the failure of security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority security forces.

Israeli security forces at the scene where the body of an off-duty, out-of-uniform Israeli soldier was found dead with stab wounds, near the settlement of Migdal Oz in the Etzion region, on August 8, 2019. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The cooperation is seen as a key component to Israeli security operations in the West Bank and is seen as a bulwark against Hamas.

The Islamic Jihad terror group intimated that the attack was partially in response to Israel knocking down several residential buildings late last month in the Wadi Hummus neighborhood near Jerusalem’s Sur Baher neighborhood and the West Bank security barrier.

“The heroic operation is a natural response to the occupation’s terrorism and crimes at the expense of our people, land and holy sites. It is the right of our people to push back against the destruction and demolition of citizens’ homes in Wadi Hummus, a crime that requires a painful and deterring response,” it said in a statement.

Some of the demolitions took place in Areas A and B of the West Bank, which technically fall under full Palestinian administrative control.

Dvir Sorek, 19, a yeshiva student and off-duty IDF soldier who was found stabbed to death outside a West Bank settlement on August 8, 2019 (Courtesy)

The owners of the properties have said they received construction permits from the PA government in Ramallah, but Israel said the buildings were erected in violation of a military order that bans construction adjacent to the security barrier.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have frequently encouraged and praised stabbing, shooting, car-ramming and other attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The military said it was investigating if Sorek was killed as part of an attempted kidnapping, similar to Hamas’s abduction and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, 16, Gilad Shaer, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, in the same area of the West Bank in June 2014.

Senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad. (Screenshot: YouTube)

In recent months, the Shin Bet security service warned that the Gaza-based Hamas has put considerable effort and resources into recruiting operatives to carry out attacks in the West Bank and Israel.

“A number of Hamas military cells have been uncovered in the Judea and Samaria area in recent weeks who were operating under the instruction of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and who were planning to carry out terror attacks against Israeli and Palestinian Authority targets,” the Shin Bet said Tuesday.

“The operatives in the West Bank were instructed to form cells in order to carry out kidnappings, shootings and stabbings, purchase weaponry, and find and recruit additional operatives for terrorist activities,” the security service said.

Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamist terror group Hamas, take part in a march in Gaza City, July 25, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

On Tuesday, the army said it uncovered a large bomb in Hebron that was slated to be used for an attack in Jerusalem.

In mid-July, Fathi Hammad, a senior Hamas official, suggested he was unsatisfied with the number of stabbing attacks Palestinians in the West Bank have recently carried out against Israeli Jews.

“O, the people of the West Bank, until when will you be quiet?” Hammad, a member of Hamas’s politburo who is considered a hard-liner and is known for his fiery rhetoric, said at a protest in the border region between the Gaza Strip and Israel at the time. “We want knives to come out. Five shekels. How much does the neck of a Jew cost? Five shekels or less?”

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El Paso suspect’s mother called police concerned about gun

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

El Paso suspect’s mother called police concerned about gun

(CNN)The El Paso shooting suspect’s mother called the Allen, Texas, Police Department weeks before the shooting because she was concerned about her son owning an “AK” type firearm, lawyers for the family confirmed to CNN.

The mother contacted police because she was worried about her son owning the weapon given his age, maturity level and lack of experience handling such a firearm, attorneys Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres said.
During the call, the mother was transferred to a public safety officer who told her that — based on her description of the situation — her son, 21, was legally allowed to purchase the weapon, the attorneys said. The mother did not provide her name or her son’s name, and police did not seek any additional information from her before the call concluded, they added.
It is not known whether the gun the mother inquired about is the weapon used in the attack.
In response to public records requests for information on alleged shooter Patrick Crusius, the Allen Police Department provided no reports documenting the call from the mother.
The police said in a statement only three minor incidents — one, a false burglar alarm at the family home, another when Crusius was a passenger in a bus involved in a minor traffic accident and a third when he ran away from home but returned 30 minutes later — “are the entirety of our dealings with Mr. Crusius, in any capacity, be it suspect, witness, reporting party, or in any other manner.”
According to the family’s attorneys, the mother’s inquiry was “informational” in nature and was not motivated out of a concern that her son posed a threat to anybody.
“This was not a volatile, explosive, erratic behaving kid,” said Chris Ayres. “It’s not like alarm bells were going off.”
Family members declined further comment through their lawyers.
Crusius was a typical young man in some ways, confused about his path in life, according to another source familiar with the family. He was considering transferring to a four-year university, enlisting in the military and looking for a fulltime job. “He was trying to figure out what to do next” the source said. “When did the wheels coAllen, Texas
me off? We don’t know” the source added.
According to police, Crusius opened fire at an El Paso Walmart last Saturday killing 22 people and injuring more than two dozen others. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond at the El Paso County Detention Facility. District Attorney Jaime Esparza said his office will seek the death penalty.
Additionally, US Attorney John Bash said the Justice Department is “seriously considering” bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges.
A manifesto proclaiming white nationalist and racists views believed to be written by Crusius was posted on 8chan, an online messaging board, less than 20 minutes before the first 911 calls came in. The four-page document rails against Hispanics and immigrants, blaming them for taking jobs away and the blending of cultures in the US.

Venezuela: President Maduro says John Bolton planned his murder in 2018

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Maduro says John Bolton planned his murder in 2018

“Everything indicates that John Bolton has a criminal mind, a killer mentality …. I cannot accuse President [Donald] Trump at the moment, but I have every reason to call for an investigation into [Bolton’s] activities.” “the Venezuelan leader told reporter Max Blumenthal

Bolton tries to convince Trump to send troops to Venezuela
Bolton tries to convince Trump to send troops to Venezuela

Sputinik – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he had evidence to prove that US National Security Adviser John Bolton had planned his assassination.

“It’s been a year since the assassination attempt. Today I can say that I have evidence, evidence that the assassination attempt was carried out by instructions from John Bolton of the White House […],” said Maduro.

“Everything indicates that John Bolton has a criminal mind, a killer mentality …. I cannot accuse President [Donald] Trump at the moment, but I have every reason to call for an investigation into [Bolton’s] activities.” “said the Venezuelan leader to journalist Max Blumenthal.

In December 2018, Maduro accused Bolton of organizing a plan to overthrow him and kill him .

In August 2018, a military parade in Caracas, with Maduro’s presence, was interrupted by the authorities due to a possible attack on the Venezuelan president.

At the time, the president was not injured, however, seven soldiers were injured. Maduro then blamed Venezuelan right-wing opposition, as well as the US and Colombian government.

Venezuela faces a political crisis that intensified after US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president.

In addition, the US and the EU imposed sanctions on Venezuela and froze its assets.

Trash For Brains Trump The Idiot-in Chief speaks again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump undercuts plea for unity with return to political attacks

(CNN)President Donald Trump called for unity during a prepared White House address in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend, but ahead of his trip to visit the communities impacted by gun violence, the consoler-in-chief was back to wedging a partisan divide on Twitter and in front of cameras.

On Tuesday ahead of the President’s trip to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham suggested that the President would rise above the rhetoric. She tweeted that the visit would “be about honoring victims, comforting communities, and thanking first responders & medical professionals for their heroic actions.”
“President @realDonaldTrump is a true leader doing what’s right for this nation,” she continued.
Overnight, however, Trump’s teleprompter-prepared talking points fell by the wayside, and Trump returned to targeting Democrats, and in comments to reporters Wednesday morning, he again used the El Paso attacks to call for stronger immigration laws.
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, the President began attacking his political opponents, in a tit-for-tat response reminiscent of the language he used following deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, when he equally divvied up blame to white supremacist groups and what he called the “alt-left.”
“Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!” Trump tweeted shortly after midnight.
Trump, in prepared remarks Monday, called on the nation to condemn racism and white supremacy, but stopped short of acknowledging his own divisive rhetoric, and Democrats, including the President’s opponents in 2020, seized on the fact that the alleged shooter in El Paso, is believed to have authored a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto. They say Trump’s rhetoric was reflected in the language of the document.
By daybreak Wednesday, Trump was also tweeting about the Dayton shooter “supporting political figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and ANTIFA,” despite the fact authorities have not determined a political motivation for the perpetrator.
A Twitter account that appears to belong to the Dayton gunman retweeted extreme left-wing and anti-police posts, as well as tweets supporting Antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters. The account retweeted messages supporting Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as posts against ICE agents, including one that said, “these people are monsters,” and multiple posts condemning police, and supporting Antifa protesters.
But while the El Paso gunman posted a manifesto with a clear ideology that motivated his shooting that was tied to similar themes that the President has espoused, the Dayton shooter, based on what the FBI has said, has not suggested a political motivation. Investigators described it as a fixation on violence and killing.
The President, for his part, claimed Wednesday that he’s toned his rhetoric down.
He told reporters ahead of his visit Ohio and Texas, “We have toned it down. We’ve been getting hit left and right from everybody … (including) a couple of people from Texas, political people from Texas that aren’t doing very well,” he said.
“I don’t think it works because I would like to stay out of the political fray,” he continued.
Trump said “tried to stay out” of politically dividing aspects of the mass shooting which happened over the weekend, even though he went after O’Rourke, Warren and Sanders on Twitter hours beforehand.
He also dredged up the Dayton shooter’s social media history again.
“My critics are political people. They’re trying to make points. In many cases, they’re running for President and they’re very low in the polls. A couple of them in particular very low in the polls. If you look at Dayton, that was a person who supported, I guess you would say, Bernie Sanders, I understood, Antifa, I understood, Elizabeth Warren, I understood — had nothing to do with President Trump,” Trump said.
Trump also said he doesn’t believe his rhetoric causes violence.
“No, I don’t think my rhetoric has at all. My rhetoric brings people together,” he told reporters.
Asked whether he regrets using the term “invasion” to describe immigrants coming into the US illegally, Trump responded, “I think that illegal immigration is a terrible thing for this country. I think you have to come in legally. Ideally you have to come in through merit.”
“We need people coming in because we have many companies coming into our county — they’re pouring in. And I think illegal immigration is a very bad thing for our country. I think open borders are a very bad thing for our country, and we’re stopping. We’re building a wall right now. … We need strong immigration laws. But we want to allow millions of people to come in because we need them,” he continued.

Trump slams El Paso native O’Rourke ahead of visit to grieving city

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Trump slams El Paso native O’Rourke ahead of visit to grieving city

O’Rourke hit back at Trump, tweeting that “22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism.”

Dayton Police Killed Shooter Within 30 Seconds Of First Shot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

 

Dayton Police Killed Shooter Within 30 Seconds Of First Shot

Shoes of victims are piled at the scene of Sunday’s mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

John Minchillo/AP

It took about 30 seconds to bring down the gunman who killed nine people and injured 27 others in a crowded section of downtown Dayton, Ohio, early on Sunday morning — just hours after another scene of violence ravaged the Texas city of El Paso.

But figuring out why the alleged shooter, Connor Betts, who lived with his family in a sleepy suburban Midwestern community, descended on scores of innocent people — including his younger sister and a friend — is a question that will take much longer to solve, said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl in a press conference Sunday afternoon.

What officials have offered is a timeline of the deadly events that ended in dozens of lives upended almost instantly. On duty officers first heard shots at 1:05 a.m. as they patrolled what is normally a safe and lively part of the city just before local bars shut down. Within approximately 20 seconds, six officers were running toward the hail of bullets pouring from the shooter’s .223-caliber high capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines.

“They engaged a suspect who was actively firing and attempting to enter a crowded liquor establishment,” Biehl said.

Ten seconds later, the shooter, who was wearing a mask, a bulletproof vest and hearing protection, was dead. Lying beside the body was a shotgun that had not been discharged

“The threat was neutralized at approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shot,” Biehl said.

He added that the 24-year-old shooter had a minimal criminal history as an adult — only a pair of traffic violations are included in his record. He also noted both weapons were purchased legally, explaining the more destructive rifle was ordered online from Texas and “transferred to the suspect from a local firearms dealer.” The shotgun was purchased in Ohio.

“There’s nothing in this individual’s history or record that would have precluded him from purchasing that firearm,” the police chief explained.

Biehl released surveillance footage showing panicked crowds running down the street to escape the violent outbursts of rapid gunfire, as well as a 911 call made moments after the mass shooting began.

Dissecting Betts’ movements before the attack have proven more complicated. Biehl said the shooter arrived at the nightlife spot in the same car as his sister Megan Betts, 22, and a friend, “but they were separated at some point later in the evening.”

It is unclear if he intended to fire on her, but Megan Betts was the youngest of her brother’s victims — who ranged in age from 22 to 57. The other person in the car, was also shot in the attack, but he has survived. Police have not released his name.

Biehl’s said the man has been questioned by police and they are attempting to glean information that will help them piece together the shooter’s whereabouts after the group parted ways.

The city identified the nine people killed in the shooting: Megan K. Betts; Nicholas P. Cumer, 25; Thomas J. McNichols, 25; Lois L. Oglesby, 27; Logan M. Turner, 30; Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, 36; Saeed Saleh, 38; Monica E. Brickhouse, 39; and Derrick R. Fudge, 57.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies served a search warrant on Betts’ family home in nearby Bellbrook, Ohio early Sunday morning.

Bellbrook Police Chief Doug Doherty, whose department helped execute the warrant, said the FBI removed a vehicle from the property.

Authorities said that as of Sunday afternoon, 12 of the 27 people injured in the shooting were still in the hospital. One of those victims was in critical condition.

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