Over 100 Children Killed in Taliban Attack on Pakistani School

(Photo: wikicommons)

(Photo: wikicommons)

In the latest international terror attack, at least 126 people have been killed in a Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan. Haaretz reports that of the dead, more than 100 were children:

More than 100 children were killed in a Taliban attack on a military school in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday. The total death toll reached at least 126, with 122 people injured, local officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in years.

The attack started with the Taliban storming the school in Peshawar in the morning hours and shooting at random …

The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the army public school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the assault and rushed to Peshawar to show his support for the victims.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Reuters journalist at the scene heard heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it. Helicopters swooped overhead and a fleet of ambulances ferried wounded children to hospital.

“Many are in the operation theater now in critical condition, undergoing treatment,” said Lady Reading Hospital official Ejaz Khan.

Military officials at the scene said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.

“We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers,” said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.

A teacher said that the attackers targeted the school while exams were taking place.

“After half an hour of the attack, the army came and sealed the school,” a teacher told a private television channel outside the besieged school.

“We were in the examination hall when the attack took place,” he said. “Now the army men are clearing the classes one by one.”

Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters his group was responsible for the attack.

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 9:06 AM  | Stand For Israel

Sydney Siege and Monitoring Extremists

(Photo: flickr/ Karl-Ludwig Poggemann)

(Photo: flickr/ Karl-Ludwig Poggemann)

This weekend’s hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, which came to an end yesterday, is only the latest terrorist act perpetrated by radical Islamists – those associated with an organized terror organization, or those acting on their own. Writing at Commentary, Max Boot says that these two types of terrorism are related, as groups like ISIS are inspiring those who act alone:

In the annals of terrorism, 2014 will be notable for two trends: the rise of ISIS, eclipsing al-Qaeda, and the rise of “lone wolf” terrorists carrying out heinous attacks with little if any help from anyone. The two trends are, in fact, related, because ISIS is now becoming as much an inspiration for violent fanatics as al-Qaeda once was.

Both trends are evident in Australia which saw a 16-hour siege of a cafe in Sydney carried out by a 50-year-old Iranian immigrant calling himself Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheikh who has preached an extremist gospel and recently converted from Shiite to Sunni Islam. His own lawyer calls him a “damaged goods individual” who was apparently on bail in two different criminal cases–he is charged “with being an accessory before and after the fact in the murder of his ex-wife, Noleen Hayson Pal, who was stabbed and set on fire” and with “the indecent and sexual assault of a woman in western Sydney.” In yet another case, he “pleaded guilty in 2013 to 12 charges related to the sending of poison-pen letters to the families of Australian servicemen who were killed overseas.”

What a charmer. A marginal, criminal character, Monis was apparently spurred into taking hostages because he was exercised about Australian military actions, in cooperation with the U.S. and other allies, against ISIS.

There is little that anyone can do to anticipate such random attacks but there is more that can be done to monitor known extremists such as Monis.

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 8:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Sydney Gunman’s Failed Message

(Photo: wikicommons/ Axiom292)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Axiom292)

Yesterday we reported on the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, as well as its resolution. The gunman has been identified as a radical Islamist, which was clear during the incident, because of the flag hostages were forced to hold up. Michael J. Totten writes about this particular flag’s meaning – a meaning that the media covering the situation missed:

A radical Islamist seized hostages in a café yesterday in Sydney, Australia. Sixteen hours later police shot him dead. At least two of his captives died and several others are seriously injured.

Shortly after he took over the café, he forced some of the hostages to hold a black flag up to the glass for news cameras to photograph. It is known variously as the black standard, the jihad flag, and the Salafist flag. It’s similar in some ways to the Saudi flag. It’s also similar to the black flag of the Abbasid caliphate.

Anybody who flies it is potentially dangerous.

Salafism is a relatively recent Islamic ideology (less than 150 years old) that arose as a reaction against 19th century Western imperialism in general and the liberal Western ideas that began percolating into the Middle East at the time, which was not ruled by Western imperialists but mostly by the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire.

Salafists wish to remove all modern “innovations” from Islam and to bring back the 7th century version as practiced by Mohammad. They also wish to build a caliphate—a state—based on the 7th century model. Some of them would be content to do this non-violently, but others are a little less, shall we say, patient.

So an individual won’t necessarily be violent just because he’s a Salafist—especially not in the Persian Gulf region where their numbers are huge—but Al Qaeda and ISIS are the armed wings of the Salafist movement.

When the Australian gunman forced his hostages to hold that flag up to the glass, he was identifying himself as a Salafist. But no one in media seemed to know what that flag is….

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 8:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Shin Bet Foils “Pregnant” Suicide Bomber Plot in Tel Aviv

(Photo: Shin Bet)

(Photo: Shin Bet)

As we pray for a peaceful resolution to the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, and as we see more and more terrorist attacks worldwide each week, some good news comes out of Israel. The Times of Israel reports that the Shin Bet – Israel’s internal security service – has thwarted a suicide bombing plot that was to take place in Tel Aviv:

A Palestinian terror cell planning a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and other attacks was thwarted over the last several months, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

Five suspects hailing from Jenin and the village Attil in the Tulkarem area of the West Bank planned to infiltrate into Israel by acquiring a permit for the female member of their group to receive medical care in Israel.

She was then to dress as a pregnant Jewish woman and detonate an explosive belt in Tel Aviv, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

The cell members admitted under Shin Bet interrogation to planning to carry out shooting attacks, detonate a mine next to a bus carrying soldiers, and kidnap a soldier as well, according to the internal security agency.

The five were arrested between October and November by IDF forces working with the Shin Bet and police, but the information was only cleared for release Monday.

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Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 9:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Ready to Help Australia with Hostages



Stand for Israel paid close attention to the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, which has since been resolved. The Times of Israel’s Lazar Berman reports that Israel was in contact with Australia, offering its assistance as the events unfolded:

Israel is in contact with Australian authorities over the unfolding hostage situation in a Sydney coffee shop, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday.

Speaking to Israel Radio, Ya’alon said that Israel would do anything it could to help.

“It is far, but there are things we can do from afar,” he said.

Police have said they are negotiating with the gunman, who has apparently made a number of demands via phone calls that hostages were forced to make to local media organizations …

Shortly after taking the coffee shop, the gunman forced hostages to display a flag with an Islamic affirmation of faith, leading some to believe the incident was related to Islamist terror.

“This seems to be another attack by an Islamist, jihadist organization, part of the phenomenon of the spread of global jihad, and the terrorism it brings to different places, which also reaches Australia,” Ya’alon told the radio station …

Speaking on the same radio program, Israeli singer Benny Elbaz, who left the very Lindt Cafe minutes before the hostage-taker entered, said he considered his near-miss a “Hanukkah miracle.”

Elbaz said he had been in the cafe with a number of Israelis, but left about 15 minutes before the gunman entered.

The Israeli embassy in Australia earlier published a tweet expressing Israel’s sympathy for the hostages.

The Jewish community in Australia went “in lockdown” as the incident unfolded Monday, with schools releasing students earlier and officials urging caution and alertness …

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Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 8:33 AM  | Stand For Israel

Terrorist Attacks Israeli Family with Acid

(Photo: flickr/ismpalestine)

(Photo: flickr/ismpalestine)

In today’s Daily Dispatch, we noted the separate incidents which have occurred today. The Times of Israel reports on this terrorist attack, where a Palestinian hurled acid on a family with young children:

Seven people, including a family of five with young children, were lightly wounded in the West Bank Friday afternoon when a Palestinian man hurled acid into their car, before being shot and seriously wounded.

The attack occurred near a checkpoint between the Gush Etzion settlement of Beitar Illit, where the family is from, and the Palestinian village of Husan, southwest of Jerusalem.

Palestinian news agency Ma’an identified the attacker as Jamal Abd al-Majid Ghayatha, 45, from the West Bank village of Nahalin. Media networks affiliated with Hamas said the man was a former Palestinian prisoner in Israel jail, Israel Radio reported.

The IDF said in a statement Friday that he was “known to have been previously involved in illegal and hostile riots and activities.”

The father of the family, in his 50s, was said to have been hit in the face with the liquid, causing burns to his eyes. He was evacuated to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem for treatment. The mother, her three daughters aged 8 to 10, and her niece, were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital with light injuries.

Ghayatha was being treated at Hadassah Hospital  Ein Kerem as well.

The family had stopped their vehicle at the at the Al-Hader Junction to pick up a hitchhiker when Ghayatha, who was standing next to the man, attacked all of them with the acid.

Please keep the recovery of this family in your prayers.

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Friday, December 12th, 2014 at 2:53 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Two Injured in Terrorist Attack

(Photo: flickr/zeevveez)

(Photo: flickr/zeevveez)

Arutz Sheva is reporting that a terrorist attack has just occurred near Jerusalem, the latest in a string of such incidents. Details are still emerging, but early reports state that two were injured and the terrorist was shot:

Two people were injured in a stabbing attack Wednesday afternoon, after a terrorist began attacking civilians at a Rami-Levy superstore in Mishor Adumim, near Ma’ale Adumim in the Jerusalem area.

Magen David Adom (MDA) forces arrived at the scene shortly after the attack began at around 4:20 p.m., and gave emergency first-aid treatment to the injured. Both are men in their mid-50s and suffering from shoulder and head wounds.

The terrorist was apprehended and has sustained light injuries after being shot by a security guard at the scene.

“Near the cash registers there were two people, injured, about 50 years old, fully conscious with stab wounds in the upper body,” Fadi Badarne, an MDA medic, stated to the press. “They told us that as they were shopping, they were jumped upon suddenly by a terrorist, who stabbed them.”

“We gave them first aid at the scene and evacuated them to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem while fully conscious, with moderate injuries,” Badarne continued. “The terrorist was shot in the limbs and treated there as well; he’s in mild to moderate condition.”

Initial reports indicated that the attack was a shooting, but MDA medics and Channel 2 reported shortly after reports first aired that the attack was, in fact, a stabbing – and that the terrorist was not shot and killed, but merely injured.

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Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Stabbed by Palestinian Woman in West Bank

(Photo: flickr/kelleelund)

(Photo: flickr/kelleelund)

Even before the recent terrorist massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue, terror stabbings and vehicular attacks have been on the rise in Israel. The Times of Israel reports on yet another such attack that occurred today in the West Bank, where one of The Fellowship’s adopted IDF battalions responded when a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man:

An Israeli was stabbed and lightly injured Monday morning in the West Bank south of Jerusalem.

The female Palestinian attacker was shot and badly injured by security forces after assaulting the victim at Gush Etzion junction, on a major road in the Etzion settlement bloc.

Emergency services provided first aid to the victim.

Initial reports from the IDF indicated the victim was a civilian …

The Palestinian Ma’an news site identified the attacker as 22-year-old Amal Taqatqa from Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, and said she was affiliated with the Fatah movement.

In 2011, Taqatqa tried to stab a soldier at the same location, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 9:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel’s Problem: How Do You Stop the Lone Wolf?



This week’s synagogue massacre in Jerusalem was only the latest in the rising number of terrorist attacks against Israelis. So many of these attacks have not been the result of coordinated actions by terror groups – though those organizations do work toward the destruction of the Jewish state, and do applaud violence against the Jewish people – but have been the result of “lone wolf” terrorists acting alone. Bloomberg News’ Alisa Odenheimer looks at how Israel is dealing with this latest threat against its people and its existence:

Palestinians’ new weapons of choice can be found in every kitchen and parked outside their doors, presenting Israeli security forces with what may be their toughest challenge yet.

Nine people, including five killed yesterday at a Jerusalem synagogue, have been attacked in the past month by Palestinians who deliberately plowed cars into pedestrians or wielded knives and cleavers. Israeli Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino says assailants have acted on their own. This combination of readily accessible weapons and rogue attackers makes it impossible to foretell who will act, or where.

“It’s the lone-wolf syndrome,” Jonathan Fine, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter– Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said last week. “It’s the worst kind of terrorism you can think of because it’s unpredictable …

“I pay attention when I cross the street: I look 20 times before I cross,” she said in an interview. “When I wait for the bus, I stand as far back from the street as I can.”

One of the victims of a previous attack was a three-month-old baby killed by a driver who rammed into a group of people waiting at a tram station.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, of inciting the violence. Last week, Abbas lauded Palestinian protesters for trying to keep Jews from “defiling” a contested Jerusalem shrine that’s holy to Muslims as the al-Aqsa mosque complex and…

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Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 9:01 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF: West Bank Van Attack Was Terror, Not Accident

Two weeks ago, after one deadly vehicle attack had already occurred, we reported on a second incident in which three IDF soldiers were hit by a van in the West Bank. Initially labeling the event an accident, the IDF has now declared it to be a deliberate terror attack:

hit-and-run incident in which three Israeli soldiers were struck by a van in the West Bank was indeed a terror attack and not a car accident, the IDF has determinedaccording to a Thursday report.

The army informed the families of the three soldiers who were injured in the November 5 van attack in the Etzion Bloc region of the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, that the incident was nationalistically motivated, after wrapping up a two-week investigation into the incident, Channel 2 reported.

A day after the attack, a senior security official said the attack may have been a car accident, according to Israeli media reports. The driver of the van, Hamam Mesalmeh, turned himself in to Israeli authorities on November 6, ending a manhunt following the incident.

Mesalmeh told officials that he lost control of the large commercial vehicle he was driving, and panicked when he realized he had hit Israeli soldiers and fled the scene.

But the parents of the three wounded soldiers maintained all along, based on the footage of the incident, that it was a deliberate attack. On November 9, Roni Aharoni said that his son, Moshe Aharoni, who was seriously injured in the hit-and-run, told him that the driver of the commercial van had accelerated as he barreled into the soldiers.

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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:57 PM  | Stand For Israel

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Rabbi’s Commentary
Answering His Call, Faithfully and Joyfully

2014 has certainly been a year of struggles. But those challenges have been answered by God, and by His faithful followers. The Fellowship and our generous friends have been able to offer assistance to those who need it most, from the Holy Land to the former Soviet Union, and we look hopefully to the coming year as one of peace, prosperity, and repairing the world.

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