Newsletter : 14fx0702.txt
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Mourners Flood Central Israel for Teens' Burial Service
By VOA News, Reuters, Israel Hayom & AFP
Tens of thousands of mourners joined in central Israel for a funeral service for three
teenagers found dead in the West Bank nearly three weeks after they disappeared. The three
were buried Tuesday in the Israeli town of Modi'in. Israeli leaders have accused the Hamas
terror group of abducting and killing the three, one age 19 and the other two 16.
The deaths have prompted an outpouring of national grief and angry calls for revenge.
Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres spoke at the funeral and
vowed to punish Hamas.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops have raided the homes of two men suspected of abducting the
three Israeli teenagers. Television footage showed troops setting off explosions at the
home of Amer Abu Aisheh early Tuesday in Hebron. Witnesses reported a similar operation
Tuesday at the home of Marwan Qawasmeh. Israel said the two men were members of the terror
group Hamas, which has denied any involvement in the teenagers' disappearance.
The abduction and murders are putting pressure on Western-backed Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas, a month after he angered Israel by forming a unity government with Hamas.
Israel, the United States, the European Union and even Egypt consider Hamas a terrorist
organization. "President Abbas must now, immediately, annul his pact with Hamas," said
Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. "If the Palestinian leadership says that it's opposed to
terrorism, they cannot be in a political alliance with the murderers of children."
Netanyahu had promised Hamas would pay after the discovery of the three Jewish seminary
students' bodies under a pile of rocks near the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. The
three teens - Gilad Shaer, 16, from Talmon settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah;
Naftali Frenkel, 16, from Nof Ayalon, and Eyal Ifrach, 19, from Elad, both towns in
central Israel disappeared while hitchhiking June 12. The Islamist group has
neither confirmed nor denied Israel's allegations about its role in the disappearance of
Abbas has said Israel must provide proof that Hamas is to blame, adding, however, that
whoever is responsible must be condemned. Palestinian legislator Abdallah Abdallah said,
"The loss of lives, whether Israeli or Palestinian, we regret that and we feel sorry for
that." But Hamas has warned that Israel would "open the gates of hell" if it carried out
any reprisal operations against the Islamist movement, whose power base is in Gaza, the
French news agency AFP reported.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned Israel against going too far. "The
response of the resistance has been limited, and Netanyahu must not test Hamas's
patience," said Abu Zuhri, whose group's arsenal includes rockets that can reach Tel
"Hamas is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the youths and we know how to
settle accounts with them," Yaalon said. "We will continue to hunt the killers of the
youngsters, we will not rest nor will we be silent until we lay our hands on them."
In the West Bank on Tuesday, an Israeli military spokeswoman said troops opened fire at
a man, identified by Palestinian officials as Yousouf Al-Zagha, 19, who threw a grenade at
soldiers who were attempting to arrest a militant in the Jenin refugee camp. A Palestinian
who witnessed the incident said Zagha was an innocent passerby. The U.N. human rights
office urged all Israelis and Palestinians to exercise "maximum restraint."
The kidnapping appalled Israelis who rallied behind the youngsters' families in a
display of national unity. "They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by beasts. ...
Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay," Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday.
Before a joint burial in the Israeli city of Modi'in, funeral services were held
outside the homes the three teens. The three were laid to rest side-by-side at the Modi'in
cemetery. "There hasn't been a show of unity like this in Israel for years," Frenkel's
father, Avraham, said at the service, as he stood facing the body of his son, which was
draped with an Israeli flag.
Speaking at Shaar's funeral in Talmon, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Israeli
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said they were not burying a soldier but "the child of each
and every one of us. We need each other on this day," Lapid added.
The teens, who attended a religious school in a Jewish settlement, had apparently been
shot soon after being taken, officials said. Two of the youths lived in Israel.
The men Israel has accused of carrying out the abductions are still at large. They were
identified as Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eishe. Israeli media said the break in the case
came after their relatives were interrogated.
Troops set off explosions in the family homes of the alleged abductors late on Monday,
blowing open a doorway in one, an army spokeswoman said. The other property was on fire
after the blast. Neighbors said both houses were empty. "This kind of act is a sin,
whether you're a Muslim or Jew. They've scared the kids so much," Um Sharif, the mother of
one of the alleged kidnappers said about the damage caused to her home. She said she did
not believe her son had been involved.
Hamas has been rocked by the arrest of dozens of its activists in an Israeli military
sweep in the West Bank over the past three weeks during the search for the teenagers that
Israel said was also aimed at weakening the militant movement. Up to six Palestinians died
as a result of the Israeli operation, local residents said
After news of the teenagers' deaths, condolence messages and condemnation of the
killings poured in from foreign leaders. "The United States condemns in the strongest
possible terms, this senseless act of terror against innocent youths," President Barack
Obama said in a statement. "I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could
further destabilize the situation."
At the Vatican, Pope Francis called the killings "abominable" and said they are a grave
obstacle to peace.
Netanyahu seized on the abduction to demand Abbas annul a reconciliation deal he
reached with Hamas, his long-time rival, in April that led to a unity Palestinian
government on June 2.
Abbas condemned the abduction and pledged the cooperation of his security forces,
drawing criticism from Hamas and undercutting his popularity among Palestinians angered by
what they saw as his collusion with Israel.
Hamas, which has maintained security control of the Gaza Strip since the unity deal, is
shunned by the West over its refusal to renounce violence. The group has called for
Israel's destruction, although various officials have at times indicated a willingness to
negotiate a long-term cease-fire.
Several hundred people waving Israeli flags and expressing grief and solidarity held a
vigil in New York City on Monday after the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers
were discovered. The mourners gathered on a busy Manhattan street outside the Israeli
Consulate and then, carrying placards bearing the names of the three slain teens, marched
to the Isaiah Wall directly across from U.N. headquarters.
"Our hearts are broken," Rabbi Avi Weiss, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, told
the crowd. "Our hearts are shattered. And all of the United Nations must speak out. The
murder of a person is the murder of a person. But the murder of a child is the murder of
Many in the crowd said they had come because they felt powerless and wanted to express
support publicly for the families of the teens. "It's hard being so far away and feeling
there is so little I can do," said Ilana Shrier, 25, a commercial real estate agent and
Palestinians Brace for Israeli Response Over Murder of 3 Teens
By Israel Hayom
Israel bombed dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, striking at Hamas after
finding the bodies of three missing teenagers -- Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali
Frenkel -- whose abduction and killing it blames on the Palestinian Islamist group.
Israel's security cabinet, which held an emergency session late on Monday and met
again on Tuesday, was currently split on the scope of any further action in the coastal
enclave and Judea and Samaria, officials said.
Tensions have soared since the bodies were found, with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu blaming Hamas and warning that the terror gang "will pay" while terrorists in
Hamas-controlled Gaza have stepped up rocket attacks, drawing Israelis retaliatory strikes
and risking a wider conflict.
Meanwhile, Hamas officials in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have gone into hiding,
bracing for whatever response Israel decides upon, Hamas official Izzat Al-Risheq told
Saudi news outlet Al-Arabiya.
The terrorist group's fears appear to be well founded. An Israeli senior defense
official said "Hamas suffered heavy blows over the past two weeks. Many of the
institutions they used to mastermind terror plots against Israel were shut down and their
officials have been arrested. We will continue to pursue them and make them pay dearly."
The Palestinian Authority is also concerned about an Israeli response. The PA
leadership in the Ramallah held an emergency meeting that lasted throughout the night.
Arab media outlets reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a
series of calls to senior officials in the U.S. and Europe and asked them to pressure
Israel to refrain from taking aggressive and wide ranging punitive measures against the
Palestinian populace in Hebron and the West Bank entire. Abbas reportedly also spoke with
leaders in Arab states and senior officials in the Arab League.
Preparations are underway in the Gaza Strip for a possible IDF attack and Hamas'
leadership has ordered its members to clear out headquarters and bases all throughout the
Gaza Strip. Terrorist group Islamic Jihad stated that they will respond harshly to any
Israeli acts of vengeance.
Al-Risheq stressed that Hamas' political leadership was not aware of the group's
involvement in the kidnapping and murder of the teens. "Planning operations and carrying
them out is made by the military wing leadership alone," he said.
Hamas warned Israel against a strong IDF response in the Gaza Strip and West Bank,
saying that a fierce Israeli action could destabilize the region to the point that the
understandings achieved in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 would fall apart. In such a
scenario, they claim, another round of fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and
Hamas is possible.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum responded to Netanyahu's statements accusing Hamas
responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the teens. "The person responsible for the
deteriorating security situation in the region is Netanyahu and his policies," he said.
Barhoum refused to answer questions regarding the group's involvement in the kidnapping
saying "the movement has decided to remain silent."
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas leadership in the West Bank did not
issue an official statement regarding the discovery of the bodies. A senior official in
Abbas' office told Israel Hayom that Abbas still stands behind his statements from last
week, when he said that the Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas
would be put on hold and the unity government disbanded. "In effect, the reconciliation
agreements have not been upheld for more than two weeks and he unity government barely
ISIS Parades Captured Scud D Rockets with Israel in Range
By DEBKAfile & IsraelNationalNews.com
In the northern Syrian town of Raqqa, the Iraqi jihadis paraded Scud D surface rockets
capable of reaching Israel, Iraq and Jordan. Photos of the parade appeared Tuesday in a
number of web sites and social media Western weapons experts who saw them judged them
"likely inoperable." However, according to DEBKAfile's military experts, the Al
Qaeda-linked group has been able to seize large Syrian and Iraqi army arsenals in recent
weeks and has no qualms about using them.
The video footage reveals that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has
transferred some of the advanced weaponry it has captured in its blitz conquest of Iraq to
Syria - weaponry which includes long range Scud missiles.
ISIS, which on Sunday declared itself an Islamic "caliphate" and proclaimed its leader
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "Caliph," has been busy looting Iraq after capturing large areas
of the country from the American-armed and trained Iraqi army.
In the process it has seized a chemical weapons facility, Iraq's largest oil refinery,
and become the "world's richest terrorist organization" by looting 500 billion Iraqi
dinars ($425 million) from banks in Mosul.
Now, the buildup of weapons is apparently being transferred to Syria, as seen in a
video revealed by MEMRI in which ISIS Islamists parade a Scud missile and captured tanks
in their stronghold of Al-Raqqah, in the central north of the country near Turkey, which
they declared the capital of their caliphate.
In addition to the Scud missile, tanks, APCs (armored personnel carriers) and Hummer
army vehicles can be seen.
The showing of force and call for Muslims to join the "caliphate" has been responded
to; the "Free Sunnis of Ba'albek Brigade," which in the past attacked the Shi'ite terror
group Hizbullah in Lebanon's Beirut, pledged allegiance to the caliphate.
ISIS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a 19-minute audiotape online on Tuesday,
saying "Muslims, rush to your state. Yes, it is your state," reports the Daily Mail. The
ISIS leader called for jihadists to step up the fighting during the Muslim holiday month
of Ramadan, which began on Saturday. "In this virtuous month or in any other month, there
is no deed better than jihad in the path of Allah, so take advantage of this opportunity
and walk the path of you righteous predecessors. So to arms, to arms, soldiers of the
Islamic, fight, fight," said al-Baghdadi.
The Scud missiles raise the danger posed against Israel, given that the long-range
missiles have been fired at Israel in the past from Iraq during the Gulf war. One ISIS
member calling himself Ansar Udeen wrote on Twitter "Dawla Islamiyya (The Islamic State)
has SCUD missile in #Raqqa. [God willing] its heading towards #Israel for a spectacular
Eid ul fitr," noting the feast to break the Ramadan fast.
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