Newsletter : 15fx1105.txt
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Second Mid East Air Disaster: Russian-Made Cargo Plane Crash in S. Sudan Kills
No cause has yet been established for the Russian-made Antonov Ant-12's crash-landing
on the east bank of the Nile River 800 m short of Juba international airport in South
Sudan Wednesday, Nov. 4. Its five-man crew were Russians. According to first reports some
40 people were killed both on board and on the ground, although there appear to be two
The Tajik Asia Airways crash-landed 800 meters from the runway of South Sudan's Juba
international airport shortly after taking off . The An-12 was bound for Paloich in the
Upper Nile region in the north. The cause of the crash is as yet unknown. The plane is 44
However, none of the 224 passengers and crew aboard the Metrojet Flight 9268 Airbus 321
survived the airliner's crash in central Sinai Saturday, Oct. 31, en route from their
holiday in Sharm El Sheikh to St. Petersburg.
Russian sources following the forensic examination of the bodies and partial remains of
the victims flown to St. Petersburg report that they show evidence of an explosion in the
plane before it plummeted to the ground. Further testing is required to establish the
cause of the explosion.
A US infrared satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and same vicinity over
Sinai where the Russian plane went down. A US defense official added that the same
satellite would have been able to track the tell-tale heat trail of a missile from the
ground. "The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table,"
the official said. Another official said, "the plane disintegrated at a very high
The general consensus ahead of the Egyptian and Russian probes is that a sudden,
catastrophic explosion caused the crash - whether from a bomb inside, "external impact"
as the Metrojet company claims - or from faulty fuel. Russian fuel experts found
nothing wrong with the fuel.
An Egyptian physician who inspected the scene of the disaster found that one out of
every five bodies he saw had been incinerated to death from a fire that may have started
in the passenger's cabin and spread to the rest of the plane. Egyptian experts reported
that "the large number of separate body fragments" could indicate that a strong explosion
occurred onboard before the aircraft hit the ground. They were scattered across a radius
of 8-10 square kilometers from the wreckage.
Russian and Egyptian sources tracking the examination of the two black boxes found
evidence that the calamity occurred too rapidly for the pilots or crew to send an SOS or
even say a few words. As the probe of the air catastrophe began, Moscow and Cairo were
increasingly at odds on their findings. The Russians asserted that the plane must have
broken up into two parts as a result of a strong explosion, whereas Egyptian officials
remained intent on playing down the claim of responsibility for the crash published
Saturday by the Sinai wing of the Islamic State. They criticize the Russians as rushing to
conclusions ahead of the probe.
While neither the Egyptians or the Russians are willing to admit this, it is highly
likely that the missile or explosives which brought down the Russian airliner Saturday
came from Libya.
The British Prime Minister's office ordered a delay for flights due to leave Sharm
el-Sheikh for Britain Wednesday night with British holiday makers aboard following
intelligence that the Russian airliner was blown up Saturday by an explosive device.
And the latest U.S. intelligence suggests that the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 was
most likely caused by a bomb on the plane planted by the Islamic State (ISIS) or an ISIS
affiliate, an official familiar with the matter told CNN on Wednesday.
"There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere
on the plane," the official said, stressing that no formal conclusion had been reached by
the U.S. intelligence community. The assessment was reached, the official told CNN, by
looking back at intelligence reports that had been gathered before Saturday's plane crash
and intelligence gathered since then.
The United States did not have credible or verified intelligence of a specific threat
before the crash. However, the official said, "there had been additional activity in Sinai
that had caught our attention." Another official told CNN the intelligence regarding ISIS
is in part based on monitoring of internal messages of the terrorist group. Those messages
are separate from public ISIS claims of responsibility, that official said.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State group renewed its claim to have brought down the Metrojet
A321 plane, challenging skeptics to prove otherwise. In an audio statement posted
Wednesday on social media sites, the Islamic State said it would disclose details of the
attack when it decides to.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has dismissed as "propaganda" claims by
Islamic State insurgents they brought down the jetliner. "When there is propaganda that it
crashed because of ISIS, this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and
the image of Egypt," Sissi told the BBC, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic
U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said earlier this week that it was
"unlikely" that Islamic State had the technical expertise to carry out such an attack, but
said, "I wouldn't rule it out."
And also in Sinai. six Egyptian police officers were killed and scores of policemen and
civilians were injured in an explosion caused by a bomb car driven by a suicide terrorist
near the El Arish police station in northern Sinai early Wednesday. On Tuesday, President
Abdel-Fatteh El-Sissi assured a BBC TV interviewer: Believe me, the situation in Sinai
especially in this limited area is under our full control."
PA Names Football Tournament After Old City Murderer
Arab terrorist Muhammad Halabi, who murdered two Israelis and wounded the wife and
two-year-old son of one of them in a stabbing in Jerusalem's Old City in early October, is
being given full hero treatment by the Palestinian Authority.
The official PA daily announced on Monday that the Yasir Arafat Youth Center in Jenina,
Samaria, has named a soccer tournament after the terrorist murderer, as revealed and
translated by Palestinian Media Watch. Under the headline "Bal'a Club wins the Martyr
Halabi cup for football," the paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida revealed how the murderer is being
lionized for young Arabs.
"The Martyr Yasir Arafat Youth Center (Al-Attara - Jenin) succeeded in organizing the
first football tournament named after martyr Muhammad Halabi, which took place on its
football fields. The final game was played by the Yasir Arafat Youth Center and Bal'a,
which rightly won the title."
The newest gesture is just one of many the PA has made to honor the murderer. Last
month, the PA city of Surda-Abu Qash named a street after him, with the mayor saying,
"this is the least we can do for martyr Halabi." PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction
even brought soil from the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount to Halabi's grave, and the
PA Bar Association granted him an honorary law degree. Several parents in Gaza named their
newborn son after him.
In the attack, which took place on October 3, 19-year-old Halabi attacked 21-year-old
Aharon Bennet along with his wife and 2-year-old son as they were on their way back from
praying at the Kotel (Western Wall). Bennett was murdered, as was Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, who
rushed to save the young family but was in turn ambushed by the terrorist, who then
grabbed his gun and fired at approaching police, who shot him dead in return.
Israel Returns Body of Terrorist, Palestinians Allege Organ Harvesting
Israel returned the body of Ibrahim Saqafi to the Palestinians on Wednesday evening.
Saqafi, a Hebron resident, had carried out a vehicular attack near Halhul earlier on
Wednesday that left a Border Police officer critically wounded. The return of Saqafi's
body came in spite of Israel's earlier decision to delay returning terrorists' bodies to
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority representative at the United Nations claimed that
other bodies which had been transferred to them "were returned with organs missing, after
the occupying forces harvested organs from the Palestinian victims."
Saqafi's body was handed over to the Palestinians at Tarqumia checkpoint and from there
taken to Hebron. The funeral is to take place on Thursday afternoon, also contradicting
Israel's stipulation that it would only return terrorists' bodies on the condition that
the Palestinians do not organize mass funerals for them.
The decision not to return bodies was taken after the government was criticized by the
Israeli public for giving back the bodies of terrorists that had committed attacks during
the current wave of violence. Mass funerals were held for the terrorists and an official
ceremony was held for them at the Hebron Muqataa.
Because of Palestinian intransigence regarding the condition placed by Israel, Israel
suspended the return of five terrorists' bodies to their families in Hebron. But Israeli
officials decided to return the body of the terrorist who committed the car attack on
Wednesday, even though he was not a resident of Hebron and although his funeral is to take
place during the day. A Border Police officer was critically wounded in the car attack.
Hebron has in the last two weeks been the site of a major public campaign urging the
return of all bodies of terrorists who lived in Hebron that are in Israeli hands. The
highest number of terrorists from the West Bank in the latest escalation comes from the
Hebron area. The campaign is enhanced by demonstrations held every few days, which quickly
escalate into clashes with security forces.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said at the Knesset on Wednesday that holding the bodies
does not deter potential terrorists, "in contrast to house demolitions or revoking
residency, for which we have proof that they are deterrent measures."
Ya'alon explained that the question was being decided on a case-by-case basis. Bodies
are to be returned, he said, as long as a quiet, modest funeral is ensured. "The policy is
consistent and reasoned in accordance with ethical and security considerations," added
Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour submitted a formal complaint
against Israel on Wednesday, alleging that it had returned terrorists' bodies with organs
missing. "A medical examination conducted on bodies of Palestinians returned after they
were killed by the occupying power found that they were missing organs," Mansour claimed
in the letter.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon wrote a letter in response to the UN Secretary
General, stating that "the Palestinian representative's anti-Semitic face has been
revealed" and that the allegation was "blood libel". Danon urged the UN to sharply condemn
"the Palestinian representative's inflammatory statements and remove anti-Semitism from
the hallways of the United Nations."
The terrorist attack in Hebron came after a quiet day, and security officials have said
they believe the terrorism wave is abating. In addition to removing some checkpoints
inside Jerusalem this week, a reduction in the amount of soldiers in Jerusalem
neighborhoods has begun.
In the next few days, about 300 Border Police fighters who were called up for reserve
duty will be released. This comes on the heels of many regular Border Police fighters
returning to their regular postings, after they were recently sent reinforce security in
Iran Shutters First KFC for 'Being Too American'
A fake Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant in Iran was shuttered within 24 hours of
opening on Tuesday, after Iran mistakenly linked the branch to the American franchise.
The Hallal KFC branch in Tehran had apparently passed approval from the Iranian Ministry
of Industry, Trade and Mines before opening, and social media showed dozens of eager
Iranians lining up outside the door.
However, less than one day later, Tehran shuttered the store, claiming first that it
was "too American." The store "can be seen as a part of American influence into Iranian
culture," Iranian police stated. "The U.S. is one of Iran's major enemies and this will
have grave dangers for the country."
Abbas Pazuki, the Hallal KFC's Tehran branch manager, told the Tasnim news agency
Tuesday that the "misunderstanding" remained over branding; the KFC is part of the Hallel
KFC franchise in Turkey, which "comes from Turkey. It belongs to Muslims and its target
market is Muslim nations." Later, police backtracked and said that the KFC was operating
without a license.
Meanwhile, representatives of the American KFC stated they were "in shock" at the news.
"No franchise rights have been granted to any party in Iran," KFC spokesperson Laurie
Schalow told Mashable. "We are in contact with local authorities and external advisers and
will be filing a legal action against any company or individuals claiming to have rights
to open KFC."
The Hassidic Rap That Went Viral
A music video by Hassidic artist Chaim Shlomo Mayes has gone viral, challenging stereotypes about the Hassidic community in the process. See https://youtu.be/bUvu3VZHBAY
The song is called "Bas Kol," the Talmudic term for a "Heavenly Voice," and - somewhat
uniquely in a music field usually dominated by klezmer anthems - features Mayes rapping to
the tune of Fifth Harmony's hip hop track "Worth It." The video is set in a haredi
wedding, and also features some seriously un-Hassidic dance moves.
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