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Arch Terrorist Quntar's Two Secret Iranian Controllers Died With Him

By DEBKAfile

The Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's eulogy for Samir Quntar at his funeral Monday, Dec. 21 was not only brief but also untraditional. After blaming Israel in a few short sentences for assassinating him, Nasrallah said he would laud the dead terrorist's deeds and qualities on another occasion. That was hardly the tribute the Hizbullah would normally have awarded a senior operative killed by Zionist missiles.

.The Druze arch terrorist had of late transferred his services from Hizbullah to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. He kept up his connections in Hizbullah, but took orders from the Iranians in preference to instructions from Nasrallah and the commander of Hizbullah operations in Syria, Mustafa Badr al-Din.

The Iranian command in Damascus provided him with two apartments in the Jamaran district south of the Syrian capital, where he lived and worked. But he was also given two Iranian handlers, officers of Gen. Qassem Soleimani's Al Qods Brigades. Those two Iranian officers died in the rocket attack Sunday, Dec. 20, along with Quntar and his deputy, Farhan Issam Sha'alan, head of the "Syrian National Resistance on the Golan" organization, which was just then getting ready to launch attacks deep inside Israeli territory.

DEBKAfile's exclusive sources name the two Iranian officers as Mohammed Riza Fahemi and Mir Ahmad Ahmadi. Their coffins were flown to Tehran the day after the assassination.

On Wednesday, Dec. 23, the IDF raised the level of alert another notch on the Golan, the Lebanese and Syrian borders and on the main roads of northern Israel, in view of signs that the Iranian leadership was bent on avenging the loss of the arch-terrorist and the two Iranian intelligence officers.

DEBKAfile's Iranian and intelligence sources report that high Iranian officials had concluded that Israel had targeted Quntar to get at Tehran, rather than Hizbullah. It was seen as a warning from Jerusalem that if the new terrorist network that the Druze terrorist had established, in partnership with Syria and Hizbullah, went into action against Israel, Iran would pay a price: more elements of its military and intelligence structure in Syria would be targeted. Iran's leaders also decided, according to those sources, that the deaths of Quntar and two Iranian officers must not go unpunished.

But the rushed eulogy and unceremonious funeral also had a hidden context. Although the dead man was a member of the Druze faith, the ceremony was conducted according to Shiite rites at Hizbullah's main center of worship, the Shiite Hosniyeh mosque in southern Beirut. The hundreds of thousands of Syrian, Lebanese and Israeli Druze who witnessed the ceremony were appalled to discover that Quntar had deserted his ancestral faith and converted to Shiite Muslim.

DEBKAfile's intelligence and counterterrorism sources have learned that the terrorist kept his conversion a deep secret, known to no one in the Druze community, only to a handful of top Iranian and Hizbullah officials. Since the secret has come out, his compatriots in Syria, Lebanon and the Golan feel they were cheated by Iranian and Hizbullah agents into following Quntar, in the false belief that he headed an autonomous Druze group, when in fact he was a renegade and the minion of a Shiite power.

Four Palestinians Die While Attacking Israelis

By VOA News, & DEBKAfile

New violence erupted in the West Bank Thursday, with three Palestinian attackers shot dead as they carried out stabbings and a car ramming and a fourth killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

In one incident, a Palestinian stabbed two Israeli security guards in the West Bank town of Ariel, before being shot dead. Shortly afterward, another Palestinian man tried to attack Israeli forces with a screwdriver near the town of Hebron. He was shot and killed. Another Palestinian was shot and killed after injuring a soldier in a car-ramming.

Israeli troops killed a fourth Palestinian while they carried out an arrest raid near the town of Qalandiya in the West Bank. The army said during the raid troops shot at Palestinians who fired at them from within a crowd of protesters that threw rocks and fire bombs.

The violence came amid a wave in recent months of Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens and Israeli defensive measures that has shown little sign of relenting. A campaign of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings by Palestinians has killed 19 Israelis and a U.S. citizen. Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed about 120 Palestinians, most of whom authorities have described as assailants. Others died in clashes with Israeli security forces.

In Ariel, two security guards at the entrance to the western industrial area were wounded Thursday morning by a terrorist who stabbed them. One guard – a man – suffered numerous wounds to the head and limbs and was classified as being in moderate condition when he was brought to the hospital. The other guard, Katya Sohet, was lightly wounded in the head. Both guards are 24 years old.

The terrorist is a 22-year-old man from the village Dik who works in Samaria's Ariel industrial area. He reportedly showed up for work Thursday morning but left the factory to stab the guards.

Sohet recalled the events: "It started out as a regular day at work. By 8 a.m. all the laborers had entered and were already at work. And at around 9 a.m., suddenly the door to our booth bursts open, and a man stands there with a knife, maybe even two, I don't remember. And he shouts and starts cutting us up.

"The other guard who was with me ran out and he may have pushed the terrorist, but as I was coming out I cocked the weapon and started firing at him, and I fired the entire magazine at him, and as I changed it I saw him still coming at me, and I kept firing till he fell to the ground. I called the other guard and told him to enter the booth and we called for help and said there had been a terror attack. We were full of blood and it was scary."

According to an indictment issued Thursday,, two Israeli Arab men, aged 20 and 23, were arrested by the Israel Police in November on suspicion of belonging to Islamic State. After their arrest, it was discovered that during a recent visit to Turkey they decided to cross the border into Syria and join ISIS, but then changed their minds and returned to Israel, where they planned to carry out a terrorist attack at Golani intersection.

Under the indictment issued by the Nazareth district court, the cousins from the villages of Reineh and Um-el-Ghanem in the Galilee are charged with attempting to enter an enemy country, contacting a foreign agent and illegally possessing weapons.

How ISIS Recruits By Imitating Video Games and Movies


What makes ISIS propaganda so effective, particularly in drawing a seeming endless stream of recruits from western countries, including many living comfortable lives in North America, Europe and elsewhere?

The answer, according to a study carried out by George Washington University scholar Javier Lesaca, is by ditching the grainy, boring footage of robed jihadis talking about jihad that was once the trademark of global jihadis, and instead opting to tap into cultural references western Muslims will find more familiar. See

Specifically, ISIS propaganda very often directly replicates scenes from western action movies like American Sniper, and uses graphic first-person footage which mimics the style of violent, popular video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.

In one recent case, "Islamic State" produced a gruesome video showing child recruits traversing obstacles and other challenges to earn the "honor" of executing prisoners in a deserted desert complex, in a clip which appeared to draw inspiration from the popular Hunger Games movie series.

Lesaca's study of more than 800 videos illustrated how religious messaging in such videos are kept purposefully sparse, with the focus more on idealizing the "Islamic State" and its "holy war" to the point that its adherents "think of themselves as actors in movies. By speaking to its target audience in their own cultural language, they're making terror popular."

Man From Disneyland Incident Was Previously Refused Entry to Israel


The British Muslim family that was prevented from flying to Disneyland was barred because one of the brothers had been refused entry to Israel two years ago and his teenage son's Facebook account had links to terrorist websites, CBS News reported.

The family of 11 was stopped from boarding their flight to Los Angeles at London's Gatwick airport on Tuesday of last week by immigration officials. Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, who was travelling with his brother and nine of their children, said the officials gave no reason for blocking their travel plans, but claimed he believed it was because American officials "think every Muslim poses a threat".

But CBS News quoted officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as explaining that the family was barred from travelling to the United States due to one of the brothers in the group having been denied entry to Israel and links on his teenage son's Facebook account to terrorist websites.

Those same officials disputed allegations that all 11 family members were denied permission to board the flight. The incident prompted a local London lawmaker, Stella Creasy of the main opposition Labour party, to ask British Prime Minister David Cameron to look into what happened.

The issue is particularly sensitive due to the recent uproar over remarks by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who recently suggested that the United States temporarily ban entry of Muslims due to security concerns. The comments were widely condemned, with White House press secretary Josh Earnest saying the proposal was "disqualifying", and Secretary of State John Kerry claiming this week the comments "endanger national security".

Sparse Turnout on Gloomy Christmas Eve in Bethlehem

By VOA News

Turnout was sparse Thursday because of ongoing unrest that overshadowed Christmas Eve celebrations in the Palestinian-ruled town. Palestinian merchants sat in their shops packed with olivewood souvenirs, but customers were few and far between.

Louie Tawil is the manager of the Manger Square Hotel, near the ancient Church of the Nativity where tradition says Jesus was born. "There have been a lot of cancellations because of the unstable, political situation. Compared to last year for the tourists, it is maybe less 50%," Tawil said.

But the pilgrims who made the journey were glad they came. Almar Sanko is from the Philippines. "Being a Christian, as a Roman Catholic, it is overwhelming when you are here," said Sanko. "And it strengthens your beliefs when you are really here in the place where Jesus Christ was born. And it is refreshing."

Emily Walker came from Michigan, in the United States. She says considering the mass shootings in America, Bethlehem seems relatively safe. "I am definitely not afraid to be in this part of the world right now," she said. "You know a lot of my family and friends in the United States might be kind of worried for me. But when I hear of violent attacks going on in the United States all the time, it makes me think that violence can happen anywhere and I do not feel particularly in danger here."

Christian-Arab Israeli Soldiers Celebrate Christmas


With Israel's greatly increasing number of Christian-Arab Israelis who join the Israeli military, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) aims to integrate this minority population into mainstream Israeli society. Support from the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, led by Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, has allowed The Fellowship to greatly multiply the number of Christian Arabs enlisting in the IDF.

Father Naddaf hopes some of Israel's 165,000 Arab Christian citizens, whom he prefers to call "Israeli Christians," will follow and be perceived as patriotic Israelis rather than enemies of the state. His position has earned him stiff opposition from the official Greek Orthodox church and Arab Knesset members.

"Calling them `Arab-Christian' puts them on the side of Palestinians and terrorists, when, in reality, they've lived in Israel for generations and just want to live in peace and security," said Naddaf. Last week, he and The Fellowship were recognized by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon), which will allow the Forum to continue to provide financial assistance to Christian families and discharged soldiers in need.

"I believe Israel's Christian community should integrate more into mainstream Israeli society," said Naddaf. "Why do the Druze serve? Why do the Bedouin serve? But not the Christians? It's because they're scared. This has to change. It's time to say in a loud and clear voice: enough."

This past Monday, Father Naddaf gathered Israeli Christian soldiers for a Christmas party, delivering treats and thanking them for their service to Israel. He also extended this thanks to the Christian donors around the world for supporting his activities through The Fellowship in a ceremony in Jerusalem. "Your assistance is essential for the strength of Israeli society," he said. "This society will achieve peace and defeat evil."

Netanyahu's Greetings to the Christians of the World

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