Resources updated between Monday, November 23, 2015 and Sunday, November 29, 2015
November 29, 2015
A Border Police officer was stabbed and was lightly to moderately wounded on Sunday morning at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The suspect was shot and killed.
Magen David Adom said it treated the victim of the attack at the scene and evacuated him to Hadassah University Medical Center, in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem.
Police said that the attacker was a 38-year-old Palestinian resident of the West Bank who approached Haguy Street from the Damascus Gate in the direction of two Border Police officers who were patrolling in the area.
Just as the man passed the police officers, he pulled out his knife, screamed "Allahu Akbar" [God is great] and stabbed one of them in the neck, the police spokesperson said.
Police said the officers reacted quickly, shot the assailant, and after searching his body they found another knife.
Security forces arrested 15 Palestinian terrorism suspects - 11 of them suspected in taking part in unorganized attacks and riots - in West Bank raids overnight between Saturday and Sunday.
The arrests included the arrest of four Hamas members. Hamas members were arrested in Nablus, Beit Awa, southwest of Hebron, and Adna, west of Hebron.
During a weapons raid in Hebron, soldiers from the Givati infantry brigade's Tzabar battalion seized an M-16 assault rifle, a handgun, and ammunition.
On Saturday, the IDF began to prepare to demolish the homes of three Palestinians, two of whom wounded eight soldiers in the West Bank on Friday.
The 31-year-old woman who was lightly wounded in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Sunday recounted her ordeal to Israeli news website Walla from her hospital bed at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Hisorai Taplaya, a caretaker from Nepal who has resided as a foreign worker in Israel for the past seven years, described for Walla the moments of the attack.
"I was standing on the street and listening to music in earphones," Taplaya said in broken Hebrew. "He stabbed me with a knife and ran away. I understood that it was a terrorist attack. I was afraid and looked for someone to help me. I saw a lot of blood. I walked to the other side of the street and a bus driver helped me. He called the police and an ambulance."
The head of emergency medicine at Shaare Zedek told Walla that Taplaya arrived at the hospital with a stab wound to her lower back. He said that she is being treated and kept under observation until her release, which "should be soon."
The attack occurred at around 10 a.m. Sunday morning in the Romema neighborhood of the capital, near a bus stop. The terrorist, who was apprehended following an hour-long manhunt in the area, was later identified as a 17-year-old resident of Hebron.
This was the second stabbing attack of the morning in Jerusalem. Less than three hours earlier, Israeli Border Police were attacked by a knife-wielding Palestinian. One of the soldiers was wounded moderately. The terrorist was shot and killed.
November 27, 2015
Saudi authorities appear set in the next few days to carry out a series of beheadings across the country of more than 50 men convicted of terrorism offences. Among those facing execution are three young men who were juveniles when they were arrested.
The publication earlier this week of an article in the newspaper Okaz, which has close links to the Saudi Ministry of the Interior, has convinced families of the accused and concerned human-rights organisations that the executions are imminent.
Sources have said that the plan is to behead the men in several cities across the kingdom, most likely after Friday prayers.
Already this year Saudi Arabia has carried out at least 151 beheadings but these would be the first that deal with allegations of terrorism.
Last year a total of 90 were executed but none were for terrorism offences. It is believed that seven of the condemned men are Shia from the region of Al-Awamiyah in the oil-rich Eastern Province. Saudi Shia have long protested over discrimination and mistreatment by the Sunni central government.
A leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al Nimr, arrested in a shootout with security forces in 2012, is among those thought to be facing execution.
The mothers of five Shia released a letter on Wednesday alleging that their sons, three of whom were juveniles at the time of their arrest, were subjected to torture while in custody. The letter says: "We affirm that our children did not kill or wound anyone. The sentences were based on confessions extracted under torture, trials that barred them from access to defence counsel and judges that displayed bias towards the prosecution."
Baqer al Nimr, the older brother of Ali al Nimr and a nephew of Sheikh Nimr, told The Independent his brother was 17 and a juvenile when he was detained in February 2011. "Ali is a smart kid, he likes to play football, he is a photographer. He wasn't political, he was just asking for his rights, for the rights of the Shia."
Six months after the arrest, he saw Ali in jail. "I could see his nose was broken and I asked him what happened. He said 'they punch everybody in here'." Ali's mother told Baqer that when she had first seen her younger son "she saw a lot of bruising on his face, she told me she didn't recognise him".
Saudi authorities consistently dismiss such claims.
Sevag Kechichian, Amnesty International's researcher on the Middle East and North Africa, said: "Denials are absolutely not enough when there is clear evidence that points to the contrary."
He called for a thorough and impartial investigation of the torture allegations: "These executions should not happen. Amnesty International is against the death penalty in all circumstances."
Last month, the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said he did "not expect [Ali] al Nimr to be executed", indicating the decision would be a victory for British diplomacy, after the UK was criticised for its links with the Saudi government. Campaigners have called on the British Government to take a more proactive stance in raising human rights issues with the kingdom.
A group of UN experts and the European Parliament have also urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Ali al Nimr. The timing of the executions, should they be carried out, has much to do with a power struggle going on between Mohammad bin Nayef, the Interior Minister and crown prince, and Mohammad bin Salman, Minister of Defence, deputy crown prince and favoured younger son of King Salman.
For several years, the 30-year-old Mohammad bin Salman has served as his ailing father's gatekeeper – the king is believed to be suffering from dementia. But since the king ascended to the throne in January his son has amassed vast new powers. In addition to his appointment as Defence Minister, he serves as chief of the royal court, and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
Saad al Faqih is a Saudi critic of the ruling family living in London. "Mohammad bin Salman has taken everything," he said, adding: "Mohammad bin Nayef wants to make a statement. He wants to be seen as very strong by killing 52 people in one go."
Mr Faqih says that Okaz would not have gone ahead with the article without clear guidance from the Ministry of Interior: "If Okaz published, it is authentic. They would not have been allowed to publish without the express permission of Mohammad bin Nayef." He described the condemned men as "pawns in a political game".
Included among those facing execution are said to be supporters of al-Qaeda and Isis. Mr Faqih believes that Mohammad bin Nayef wants to claim there is no sectarian motive to the executions by including those convicted of belonging to Sunni terrorist organisations with the Shia. "The Shia public will not be fooled and if the executions go ahead there will be a Shia revolt," Mr Faqih added.
Baqer al Nimr says that if his brother and the others are beheaded, he hopes there will be no violence. "We do not want to be held responsible for any blood," he said.
For now, though, his thoughts are with his kid brother. "I taught him how to ride a bike and now he is in solitary confinement and every time they open the door he must be thinking, 'Is now the time that they have come to kill me?'"
A Palestinian assailant rammed into six IDF soldiers Friday afternoon as they stood on the side of the road, near the entrance of the Palestinian village of Beit Umar, that is located off of Route 60 in between Gush Etzion and the West Bank city of Hebron.
The assailant was shot and killed while he was still in his car. A Palestinian flag lay on the seat of his blue vehicle. According to Palestinian reports, he was Issa Arafat, 18, Beit Umar.
Two of the injured soldiers were officers. One was treated at the scene and the others were evacuated to Sha'are Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem by Magen David Adom with moderate-to-light injuries.
Security forces arrived to the area where clashes broke out with Palestinian protesters throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, creating difficulties for emergency workers treating the wounded. Security forces were using crowd dispersal measures on the rioters. No Israeli injuries were reported in the ongoing clashes.
Authorities closed Route 60 in both directions leading to and from Beit Umar.
Just two days earlier, a soldier was stabbed and seriously wounded at a checkpoint at the al-Fawwar junction in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank. It is located on the other side of Hebron from Beit Umar.
The 20-year-old soldier was checking cars, when a Palestinian terrorist launched himself from one of them and stabbed the soldier in the neck. A fellow soldier shot and wounded the attacker.
In response to the number of attacks at the Gush Etzion junction and along Route 60, which runs through Gush Etzion, area residents held an open air market on Friday afternoon where they sold wine, clothing, toys, jewelry and ceramics.
Earlier Friday, two IDF soldiers were wounded in a vehicular-ramming terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Kfar Adumim, which is located along Route 1 as it heads from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea.
According to the IDF, the soldiers were in moderate condition. The suspected assailant was shot and killed at the scene.
KANO, Nigeria - A suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated himself in the middle of a procession of hundreds of Shiite Muslims on Friday, killing 21 people and injuring dozens, local religious leaders said.
The attack occurred during the annual Arbaeen procession from Nigeria's second-largest city, Kano, to the ancient Islamic city of Zaria, said Aliyu Yusuf Kakaki, a spokesman for the Shiite community in Kano.
The leader of Shiites in Kano, Sheikh Muhammadu Mahmud Turi, told reporters on Friday that 21 members of the sect lost their lives in the blast. Earlier, Kakaki said at least 15 had been killed and 40 injured.
A second suicide bomber was detained before he could blow himself up and was being interrogated, Kakaki added.
Police commissioner Muhammadu Katsina confirmed there had been a suicide bombing and said he had visited the scene but could not give a death toll.
Centered in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram is a radical Sunni Muslim group that wants to create an Islamic caliphate and impose its version of strict Sharia law and is hostile to those following the Shiite branch of the religion.
Its 6-year-old uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven 2.3 million from their homes, according to Amnesty International. Kano has suffered multiple attacks that have killed hundreds during the uprising.
This year Boko Haram has expanded attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger - all countries contributing troops to a regional force intended to wipe out the extremists.
But on Thursday, a Nigerian government spokesman said it would not be possible to eliminate Boko Haram by December - a deadline previously announced by President Muhammadu Buhari - and said Nigerians should expect suicide bombings to continue.
November 26, 2015
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- In new blow to media freedoms in Turkey, a court on Thursday ordered two prominent opposition journalists jailed pending trial over charges of willingly aiding an armed group and of espionage for revealing state secrets for their reports on alleged arms smuggling to Syria.
The court in Istanbul ruled that Cumhuriyet newspaper's editor-in-chief Can Dundar, and the paper's Ankara representative, Erdem Gul, be taken into custody following more than hours of questioning.
In May, the Cumhuriyet paper published what it said were images of Turkish trucks carrying ammunition to Syrian militants.
The images reportedly date back to January 2014, when local authorities searched Syria-bound trucks, touching off a standoff with Turkish intelligence officials. Cumhuriyet said the images were proof that Turkey was smuggling arms to rebels in Syria.
The government had initially denied the trucks were carrying arms, maintaining that the cargo consisted of humanitarian aid. Some officials later suggested the trucks were carrying arms or ammunition destined to Turkmen kinsmen in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the same recently saying: "what difference would it make if they were carrying arms?"
Dundar and Gul's detention come amid deepening concerns over deteriorating conditions for journalists in Turkey, including a spike in prosecutions and violence.
In August, Turkey detained three journalists reporting for Vice News in the country's restive Kurdish southeast. One of them, Mohammed Rasool, is still in custody. Rasool, an Iraqi citizen, had worked as a news assistant for The Associated Press and other organizations.
The office of the Turkish daily Hurriyet was vandalized following criticism of the newspaper by Erdogan. After the attacks, Hurriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan was chased and beaten. Recently, a business that owns several media outlets was placed under management.
Dundar and Gul's supporters chanted: "Free press cannot be silenced" inside the courtroom after court announced its decision, Dogan news agency video footage showed. Main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the decision marked a "black day" for democracy and freedoms.
Gul told reporters that he and Dundar are accused of helping the moderate Islamic movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has turned into his No. 1 foe. Government officials accuse Gulen's supporters of stopping the trucks as part of an alleged plot to bring down the government. The government has branded the movement a "terror organization" although it is not known to have been engaged in any acts of violence.
Prosecutors launched an investigation into the journalists after Erdogan threatened legal action against Dundar for publishing the images and said he would not let the issue go.
His comments prompted the media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists to call on Erdogan to stop "bullying journalists ... just because he doesn't like what they report."
November 25, 2015
November 24, 2015
November 23, 2015