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Resources updated between Monday, May 29, 2017 and Sunday, June 04, 2017

June 4, 2017

One of the terrorists lying on the ground wearing a hoax bomb vest

Three attackers drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing revelers nearby on Saturday night, killing at least seven people in what Britain said was the work of Islamist militants engaged in a "new trend" of terrorism.

At least 48 people were injured in the attack, the third to hit Britain in less than three months and occurring days ahead of a snap parliamentary election on Thursday.

Police shot dead the three male assailants in the Borough Market area near the bridge within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call shortly after 10 p.m. local time.

"We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face as terrorism breeds terrorism," Prime Minister Theresa May said in a televised statement on Sunday in front of her Downing Street office, where flags flew at half-mast.

"Perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots ... and not even as lone attackers radicalized online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack."

She said the series of attacks represented a perversion of Islam and that Britain's counter-terrorism strategy needed to be reviewed, adding: "It is time to say enough is enough."

Most of the main political parties suspended national campaigning on Sunday, but May said campaigning would resume on Monday and that the election would go ahead as planned.

London Bridge is a major transport hub and nearby Borough Market is a fashionable warren of alleyways packed with bars and restaurants that is always bustling on a Saturday night.

The area remained cordoned off and patrolled by armed police and counter-terrorism officers on Sunday, with train stations closed. Forensic investigators could be seen working on the bridge, where buses and taxis stood abandoned.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack to hit Britain and Europe. Less than two weeks ago, an Islamist suicide bomber killed 22 people including children at a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England. In March, in a attack similar to Saturday's, a man killed five people after driving into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in central London.

Grande and other acts were due to give a benefit concert at Manchester's Old Trafford cricket ground on Sunday evening to raise funds for victims of the concert bombing and their families. Police said the event would go ahead as planned, but security would be increased.

The three attackers on Saturday night were wearing what looked like explosive vests that were later found to have been fake. May said the assailants' aim had been to sow panic. The BBC showed a photograph of two possible attackers shot by police, one of whom had canisters strapped to his body. Home Secretary (interior minister) Amber Rudd said it did not appear that there was a link between the attackers and the Manchester bombing.

Islamist militants have carried out attacks in Berlin, Nice, Brussels and Paris over the past two years.

STAB WOUNDS

The London Ambulance Service said 48 people had been taken to five hospitals across the capital and a number of others had been treated at the scene for minor injuries.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said some of those who had been injured were in a critical condition. He said the official threat level in Britain remained at severe, meaning a militant attack is highly likely. It had been raised to critical after the Manchester attack, then lowered again days later.

"One of the things we can do is show that we aren't going to be cowed is by voting on Thursday and making sure that we understand the importance of our democracy, our civil liberties and our human rights," Khan said.

Roy Smith, a police officer who was at the scene during the unfolding emergency, expressed his shock on Twitter.

"Started shift taking photos with children playing on the South Bank. Ended it giving CPR to innocent victims attacked at London Bridge," he wrote, adding a broken heart emoji.

Witnesses described a white van careering into pedestrians on the bridge.

"It looked like he was aiming for groups of people," Mark Roberts, 53, a management consultant, told Reuters. He saw at least six people on the ground after the van veered on and off the pavement. "It was horrendous," he said.

A taxi driver told the BBC that three men got out of the van with long knives and "went randomly along Borough High Street stabbing people." Witnesses described people running into a bar to seek shelter.

"People started running and screaming, and the van crashes into the railing behind. We went towards Borough Market and everyone went inside (the bar)," one witness, who gave his name as Brian, 32, told Reuters.

Another witness, who declined to be named, described a scene of panic in the bar.

"They hit the emergency alarm. There was a line of people going down to the emergency exit. And then people started screaming coming back up," said the 31-year-old, his white top covered in blood.

"Around the corner there was a guy with a stab wound on his neck ... There was a doctor in the pub and she helped him. They put pressure on the stab wound."

BBC radio said witnesses saw people throwing tables and chairs at the attackers to protect themselves.

SOLIDARITY FROM WORLD LEADERS

Islamic State, losing territory in Syria and Iraq to an advance backed by a U.S-led coalition, had sent out a call on instant messaging service Telegram early on Saturday urging its followers to launch attacks with trucks, knives and guns against "Crusaders" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

British Prime Minister May was due to chair a meeting of the government's Cobra security committee later on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to offer help to Britain while Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences in a telegram to May.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced her sympathy.

"Today, we are united across all borders in horror and sadness, but equally in determination. I stress for Germany: in the fight against all forms of terrorism, we stand firmly and decisively at the side of Great Britain," she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter that "France is standing more than ever side by side with the UK".

Four French nationals were among those injured in the London attack, French officials said. Australia said two of its citizens were caught up in it and one of them was in hospital.

The Manchester bombing on May 22 was the deadliest attack in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated assaults on London's transport network.

Terrorists in London kill 7, injure at least 48 Document

June 2, 2017

An injured demonstrator is carried away by a fellow activist during clashes with riot police in Caracas, Venezuela

The U.N. Human Rights Council Whitewashes Brutality Article

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and President Donald Trump (File photo)

The Trump-Haley Effect at the United Nations Article

Cameroonian soldiers carry a coffin during the funerals of Cameroonian soldiers who died fighting Boko Haram (File photo)

Authorities in northern Cameroon say 11 people are dead after two suicide bombers attacked a camp for those displaced by Boko Haram extremist violence in the region.

Governor Midjiyawa Bakari of the Far North region said Friday that the dead include the two girls who detonated their explosives at the displacement camp in Kolofata.

He says several dozen others were wounded, including 15 who were taken to the hospital in Mora.

Authorities believe the girls had entered Cameroon the night before from neighboring Nigeria.

Northern Cameroon has seen a rise in attacks launched by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram.

The extremists are known for kidnapping young girls and often use children to carry out bomb attacks.

11 killed as girl suicide bombers hit camp in north Cameroon Document

June 1, 2017

Scene of attack at Mevo Dotan in northern Samaria

An IDF soldier was wounded lightly this morning after being attacked by a female terrorist at the entrance to the community of Mevo Dotan in northern Samaria.

Initial investigations found that a female terrorist approached a soldier, who shouted at her to stop.

The terrorist managed to stab the soldier and wound him. He was taken to Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera with light-to-moderate wounds to the upper body.

The terrorist was shot seconds after the attack and suffered critical wounds.

Head of the Samaria Council, Yossi Dagan, said, "The attempts to break the residents of Samaria will not succeed. This time, as well, soldiers showed exceptional resourcefulness at the scene. We thank the soldiers and commanders for their resourcefulness and expect a forceful response to attackers and those who send them."

Female Terrorist Stabs Israeli Soldier Document

Israeli Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN David Roet speaking at the United Nations

"The United Nations, where the peoples of the world convene, must set an example for the Arab world in eliminating such hatred. It is the UN, after all, which was founded upon the principles that promised 'to maintain international peace and security, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace.'...

Yet to truly move forward on such an agenda, the UN must aggressively confront rampant politicization and bias throughout its own agencies. As we have pointed out on numerous occasions, when it comes to prejudice, no UN member state has been confronted with more unfair treatment and double standards than has Israel.

A glaring example of this issue is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a body founded to provide humanitarian assistance for Palestinians. Today, UNRWA has turned into an internationally funded UN agency that shamelessly engages in propaganda promoting the Palestinian narrative while unfairly criticizing Israel.

Earlier this year, Dr. Suhail al-Hindi, the Chairman of the UNRWA Staff Union in the Gaza Strip and the principal of the UNRWA Boys Elementary School for Refugee Children, was elected to Hamas' Gaza Political Bureau. This is the same Hamas that blows up buses filled with innocent children and digs terror tunnels into Israeli communities as part of its declared objective to destroy the State of Israel.

Al-Hindi's terror connections could not have come as a surprise to UNRWA officials. In 2011, UNRWA suspended Al-Hindi after he met with Hamas leader Ismail Hania. This suspension lasted only three months, after which Al-Hindi was allowed to return to his position...

The UN is often criticized as an outdated body founded with good intentions by the victors of World War Two, but since then too often hijacked by dictatorship and despots. By ceasing to pander to the worse elements in our region, the UN can send a message to those who promote hate in their own societies..."

For the UN, fighting terror must begin at home Article

May 31, 2017

The UN General Assembly hall (File photo)

Iraq, Iran, and Qatar have been elected to important leadership positions in the UN's General Assembly, abysmal human rights records and support for terrorist organizations notwithstanding. The elections took place on May 31, 2017, when the General Assembly met to select members of the bureaus or executive boards that govern the operations of each of the Assembly's six main committees for the session beginning in September 2017.

Iraq was elected as chair of the "Disarmament and International Security" committee. This comes in spite of Iraq's enabling of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias to commit countless abuses.

Qatar was elected as a vice chair of the "Social, Humanitarian & Cultural" committee, the Assembly's main body tasked with discussing humanitarian affairs and human rights. According to the U.S. State Department, Qatar's human rights record includes an "inability of citizens to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections, restriction of fundamental civil liberties, and denial of the rights of foreign workers," as well as "[l]egal, institutional, and cultural discrimination against women" and stateless persons.

Iran was elected to serve as a vice chair of the UN's "Administrative and Budgetary" committee. Iran has been rewarded with this position that oversees UN expenditures, despite spending its money sponsoring terror organizations, violating human rights, and developing ballistic missiles.

Other results of today's elections:

  • Israel was elected as one of the 21 Vice Presidents of the General Assembly;
  • Venezuela was elected as Vice Chair for the "Disarmament and International Security" Committee, despite chaos in its own streets and a government that uses arms against its citizens;
  • Eritrea was elected as one of three Vice Chairs of the Committee charged with promoting human rights, though it is ranked by Freedom House in the lowest category for actually protecting human rights.

Iraq, Iran, and Qatar Given Leadership Positions in UN General Assembly Despite their Human Rights Abuses, Support for Terrorism Development

Philippine Marines ride in a military vehicle as they advance their position against ISIS-linked militants in Marawi City, southern Philippines May 30, 2017

While ISIS continues to flex its muscles worldwide, new attention is being focused on ongoing battles between government forces and ISIS-linked militants in the Philippines. An apparent hostage video has just emerged from there - one week after the violence began - showing a Catholic priest pleading for his life, and the lives of what may be hundreds of others.

Colleagues of Father Teresito Suganob haveconfirmedhis identity after watching the video that recently hit the internet. "We want to live another day, we want to live another month," Suganob says in a message to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

In the video, Suganob pleads with Duterte to withdraw government forces from the city of Marawi, where troops have been clashing with unexpectedly formidable ISIS-linked militants since last week. Suganob suggests he is being held hostage along with more than 200 others, including children, although that figure has yet to be confirmed.

More than 100 people reportedly have been killed, including an estimated two dozen civilians, since the fighting began last Tuesday. The situation on the ground is said to be so tense that civilians are reportedly being asked by the government to wear white to distinguish themselves from combatants.

The violence erupted after Isnilon Hapilon, the man said to be at the helm of ISIS operations in the area, slipped through the hands of government forces during an ultimately unsuccessful raid by the Army.

Hapilon wasnamedby ISIS as the group's appointed leader in the Philippines almost a year ago. He remains on theFBI's most-wanted listwith a $5 million reward on his head.

The assault on the city of Marawi may have been inspired by the failed attempt to capture Hapilon, but experts say it was also intended to send a message. According to military chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano, who spoke with the Associated Press, Hapilon's group is hoping "to show the world that there is an ISIS branch here which can inflict the kind of violence that has been seen in Syria and Iraq." He added that the group appears to have initially intended to set the entire city ablaze.

Duterte has instituted martial law in the region where the fighting is centered, which is home to some 22 million people. While the military suggests 70 percent of Marawi has been cleared of militants, and the remaining fighters isolated, some are skeptical about the supposed progress being made.

Michael Cohen, a Filipino-born American journalist who has been covering Southeast Asia for decades, suggests that while it's hard to say how many people exactly are being held hostage by the group, the government is notoriously dishonest when it comes to fighting terror.

"They have this idea of not admitting their opponent's strength," Cohen said of the Philippine government. "You'll never get one to say 'oh, ISIS is here.' But they've known about ISIS being there since 2013."

Cohen says that what's more concerning are the reports he has been hearing suggesting these militants are using children to bait government forces into dangerous areas, and forcing hostages to "take an oath" to the group.

According to a State Departmenttravel warningfrom December, even "U.S. government personnel are required to obtain special authorization from Embassy security officials before traveling" to the region. And while the violence there may not be generating many headlines, Cohen warns that the gains being made by ISIS-linked militants are fueling the group's propaganda machine in a big way.

"ISIS announcements online show the Marawi uprising and Manchester claims of responsibility came at the same time," Cohen said. He added that both claims "came out of the main ISIS news agency in their capital. It got the 'front page' of ISIS newsletter."

Priest kidnapped by ISIS in Philippines, issues video pleading for his life and hundreds of others Document

Kitchen knife found in bag of Palestinian teen

A Palestinian teen aged 17 was arrested by Israel Border Police near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron after authorities found a large kitchen knife in her bag Wednesday evening.

According to the Israel Police spokesperson's office, the teen raised the suspicion of police that were in the area, who then searched her bag and found a large kitchen knife.

The teen resisted arrest and did not pay attention to the instructions by police, who subsequently arrested her. The suspect was then taken in by police for questioning.

The police declared that, by arresting the suspect, they prevented a stabbing attack.

Israel Police Thwart Stabbing Attack in Hebron Document

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley (File photo)

"U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Tuesday that she will travel to Israel after first addressing the notoriously anti-Israel Human Rights Council in Geneva a body which the U.S. boycotted in March...

But the visit to Israel, taking place June 7-9 will be preceded by a visit to the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 6 the first address to the Council by a U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N.

Later that day, Haley will give a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva where she will 'lay out the U.S. position on future involvement' in the Council and address 'the benefits and the failings of the Council with respect to the vital mission of defending millions of people against the world's worst cases of human rights abuse.'

The U.S. boycotted the opening session of the Council in March over its explicitly anti-Israel agenda. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that one particular agenda item 'Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories' was 'yet another reminder of that body's long-standing bias against Israel.'

The Bush administration declined to join the Council when it formed in 2006 as a successor to the Human Rights Commission, which the U.S. had also declined to join. However, the Obama administration applied for membership, claiming it would be easier to reform from the inside. But such reform efforts were scarce..."

Nikki Haley to Visit Israel After Showdown with Anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Council Article

The site of the explosion

A powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker exploded in the morning rush hour in the center of the Afghan capital on Wednesday, police said, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds and damaging embassy buildings.

The victims appeared mainly to have been Afghan civilians.

The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, exploded close to the fortified entrance to the German embassy, wounding some staff, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. Pictures showed the embassy building with its windows ripped out.

One Afghan security guard was killed and others were likely among the dead, Gabriel said. A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry said the bomber's target was unknown.

"Such attacks do not change our resolve in continuing to support the Afghan government in the stabilization of the country," Gabriel said.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for city police, said the explosives were hidden in a sewage truck. He also suggested that the German embassy might not have been the target of the blast, which sent towering clouds of black smoke into the sky near the presidential palace.

"There are several other important compounds and offices near there too," he told Reuters.

The blast, which shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of meters away, was unusually strong.

No group had claimed responsibility by late Wednesday afternoon.

The Taliban, seeking to reimpose Islamic rule after their 2001 ouster by U.S.-led forces, denied responsibility and said they condemned attacks that have no legitimate target and killed civilians.

Islamic State, a smaller militant group in Afghanistan seeking to project its claim to a global Islamic caliphate beyond its Middle East base, has previously claimed responsibility for high-profile attacks in Kabul, including one on a military hospital in March that killed more than 50 people.

The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Kabul said Afghan security forces prevented the vehicle carrying the bomb from entering the heavily protected Green Zone that houses many foreign embassies as well as its headquarters, also suggesting it may not have reached its intended target.

A public health official said at least 80 people had been killed and more than 350 wounded.

Germany will cease flights deporting rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan in the next few days, a German official confirmed. Germany began carrying out group deportations of Afghans in December, seeking to show it is tackling an influx of migrants by getting rid of those who do not qualify as refugees.

The French, Turkish and Chinese embassies were among those damaged, the three countries said, adding there were no immediate signs of injuries among their diplomats. The BBC said one of its drivers, an Afghan, was killed driving journalists to work. Four journalists were wounded and treated in hospital.

Switzerland said the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation had several windows broken but the staff were safe.

Video shot at the scene showed burning debris, crumbled walls and buildings, and destroyed cars, many with dead or injured people inside. Blood streamed down the faces of walking wounded.

"FELT LIKE AN EARTHQUAKE"

At the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital a few blocks away, there were scenes of chaos as ambulances brought in wounded. Frantic relatives scanned casualty lists and questioned hospital staff for news.

"It felt like an earthquake," said 21-year-old Mohammad Hassan, describing the moment the blast struck the bank where he was working. His head wound had been bandaged but blood still soaked his white dress shirt.

Another lightly wounded victim, Nabib Ahmad, 27, said there was widespread destruction and confusion.

"I couldn't think clearly, there was a mess everywhere," he said.

Frenzy erupted out outside the hospital as ambulances and police trucks began bringing in the bodies of those killed. Some bodies were burned or destroyed beyond recognition.

India and Pakistan condemned the blast.

"India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism. Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet. India said its embassy staff were safe.

Wednesday's attack provided another clear demonstration that Ramadan, which began at the weekend, would provide little respite from the violence across Afghanistan.

Amnesty International demanded an immediate and impartial investigation.

"Today's tragedy shows that the conflict in Afghanistan is not winding down but dangerously widening, in a way that should alarm the international community," it said in a statement.

The explosion will add pressure to the fragile government of President Ashraf Ghani, which has faced mounting discontent over its inability to control the insurgency and provide security for Afghan citizens.

The Taliban have been stepping up their push to defeat the U.S.-backed government. Since most international troops withdrew at the end of 2014, the Taliban have gained ground and now control or contest about 40 percent of the country, according to U.S. estimates, though Ghani's government holds all provincial centres.

U.S. President Donald Trump is due to decide soon on a recommendation to send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to bolster the small NATO training force and U.S. counter-terrorism mission now totaling just over 10,000.

The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, told a congressional hearing this year that he needed several thousand more troops to help Afghan forces break a "stalemate" with the Taliban.

Sewage tanker bomb kills at least 80, wounds hundreds in Afghan capital Document

May 30, 2017

Firebomb ingredients discovered in a backpack owned by two East Jerusalem teenagers

Prosecutors are to file indictments against two East Jerusalem teenagers who were arrested by police last week near a guard post in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood with a backpack full of firebombs and ingredients to make more, police said.

Early last week, the two 17-year-olds were spotted approaching a police post on Meir Nakar street, which separates Jabel Mukaber from the Jewish neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv.

As police officers walked up to the teenagers, who had a "heavy and full-looking backpack," they smelled gasoline. Upon searching the bag, police found two prepared firebombs, as well as a large plastic bottle full of gasoline, seven empty glass bottles, a cloth shirt, a roll of tape and a knife - all the items necessary to build a Molotov cocktail.

The name "Bahaa Allyan" was also written on the bag in Arabic. Allyan was a terrorist from Jabel Mukaber who in 2015 took part in a combined shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in Armon Hanatziv. Allyan, along with Bilal Abu Ghanem, killed three Israeli passengers and wounded others. In a shootout with police, Allyan was fatally wounded and died on the scene. He quickly became a symbol to many Palestinians.

The officers arrested the two teenagers, bringing them in for questioning at a nearby station. The police said they believed the teenagers were going to stash the bag along the road.

During their interrogation, the suspects admitted that they were planning to firebomb the guard post on Meir Nakar street, police said.

A prosecution statement - the first step before a full indictment, in the Israeli legal system - was filed in court against the suspects, enabling police to continue holding them in custody until the charges can be filed.

In a statement, a police spokesperson lauded the arresting officers for their "awareness and professionalism," which "prevented an attempt by these teenagers to harm police troops."

The number of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and the West Bank spiked in the last month as Palestinians demonstrated in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners currently in Israeli jails. The hunger strikers ended their fast last week after more than 40 days.

Police nab East Jerusalem teens with bag of firebomb ingredients Document

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (File photo)

Israeli Ambassador Danon to UN: End Contacts with Inciting PA Organizations Article

The UN Government House in the Jerusalem neighborhood Armon Hanatziv

Israeli Government Admits: UN Has Broken the Law in Jerusalem Article

President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, May 23, 2017

Trump Administration's Plan to Defend Israel at UN Upsets Palestinians Article