Highlights from the arrival of US president Barack Obama in Israel: President Obama Arrives in Israel
The most treacherous storm in a decade paralyzed much of the country on Tuesday, climaxing with the shutdown of Israel’s main highway in both directions for nine hours due to flooding.
Power outages were reported, the entrance to Tel Aviv was all but blocked and residents of some city neighborhoods braced for possible evacuation.
On Tuesday, the Ayalon Highway - the main traffic artery in Tel Aviv - reopened only at about 4 P.M. after closing before the morning rush hour. It was the first time in 20 years that the Ayalon has been closed for such a long time..
Two people are being reported as having drowned due to floods in the West Bank. Last night also saw the Israeli Navy called in to evacuate residents in the cities of Hedera and Beit Hefer due to severe flooding.
In the past few hours, heavy snow has been falling in the city of Jerusalem, after previously falling in the northern regions of the country.
The storm by now is considered to be the most intense since the one that hit in the winter of 1992-1993. Such events are something of a rare thing in a region that is generally characterized by dry weather and “weak” rain periods.
Naturally, what also made headlines was how some folks got around the problems. In the city of Netanya, a few residents got around the problem of flooded streets by using kayaks to paddle around the streets, and in Tel Aviv, with most the Ayalon Highway closed, a trio of (potentially insane) Israelis crossed a part of it on water ski tubes..
So much for the supposed imminent ceasefire…
Has Hamas fulfilled its threats? A large explosion occurred on a bus on Shaul Hamelech Street at the center of Tel Aviv, not far from the Kirya. According to reports from the fied, many rescue forces are heading to the scene of the event, with at least 13 casualties reportedly evacuated. A suspect is being held for interrogation on suspicion of involvement in the attack.
According to information i’m hearing on the local radio stations, the police are also ordering that the Azrieli shopping center (Israel’s biggest and most crowded, since it’s right on top of a major bus and train station) be closed, which is a disturbing first. Apparently they’re worried that another attack could be headed in the direction of the shopping mall..
Casualties from the religious riots: official sources in Libya have stated that the US ambassador to Libya and three of the US consulate’s personnel were killed yesterday in the city of Benghazi, when armed militiamen stormed the consulate.
The assault of the consulate occurred over a US film depicting the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer who supported the exploitation of children. The anti-Islamic film has caused controversy throughout the world. The US embassy in Cairo was also charged by hundreds of protesters yesterday..
OSLO - A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik sane on Friday and gave him a maximum jail term for murdering 77 people in a shooting and bombing last year, offering closure to a Nordic nation devastated by its worst attack since World War Two.
Breivik, who has admitted blowing up the Oslo government headquarters with a fertilizer bomb, killing eight, before gunning down 69 at the ruling party’s summer youth camp, was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum penalty in Norway.
But officials can prevent his release indefinitely and are expected to do so if the anti-Muslim right-winger still poses a threat. Breivik had rejected prosecutors’ arguments that he was mad, and had said he would appeal if he were ruled insane.
“In a unanimous decision … the court sentences the defendant to 21 years of preventive detention,” said judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen, dismissing the prosecutor’s call for a verdict that would have labelled Breivik insane and have confined him indefinitely to psychiatric care.
The killings shook this nation of five million which had prided itself as a safe haven from much of the world’s troubles, raising questions about the prevalence of far-right views in a country where oil wealth has attracted rising immigration.
Security experts on behalf of the Russian-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab revealed today (Thursday) that a new cyber virus has been discovered in computers across the Middle East.
The virus, named Gauss in honor of German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, was designed to obtain data of sensitive nature, and is capable of tracking and accessing emails, user passwords, banking credentials, financial transactions, social network activity and more. It can infect targeted computers by way of infecting USB drives, and utilizes the drives for storing information in concealed files.
Breaking: Syria’s Prime Minister defected with his family to Jordan, taking along three other ministers for the ride. Syria’s treasury minister was arrested after apparently getting caught while trying to defect as well.
Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has defected to Jordan with his family, as well as with three other Syrian ministers, a Jordanian government official announced Monday.
“Hijab is in Jordan with his family,” Reuters quoted an Amman source as saying. Syrian President Bashar Assad named Hijab, the former Syrian agriculture minister, as PM in June. Syrian state television reported the Hijab had been fired Monday.
…Syrian opposition sources reported that Assad-loyal forces arrested the Syrian Treasury Secretary Mohammad Jlailati in the aftermath of the defections. According to the reports, Jlailati was arrested before he could defect himself.
Rebels, fighting, defections, refugees, and more - Syria has it all! Stop by for a fun visit today!
Intense, wide-scale combat continues to take place between the Syrian opposition and Assad-loyal military forces in the city of Aleppo, one of Syria’s largest cities. According to UN officials, roughly 200,000 residents have fled the city as a result of the fighting taking place between the parties. Reports by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a Syrian opposition organization, state that 150 people, 60 of them civilians, have been killed in the past day of fighting, many of them from Aleppo.
According to the office of Turkey’s Prime Minister, more than 44,000 Syrian refugees have crossed the Turkey-Syria border, seeking a reprieve from the violence. Turkey has sent military forces, including missile systems and armored vehicles, to reinforce the shared border, in the wake of past violence in its vicinity as well as the continuous combat in its conflict-torn neighbor.
In another blow to the Assad regime, Khaled al-Ayoubi, the senior Syrian diplomat in London since Syria withdrew its ambassador to the UK, defected yesterday. According to a statement issued by the UK Foreign Office, Al-Ayoubi announced that he could no longer represent the Assad regime, “which has carried out oppressive, violent actions directed towards its own citizens.”
According to reports coming in from some of the Syrian opposition groups, the chinless ophthalmologist has already started moving some of Syria’s chemical weapons around the country:
The “Free Syrian Army” is claiming that Syrian President Bashar Assad has already transferred a portion of the chemical weapon stockpile in his possession to airports located at the country’s borders. According to the opposition organization, “We know precisely where all of Assad’s chemical weapons are stored.
…The opposition forces claim that the Syrian regime started the transfer of the stockpiles several months ago, “to exert pressure on the international community that has been calling on Damascus to stop the oppression of the uprising.”
According to the Sunday Times, Israel’s Mossad believes that the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria was merely a test run by Hezbollah and Iran towards a potential attack against Israelis during the 2012 London Olympic Games set to start next week.
According to the report, special units were sent to Europe due to the concern, in an effort to foil the attempts and locate covert terrorists. Intelligence sources told the newspaper that Israeli agents sent to assist in the investigation in Burgas (where five Israelis were killed) identified the terrorist through the airport’s security cameras, alerting British defense officials of a new threat - terrorists posing as western tourists.
The newspaper quotes additional anonymous sources claiming that the Israeli agents were dispersed across European countries in order to locate hiding places in order to catch the terrorists before implementing their plans. Furthermore, according to the Sunday Times, the agents are also observing the events in Iranian embassies throughout Europe.