Israeli Intelligence Accuses Hezbollah of Recruiting Palestinians for Operations in Settlements

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters via a screen during a rally marking Al-Quds day in Beirut's southern suburbs

Tel Aviv- Israeli intelligence accused Hezbollah of recruiting Palestinians to carry out operations in Israeli settlements and other sites.

It revealed that one man was brought to court on charges of carrying out terrorist acts and that the official in charge of this file from Hezbollah is called Mohammed Ataya.

“Hezbollah recruited a Palestinian man to carry out attacks against Israel in the West Bank,” Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesperson, said Monday.

“This is another failed attempt by Mohammad Ataya, commander of the Hezbollah unit that recruits Palestinians to carry out terror attacks,” he added in a tweet moments later.

Ataya directs Hezbollah’s 113 Unit, which aims to compile intelligence and build up operational capabilities to carry out what it describes as revenge attacks against Israel.

According to the results of the investigation, he was recruited by Hezbollah in May 2017 through a Lebanese “profile” on Facebook.

He was supposed to receive money from the Lebanese officer in charge from Hezbollah to buy a laptop to communicate with him through a secret program.

Badawi planned to carry out the operations after receiving the money, but he was arrested before he could do so.

The statement pointed out that investigations with Badawi showed he had worked in arms trade and threw stones at Israeli military forces, who were working in the area of his residence.

“The method used by Hezbollah to recruit Badawi is a well-known method for the activity of this organization, as was evident during other investigations conducted during the last year,” the statement stressed.

Israel Draws Red Lines after Attacking Anti-Aircraft Syrian Battery

Israel

Tel Aviv, Damascus, London — An Israeli Defense Forces Spokesman said that Israeli jets bombed a Syrian anti-aircraft battery east of Damascus after it fired an anti-aircraft missile at the Israeli aircraft on a spy mission overflying Lebanon.

Other Israeli sources confirmed notifying the Russian army, a major backer supporting the Assad regime in Damascus, about the airstrike “in real-time mode”.

No Israeli planes were hit by the missile fired by the Syrians, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. The counter-strike took place two hours later and “incapacitated” the anti-aircraft unit located 50 km east of Damascus, he said.

“We know according to our intelligence it was a battery controlled by the Syrian regime and we hold the Syrian regime responsible for the fire,” Conricus said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later issued a statement saying Israel would not hesitate to defend itself.
“Today there was an attempt to harm our aircraft — this is unacceptable to us.

The air force acted quickly and accurately to destroy what needed to be destroyed,” Reuters cited Netanyahu as saying.

“Our policy is clear. Whoever tries to harm us, we will strike at him. We will continue to act in the region as is required in order to defend Israel.”

But the Syrian army said it struck an Israeli warplane that had breached its air space at the Syria-Lebanon border.

“The Israeli enemy this morning violated our air space… Our air defense mediums confronted it, hit one of its planes directly and forced it to flee,” the Syrian military statement said.

According to military sources, the Syrian anti-aircraft missile was fired at the Israeli warplane at about 10:00 am on Monday.

Later on, Israeli officials reported that the Israeli aircraft responded with four air-to-surface missiles demolishing the Syrian missile battery.

Duchess of Cambridge Dances with Paddington Bear

Kate Middleton dancing with the giant bear at Paddington station before a crowd of impressed onlookers.

London- The Duchess of Cambridge joined Paddington for a dance on a station platform during a surprise visit to a charity event.

On Monday, the 35-year-old joined her husband and his brother Prince Harry at London’s Paddington station to meet a group of children who have been helped by their charities.

Kate, wife of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince William, last week made her first public appearance since it was announced in September she was expecting the couple’s third child but suffering from morning sickness hyperemesis gravidarum.

They met children from charities they support who were heading off on a special trip in the sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient- Express for a ride through the English countryside.

Algeria: Laws to Prevent ‘Alteration’ of Citizens’ Religious Convictions

Algiers – Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Mohammed Eisa warned of sectarian efforts to break the religious principles of Algerian society, pointing out that the government is planning to issue new laws posing penalties on those who try to change Algerians’ religious convictions.

Speaking at a conference for religious Imams and religious guides, eastern Algeria, the minister said that the country was exposed to foreign ideas that created terrorism and provoked hatred among the people. Eissa was referring to the war during the 1990s where 150,000 people were killed inducing: extremists, security men, and civilians.

The minister reiterated that Algerian youths do not need to cross the border looking for new forms of religiosity other than the ones they inherited from their ancestors. He didn’t elaborate as to what he meant, but it is understood that he was referring to hundreds of young people who had been involved in extremist groups abroad and then returned to the country to perform their practices in society.

Through a scientific and pedagogic method, Algeria succeeded in overcoming this flux and discourse of hatred, especially against various sectarian movements aiming to divide the country, added the minister, in reference to Shi’ite sects chased by security services.

Since his appointment as Minister of Religious Affairs in 2014, Minister Eissa had repeatedly spoken of the authorities’ efforts to “protect local religious authority”.

He called upon Imams and teachers of Koranic education to adopt the approach of relying on local religious authority to immunize the country against all dangers.

Eissa stressed that the state is determined to legislate laws that “protect the doctrine, fight sectarianism, and punish those who seek to change the convictions of religious Algerians.”

The minister announced a new law will soon be issued to regulate mosques’ affairs.

Since 2008, according to the minister, all Imams finished their religious education programs and memorized the Qur’an because these measures are important to ensure moderate speech that could serve the country.

Eissa himself is in a war against al-Ahmadiyya sect and Shiaism in the country.

Recently, he told state radio that Algeria was “a target for Islamic trends that are different from our culture and religious values that we inherited from the predecessors” in reference to several new sects that are spreading in many mosques in the country.

The minister confirmed that Islam in Algeria is that of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and a moderate one that promotes coexistence with other sects and religions. He added that Islam in the country is not affected by ideologies or political exploitation.

Saudi Crown Prince Discusses Military Cooperation with Commander of Pakistani Army

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with Pakistani Army Commander Lieutenant General Javed Bajwa.

Riyadh- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met with Pakistani Army Commander Lieutenant General Javed Bajwa on Monday.

The meeting reviewed the relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, especially in the military fields, and the two parties discussed a number of issues of mutual interest.

Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammad Al Ayesh – the military advisor to the Crown Prince – Major-General Engineer Talal al-Otaibi and Pakistani Military Attaché Shahed Manthour attended the meeting.

On the other hand, under the patronage of the Saudi Crown Prince, King Saud University (KSU) in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense will organize today the 2nd International Conference on Command and Control Solutions titled “Coalition Against Terrorism, Strategies and Capabilities”.

KSU Director Dr. Badran bin Abdulrahman al-Omar expressed gratitude to the Crown Prince for his patronage of the conference and support for the University in various fields, noting that the three-day conference will be attended by more than 700 specialists in the field of command and control systems at local, regional and global levels.

This year’s conference will discuss the latest developments in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) including integration of command and control systems of the armed forces, their proactive capabilities to monitor and respond to terrorist operations and the importance of strengthening international alliances.

It will also cover technology transfer and localizing specialized expertise in command and control systems in line with Vision 2030.

Amazon Launches its New Waterproof Kindle Oasis E-reader

Amazon

London – Amazon has unveiled its latest waterproof Kindle Oasis e-reader which can be used on the beach, in the pool, or in the bathtub; developed to survive immersion in up to 2 meters.

The device is available for 3 different price, the 8GB version is for $250, the 32GB model prices at $280, and the 32GB with free cellular connectivity is priced at $350.

The new Oasis which holds the same name as last year’s premium Kindle — has jumped up in size, moving from a 6-inch screen to a 7-inch screen, which can take a bigger number of words, according to the company.

The device has ambient light sensors and comes with an aluminum back. Amazon said now page-turning feels faster.

This version isn’t only waterproof, but also has a built-in Audible app that lets users download and listen to around 375 thousand audible programs and books.

Euro Zone Trade Surplus Shrank in August

London – Euro zone’s trade surplus shrank in August as the stronger euro fueled an import boom that was only partly offset by a rise in exports, official estimates released on Monday showed.

Although the euro has depreciated against the dollar from a 2017 peak in early September, it is still up more than 12 percent this year. Cheaper imports have complicated European Central Bank’s plans to raise inflation in the euro zone.

The European statistics office Eurostat said the 19-country currency bloc’s surplus in goods trade dropped to 16.1 billion euros ($18.9 billion) in August from 23.2 billion in July. It was also lower than in August 2016 when it stood at 17.5 billion euros, according to Reuters.

The lower surplus was caused by a surge in imports from countries outside the euro zone, which grew 8.6 percent on the year, according to seasonally unadjusted data.

This rise outstripped the 6.8 percent increase in exports, resulting in a smaller surplus for the euro zone. The August surplus was the lowest recorded this year, excluding a temporary deficit in January.

Inflation in the euro zone was 1.5 percent in September, according to Eurostat preliminary estimates, the same rate as in August and below the ECB target of a rate close to 2 percent.

The euro edged lower after posting its biggest weekly gain in a month before a European Central Bank meeting next week at which policymakers are expected to present a plan to roll back its stimulus programme.

With political uncertainty in the form of Catalonia’s bid for independence and the outcome of national elections in Austria having a very muted impact on the currency, investors moved to the sidelines to focus on economic data.

The euro fell 0.1 percent to $1.1814 on Monday but was hemmed in a tight 0.3 percent range. It rose 0.8 percent last week, its biggest weekly rise in a month, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Qatari Security Forces Raid Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim’s Palace

Sultan

Abu Dhabi, Doha – An armed force of the Qatari security forces raided the palace of Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al Thani in Doha and confiscated documents and possessions belonging to his father, former Foreign Minister Sheikh Suhaim bin Hamad.

The security forces confiscated about 137 cases and a number of iron cabinets containing all of Sheikh Sultan documents and possessions, in addition to a vast archive that accurately documents the history of Qatar.

Sky News television reported that the raid, which lasted six hours, was carried out by a unit of 15 members of the Qatari security forces on Thursday evening.

The confiscated materials are of high political value and record the history of Qatar and its domestic events since the 1960s and until Sheikh Suhaim’s death in 1985, it reported.

The state agents also entered the private room of Sheikh Sultan’s mother, Sheikha Mona al-Dousary, and seized valuables, including family photos, all her jewelry and cash.

In addition, workers in the palace were assaulted and arrested with the Sudanese housekeeper being deported, while the fate of two arrested Moroccans is still unknown. Another Sudanese female worker was detained for eight hours and up to this moment, palace staff are being held in an undisclosed location and are not allowed to leave.

The palace is now under complete control of the security forces.

Sky News also confirmed that Qatari authorities have frozen all of Sheikh Sultan’s assets and seized his seal, documents and trade contracts, which poses a risk that they may be misused for fraudulent purposes.

Qatari authorities froze the accounts of Sheikh Sultan days after freezing the assets of Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani.

Aoun Pushes for a Plan that Guarantees Return of Syrian Refugees

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meets with the ambassadors of the five permanent members to the UN Security Council, and representatives of the European Union, the United Nations and the Arab League, October 16, 2017

Beirut- Lebanese President Michel Aoun met on Monday with the ambassadors of the United Nations Security Council’s permanent members, in presence of the UN, EU and Arab League ambassadors, to discuss Lebanon’s stance on the file of Syrian refugees.

Aoun sounded the alarm on the grave repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis on the political, economic, and security levels, warning that this could affect the Lebanese workforce as the employment rate was on the rise.

The Lebanese president also urged the P5 Ambassadors to swiftly handle the refugee crisis, calling on international organizations that assist refugees “not to intimidate,” those who wish to return to Syria “for as long as their return is voluntary.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil also attended the meeting.

“Lebanon’s security is as important as the Syrian refugees’ security,” Aoun stated, stressing that the country “seeks the safe return of those who have fled because of the Syrian conflict.”

Aoun handed the ambassadors letters to the Presidents of their respective countries, to the United Nations Secretary-General, and to the head of the European Union.

“Providing appropriate conditions for the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country is a must, especially to the stable areas that can be reached, or areas of low tension,” Aoun said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s advisor for the issue of the displaced, Nadim al-Munla, said that Aoun’s proposal to the Security Council’s ambassadors was likely based on the plan already submitted by Bassil to the government, stressing that the return of refugees has become a priority for the Lebanese prime minister.

Munla noted that when Hariri returns from his official visit to Rome, he would call for a meeting of the relevant ministerial committee to discuss the return of refugees in light of the plans submitted by each of Bassil and Ministers Nohad al-Mashnouk and Moeen al-Merhebi.

EU Calls on US Congress to Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal

EU foreign policy chief Mogherini addresses a news conference during a EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels

London- European Union foreign ministers, following a closed-door meeting on Monday, appealed to the United States Congress to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran and avoid a return to the sanctions option, stressing EU’s commitment to maintaining the agreement on the Iranian program after US President Donald Trump on Friday decided not to certify it.

Also on Monday, Britain and France said they were firmly committed to the 2005 nuclear deal with Iran and would work to ensure its implementation.

The British premier’s office said in a statement that during a telephone discussion, “the leaders expressed their firm commitment to a nuclear deal with Iran.”

“Prime Minister May and President Macron agreed to continue close cooperation to ensure proper compliance with the deal and to prevent Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including its ballistic missile program,” the statement added.

The announcement follows a telephone call between May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who both underlined the need to maintain the Iranian nuclear deal.

EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini chaired the closed-door talks on Monday which discussed how the EU countries would deal with Trump’s threats to the nuclear agreement. The ministers are also scheduled to review the means to tackle Iran’s missile program and its regional role.

“This agreement is necessary for the security of the region,” Mogherini said, without elaborating on the role the EU could play in countering Iran’s regional activities.

“Clearly EU ministers are concerned that messages on JCPOA [Iran’s nuclear deal] might affect negatively opening negotiations or even the space [for] opening negotiations with DPRK,” Mogerhini said, using the abbreviation for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “One of the key elements of multilateralism is the predictability of maintaining agreements.”

In a joint statement, Paris, London and Berlin expressed concern about the “repercussions on the security of the United States and its allies” that would result from the actions demanded by Trump.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the EU needed to put real pressure on the US Congress.

“We hope that Congress will not call this agreement into question because … non-proliferation [of nuclear weapons] is a major element of global security,” he said.

German Foreign Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that threats from the US president to pull out from the Iran nuclear accord could provoke military confrontation.

“As Europeans together, we are very worried that the decision of the US President could lead us back into military confrontation with Iran,” Gabriel told reporters ahead of the meeting with his European counterparts.