The summer of 2014 was a tense time for the residents of Qaraqosh in northwestern Iraq. The Aramaic-speaking Chaldean Christian community was on edge. To the west, too close for comfort, the jihadists of the Islamic State had taken large swaths of land. Christians, like other minorities, were suffering grievously when they fell into the hands of IS terrorists.
Rumors swirled in the town that IS would make a push for Qaraqosh, but as long as it remained only a rumor, people stayed put. Leaving their family homes for a dangerous and uncertain future as refugees was too much of a risk. The community was safe, at least temporarily.
That all changed very quickly one day in August. “At 12:00 that day, people started shouting, ‘Get out, Daesh is coming!’ a refugee from Qaraqosh named Lina told The Times of Israel during an interview in Jerusalem, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. “Most of them left their cars and everything and just ran away. They left everything — their clothes, their gold, everything. Even their IDs.” Read more at The Times of Israel.
I was a Colonel in the British Infantry. Much of my 29 years’ military service was spent countering terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Macedonia. I was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan in 2003. I fought in the 1990-91 Gulf War and commanded British troops in Bosnia with the UN Protection Force and in Cyprus with the UN Force.
From 2002 – 2005 I was seconded to the UK Cabinet Office working on intelligence relating to international and domestic terrorism. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were among the extremist groups that I monitored and assessed in this role, and I had access to all secret intelligence available to the UK on these and other Palestinian extremist groups.
I was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 1994 for counter terrorist intelligence services and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 also for counter terrorist intelligence services.
I was in Israel for much of the summer 2014 Gaza conflict, specifically from 14 July – 8 August and from 27 August – 5 September. During these periods I met, was briefed by and questioned Israeli political leaders, senior officials and Israel Defence Force (IDF) soldiers from general officer down to private soldier. I spent a considerable amount of this time close to the Gaza border where I also met, was briefed by, questioned and observed many IDF officers and soldiers immediately before and after they had been in combat. Read more at Col. Kemp’s website.
The 11 families that brought the case against the Palestinian Authority and PLO to a New York court, which on Monday ruled that the Palestinian leadership was responsible for six terror attacks during the Second Intifada, included the four parents of US citizens murdered in the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing, the family of a man killed in a Jerusalem suicide attack on his way to work, and several others whose lives were irreparably damaged by injuries sustained during terror attacks over a decade ago.
The families on Monday were awarded $218.5 million in damages, which may be tripled under the US Anti-Terrorism Act. The PA and PLO have vowed to appeal the verdict, which incriminated them in the terror attacks in and around Jerusalem between 2001-2004.
While none of the families of the victims or survivors were present in the courtroom on Monday as the decision was announced, their attorneys were hailed the “historic” verdict. Read more at The Times of Israel.
Israeli security forces busted a Hamas ring in the Hebron area planning a series of terror attacks, including suicide bombings, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.
The Shin Bet said it arrested 11 members of the cell in January, and that the group had carried out a failed bomb attack on Israeli troops in the West Bank.
Along with the arrests, security forces seized two sub-machine guns and explosives the cell allegedly planned on using to target Israelis, the Shin Bet said.
The main suspects in the case were named as Suhaib Mamoun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, a Hamas operative, who had been convicted and imprisoned by Israel in the past and was also at one time held under administrative detention. Read more at The Times of Israel.