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Shooting Attack at Damascus Gate

2-3-2016 Damascus Gate Attack

Police investigating whether 3 attackers acted alone
Police are investigating whether the three Palestinian terrorists were acting alone, or whether they received help — either locally or from Jenin, Channel 2 reports.

Police are sweeping the area and questioning witnesses.

Wounded cop was unconscious when paramedics came
A paramedic who treated the two injured policewomen describes the scene of the attack.

“When we arrived on the scene we saw two young women, approximately 20 years old, lying on the ground with puncture wounds to the upper body. One was unconscious, the other was still conscious, but dazed,” says Nissan Hefetz.

“We quickly gave them treatment on the scene and then transported them, while giving lifesaving medical treatment, to the hospital. They were in serious condition.”

Another paramedic from the Hatzolah emergency service says locals started rioting “and even tried to attack the emergency staff.”

Police confirm 3 terrorists killed
Police confirm that all three Palestinian attackers have been killed by Israeli forces.

Injured cops taken to hospital
The two injured policewomen are evacuated to the Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital for treatment.

The border police “served as a protective vest” for the people of Jerusalem, says a police spokesperson. “The police are here for you. I call on Israeli civilians to be alert. Call us if you see anything suspicious.”

Police say larger attack averted by fast response
Police are saying that a far more deadly attack was thwarted by the fast response by security forces, who shot and killed the terrorists moments after they opened fire.

“This is a combined attack, a serious attack, that was prevented by the vigilance of police at the scene,” says a police spokesman.

Police confirm 2 hurt in shooting attack
Police say that the attack was a shooting attack.

“Three terrorists armed with Karl Gustav rifles, knives, and pipe bombs arrived at Damascus Gate,” police say. A team of border policemen spotted them, and asked for ID. One terrorist pulled out his identification papers, while another pulled out a gun and began shooting, police say.

Two female policewomen are hurt in the attack, police confirm.

“The goal was to carry out a large attack,” police say.

The terrorists were from the Jenin area in the West Bank, Channel 2 reports. Read more updates at the Times of Israel.

Iran Claims Receipt of $100 Billion in Sanctions Relief, Nearly Double Kerry’s Estimate


Secretary Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif

Iran announced that it now has access to more than $100 billion in previously frozen assets due to sanctions relief granted by the nuclear deal, The Washington Post reported on Monday. The sum claimed by Tehran is nearly twice the estimate given last month by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said that Iran would have access to about $55 billion. At the time, Kerry acknowledged that some of the funds would likely be used to support terrorist groups.

Tehran also revealed that it had been accepted into the international banking network SWIFT, which according to the Post will “be a major boost for foreign firms seeking to return to the Iranian market.”

The announced windfall comes on the heels of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Italy and France, where he laid the groundwork for some $30 billion in business deals last week.

The disparity between Kerry’s estimate and Iran’s claim prompted an odd explanation from Marie Harf, Kerry’s senior advisor for strategic communications.

In September, Iran boosted its funding of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah in anticipation of the windfall it would receive through sanctions relief. The move came after leaders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps met with officials from both terrorist organizations in July. View the rest at The Tower.

Israel Ranks Top in World in Fire Safety, Says Fire Chief

Israel Fire Safety

Just nine people died from fires nationwide in 2015, fire and rescue commissioner Shahar Ayalon tells Knesset

Israel is the safest country in the world when it comes to deaths by fire, the nation’s top firefighter told the Knesset on Tuesday.

“In 2010, there were over 70 killed in fires; in 2011, 23; in 2013, 17 killed; and in 2015, nine,” Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Shahar Ayalon told the Knesset Interior Committee. “We are today the safest country in the world in terms of casualties from fire.”

Ayalon ascribed the improvement to massive investment in the nation’s firefighting service following the 2010 Carmel forest fire, in which 44 died, most of them Prisons Service guards on their way to evacuate a nearby prison as the fire approached.

“We have hired hundreds of firefighters, invested NIS 2 billion ($505 million). Our [average] response time was 14 minutes in 2010, and it went down to six minutes in 2015. Since the Carmel disaster, not one person has died in a forest fire,” Ayalon said. Read the rest at the Times of Israel.


Sunday, January 31, 2016: Pray for Nigeria

Pray for Nigeria

Jihadists armed with guns, explosives attack Nigerian village of Dalori and neighboring camps, killing 86

DALORI, Nigeria — A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremists.

Scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets from Saturday night’s attack on Dalori village and two nearby camps housing 25,000 refugees, according to survivors and soldiers at the scene just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the biggest city in Nigeria’s northeast.

The shooting, burning and explosions from three suicide bombers continued for nearly four hours in the unprotected area, survivor Alamin Bakura said, weeping on a telephone call to The Associated Press. He said several of his family members were killed or wounded.

The violence continued as three female suicide bombers blew up among people who managed to flee to neighboring Gamori village, killing many people, according to a soldier at the scene who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.

“During the incident lives were lost while some people sustained injuries,” army spokesman Colonel Mustapha Anka said in a statement.

Residents and an aid worker said at least 50 people were killed in the assault which took place after evening prayers in the mostly Muslim region.

Troops arrived at Dalori around 8:40 p.m. Saturday but were unable to overcome the attackers, who were better armed, said soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The Boko Haram fighters only retreated after reinforcements arrived with heavier weapons, they said.

Journalists visited the carnage Sunday and spoke to survivors who complained it had taken too long for help to arrive from nearby Maiduguri, the military headquarters of the fight to curb Boko Haram. They said they fear another attack.

Eighty-six bodies were collected by Sunday afternoon, according to Mohammed Kanar, area coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency. Another 62 people are being treated for burns, said Abba Musa of the State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.

Local residents told AFP they fled into the bush when the Boko Haram fighters descended on Dalori.

“We were seated outside our home shortly after the Isha prayer when we heard gunshots and within a few minutes the invaders had arrived,” Malam Masa Dalori, a community leader, told AFP.

“They came in Golf saloon cars and began to shoot sporadically. Many people ran to the bush including myself,” he said.

“When we came back in the morning the entire community has been razed. At least 50 people were also killed, many others injured,” he said.

Mallam Hassan, another villager, gave a similar account.

“I lost an uncle in the attack. But I thank God I escaped with my children,” he said.

Boko Haram has been attacking soft targets, increasingly with suicide bombers, since the military last year drove them out of towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria.

Boko Haram has kept up a wave of attacks despite President Muhammadu Buhari declaring late last year that Nigeria had “technically” won the war against the group.

Boko Haram fighters have made several attempts to retake Maiduguri — the birthplace of the jihadist movement — since they were pushed out three years ago.

The group which seeks a hardline Islamic state in northern Nigeria has killed some 17,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million others to flee their homes since 2009.

In the Lake Chad region, which borders Nigeria as well as Chad, Cameroon and Niger, suicide bombers struck two Chadian villages killing three people, a local security official said.

In the first attack in Guie, a bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up, killing one person and injuring 32, while the second attack in the village of Miterine left two dead and 24 wounded, the official said.

Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon have formed a coalition along with Benin to fight Boko Haram and have marshalled a force of 8,700 soldiers, police and civilians. Read more at the Times of Israel.