Gunmen Open Fire at Mall in Tel Aviv
Two gunmen opened fire at a mall in Tel Aviv, killing four people and wounding six others. The Sarona Market, where the attack took place, is located near the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Both of the attackers were captured alive and one is undergoing surgery. They have been identified as Palestinians from the village of ...
Two gunmen opened fire at a mall in Tel Aviv, killing four people and wounding six others. The Sarona Market, where the attack took place, is located near the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Both of the attackers were captured alive and one is undergoing surgery. They have been identified as Palestinians from the village of Yatta in the West Bank, near Hebron. Officials say the attack could have been much worse had the attackers not been identified quickly by security guards at the mall. "I think a larger tragedy was avoided by the resolute action of citizens, of security people, police," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "We're going to take the necessary steps to attack the attackers and defend those who need to be defended."
Two gunmen opened fire at a mall in Tel Aviv, killing four people and wounding six others. The Sarona Market, where the attack took place, is located near the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Both of the attackers were captured alive and one is undergoing surgery. They have been identified as Palestinians from the village of Yatta in the West Bank, near Hebron. Officials say the attack could have been much worse had the attackers not been identified quickly by security guards at the mall. “I think a larger tragedy was avoided by the resolute action of citizens, of security people, police,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We’re going to take the necessary steps to attack the attackers and defend those who need to be defended.”
Netanyahu is expected to convene his security cabinet today, but the government has already begun taking action in response to the attack. The Israeli government has frozen 83,000 Palestinian entry permits that were issued earlier this week to grant Palestinians greater freedom of movement during Ramadan and said it would deploy two additional battalions to the West Bank. Israel Defense Forces soldiers also entered the town of Yatta overnight.
Islamic State Abandons Siege at Marea
Islamic State forces besieging the town of Marea, Syria, withdrew abruptly on Wednesday as rebels launched an attack to retake the village of Kafr Kalbin, which lies between Marea and Azaz. “It seems they (the Islamic State) can’t keep several fronts open at the same time. It is a strategic area, they were on the verge of entering Azaz,” Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Reuters. Free Syrian Army forces now control the area. Farther east, troops from the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces are working to close off the road linking Manbij to Aleppo, the Islamic State’s conduit from its territory along the Turkish border more southern areas, and are encroaching on the Islamic State-held city of Manbij.
- On Monday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested a 65-year-old dual national, Homa Hoodfar, who is a professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada; her studies focus on gender and Islam.
- Two car bomb attacks claimed by the Islamic State killed 27 people in and near Baghdad today; the blasts struck the Shia neighborhood of New Baghdad and a military checkpoint in Taji.
- Mohamad Khweis, the 26-year-old U.S. citizen who was captured by Kurdish Peshmerga as he defected from the Islamic State in March, was transferred to the United States to face charges today; “I found it very, very hard to live” in the Islamic State, Khweis said. “My message to the American people is — the life in Mosul, it’s really, really bad.”
- Unnamed sources close to the Yemen peace talks in Kuwait say that the negotiations are making progress and have established a framework for the formation of a new government and Houthi military withdrawal from Sanaa.
- A smuggled shipment of opiates — $13 million worth of the prescription painkiller Tramadol — was intercepted in Greece on its way to Libya after Greek authorities receive a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; a DEA official told Vice News that Libya has become a hub for trafficking Tramadol, which is popular in the Middle East.
- Friends of the man who was extradited from Sudan to Italy yesterday to face charges of running a human smuggling operation via Libya say authorities have the wrong person; the man in custody was identified by friends as Mered Tesfamariam, but officials believe him to be Mered Medhanie, who goes by the alias, “The General.”
Arguments and Analysis
“A Peace Plan for Syria II: Options for Future Governance” (James Dobbins, Philip Gordon, and Jeffrey Martini, RAND)
“This paper starts from the premise that the costs of the ongoing war vastly outweigh any benefits that can reasonably be expected to result from its perpetuation. After five years of heavy fighting, enormous loss of life, internal displacement, refugee outflows, regional instability, extremist radicalization, and terrorist attacks, the overriding goal of the United States and its partners must be to negotiate an enduring cessation of hostilities while supporting the inevitably lengthy dialogue among the Syrian factions regarding the future shape of the Syrian state. There was a time when the United States may have been tempted to prioritize any number of other objectives in Syria, including reducing Russian and Iranian influence in the region or setting Syria on a more democratic path. But those objectives must now be seen as secondary to the overwhelming interest in stopping the war, whose strategic, humanitarian, economic, and political consequences have become intolerable. The fundamental U.S. interest is in deescalating the Syrian civil conflict to save lives, stem further refugee flows, reduce the radicalization that stems from the conflict, and promote the return of refugees and displaced persons while focusing Syrian and international efforts on combatting ISIS. Although a comprehensive political settlement that changes the Syrian government’s leadership is a desirable goal, it is probably unachievable in the foreseeable future.”
“Russia, Iran, and Hezbullah in Syria: Win Today, Lose Tomorrow” (Yezid Sayigh, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
“Russia, Iran, and Hezbullah appear increasingly confident that the U.S. is coming round to treating the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a partner in the war against the Islamic State. More importantly, they hope to extract U.S. acceptance that Assad will not be required to relinquish the presidency as a prior condition of a political solution to the conflict, whether during or at the end of a transitional period. They believe that once the U.S. has given in, a ‘domino effect’ will ensue as the opposition’s regional backers follow suit. But victory may prove pyrrhic. Russia, Iran, and Hezbullah are pursuing a short-term outcome that enables them to pull out of Syria and cut their costs. But Assad will be left heading a hollowed-out state, devastated economy, and largely resentful population. His exhausted and morally bankrupt regime will possess few means to rebuild its former system of control and coercion, or even to meet the needs and expectations of its own loyalist social constituencies. A coercive outcome of the sort Russia, Iran, and Hezbullah envisage will result in a perpetually weak and unstable regime that they will have to prop up indefinitely. To avoid such an outcome, they must modify their approach to a political solution to the conflict, and seek meaningful power-sharing and a genuine transition in Syria.”
-J. Dana Stuster
Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images
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