Ghazi Hamad says the ‘Existence of Israel is Illogical’ and ‘We will repeat Oct 7 until Israel in Gone’


Important Takeaways:

  • Hamas Official: We Will Repeat October 7 Terror Attack Until Israel is Annihilated
  • The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the interview. In it, Hamas political official Ghazi Hamad says that attacks on Israeli civilians are justified; that the cost in terms of Palestinian “martyrs” is worth the ultimate goal of ending Israel; and that Hamas will continue to mount such attacks.
  • We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again. The Al-Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight. Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.
  • “The existence of Israel is illogical. The existence of Israel is what causes all that pain, blood, and tears. It is Israel, not us. We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October 1,000,000 – everything we do is justified.”

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McCarthy: ‘We could have the same thing happen next week to us’


Important Takeaways:

  • Israel Didn’t See a Hamas Strike Coming. The U.S. Could Be Next, McCarthy Warns
  • Former House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who told the Washington Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview that the chaos at the U.S. southern border could set the stage for a similar type of terror attack.
  • McCarthy said. “We caught more people on the terrorist watch list in February than we caught in the entire administration. We could have cells sitting inside of America right now.”
  • Analysts are calling the attacks Israel’s 9/11, echoing a time when U.S. intelligence agencies completely failed to detect a shock al Qaeda operation that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
  • “We should take a step back and look at ourselves,” McCarthy said. “Your intel is never perfect and we’ve got a wide-open border. They’re coming from 160 different countries,” including those known to harbor militant operatives loyal to Iran and other terror groups, like the Taliban.
  • “How did we not know that is happening” in the Gaza Strip? McCarthy asked. “Everybody should look at their own intelligence right now.”
  • McCarthy told the Free Beacon that the uncertainty created by his ouster is contributing to fears Congress will not be ready to ensure Israel is armed with the resources it needs to combat Hamas.
  • McCarthy also said the Biden administration is “1,000 percent” responsible for creating conditions that enabled Iran to fund Hamas and help plan its attack on Israel.
  • This includes a $6 billion ransom payment last month that gave Iran access to cash reserves that analysts and Republican lawmakers say helped pay for Hamas’s war.

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Gas-laden truck set afire, three stabbed, one dead in Australia terror attack

A burnt out vehicle is surrounded by police tape on Bourke Street in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. AAP/James Ross/via REUTERS

By Tom Westbrook and Sonali Paul

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A Somali-born man set fire to a pickup truck laden with gas cylinders in the center of the Australian city of Melbourne on Friday and stabbed three people, killing one, before he was shot by police in a rampage they called an act of terrorism.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, without providing any evidence.

The utility truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders burned on busy Bourke Street just before the evening rush hour as the driver stabbed bystanders and attacked police.

The cylinders did not explode and the fire was put out in 10 minutes, by which point the attack was over.

“We are still trying to piece together whether the vehicle was lit then he got out the car or whether he got out the car and then the vehicle took flame,” Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters.

Video posted to Twitter and broadcast on television showed the man swinging a knife at two police officers, while his truck burned in the background.

One of the officers shot the man and he collapsed to the ground clutching his chest, the video showed. Other footage showed two stab victims lying on the ground nearby.

The attacker, who police said was 31, died in hospital, as did one of the victims, Ashton said. “From what we know of that individual, we are treating this as a terrorism incident,” he said of the attacker.

Asked about what the attacker had been planning, Ashton referred to the gas cylinders in the car and said: “You could make certain assumptions from that.”

Victoria police declined to comment when contacted about Islamic State’s claim. The militant group also claimed responsibility for a deadly siege in the city in 2017 when a Somali man was killed by police after taking a woman hostage.

Ashton said there was no longer a threat to the public, but that security would be boosted at horse races and Remembrance Day memorials over the weekend.

Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul


Police did not identify the attacker but Ashton said the man was known to them and intelligence authorities because of family associations.

All of the victims were men, Ashton said. He declined to release their names because police were still in the process of contacting families.

Police later said the two wounded men were aged 26 and 58.

Asked if the attacker had recently traveled to Syria he said: “That is something we might be able to talk more about tomorrow.”

A staunch U.S. ally, Australia has been on alert for such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence agencies have stepped up scrutiny, though there was no warning of the latest attack.

Authorities say Australia’s vigilance has helped to foil at least a dozen plots, including a plan to attack downtown Melbourne at Christmas in 2016.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement released on Twitter: “Australia will never be intimidated by these appalling attacks.”


Video posted to social media showed chaotic scenes as bystanders scattered while the attacker fought with police and his victims lay bleeding on the footpath.

One man charged at the tall attacker, who was wearing a long black shirt, with a shopping trolley just before police drew their weapons.

A witness, Markel Villasin, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio: “Bystanders were yelling out ‘just shoot him, just shoot him’.” They did.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the attack was “an evil, terrifying thing that’s happened in our city”.

Warning text messages were sent after the attack and police sealed off the downtown area, usually busy with shoppers and diners on a Friday evening. Some cordons were lifted later, though the immediate crime scene would be sealed until Saturday, police said.

Memories remain fresh of a fatal but not terror-related attack on the same street last year, in which a man drove his car at pedestrians at high speed, killing six people and wounding about 30. That prompted the city to install hundreds of security bollards. The driver is on trial.

In December 2014, two hostages were killed during a 17-hour siege by a “lone wolf” gunman, inspired by Islamic State militants, in a cafe in Sydney.

(Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Robert Birsel and Nick Macfie)

Gunman in Istanbul nightclub attack may have trained in Syria

An injured woman is carried to an ambulance from a nightclub where a gun attack took place during a New Year party in Istanbul, Turkey.

By Humeyra Pamuk and Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The gunman who killed 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day in an attack claimed by Islamic State appears to have been well versed in guerrilla warfare and may have trained in Syria, a newspaper report and a security source said on Tuesday.

The attacker, who remains at large, shot dead a police officer and a civilian at the entrance to the exclusive Reina nightclub on Sunday. He then opened fire with an automatic rifle inside, reloading his weapon half a dozen times and shooting the wounded as they lay on the ground.

In a statement claiming the attack on Monday, Islamic State described the club as a gathering point for Christians celebrating their “apostate holiday” and said the shooting was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

“The assailant has experience in combat for sure … he could have been fighting in Syria for years,” one security source told Reuters, saying that he was likely to have been directed in his actions by the jihadist group.

A Turkish police handout picture made avalible on January 2, 2017 of a suspect in Istanbul nightclub attack which killed at least 39 people on New Year's Eve.

A Turkish police handout picture made avalible on January 2, 2017 of a suspect in Istanbul nightclub attack which killed at least 39 people on New Year’s Eve. REUTERS/Reuters TV/Handout

The Haberturk newspaper said police investigations revealed that the gunman had entered Turkey from Syria and went to the central city of Konya in November, traveling with his wife and two children so as not to attract attention.

Some Turkish media reported that police were seeking a 28-year-old Kyrgyz national believed to be the gunman.

Kyrgyzstan’s security service said it was in touch with Turkish authorities and that a man had been questioned by Kyrgyz police and then released.

Turkish officials have not commented on the details of the investigation. But government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday that the authorities were close to fully identifying the gunman, after gathering fingerprints and information on his appearance.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said a total of 14 people had been detained. Two foreign nationals were detained at Istanbul’s main Ataturk airport in connection with the attack, broadcaster NTV said.

A selfie video of the alleged attacker, apparently walking around Istanbul’s central Taksim Square, was broadcast by Turkish news channels on Tuesday as police operations to track him down continued.

Kurtulmus made no reference to the Islamic State claim of responsibility on Monday but said it was clear Turkey’s military operations in Syria had annoyed terrorist groups and those behind them.

NATO member Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State and since August has been conducting military operations inside Syria to drive the radical Sunni militants, as well as Kurdish militia fighters, away from its borders.

Islamic State has been blamed for at least half a dozen attacks on civilian targets in Turkey over the past 18 months; but, other than assassinations, it was the first time it has directly claimed any of them. It made the statement on one of its Telegram channels, a method used after attacks elsewhere.

Haberturk cited a barman at the club as saying the gunman had thrown explosive devices several times during the shooting spree, apparently in order to disorientate people and give himself time to reload.

Several witnesses who spoke to Reuters also said there had been small explosions during the attack.

(Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Richard Lough)

Islamic State claims Istanbul attack, gunman remains at large

Flowers are placed outside the Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul, Turkey.

CAIRO/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Islamic State claimed responsibility on Monday for a New Year’s Day mass shooting in a packed Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, an attack carried out by a lone gunman who remains at large.

It described the Reina nightclub, where many foreigners as well as Turks were killed, as a gathering point for Christians celebrating their “apostate holiday”. The attack, it said, was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

“The apostate Turkish government should know that the blood of Muslims shed with airplanes and artillery fire will, with God’s permission, ignite a fire in their own land,” the Islamic State declaration said.

There was no immediate comment from Turkish officials.

The jihadist group has been blamed for at least half a dozen attacks on civilian targets in Turkey over the past 18 months but, other than targeted assassinations, this is the first time it has directly claimed any of them. It made the statement on one of its Telegram channels, a method used after attacks elsewhere.

NATO member Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State and launched an incursion into neighboring Syria in August to drive the radical Sunni militants from its borders, sending in tanks and special forces backed by fighter jets.

Nationals of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya, Israel, India, a Turkish-Belgian dual citizen and a Franco-Tunisian woman were among those killed at the exclusive nightclub on the shores of the Bosphorus waterway. Twenty-five of the dead were foreigners, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Police distributed a hazy black-and-white photo of the alleged gunman taken from security footage. State broadcaster TRT Haber said eight people had been detained in Istanbul.

The authorities believe the attacker may be from a Central Asian nation and suspect he had links to Islamic State, the Hurriyet newspaper said. It said he may be from the same cell responsible for a gun-and-bomb attack on Istanbul’s main airport in June, in which 45 people were killed and hundreds wounded.

The attack at Reina, popular with Turkish celebrities and wealthy visitors, shook Turkey as it tries to recover from a failed July coup and a series of deadly bombings in Istanbul and elsewhere, some blamed on Islamic State, others claimed by Kurdish militants.

Around 600 people were thought to be inside when the gunman shot dead a policeman and civilian at the door, forcing his way in then opening fire with an automatic assault rifle. Witnesses said he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest).

Some at the club jumped into the Bosphorus after the attacker began shooting at random just over an hour into the new year. Witnesses described diving under tables as he walked around spraying bullets.

A woman reacts outside the Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul, Turkey,

A woman reacts outside the Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan


The attacker was believed to have taken a taxi from the southern Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul and, because of the busy traffic, got out and walked the last four minutes to the entrance of the nightclub, newspaper Haberturk said.

He pulled his Kalashnikov rifle from a suitcase at the side of the road, opened fire on those at the door, then threw two hand grenades after entering, Haberturk said, without citing its sources. It said six empty magazines were found at the scene and that he was estimated to have fired at least 180 bullets.

Security services had been on alert across Europe for new year celebrations following an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people. Only days ago, an online message from a pro-Islamic State group called for attacks by “lone wolves” on “celebrations, gatherings and clubs”.

In a statement hours after the shooting, President Tayyip Erdogan said such attacks aimed to create chaos and destabilize the country.

Four months into its operation in Syria, the Turkish army and the rebels it backs are besieging the Islamic State-held town of al-Bab. Erdogan has said he wants them to continue to Raqqa, the jihadists’ Syrian stronghold.

Turkey has also been cracking down on Islamic State networks at home. In counter-terrorism operations between Dec 26-Jan 2, Turkish police detained 147 people over links to the group and formally arrested 25 of them, the interior ministry said.

The New Year’s Day attack came five months after a failed military coup, in which more than 240 people were killed, many of them in Istanbul, as rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets in a bid to seize power.

More than 100,000 people, including soldiers and police officers, have been sacked or suspended in a subsequent crackdown ordered by Erdogan, raising concern both about civic rights and the effectiveness of Turkey’s security apparatus.

The government says the purges will make the military, police and other institutions more disciplined and effective.

Turkey has seen repeated attacks in recent weeks. On Dec. 10, two bombs claimed by Kurdish militants exploded outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul, killing 44 people. A security guard who survived that attack was killed at Reina.

A car bomb killed at least 13 soldiers and wounded 56 when it ripped through a bus carrying off-duty military personnel in the central city of Kayseri a week later, an attack Erdogan also blamed on Kurdish militants.

Islamic State’s Amaq website said the group was behind a car bomb attack that killed 11 people and wounded 100 in the city of Diyarbakir in November, but Turkish authorities denied this and said Kurdish militants carried out the attack.

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead as he gave a speech in Ankara on Dec. 19 by an off-duty police officer who shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar”.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Giles Elgood and Ralph Boulton)

Brazil arrests groups plotting ‘acts of terrorism’ before Olympics

A soldier of the Brazilian Armed Forces patrols outside the 2016 Rio Olympics Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 21, 2016.

By Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil arrested 10 people on Thursday on suspicion of belonging to a group supporting Islamic State (IS) and preparing acts of terrorism during next month’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes said.

The loosely organized group were all Brazilian citizens and in contact via internet messaging groups such as WhatsApp and Telegram, but did not know each other personally, the minister said.

The group did not have direct contact with IS though some of its members had made “pro forma” declarations of allegiance to the militant Islamist group, the minister said. He did not elaborate.

“Those involved participated in an online group denominated ‘the defenders of Sharia’ and were planning to acquire weapons to commit crimes in Brazil and even overseas,” Moraes told a news conference.

“It was an absolutely amateur cell, with no preparation at all, a disorganized cell,” the minister said, adding that authorities decided to intervene when the group started to plan actions.

He said members of the group had visited a weapons site in neighboring Paraguay that sells AK-47 assault rifles, but there was no evidence they acquired any weapons. Two people will be brought in for questioning, in addition to the 10 already detained, he added.

Interim President Michel Temer had called an emergency cabinet meeting following the arrests, the first under Brazil’s tough new anti-terrorism law approved this year.

The minister said the leader of the group was based in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, with others spread in nine Brazilian states.

A court in the state of Parana, where Curitiba is based, said there were indications that the group was planning to use weapons and guerilla tactics to achieve its aim.

Brazil’s intelligence agency said on Tuesday it was investigating all threats to the Rio Olympics, which start on Aug. 5, after a presumed Brazilian Islamist group pledged allegiance to IS.

The SITE Intelligence Group that monitors the internet reported the previously unknown group calling itself “Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil” said on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday that it followed IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and had promoted IS propaganda in Arabic, English and Portuguese.

Brazilian authorities stepped up security measures following the truck massacre in Nice, France last week, planning security cordons, additional roadblocks and the frisking of visitors in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics.

(Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

What went wrong? Bangladesh Militant’s Father seeks answers

Study table of Meer Saameh Mubasheer is pictured in his room at his family home, in Dhaka

By Aditya Kalra and Serajul Quadir

DHAKA (Reuters) – On the last Friday of Ramadan, Meer Hayet Kabir was hoping his son Meer Saameh Mubasheer, missing for the past four months, would come home. In Bangladesh, even kidnappers sometimes released hostages on a holy day.

The 18-year-old did return to the capital Dhaka that night, but not to his father. Instead police believe he, along with at least four other gunmen, attacked an upscale restaurant in the city and murdered 20 people, mostly foreigners.

Now he is dead, killed with his fellow assailants by police.

On Tuesday, still in shock, Kabir was trying to make sense of what happened and what made the quiet, soft-spoken teenager give up a privileged life and loving home in one of Dhaka’s upscale neighborhoods to take up arms in the name of radical Islamism. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Something has gone wrong. Something has gone wrong,” said Kabir, 53, holding back tears as he showed pictures from Mubasheer’s 18th birthday in December on his iPad.

“I still don’t want to believe my son has done it with his own, conscious mind,” he told a small group of reporters who visited his home.

It is a question many people in Bangladesh are asking after the attack on Friday, one of the most brazen in the South Asian nation’s history and potentially damaging to its $26 billion garment export industry.

Most of the attackers were young like Mubasheer, went to some of the best schools and came from well-to-do families.

Another suspected attacker, Nibras Islam, was around 22 and went to Monash University in Malaysia, where a bachelor’s course costs nearly $9,000 a year, at least six times the average income in Bangladesh.

As the stories of the militants emerge, they are challenging the popular narrative that poverty and illiteracy are the key ingredients in the making of a South Asian militant.

Kabir, a telecoms executive, blamed Islamist groups in the country for luring his son away. Some people close to the family blamed it on the Internet, while Kabir thinks the smartphone he gave his son months before his disappearance might have been the way extremist groups reached him.

He said that if such groups could radicalize someone who came from a loving family and was getting secular education at the elite Dhaka school Scholastica, no one should feel safe.

“We are a caring family,” Kabir said. “If they can steal my son from my family, they can steal anybody’s kid.”

H.T. Imam, political adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told Reuters the attackers could not have acted alone and must have come in contact with radicals who influenced them. Imam said the militants’ parents should also be investigated.



As a child, Kabir said his son was interested in dinosaurs and could memorize several of the animals’ complicated names.

“His one speciality is that once he is interested in something he will get into details,” Kabir said.

During a visit to India around eight years ago, the family visited the city of Agra, home to the famous Taj Mahal. After that, Mubasheer became interested in history and started drawing pictures of Mughal emperor Akbar and Hindu Goddess Durga.

Over the next few years, he also began to study Bangladesh’s history, including its 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

“He would buy independence war-related movies, dramas. That was his craze,” Kabir said.

Mubasheer was also fond of watching English films and cartoons. Occasionally he cooked food for himself and his father.

In the months before his disappearance, Kabir said he noticed no visible change in his behavior, other than that he stopped using Facebook and focussed more on studies.

Family pictures at their spacious home, complete with tiled floors and a chandelier, depicted a normal childhood; in one, Mubasheer stands with his elder brother and plays a synthesizer.

But his “mental growth was slow,” Kabir said.

“His classmates also noticed it. They would say he was a Mamma’s boy. He would not like it.”

Other than hobbies, Mubasheer was always interested in religion. His father advised him to use the right sources for learning about the subject when he gave him an English version of the Koran.

“Sometimes he would say he wants to become an accountant, sometimes he would say theology or sociology,” Kabir said.

Inside Mubasheer’s small bedroom, a photograph of the Koran hung on a wall behind his bed, next to a study table that was covered with books on business studies, accounting and TOEFL, an English language test.

Mubasheer would usually pray five times a day and visit a nearby mosque.

Kabir has yet to go and identify the body believed to be that of his son.

“I am hoping a miracle happens, that he is not one of these guys.”

(Writing by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Mike Collett-White)