DEBKAFile (120)

Court raps high-ups for pre-judging Hebron soldier

February 21, 2017, 2:16 PM The military court headed by Col. Maya Heller, handed down an 18-month jail sentence for Elor Azaria after convicting him of manslaughter for shooting dead a Palestinian terrorist he was wounded during a stabbing attack in Hebron. This was the most lenient possible ...

Hebron soldier sentenced to 18 months jail

February 21, 2017, 12:51 PM The military court Tuesday handed down the lightest possible sentence against Sgt. Elor Azaria for shooting dead a Palestinian terrorist who was wounded in an attack on soldiers in Hebron. The prosecution had sought three to five years in jail. The court was divided on ...

Netanyahu flies to Australia at end of Singapore trip

February 21, 2017, 10:11 AM Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Australia Tuesday after talks in Singapore with President Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on strengthening economic and technological cooperation between the two countries and joint projects for assisting various ...

Nasrallah to Israel: Count up to a million before attacking us

February 21, 2017, 10:01 AM In his second rant against Israel in a week, Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah warned his group would not respect any red lines in a future confrontation. Speaking to Iranian TV, he advised Israel to “count up to a million before attacking us.” ...

White House condemns string of bomb threats to Jewish centers

February 21, 2017, 9:25 AM Eleven Jewish Community centers were shaken by another wave of bomb threats Monday, forcing evacuations in 10 states across the United States. Law enforcement officials were investigating the threats and, as of late Monday, centers were being reopened after explosive ...

Trump names Gen. H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser

February 20, 2017, 10:07 PM President Donald Trump Monday appointed Gen. H.R, McMaster, 54, as new National Security Adviser to replace Lt. Gen. James Flynn who was asked to resign last week for misreporting on a conversation with the Russian ambassador. Gen. McMaster is the director of the Army ...

Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin is dead

February 20, 2017, 9:40 PM Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, and one of the most colorful and witty diplomats in the world body since his appointment in 2006, died in New York of a heart attack Monday, one day before his 65th birthday. Churkin was at the Russian embassy when ...

Moscow in line to broker Libyan unification talks

February 20, 2017, 5:57 PM The UN-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj said on Sunday he would like Russia to mediate between his government in Tripoli and Khalifa Haftar, who rules the eastern region, to help overcome the divisions among the warring militias and an Islamist State threat. ...

Israeli Arab indicted for joining ISIS to attack Israeli soldiers

February 20, 2017, 4:32 PM Anis Hajj Yahya, 35, from Taibeh, was charged in court Monday with swearing allegiance to the Islamic State for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks against Israelis and of contacting a foreign agent. The accused plotted an attack on a Tel Aviv bus and murders of ...

Russia is conducting its heaviest air strikes in S. Syria

February 20, 2017, 12:33 PM DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the southern Syrian town of Daraa is suffering the heaviest Russian air strikes hitherto in that country. They are aimed at driving a pro-Jordanian Syrian rebel forces out of the Manshiya district, which dominates the town ...

US Fifth Fleet chief: A remote-control boat attacked a Saudi frigate on Jan. 30

February 20, 2017, 12:26 PM The boat that attacked a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea on Jan. 30 was not manned by Yemeni Houthi suicides; it was an unmanned, remote-controlled craft filled with explosives, Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, head of the US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, said Monday. The attack on ...

Large Iranian Guards forces rushed to Ahwaz to quell riots

February 20, 2017, 12:16 PM DEBKAfile’s military sources report that in the last two days, Tehran has dispatched large-scale Revolutionary Guards forces from central Iran to Falahiyeh, a town in the southern Ahwaz oil region which is dominated by a restive population of Arab descent.. Violent ...

Syrian army prepares to take Raqqa – Moscow sources

February 20, 2017, 12:07 PM The Syrian army is getting set for a general offensive to capture Raqqa, ISIS’ main stronghold in the country, according to military sources in Moscow. Bashar Assad is in a race for his troops to get there before the Turkish military, which has occupied part of ...

First ISIS rocket attack on Israel from N. Sinai

February 20, 2017, 12:00 PM The Islamic State’s local arm fired two rockets into Israel for the first time from northern Sinai. They exploded Monday morning on open ground in the Eshkol District without causing harm. This followed an ISIS claim of an Israeli drone attack earlier on one of ...

US twin sea buildup against China, NKorea, Iran

February 19, 2017, 10:04 PM Donald Trump marked his first month as US President with two major military gambits in the Middle East, Asia and the South China Sea. Sunday, Feb. 19, the US Navy said that the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and strike group had begun patrols in the ...

Netanyahu sets off on groundbreaking trips to Singapore and Australia

February 19, 2017, 7:15 PM Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to meeting President Tan Keng Yam after he lands in Singapore Monday morning, followed by talks with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a visit to Singapore's Magen Avot Synagogue, which dates back to 1878, and a meeting with ...

US Vice President Pence and family visit Dachau

February 19, 2017, 7:02 PM Vice President Mike Pence, along with second lady Karen Pence and their eldest daughter Charlotte, visited the Dachau Nazi concentration camp Sunday near Munich, Germany, where he has been attending the Munich Security Conference. They were met by Karl Freller, the ...

U.S. carrier group patrols in tense South China Sea

February 19, 2017, 4:19 AM A United States aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway. The U.S. navy said the force, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, began routine operations in ...

Tillerson lays out conditions for US-Russian cooperation in Syria

February 18, 2017, 4:44 PM US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the United States will find it hard to cooperate with Russia's military in Syria, so long as Moscow aligns with the Syrian government and labels all rebel groups terrorists. During a meeting with his counterparts from France, ...

Secretary Mattis underscores US commitment to Israeli military edge

February 18, 2017, 4:34 PM At his first meeting with Israeli’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis underscored the US commitment to Israel’s security and its qualitative military edge, a Pentagon spokesman said after the meeting Friday, on the sidelines of ...

Lavrov calls for new post-West order, Pence on US promise to Israel

February 18, 2017, 4:13 PM Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of being a Cold War institution whose “expansion” sparked the Ukraine crisis and European tensions. Addressing the Munich Security Conference Saturday, he said he hoped “responsible leaders” will ...

Islamists murder Coptic teacher in northern Sinai

February 17, 2017, 7:41 PM Terrorists from the ISIS Sinai affiliate gunned down Gamal Tawfoq, 50, a Coptic Christian teacher, on his way to school in the northern town of El Arish on Thursday. He was shot in the head by two gunmen on a motorbike, the second Christian to be murdered in less than a ...

Can Trump rescue his Syria deal with Putin?

February 17, 2017, 6:34 PM Overlaying US President Donald Trump’s extraordinary, hour-long skirmish with reporters Thursday, Feb. 16, was bitter frustration over the domestic obstacles locking him out from his top security and foreign policy goals. debkafile’s sources report that his ...

Sweeping Pakistani raids on ISIS as Isalmist bombing death toll rose to 88

February 17, 2017, 3:01 PM Pakistani forces killed and arrested dozens of suspects in sweeping raids overnight and into Friday as the death toll rose to 88 from a massive ISIS suicide bombing at a famed Sufi shrine in Sehwan in the southern Sindh province. This was the deadliest terror attack in ...

First Lieberman meeting with US Defense Secretary Mattis

February 17, 2017, 2:15 PM Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met for the first time Friday with US Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. They discussed Iran and agreed to continue their discussion on matters concerning both their national interests. ...

Moscow warns Washington not to try and deal from a position of strength

February 16, 2017, 9:39 PM Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu Thursday fended off a comment by US Defense Secretary James Mattis urging the US to negotiate with Russian from “a position of strength.” The exchange of barbs came before the first meeting in three years between ...

Lieberman offers Gaza development if Hamas returns MIAs

February 16, 2017, 9:28 PM Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed Israeli economic development for the Gaza Strip if Hamas returns the Israelis missing in action and other captives. In an interview to the government’s Arabic language website Thursday, Lieberman said that if Hamas were to ...

Iran Upgrades Scuds for Houthi Barrage against Riyadh

February 16, 2017, 7:22 PM When engineers can add 100km to their range, the barrage will begin.

Anti-Detente Russian Spies May Have Toppled Trump Advisor Flynn

February 16, 2017, 7:22 PM Anti-detente Russian spies may have toppled Trump advisor Flynn.

Netanyahu in Washington Shortly after Israeli Air Force Smashes ISIS-Sinai

February 16, 2017, 7:22 PM Israel’s integration in US anti-ISIS Syrian operations was discussed with Trump.

The US Military Is Still Working with Iranian Guards Officers in Iraq

February 16, 2017, 7:22 PM Disentangling US and Iranian cooperation in Iraq will be a major hurdle.

Jordanian, Turkish Military Ops Stumble in Syria after Flynn’s Exit

February 16, 2017, 7:22 PM Both rulers were caught in mid-offensives he authorized and planned and were exposed to Russian strikes.

Nasrallah threatens to blow up Israel’s nuclear center at Dimona

February 16, 2017, 4:57 PM In a televised speech commemorating slain Hizballah leaders, Hassan Nasrallah came up with new threats – all aimed at a single address. Israel should “dismantle the Dimona nuclear reactor,” he said, because if hit by Hizballah’s missile, it would ...

Riyadh anticipates fruitful cooperation with Trump: Saudi FM

February 16, 2017, 12:53 PM Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Thursday that his country is interested in continuing its close and fruitful cooperation with the US under the administration of Donald Trump. He made the comment before his meeting with American Secretary of State Rex ...

Russia's defense ministry seeking to renew cooperation with Pentagon

February 16, 2017, 11:28 AM Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asserted Thursday that any attempt by Washington to boost ties with Moscow from a position of strength would be 'fruitless' although his ministry is interested in renewing its cooperation with the US Department of Defense. He was ...

Conflict between Trump, US intel agencies intensifies

February 16, 2017, 9:54 AM US intelligence agencies are said to be keeping some sensitive information away from President Donald Trump over concerns about potential leaks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday night. The newspaper said current and former US officials have said their ...

Second woman suspected of killing NK leader's half-brother arrested

February 16, 2017, 9:08 AM The Malaysian police said Thursday morning that it had arrested a woman with an Indonesian passport who is suspected of involvement in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, at Kuala Lumpur's international airport. Another female suspect was ...

Netanyahu asks Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan

February 16, 2017, 6:45 AM Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US President Donald Trump on Wednesday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. During a briefing with Israeli and foreign media after meeting ...

Netanyahu asks Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan

February 16, 2017, 6:45 AM Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. During a briefing with Israeli and foreign media after meeting ...

US intelligence agencies withhold sensitive information from Trump

February 16, 2017, 6:34 AM US intelligence agencies are said to be keeping some sensitive information away from President Donald Trump over concerns about potential leaks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday night. The newspaper said current and former US officials have said their ...

Trump & Netanyahu agree: Israel-Gulf peace first

February 15, 2017, 9:30 PM Trump reacted positively to Netanyahu’s proposal to broaden the Israeli-Palestinian peace process into a regional effort as a “very important” new idea “on a broader canvas” which he believed could succeed. “I believe we will have a deal ...

Trump embraces Netanyahu’s idea of regional frame for peace process

February 15, 2017, 9:10 PM At a White House news conference ahead of their first meeting Wednesday, President Donald Trump welcomed the plan put forward by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to expand the peace process with the Palestinians to regional Arab governments. The US President and First ...

Trump 'looking forward' to meeting Netanyahu Wednesday

February 15, 2017, 6:50 PM Three hours before his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu at the White House, US President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he is 'looking forward' to his talks with the Israeli leader. Netanyahu is to arrive at noon and the two leaders will ...

Commander of elite Iranian force arrives in Moscow for talks

February 15, 2017, 6:32 PM Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, arrived in Moscow on Tuesday for talks with a number of senior Russian officials over the next few days. Soleimani is expected to express his country's dissatisfaction regarding Russia's ...

US military used depleted uranium to strike ISIS in 2015, spokesman says

February 15, 2017, 6:05 PM A spokesman for the US Central Command said Wednesday that American warplanes, in November 2015, had fired 30-mm shells containing depleted uranium at ISIS targets in Syria. The attack was contrary to a statement by a US military spokesman four months earlier that the US ...

Trump lambasts US intel community in unprecedented manner

February 15, 2017, 5:10 PM In a series of tweets on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump denounced his country's intelligence agencies in an unprecedented manner, saying 'The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy. Very un-American!' He ...

North Korea objects to Malaysian post mortem on ruler’s brother

February 15, 2017, 4:02 PM North Korean officials in Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian authorities are wrestling over the body of the North Korean ruler’s estranged half-brother, who dropped dead after two women injected him at the airport. The officials including the ambassador demand the ...

CIA director secretly meets Abu Mazen in Ramallah

February 15, 2017, 2:57 PM Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA, flew by helicopter on Tuesday from Jordan to Ramallah where he met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian news agency Maan said. The meeting took place after Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had arrived ...

Malaysia arrests woman suspect in murder of NKorean ruler’s brother

February 15, 2017, 12:22 PM A woman carrying a Vietnam travel document was arrested Wednesday by Malaysian police as part of their investigation into the assassination of the North Korean dictator’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at Kuala Lumpur airport. A post mortem is underway to ...

Russia turns down Trump's demand, claiming Crimea is its territory

February 15, 2017, 11:33 AM A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday rejected a demand by US President Donald Trump that Russia withdraw from the Crimean Peninsula and return it to the Ukraine. Speaking at a weekly press briefing in Moscow, Maria Zakharova said 'We won't return our ...