Terrorism and counterterrorism

  • Israel successfully tests David’s Sling mid-range missile defense system

    During the just-ended Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel made military history by successfully employing a missile defense system to protect the country’s population: during the 8-day war, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched 1,506 rockets and missiles at Israeli towns and cities; of those, 1,057 fell harmlessly in empty fields, but 449 were headed toward populated centers; of the 449, Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted 421, and 28 hit buildings, killing five; yesterday Israel announced the successful test of David’s Sling, a mid-range missile defensive system; the system is designed to protect against missile with a range of up to 180 miles, like the missiles in the hands of Syria and Hezbollah

  • Gaza cease-fire depends on Egypt's commitments

    The cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, which was supposed to be announced Tuesday at 21:00, is on hold because Israel was unsatisfied with the mechanisms aimed to prevent the rearmament of Hamas by Iran; Egypt’s commitment is key here; Israel does not trust Hamas and regards formal agreements with the organization as worthless; Egypt is in a perfect position to be the guarantor of any agreement with Hamas

  • Israel, Hamas on verge of cease-fire deal – or ground war

    The Israeli government yesterday (Monday) postponed a decision on a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip — inside sources said the decision was to postpone the green light for an invasion for twenty-four hours — as intense negotiations in Egypt continue in an effort to reach a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas

  • Also noted

    King to give up Homeland Security chairmanship | Syrian Islamist rebels reject West-backed opposition coalition, declare Aleppo Islamic state | Pentagon sees seizing Syria chemical arms as vast task | Iran’s first nuclear plant may have suffered new setback | UN nuclear agency: Iran poised to expand nuke work | Germany abandons nuclear power and lives to talk about it | Police-worn cameras being tested in West Valley | License plate scanners under fire |  Fed ID Deadline Looms For N.M.| Ban ‘killer robots,’ rights group urges | Houston airport system embraces technology to share wait times for security checkpoints | Man with strange watch arrested at California airport

  • NYC bomb plotter sentenced to life

    Adis Medunjanin, a 34-year old Bosnian-born U.S. citizen has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in a plot to bomb the New York subway; he was convicted in May of multiple U.S. terrorism offences, including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction; two former schoolmates who helped Medunjanin to plan the attack had pleaded guilty and testified against him

  • U.S. electric power grid “inherently vulnerable” to terrorist attacks: report

    The U.S. electric power delivery system is vulnerable to terrorist attacks which could cause much more damage to the system than natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, blacking out large regions of the country for weeks or months, and costing many billions of dollars, says a newly released report by the National Research Council

  • Escalation: Hamas launches a Fajr-5 missile at Tel Aviv; no damage or casualties

    An hour-and-a-half ago — around 11:30am EST, 18:30 Israel time – Palestinians from Gaza launched a Fajr-5 missile at Tel Aviv; Hamas said the missile was launched by the Islamic Jihad organization; the missile fell south of Tel Aviv, causing no damage or casualties; there is no doubt that a direct attack by Hamas on Tel Aviv constitutes, for Israel, a crossing a clearly delineated red line; what should we expect now? There are two possibilities: Hamas may consider the symbolic value of launching a missile at Tel Aviv as balancing the substantial and material blows it has suffered in the last twenty-four hours, and agree to Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease fire; if the past is an indication, however, then Israel will move one rung up the escalation ladder in response to this crossing of an Israeli red line before agreeing to a cease fire with Hamas

  • Israel’s operation in Gaza: limited goals – for now, I

    In an impressive military move early Wednesday morning, Israel killed Ahmed Jabari, the top military leader of Hamas and a few of his lieutenants; even more impressively, and more meaningful strategically, the Israel Air Force (IAF) attacked dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip, destroying hundreds of Hamas missiles and rockets; the most important targets were storage facilities where mid-range Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles were being kept, and dug-outs from which these missiles would be launched; in a few minutes, Hamas’s strategic ace in the hole was destroyed; but what are Israel’s broader goals, and can these goals be achieved?

  • Israel kills Hamas top military leader, destroys Hamas Fajar missiles

    In a precise targeted attack early today (Wednesday), the Israel Defense Force (IDF) killed Ahmad Jabari, the top military leader of Hamas; Jabari ran the organization’s armed wing, called the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam; in a separate attack, Jabari’s deputy, Raed al-Atar, was also killed; the Israeli early morning strikes also included attacks on about twenty or so targets across the Gaza Strip. these attacks inflicted a heavy blow on Hamas’s military capabilities by destroying most of Hamas’s most threatening weapons – the mid-range Fajar missiles Hamas received from Iran and with which the organization could attack Tel Aviv and other cities in central Israel

  • African Union backs military campaign plan to end Islamist control of break-away north Mali

    The time is running out for the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist militants who seized control of the break-away region in northern Mali, as the African Union (AU) has backed a plan to send troops into Mali to evict them; the AU endorsed the decision by ECOWAS, an organization of West African countries, which, on Sunday, finalized and approved plans to send 3,300 troops to help Mali’s government take over the region and reunite the country; the ECOWAS plan will now be submitted to the UN Security Council for approval within the next three weeks

  • New database offers insights into terrorism countermeasures

    The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) recently published a report which discusses the development of the Countermeasures against Extremism and Terrorism (CoMET) Database, which catalogues government and non-government countermeasures taken in response to terrorist and extremist activities

  • Israel, for the first time since the October 1973 war, fires warning shots into Syria

    The civil war in Syria has taken an ominous turn on Sunday as Israel, for the first time since the October 1973 Yom Kippur war, fired into Syria to warn the beleaguered Assad government that Israel would not tolerate shelling from Syrian territory into Israel; on four separate occasions last week, mortars from Syria fell in the Golan Heights, an area Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war; it appears that the mortar fire was not intentional, but rather stray rounds, the result of errand shelling; on Saturday nine days ago, a few Syrian tanks entered a no-man’s land near the Israel border, in violation of the 1974 cease-fire and force-separation agreement between Israel and Syria

  • CIA-commissioned climate change report outlines perils for U.S. national security

    U.S. national security leaders believe that the accelerating pace of climate change will place severe strains on U.S. military and intelligence agencies in coming years; the reason, according the National Research Council, the U.S. top scientific research body: climate changes will trigger increasingly disruptive developments around the world; a 206-page National Research Council study, commissioned by the CIA and other U.S. intelligence services, concludes that states will fail, large populations subjected to famine, flood, or disease will migrate across international borders, and national and international agencies will not have the capacity or resources to cope with the resulting conflicts and crises

  • Algeria agreed to join military campaign to oust Mali Islamic militants

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday met with Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, seeking Algeria’s support for an emerging international effort to evict Islamic militants out of northern Mali; Algeria has the region’s strongest military, a highly regarded intelligence service, a long border with Mali, and experience in fighting, and defeating, Islamic militants; the UN Security Council declared its “readiness” to send an international force to evict the militants

  • Millennium plot terrorist sentenced to thirty-seven years

    Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian native who set up a plot to blow up the Los Angeles airport in December 1999 in what came to be called the “millennium plot,”  was sentenced to thirty-seven years in prison on Wednesday; Ressam was arrested in December 1999 when a customs agent noticed him as he drove off a ferry from Canada onto Washington’s Olympic Peninsula; when authorities stopped Ressam and searched his truck, they found large quantity of explosives, and he was captured after a brief chase