[Ynet] Egyptian security officials say police and military forces have clashed with armed rustics in a north Sinai village by the border with Israel, leaving one gunman dead.
The festivities came when troops and police, backed by helicopter gunships, were conducting a sweep through a number of villages along the border with Israel. Egypt's government has built up security forces in northern Sinai as part of an effort to secure the release of six coppers and a border guard kidnapped last week by suspected bad boys.
It is a good day to get Egyptian Military back. They are, after all, professional force to be reckoned with. That must be remembered in Sinai as an understanding between ALL chapters and the Egyptian Government. Egypt will not permit tom foolery on borders or with their own. Egypt is still stong.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has identified five men who might be responsible for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, and has enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists, officials say. But there isn't enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers.
Try them in a civilian court? Are the Obama people and the DoJ mad?
Okay, that was a rhetorical question.
Under no circumstances can we extend to foreign terrorists, who conducted a terrorist attack on our people on foreign soil, the protections of the U.S. Constitution. That is simple madness. The Constitution and its protections are meant to protect us, not foreign terrorists.
The men remain at large while the FBI gathers evidence.
Where is the CIA in all this?
But the investigation has been slowed by the reduced U.S. intelligence presence in the region since the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks, and by the limited ability to assist by Libya's post-revolutionary law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which are still in their infancy since the overthrow of dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
They're also, I suspect, steamed by the way we've handled this mess. We should have had people there on day 1 after the attack, and instead we fooled around (I'm being charitable) for several weeks.
The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the White House aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy combatants and holding them at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Since Gitmo is icky, doncha know. This leaves Champ only a couple choices: he can put a SEAL team to whack the hard boyz, but that could blow up on us. He could drone-zap them but that could create collateral problems both with the Libyan government and with the Europeans next door. It's a lot closer than Peshawar. It could be just the thing that would destabilize Libya's current government, a government that isn't stable at all right now, and allow militias around the country to pull the place down.
He doesn't have the opportunity just to ID the hard boyz and let the Libyan government take care of them, as the following paragraph suggests would be 'ideal'. That government is weak, doesn't control the country, the militias and the police/justice system, and isn't very happy with us. So that's no choice at all. For the same reason we can't do a legal extradition -- if the weak government has to say 'no' in order to stay in power Champ will look like a fool.
In the end Champ is stuck by his own ideology, rhetoric and foolishness. He knows that a trial in New York will be a circus, and that's one thing he doesn't need right now. The terrorists certainly aren't going to respect our judicial system, they'll use it against us. There's also the danger of a foolish judge or a runaway jury, or evidence that suddenly disappears or a witness who recants. And even if a trial 'works', you've given the mouthpieces for the terrorists the opportunity to conduct all sorts of discovery. That information will for sure get back to the terrorist leaders.
The preference is toward a process in which most are apprehended and tried by the countries where they are living or arrested by the U.S. with the host country's cooperation and tried in the U.S. criminal justice system. Using military force to detain the men might also harm fledgling relations with Libya and other post-Arab-Spring governments with whom the U.S. is trying to build partnerships to hunt al-Qaida as the organization expands throughout the region.
That Arab Spring sure turned out well eh?
If Champ had us in front on the Libyan War and had gained Congressional approval, he'd be in a much better position today to work with Libya -- say the way Bush was in Iraq in early 2004. But he didn't, precisely because he's not Bush. He could have kept us out of Libya completely to the point of not having a consulate in Benghazi. But Hillary just had to have us out there with our collective asses in the breeze opening up 'cultural centers' in an unstable, unsafe city. So we ended up with the worst of all situations: dead diplomats in a country where we have no influence.
A senior administration official said the FBI has identified a number of individuals that it believes have information or may have been involved, and is considering options to bring those responsible to justice. But taking action in remote eastern Libya would be difficult. America's relationship with Libya would be weighed as part of those options, the official said.
Waiting to prosecute suspects instead of grabbing them now could add to the political weight the Benghazi case already carries. The attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans weeks before President Barack Obama's re-election. Since then, Republicans in Congress have condemned the administration's handling of the situation, criticizing the level of embassy security, questioning the talking points provided to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for her public appearances to explain the attack and suggesting the White House tried to play down the incident to minimize its effect on the president's campaign.
That's about as mild an indictment of Champ as the AP can manage, even after finding out that their phones were tapped.
The FBI released photos of three of the five suspects earlier this month, asking the public to provide more information on the men pictured. The images were captured by security cameras at the U.S. diplomatic post during the attack, but it took weeks for the FBI to see and study them. It took the agency three weeks to get to Libya because of stupidity security problems, so Libyan officials had to get the cameras and send them to U.S. officials in Tripoli, the capital.
The FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies identified the men through contacts in Libya and by monitoring their communications. They are thought to be members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan militia group whose fighters were seen near the U.S. diplomatic facility prior to the violence.
U.S. officials say the FBI has proof that the five men were either at the scene of the first attack or somehow involved because of intercepts of at least one of them bragging about taking part. Some of the men have also been in contact with a network of well-known regional Jihadists, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
I bet they didn't star in any cheesy video...
The U.S. has decided that the evidence it has now would be enough for a military operation to seize the men for questioning, but not enough for a civilian arrest or a drone strike against them, the officials said. The U.S. has kept them under surveillance, mostly by electronic means. There was a worry that the men could get spooked and hide, but so far, not even the FBI's release of surveillance video stills has done that.
Idiocy. They don't deserve a civilian trial and all the trappings thereof. They're terrorists, or irregular combatants if you prefer, and should be treated as such.
FBI investigators are hoping for more evidence, such as other video of the attack that might show the suspects in the act of setting the fires that ultimately killed the ambassador and his communications specialist, or firing the mortars hours later at the CIA base where the surviving diplomats took shelter -- or a Libyan witness willing to testify against the suspects in a U.S. courtroom.
Sure, that'll happen...
But Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he is concerned the Obama administration is treating terrorism as criminal actions instead of acts of war that would elicit a much harsher response from the United States.
"The war on terror, I think, is a war and at times I get the feeling that the administration wants to treat it as a crime," McKeon said Tuesday.
He gets it.
Administration officials have indicated recently that the FBI is zeroing in.
"Regardless of what happened previously, we have made very, very, very substantial progress in that investigation," Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers last week.
Who the hell listens to, or respects, you anymore?
That echoed comments made by Secretary of State John Kerry to lawmakers last month.
"They do have people ID'd," Kerry said of the FBI-led investigation. "They have made some progress. They have a number of suspects who are persons of interest that they are pursuing in this and building cases on."
But options for dealing with the men are few and difficult, U.S. officials said, describing high level strategy debates among White House, FBI and other counterterror officials. The U.S. could ask Libya to arrest the suspects, hoping that Americans would be given access to question them and that the Libyans gather enough evidence to hold the men under their own justice system. Another option is to ask the Libyans to extradite the men to the U.S., but that would require the U.S. to gather enough solid evidence linking the suspects to the crime to ask for such an action.
Asking other countries to detain suspects hasn't produced much thus far.
In this case, the Egyptian government detained Egyptian Islamic Jihad member Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad for possible links to the attack, but it remains unclear if U.S. intelligence officers were ever allowed to question him.
Tunisia allowed the U.S. to question Tunisian suspect Ali Harzi, 28, who was arrested in Turkey last October because of suspected links to the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, but a judge released him in January for lack of evidence.
Finally, the U.S. could send a military team to grab the men, and take them to an offsite location such as a U.S. naval ship -- the same way al-Qaida suspect Ahmed Warsame was seized by special operations personnel in 2011 in Somalia. He was then held and questioned for two months on a U.S. ship before being read his Miranda rights, transferred to the custody of the FBI and taken for trial in a New York court. Warsame pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to tell the FBI what he knew about terror threats and, if necessary, testify for the government.
Why not just take them to Ice Station Zebra and gently, quietly fill them with giggle juice?
The U.S. has made preparations for raids to grab the Benghazi suspects for interrogation in case the administration decides that's the best option, officials said. Such raids could be legally justified under the U.S. law passed just after the 9/11 terror attacks that authorizes the use of military force against al-Qaida, officials said. The reach of the law has been expanded to include groups working with al-Qaida.
The option most likely off the table would be taking suspects seized by the military to Guantanamo Bay, the facility in Cuba that Obama has said he wants to close.
"Just as the administration is trying to find the exit ramp for Guantanamo is not the time to be adding to it," said Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor for Guantanamo.
[An Nahar] Egyptian troops and coppers began sweeps of north Sinai on Tuesday ahead of a possible showdown with heavily armed gunnies who kidnapped seven security personnel, officials said.
A senior interior ministry official told Agence La Belle France Presse a "campaign has been going on for half an hour", while a policeman taking part in the operation told AFP that security forces shot it out with gunnies in a village in the restive peninsula.
The operations were part of a large security sweep and not a rescue attempt, said the interior ministry official.
Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said there were "intense efforts on all fronts for the return of the captured conscripts safely," the official MENA news agency reported.
The kidnappers, who kidnapped the conscripts last week, are heavily armed with SAM anti-aircraft missiles and heavy machine guns, interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim said.
He said there were no negotiations with the kidnappers, who demand the release of tossed in the clink Drop the rosco, Muggsy, or you're one with the ages! Bedouin bully boys, but tribal leaders have asked for some time to persuade the gunnies to release the hostages.
The South Sudanese army (SPLA) has recaptured the town of Boma in Jonglei state after a brief battle with rebels led by David Yau Yau, SPLA officials said Monday.
Four SPLA soldiers died in the fighting and 12 were wounded, army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said, adding that "20 bodies from the militia side were counted" after the 30-minute battle for Boma, the psychologically important town the was the first captured by the SPLA from the Sudan during the long civil war against Khartoum, which ended in 2005.
The rebels, meanwhile, denied that they had lost control of Boma, saying in a statement that the SPLA had only captured the small village of Iti, around 35 kilometers outside the town. They also said they lost only five fighters and, in an email exchange on Monday, threatened to launch a counter-attack against Iti in the coming days.
The claims and counter-claims from both sides came as eight senior diplomats in South Sudan, led by U.S. Ambassador Susan Page, issued a statement voicing their concern about the violence in Jonglei state, which they said required "a political and not a military solution."
[BBC.CO.UK] Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan ... 14th President of Nigeria. He was Governor of Bayelsa State from 9 December 2005 to 28 May 2007, and was sworn in as Vice President on 29 May 2007. Jonathan is a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). He is a lover of nifty hats, which makes him easily recognizable unless someone else in the room is wearing a neat chapeau... has ordered the release of all women held in connection with "terrorist activity", the defence ministry says.
The decision was aimed at enhancing peace efforts in Nigeria, it added.
The army is conducting an offensive in three states, where an emergency was declared last week to fight the bully boy Islamist group Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... The group had set the release of women and kiddies as a condition for talks with the government.
More than 2,000 people have died in the conflict in Nigeria since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in 2009 to create an Islamic state.
Earlier this month, it said it had kidnapped women and teenage girls in response to the security forces arresting the relatives of its fighters.
It said it would treat them as "slaves".
Human rights concerns The defence ministry said a number of suspects tossed in the clink Drop the heater, Studs, or you're hist'try! for "terrorist activities" would be handed to state governments for "further rehabilitation" before being released.
"The measure, which is in line with presidential magnanimity to enhance peace efforts in the country, will result in freedom for suspects, including all women under custody," it added, in a statement.
BBC Hausa Editor Mansur Liman says the decision signals that Mr Jonathan has not shut the door to talks with Boko Haram, despite ordering a military offensive against the group.
[An Nahar] A fresh bout of fighting between army and rebel forces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo ...formerly the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Zaire, and who knows what else, not to be confused with the Brazzaville Congo aka Republic of Congo, which is much smaller and much more (for Africa) stable. DRC gave the world Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Mobutu, followed by years of tedious civil war. Its principle industry seems to be the production of corpses. With a population of about 74 million it has lots of raw material... has left 19 dead, the government said Tuesday, on the eve of a visit by U.N. chief the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon ... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan... Mortar fire rang out for a second day north of the regional hub Goma after the first festivities in six months between the M23 rebellion that briefly seized the city in November and government troops broke out on Monday.
Government front man Lambert Mende told journalists that Monday's fighting had left 15 rebels dead and 21 injured, while four soldiers were killed and six injured.
M23 military front man Vianney Kazarama rejected the figures provided by Kinshasa however and said only two loyalist troops were maimed and two rebels maimed.
During his visit, Ban will be accompanied by the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, U.N. peacekeeping force chief Herve Ladsous and Mary Robinson who is the U.N. special envoy for Africa's Great Lakes region.
The visit comes after a U.N.-brokered accord was signed by 11 African heads of state on February 24 who vowed not to interfere in the affairs of their neighbors.
[An Nahar] Saudi authorities have enjugged You have the right to remain silent... 10 more suspects in an alleged Iranian spy ring unveiled two months ago, an interior ministry front man said on Tuesday.
The eight Saudis, a Lebanese and a Turk bring the number of people arrested to 28, the official SPA news agency quoted the front man as saying.
However, if you can't say something nice about a person some juicy gossip will go well... a Lebanese arrested in March has since been released.
"The results of investigations by security services have led to the arrest of the other 10 involved in spying for this cell," the front man said.
On March 19, the interior ministry said authorities had arrested 16 Saudis, an Iranian and a Lebanese in four regions, including the oil-rich Eastern Province, where Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... 's Shiite Mohammedan minority is concentrated.
A week later, the kingdom said the alleged spy cell had "direct links" to Iran's intelligence services.
"Preliminary investigations and physical evidence that has been collected as well as the defendants' statements on this case have all revealed direct links between this cell and Iranian intelligence services," a ministry front man said.
Shiite-dominated Iran has denied any involvement in the alleged spy ring.
Saudi Arabia's ultra-conservative Sunni Mohammedan rulers have strained ties with Iran, which deteriorated further after a Saudi-led military intervention crushed Shiite-led pro-democracy protests in neighboring Bahrain in early 2011.
For a map, click here For a map of Nuevo Leon, click here. For a map of Monterrey, click here
By Chris Covert
A total of eight individuals were killed in ongoing drug and gang related violence in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, according to Mexican press reports.
According to a news report which appeared on the website of Milenio news daily, a local drug gang leader identified only as El Cuervo, and four of his security detail were gunned down in a gunfight Tuesday afternoon.
The incident took place between elements of the Nuevo Leon state Policia Minsterial and the armed group at around 1740 hrs in the Cumbres sector of Monterrey, near the intersection of Avenida Leones and Calle Pedro Infante.
According to the report, the armed group opened fire on the police detail which then initiated a pursuit, endingin an exchange of gunfire. El Curevo was in charge of a criminal group in northern sectors of the city.
According to a Facebook posting by the Mexican security blogger Codigo Rojo Laguna, El Cuervo was a Los Zetas operative.
Three other individuals were killed in separate incidents in Monterrey.
Two unidentified men were shot to death and a female was seriously wounded in a shooting in a bar in Guadalupe municipality Tuesday evening. According to a news account which appeared in Milenio, two armed suspects entered the Texas bar near the intersection of Avenida Pablo Livas and Camino Real and opened fire on the victims, then fled the scene.
A 17 year old youth was shot to death in Guadalupe municipality Monday night. Luis Alberto Ortiz Mireles, 17, and another adult male, Jose Felipe Tello Lopez, 38, were shot by armed suspects who were travelling in a van in Las Sabinitas colony.
An unidentified man was shot and wounded Monday night at a bar in Monterrey. The victim was waiting to leave El Cielo bar by bus near the corner of calles Arteaga and Amado Nervo when he was shot three times.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com
For a map, click here For a map of Chihuahua state, click here
By Chris Covert
A total of eight unidentified individuals have been killed in ongoing drug and gang related violence in far southern Chihuahua state, according to Mexican news accounts.
According to a news report posted on the website of Animal Politico, the victims were killed in four separate incidents Sunday and Monday in Guadalupe y Calvo and Baborigame municipalities.
According to a report submitted by Chihuahua Fiscalia General del Estado (FGE), three individuals were found shot to death along a road between the villages of Santa Tulita and Baborigame.
According to a separate account which appeared in the online edition of El Sol de Parral news daily, the three victims were identified as Andres Garcia Ayala, 64, Josefina Torres Carrillo, 34, and Miguel Loera Carrillo, 28.
The news account also said that a dispute between neighbors may be a factor in the shootings. One unidentified suspect has been detained in connection with the shooting.
The body of an unidentified 15 year old male was also found Sunday in the village of La Mesa in Baborigame municipality. He had been shot once in the face. The victim is said to be connected to the feud between two families.
In Guadalupe y Calvo municipality three more unidentified victims were found shot to death on a road between Guadalupe y Calvo and Parral city, near a location called Las Gallinas.
According to a separate account which appeared on the website of El Sol de Parral, the three victims were identified as Valentin Gonzalez Lopez, 61, Daniel Molina Vargas, 24m and Anastasio Gonzalez Ramos, 68. The body of Gonzalez Lopez was found dismembered.
An eighth shooting victim was found Sunday in San Francisco del Oro municipality, which is also in far southern Chihuahua state.
The victim was identified as farmer Chalaca Salvador Dominguez, 40, of Valle de Rosario. He was found lying face down, his hands bound, in an arroyo in ejido El Encinal. He had been shot once with a semiautomatic pistol.
Separately, the spokesman for the Chihuahua state FGE said a sawmill in the village of Ojo Frío had been set afire and destroyed.
The southern Chihuahua and western Chihuahua state encompasses an area known as the Sierra Tarahumara. It was announced last February by Chihuahua governor Cesar Duarte Jaquez that a new security operation would begin in the region, this time including the first of the new federal Policia Gendarmaria (PG) security police. Part of that operation was to increase the use of checkpoints in the region.
The new operation has met with some success. According to a news report which appeared in the online edition of El Heraldo de Chihuahua news daily, the bishop of the Sierra Tarahumara diocese, Rafael Sandoval Sandoval lamented security could be improved but also said, according to the news account, "progress" has been made by authorities.
Chihuahua state is one of 14 states in Mexico which are undergoing midterm elections for local deputies and municipality presidents. The election in the Sierra Tarahumara is a factor given local authorities actions a year ago when it was leaked that aid sent to the region was withheld on promises of votes.
The new national government headed by Enriqiue Pena Nieto has been pushing its latest social initiative, La Cruzada Contra la Hambre or Crusade Against Hunger, a program which has already garnered severe criticism in states which as Veracruz amid accusations it will be used for political purposes.
Many of the municipalities of the Sierra Tarahumara are likely recipients of Pena's latest initiative since they are amongst the poorest in Mexico.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com
[Ynet] The Shin Bet tossed in the clink Youse'll never take me alive coppers!... [BANG!]... Ow!... I quit! six wanted Paleostinians aged 18 - 33, including two from Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, and four from the Hebron area Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... . The men had split into two groups and planned to kidnap civilians and soldiers to use in bargaining for the release of Paleostinian prisoners.
During interrogations, the men provided information regarding how to manufacture explosives and on at-the-ready explosives. Indictments were issued against cell members in the Judea Military Court.
[An Nahar] Israeli troops shot and seriously maimed a 12-year-old Paleostinian boy during a clash in the West Bank on Tuesday, Paleostinian security and medical officials told Agence La Belle France Presse.
They said that Atta Mohammed Sharadeh was hit during one of what have become almost daily festivities between young Paleostinians and soldiers outside the Jelazoun refugee camp, near Ramallah.
The camp is close to the Israeli settlement of Beit El.
The officials said that he was hit in the chest by a live bullet which exited through his back and was at death's door in a Ramallah hospital.
[An Nahar] Israel's Shin Bet domestic spy agency said on Tuesday it had foiled planned attacks on Israelis by two Paleostinian Islamist groups in the Hebron area.
It said that, in March, Shin Bet, army and police uncovered a nine-man Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, cell in the village of Bani Naim, south of the West Bank city, which planned to shoot dead an Israeli settler working in nearby fields.
A statement said the men intended to take the victim's corpse as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Paleostinian prisoners held by Israel.
It said they also had prepared an bomb which they intended to place in a settlement field.
Separately, in March and April, agents incarcerated Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'! four Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... Death Eaters in Hebron who planned to shoot dead an Israeli soldier or civilian traveling in the area.
They confessed under interrogation that they also intended to hold the body to lever a swap, the statement said, without saying explicitly that the two plots were connected.
All the suspects were charged last month in a military court, it added.
Iran has sent soldiers to Syria to fight alongside forces loyal to Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad One of the last of the old-fashioned hereditary iron-fisted fascist dictators... and those of the Leb-based Hezbollah militia, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.
An unknown number of Iranians are fighting in Syria, the official said, citing accounts from members of the opposition Free Syrian Army, which is backed by the United States. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview a strategy session that Secretary of State John F. Kerry is to hold Wednesday with key supporters of the Syrian opposition.
With the British, French and American governments considering providing arms to the Syrian opposition on a scale not yet seen in the civil war, the U.S. official's allegation was a tacit acknowledgment that the two-year-old Syrian conflict has become a regional war and a de facto U.S. proxy fight with Iran.
Russia appears to be hedging its bets, as the U.S. official acknowledged Tuesday. Assad's forces are being resupplied from somewhere, the official said, and not all of the armaments can be explained away as part of a continuation of weapons contracts that predate the conflict.
Communities inhabited by Shiite Muslims and President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority will be "wiped off the map" if the strategic city of Al-Qusair in central Syria falls to government troops, rebel forces said.
Fighter planes and heavy artillery pounded the city [May 21st], the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mail. It said two people were killed during clashes between rebels and government troops backed by Hezbollah fighters, bringing the death toll from clashes at Al-Qusair in the last three days to more than 90.
Bassam al-Dada, a political adviser to the Free Syrian Army, said from Istanbul yesterday that Assad's forces were still at the outskirts of the city. "Our people are still fighting inside and very strongly, but it's not an easy situation," he said.
[LATIMES] Syria said Tuesday that its forces had destroyed an Israeli vehicle that crossed into Syrian territory from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an account disputed by Israel, which said that shots were fired at a patrol inside Israeli-controlled territory.
It was the latest in a series of incidents in recent weeks that have raised fears of renewed violence along the cease-fire line between Syria and Israel. Syria has vowed to retaliate the next time Israel attacks its territory, following three reported Israeli Arclight airstrikes this year.
Syrian state media reported that the country's military "destroyed" an Israeli vehicle that had crossed the cease-fire line and was headed toward a village, Bir Ajam, that is a stronghold of armed rebels seeking to oust Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Horror of Homs... According to the Syrian account, Israel then fired a pair of rockets from its territory toward a Syrian government position. No casualties were reported in the Israeli strike, Syria said.
Syria accused Israel of acting in "direct coordination" with rebel groups in Syria, saying its forces had previously seized an Israeli military vehicle that was being used by rebels in the embattled town of Qusair, which is close to the Lebanese border and far from the Golan Heights.
[An Nahar] Iranians are working alongside Hizbullah fighters to back Syrian troops battling to retake the rebel stronghold of Qusayr amid fears of a civilian massacre, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
"It is the most visible effort we have seen by Hizbullah to engage directly in the fighting in Syria as a foreign force, and we understand there are also Iranians up there," a senior State Department official told news hounds.
His information was based on reports from commanders of the rebel Free Syrian Army, but he was unable to give any estimates of how many Hizbullah fighters or Iranians were involved, and what exact role the Iranians were playing.
"I don't know that they are directly involved in the fighting, but I don't think the people that I'm talking to know that themselves," the official told news hounds travelling with U.S. Secretary of State John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... "This is an important thing to note -- the direct implication of foreigners on Syrian soil for the regime," he cautioned on a conference call in Muscat.
Many opposition commanders had reported that forces from Hizbullah "are directly engaged in fighting literally on the streets. They say that their men... are directly fighting against Hizbullah commanders."
"Iran's role and Hizbullah's role have grown substantially over the last couple of months," he warned ahead of a Friends of Syria meeting to be held in Jordan on Wednesday.
Observers have alleged that Hizbullah fighters were leading the battle for Qusayr in Homs province, three days after the Syrian regime began an assault to regain control of the town.
[An Nahar] Clashes renewed in a fierce manner in Tripoli ...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn... on Tuesday afternoon, leaving at least four people dead and several others maimed, as the Arab Democratic Party declared an open battle and warned that it "will not let Tripoli sleep."
The National News Agency said Mohammed Rashid Soltani, 30, was killed and two other people were maimed, identifying them as Yehia Seif Obeid, 81, and Khaled Mohammed Mohammed, 33.
Meanwhile, ...back at the pie fight, Bella opened her mouth at precisely the wrong moment... Future TV reported that "Abu Ridwan al-Asmar, the muezzin of Bab al-Tabbaneh's al-Jihad Mosque, has died of his wounds."
And as MTV said "Mohammed Mahmoud al-Asmar was killed by sniper gunfire in Tripoli," Voice of Leb radio (100.5) said "Ahmed al-Bunni was killed at Jabal Mohsen's al-Amerkan Square after receiving a bullet in the neck."
As the situation deteriorated, a mortar hit an army base on al-Ghoraba Street while another fell on an army base in al-Zahriyeh, leaving a man from al-Tiba family maimed.
"Multiple rocket launchers were deployed in Jabal Mohsen as a prelude to escalation," Voice of Leb radio (100.5) reported.
Clashes also intensified in al-Baqqar, al-Qobbeh and al-Mankoubin as Bab al-Tabbaneh's residents started evacuating their homes and the army withdrew the vehicles that were deployed on Bab al-Tabbaneh's highway near al-Qasr Bakery.
Voice of Leb radio (93.3) said Mariam al-Saqqa, Issa Thawra and Ali Ahmed were maimed when a mortar hit al-Omari Street.
On the political front, Arab Democratic Party media officer Abdul Latif Saleh said: "We will show them who are the cubs and lions of Rifaat Eid and we will cut off the hand that attempts to target Jabal Mohsen."
"The same as our children cried, Tripoli's children will cry and they will see our actions in the coming hours," Saleh threatened in an interview on al-Mayadeen television.
In another interview with LBCI, Saleh said: "We have entered the fight and we will not let Tripoli sleep."
Meanwhile, ...back at the pound, the little lost dog backed into the corner and showed its teeth. And what big teeth they were!... Rifaat Eid, the party's secretary-general, wrote on his Facebook page: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the initiator is the aggressor ... Enough is enough, now you will hear the roar of Jabal Mohsen."
Later on Tuesday, Tripoli's dignitaries held a meeting at MP Mohammed Kabbara's residence.
"Does the state want to defend Tripoli or not?" Kabbara said, reciting a statement issued after the meeting.
"The threats of Assad's party (Arab Democratic Party), which were later executed, are a blatant crime that is tantamount to mass murder against an entire people and they deserve the death penalty. Rifaat Eid and Assad's shabiha must be tossed in the calaboose Youse'll never take me alive coppers!... [BANG!]... Ow!... I quit! ," Kabbara added.
"How can some shabiha kill the city's residents without being held accountable?" he went on to say.
He noted that the chiefs of security agencies know that "Assad's party in Baal Mohsen is the aggressor."
"So how can they be lenient with the murderer and firm with the victim?" added Kabbara.
"Tripoli calls on the state to restore its security and stability and defend it against the shabiha of (Syrian President Bashar) Assad and (Hizbullah chief Sayyed) Hassan Nasrallah who are killing the Lebanese and Syrian peoples," he said.
[An Nahar] A car passenger was maimed on Tuesday as army troops opened fire on the vehicle after its driver refused to stop at a military checkpoint in the northern town of al-Awwadeh in the Wadi Khaled region, state-run National News Agency reported.
The maimed man was rushed by a Lebanese Red Thingy ambulance to the Our Lady of Peace Hospital in al-Qoubaiyat, while the army locked away Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! a man from the al-Shiban family.
The incident created an uproar in Wadi Khaled's towns, with protesters blocking the al-Hisheh-Wadi Khaled road.
[An Nahar] Dozens of people, mostly combatants, have been killed in ongoing battles for the Syrian town of Qusayr, a watchdog said Tuesday, as Hizbullah sent new elite fighters to the rebel stronghold.
"At least 31 Hizbullah fighters have been killed since Sunday, as well as 68 rebel fighters, six of whom we were unable to identify," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Another nine troops loyal to Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Before going into the family business Pencilneck was an eye doctor. If he'd stuck with it he'd have had a good practice by now... were killed in the fighting, as were three paramilitary fighters.
"It's clear Hizbullah is leading the assault," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Four civilians -- three of them women -- were also killed, he added.
Hizbullah's al-Manar broadcasted images showing hundreds of people attending funerals for five members killed "carrying out their jihadist duty".
It did not specify where they had been killed.
Abdel Rahman said most of the rebels who were killed in Qusayr, a strategic town that links Damascus to the coast and the heartland of Assad's Alawite sect, died in the shelling.
A source close to Hizbullah told Agence La Belle France Presse that the fighters had been killed by bombs planted by rebels who are seeking to oust Assad's regime.
The source also said Hizbullah had sent new fighters into Qusayr to fight alongside pro-Assad forces.
"Hizbullah has sent new elite troops to Qusayr. They have already taken many prisoners from among the rebels, including non-Syrians," the source said on condition of anonymity.
[An Nahar] Army commandos joined on Tuesday other military brigades seeking to impose security in the northern city of Tripoli ...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn... after deadly festivities between rival neighborhoods left several people dead and injured.
The army completed the deployment before noon in the areas that witnessed heavy festivities in the past three days, said the state-run National News Agency.
But after the deployment, the festivities and sniper fire intensified in several areas and mainly in the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, reportedly leaving one dead and at least five injured.
All private and state-run schools in Tripoli and the nearby al-Beddawi area were closed. The Lebanese University campus in al-Qobbeh in addition to shops and markets were also shut.
The army command said two soldiers were killed in Bab al-Tabbaneh on Monday. Their death in addition to Tuesday's casualties brought the toll since the fighting erupted on Sunday to five.
The army's communique said soldiers will firmly respond to the sources of fire.
Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn condemned on Tuesday the attack on the army, saying the military institution will remain steadfast to protect the country and preserve security.
He warned in a statement that the security chaos in Tripoli was putting the entire country's fate at stake.
The people behind "instigation campaigns ... will not be able to prevent the army from confronting those who gave themselves the right to tamper with the city's security," Ghosn said.
"The past few days proved that there is no political cover to anyone ... and that the army is the decision-maker in resolving" such issues, he added.
Tripoli has seen repeated festivities between Sunnis residing the neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh and gunnies from Jabal Mohsen whose residents are from the Alawite sect of Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... In March, at least five people were killed and 26 others were maimed, including army troops, in gunbattles between Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh.