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Washington: 3:48:32 pm - August 23, 2014 - Jerusalem: 10:48:32 pm - Av 27, 5774


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LIVE BLOG:
Israel's offensive in Gaza


Be'er Sheva shortly after noon rocket attack (photo: MDA paramedics)

Follow all the latest updates on Israel's war on terrorism and efforts to extinguish rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israeli television on Friday that military operations in Gaza must continue "until Hamas waves the white flag."

In an interview with Channel 2 that aired just a few hours after it was learned that a four-year-old boy succumbed to his wounds which he sustained as a result of a mortar strike on a kibbutz near the Gaza frontier, Liberman said that the government needs to spell out "a strategic goal" that encompasses "defeating Hamas, bringing it to submission."

"That means Hamas waves the white flag," the foreign minister said. "That is a realistic scenario, and it must be a goal."

Gaza salvo continues:
Over 60 rockets hit Israel


Dining hall in kibbutz in Sha'ar HaNegev suffers direct hit.
(photo: Ynet)

Day after 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed by a mortar shell, Hamas fires more rockets at same kibbutz in Sha'ar Hanegev, with one slamming into communal dining hall.

Over 60 rockets were fired at Israel on Saturday, with one of the rockets hitting a communal dining hall in Nahal Oz, the very same kibbutz in which 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed from a mortar hit the day before. Damage was caused to the structure, but fortunately there were no injuries.

Rocket fire inceased in the late afternoon, with seven rockets hitting open areas in Eshkol and two inside communities, one of which caused light damage to a storage space. Six rockets hit Sdot Negev while four were intercepted by the Iron Dome over Hof Ashkelon.

Fighting continues for fourth
day after cease-fire collapse


A rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel.
(photo: Reuters)

The IDF struck 30 targets across the Gaza Strip since Friday night in response to rocket fire from the Hamas-run enclave the previous evening.

Targets included underground rocket launchers, facilities for storing and manufacturing weapons, and apartments used to coordinate terrorist attacks. The IDF also hit three mosques used for terrorist activities. One target was used for meetings between members of Hamas's military wing in southern Gaza; a second mosque was used to store terrorist infrastructure in southern Gaza, while a third in the north was used as a meeting point for Hamas members.

Three rockets fired from the Strip slammed into open territories in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, which borders the Gaza Strip, as sirens have continued to rattle Negev communities and Gaza frontier towns, including Ashkelon.

IDF warning:
We're stepping up attacks in Gaza

Pentagon:
Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'


Hagel speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, August 21, 2014.
(photo: Yuri Gripas, Reuters)

The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday.

"They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon. Asked if the hardline Sunni Muslim organization posed a threat to the United States comparable to that of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hagel said it was "as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen."

Hagel's assessment of Islamic State, which gained strength during Syria's civil war and swept into northern Iraq earlier this summer, sounded a note of alarm several days after the group posted a video on social media showing one of its fighters beheading an American hostage kidnapped in Syria.

US considering taking fight
against Islamic State into Syria


ISIS fighter on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014.
(photo: Reuters)

The United States is considering taking the fight against Islamic State militants into Syria after days of airstrikes against the group in Iraq and the beheading of an American journalist, the White House signaled on Friday.

President Barack Obama, soon to end a two-week working vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, has not yet been presented with military options for attacking Islamic State targets beyond two important areas in Iraq, said White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

But Rhodes made clear that going after Islamic State forces based in Syria is an option after the release of a video this week showing one of the group's fighters beheading American journalist James Foley and threatening to kill a second American, Steve Sotloff.

Ex-CIA Officer:
'There Are ISIS Sleeper Cells In This Country'

A former CIA officer said Thursday he has no doubt Islamic State (ISIS) sleeper cells are already planted on U.S. soil.

An unnamed U.S. intelligence official told CNN there's already an indication of ISIS sleeper cells in Europe that could target U.S. embassies and other American interests.

Senator Inhofe warns of potential
terrorist attacks on U.S. soil

It is a serious warning coming from Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe as he warns of the potential of another attack on American soil. The senator sat down with Fox 25 to talk about a variety of topics, but as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the top issue was national security.

“We're in the most dangerous position we've ever been in as a nation,” Senator Inhofe told Fox 25's Phil Cross.

“ISIS, they are really bad terrorists, they're so bad even Al Qaida is afraid of them,” Inhofe said reflecting on the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley. Beyond the beheading, Inhofe said the current terror organizations are not going to stay contained to the Middle East. “They're crazy out there and they're rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can't believe that's happening.”

Hamas keeps up rocket pressure on Israel;
man seriously hurt along Gaza border


Rocket damage caused to a house in Nir Oz. (photo: Motti Kimchi, Ynet)

Sirens sound in Be'er Sheva, Gaza border communities; Israel says 223 rockets fired in 116 barrages since Tuesday evening.

Rockets continued pounding southern Israel at noontime Thursday, with 6 rockets hitting Eshkol, 2 near Ashdod, one in Kiryart Malachi, one in Sdot Negev and one near Ramle. In the late morning hours, 3 rockets hit open areas in Merhavim, and 5 hit open areas in Eshkol. Before that, 2 rockets hit open areas in Eshkol. Overnight, 2 rockets were intercepted over Ofakim.

In Eshkol, a man in his 30s sustained serious chest wounds when he was hit by rocket shrapnel.

Haniyeh vows Hamas will 'liberate Palestine'
after top commanders killed by Israel

After the killing of three of its senior commanders by Israel, Hamas vowed early Friday that it would be “strengthened” in its quest “to lift the siege on Gaza” and “liberate Jerusalem and Palestine from the neo-Nazi occupier who destroys houses and kills women and children.”

Hours after the targeted strike on the Hamas commanders, Ismail Haniyeh, the former head of the Hamas regime in Gaza, released a statement that was read aloud by the Hamas television network.

Haniyeh said that Hamas “was saddened over the deaths of our brothers and commanders who went on the path of great ones.”

“We want to emphasize that despite the pain of their loss, the history of the Hamas movement has proven more than once that it is stronger after every targeted killing of one of its senior members,” Haniyeh said.

Mashaal, Hamas defiant after assassinations

Hamas officials remained defiant Thursday despite the assassination of three of the organization’s top commanders in a pre-dawn strike.

“The Palestinian people have prepared themselves for hundreds of years to fight the enemy until the end,” Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal said in an interview with the Turkish news agency Anadul. “We won’t get tired of fighting after a month, a year or many years.”

“There will be no return to negotiations in Cairo before we have ensured favorable circumstances that will force the enemy to meet the demands of the Palestinians.”

Report:
Qatar threatened to expel Mashaal if
Hamas okayed Egypt-proposed truce

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'Koenig's Eye View from the White House'
August 22, 2014

This Wednesday’s edition:

Audio interview for the week: A Middle East discussion with Bill Koenig and Bill Salus

The coming disintegration of Iraq

How Maliki broke Iraq

Obama: The pinprick President

Libya crumbles, as the United States looks the other way

Friday’s edition:

Iran: Threat not forgotten, with a plan to deal with them militarily

ISIS: 'Apocalyptic, end-of-days vision'

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance

Netanyahu: Radical Islamic terrorism threatens the entire world and it is time for us all to confront it

Americans brace for new wave of Islamic State terror

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'Koenig's Eye View from the White House' - August 22, 2014: Netanyahu calls for world leaders to unite against terror ... Israel continues preparation for Iran … The Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance … American terror threat

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