REPORT: HEZBOLLAH RECEIVED AMMONIUM NITRATE FROM IRAN: The report casts a doubt over the denial by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that his group had any connection to the blast in Beirut and, quoting anonymous intelligence sources from western countries, stated that documentation exists which proves that Hezbollah had ammonium at its disposal.
Hezbollah ordered similar amounts to those that blew up on August 4 from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, under the command of General Qassem Soleimani, who was eliminated by the US in Iraq at the start of the year, according to Die Welt. Ammonium nitrate is also used in the construction industry and fertilization, but terror groups have been known to use it for making bombs. While most Lebanese authorities say the explosion was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has hinted that the blast may have been caused by a bomb or other “external interference.” Earlier this week, the head of Lebanon’s customs authority was formally arrested after being questioned over the massive explosion. (INN / VFI News)
IRAN CLAIMS TO HAVE NEW CRUISE MISSILES AND ADVANCED DRONES: Iran claimed to unveil new missiles and drones this week. A ballistic missile named for former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani was shown off in the presence of the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani. The new exhibit also included drones and a cruise missile named Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the former head of Kataib Hezbollah.
The new weapons are named for the two men the US killed in January in Baghdad. Muhandis, a key Iraqi militia leader and ally of Iran, and Soleimani, were architects of Iran’s regional policy. The new cruise missile has a turbocharged lightweight engine, according to Iranian media. Rouhani also told Fars News that drones are increasingly important. He noted that UAVs play a larger role today on the battlefield. Iran has pioneered drones since the 1980s and now has an array of weapons. Some are copied directly from US platforms while others are local and innovative. Iran has supplied them to its allies in Yemen and elsewhere. (JPost / VFI News)
DOJ TARGETS HAMAS, AL QAEDA AND ISIS IN ‘LARGEST EVER’ TERROR-RELATED CRYPTO SEIZURE: The Justice Department announced the seizure of terrorism-related cryptocurrency on Thursday following the successful takedown of cyber-enabled finance networks operated by the Islamic State, Hamas’s al Qassam Brigades, and al Qaeda.
“These three terror finance campaigns all relied on sophisticated cyber-tools, including the solicitation of cryptocurrency donations from around the world,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The action demonstrates how different terrorist groups have similarly adapted their terror finance activities to the cyber age.” “Each group used cryptocurrency and social media to garner attention and raise funds for their terror campaigns. Pursuant to judicially-authorized warrants, U.S. authorities seized millions of dollars, over 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages all related to the criminal enterprise.” The Justice Department, which has billed it the “largest-ever seizure of terrorist organizations’ cryptocurrency accounts,” also unsealed three civil forfeiture complaints totaling 87 pages detailing efforts by Homeland Security Investigations, the IRS Criminal Investigations, and the FBI to take down a host of terrorist websites and to seize numerous bank accounts and hundreds of cryptocurrency accounts (WE / VFI News)
ISRAELI BUSINESS WITH THE UAE NOTHING NEW: Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are working out official diplomatic ties, but, unofficially, an extensive financial relationship between the two is an open secret.
According to the Manufacturers Association of Israel, about 200 Israeli companies are already exporting products to the UAE. These companies come from different industries, most prominently in the fields of medical equipment, telecommunications, and national security. The trade between the two countries is done through subsidiaries that emerge in a third country, normally in the U.S. or Europe, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of the extent of Israeli export to the UAE. The goods exported are finished products that need no routine maintenance—which could not be provided without direct ties between the countries—or such that can be fully maintained by the client, once purchased. Once ties are established, under the agreement to establish a diplomatic relationship between the two countries, the Manufacturers Association of Israel believes that it will be easier for Israeli companies to export directly to the UAE. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL, SUDAN CLOSE TO PEACE AGREEMENT: Israel and Sudan on Tuesday said they are close to reaching a peace agreement — setting the stage for a second dramatic diplomatic breakthrough for Israel with its Arab neighbors in a matter of days.
A Sudanese Foreign Ministry official announced that his government is “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement with Israel,” drawing a promise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “do all that’s needed” to wrap up a deal. The announcements came days after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced an agreement to establish formal diplomatic ties. While Sudan does not have the resources and influence of the UAE, it has a far more hostile history toward Israel. Sudan hosted the landmark Arab conference after the 1967 Mideast war where eight Arab countries approved the “three no’s: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations. In 1993, the U.S. designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism for its support of a number of anti-Israel Islamic terror groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah. But in recent years those hostilities have softened, and both countries have expressed readiness to normalize relations. (WIN / VFI News)
PASTOR, WIFE TO PRISON IN IRAN FOR CRIME OF ‘EVANGELISM’: Iranian courts have sentenced Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz to 10 years in prison for “conducting Evangelism” and “illegal house church activities,” while his wife Shamiram Isavi was given a five-year sentence for “membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” and “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security.”
Though the couple had been summoned numerous times for appeal hearings, each of the hearings was canceled for a variety of different reasons. The last hearing, which was initially scheduled for June 1, was canceled without any reason being provided. On July 19, Bet-Tamraz was told by his lawyer that his appeal had been rejected, with no further appeals being possible, according to Article 18, a nonprofit that seeks to protect and promote freedom of religion in the Islamic Republic. On August 11, Isavi was told that she had to report to Evin prison in Tehran by Sunday, August 16. (JPost / VFI News)
JEWISH YEMEN IS DISAPPEARING: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have ordered at least some of the country’s remaining Jews to leave, according to sources in the Amran Governorate, north of the capital Sanaa.
According to Ali Qudair, a tribal chief in the governorate, soldiers surrounded a village in mid-July to question members of at least one Jewish family living there about its contacts with people abroad. “A group of military vehicles arrived in the area, taking up positions at the entrances to the village and establishing checkpoints,” Qudair told The Media Line. “The soldiers entered the house of a Jewish family in the village and questioned members about their correspondence with the State of Israel, their property in the village and other areas, and whether or not they were in contact with relatives residing in other countries.” Qudair added that some of those questioned were taken to an unknown location and held for 48 hours. (JPost / VFI News)
GUY NIV TO BE FIRST ISRAELI CYCLIST IN TOUR DE FRANCE: Guy Niv, 26, will make history and become the first-ever Israeli rider to compete in the biggest professional cycling race of all, the Tour de France. His selection by Team Israel Start-Up Nation represents a remarkable accomplishment for a cyclist who, until three years ago, was primarily a mountain biker and had little experience in road racing.
Team Israel Start-Up Nation, which is also making history as the first Israel based and owned team to race in the Tour de France, has picked the climber Niv over his fellow Israeli compatriots in a hotly contested competition for the slot. The team also announced slots for Israeli riders in the two other Grand Tour races later this year. Guy Sagiv, the first Israeli to ever finish a Grand Tour, will race in the Giro d’Italia, while Omer Goldstein will race in the Vuelta a Espana. (INN / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff