Mystery Deaths for Iran Scientists
TWO IRANIAN AEROSPACE SCIENTISTS DIE UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES: Two Iranian aerospace scientists died under mysterious circumstances just hours apart, according to reports by the state-controlled Fars outlet Monday, June 13.
On Sunday, Ali Kamani, a scientist who worked for the Iranian air force’s aerospace unit, was reportedly killed in a car crash in Khomein. Iran’s Tasnim outlet hinted that the crash may not have been an accident, calling Kamani a “martyr” who died during a “mission to protect” Iran. The second engineer was identified as Mohammad Abdous, who was reportedly working on the Iranian air force’s satellite program, drone aircraft, and ballistic missiles. The two deaths follow a string of high-profile deaths of both Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps officers and Iranian scientists linked to the military’s aerospace unit. (INN / VFI News)
IRANIAN ATTEMPTS TO ATTACK ISRAELIS IN TURKEY FOILED: Iranian attempts to attack Israeli targets last month in Turkey were foiled by Israeli and Turkish security agencies.
Security officials from Israel updated their Turkish counterparts on the intent to carry out an attack against Israelis on Turkish lands and asked for their assistance to foil the attacks, a source was quoted as saying by several media outlets. The attacks were reportedly planned by an Iranian network operating in Turkey. The Islamic Republic has vowed to exact revenge on Israel, which is reportedly responsible for the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari in Tehran last month. Khodayari was deputy commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Unit 840, the unit responsible for terrorist operations against Israeli and Western targets outside of Iran. The IRGC suffered another loss a week later due to the mysterious death of Ali Esmailzadeh, a Quds Force general who reportedly fell to his death from the roof of his house later in May. The reported attempted kidnapping of Israeli civilians and officials in Turkey took place a number of weeks ago, prior to the assassination, according to Israeli reports. Israel prepared for a response from Iran for the Tehran assassination by bolstering its air-defense batteries in the North amid fear of an Iranian retaliatory attack from Lebanon. The National Security Council issued a heightened travel warning against Israelis traveling to Turkey because of ongoing foreign reports claiming that Israelis traveling to Turkey and Cyprus were under threat. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN SAYS ANY RESPONSE TO ISRAEL ‘WILL NOT BE IN A THIRD COUNTRY’: An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said Monday, June 13, that any “response” the Islamic Republic would make against Israel would take place inside Israel, a day after it was reported that Israeli and Turkish security agencies last month uncovered an Iranian plot to kidnap Israeli tourists in Turkey.
“If we want to respond to Israel’s activities, our answer will be given in its place and not in a third country,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said. Israeli security officials tipped off their Turkish counterparts about the plan and asked that they take action to thwart the attack. Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said on Monday that Iran “will take whatever retaliatory measure necessary in response to any external action by [the Israeli] regime.” Israeli security officials believe there are still Iranian terror units operating in Turkey aiming to carry out kidnappings or shooting attacks, the Ynet news site reported, and intelligence services are working to counter those threats. “For any mistake made by the enemy, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground by the order of the Supreme Leader,” said the Islamic Republic’s ground forces commander, Kiumars Heydari. Israeli diplomatic missions have been on alert, expecting Iran to seek revenge for the assassination last month of a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. However, Kan reported that the attempted kidnapping in Turkey happened before the officer’s killing. The National Security Council in recent days has considered issuing a top-level travel warning, explicitly telling Israelis not to travel to Turkey at all in the coming period. It has already advised against making non-essential trips to the country. Israeli security officials believe there are still Iranian terror units operating in Turkey aiming to carry out kidnappings or shooting attacks, the Ynet news site reported, and intelligence services are working to counter those threats. (TOI / VFI News)
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT HEADS TO ISRAEL WITH GAS DEAL IN THE WORKS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday, as Jerusalem, Cairo, and Brussels make strides toward a natural-gas export deal.
The European Union Embassy in Israel said von der Leyen was arriving “to advance relations between the EU and Israel, especially cooperation in the area of energy. The president will also discuss with Israeli government representatives the global reaction to the food crisis and the situation in the Middle East.” During her two-day visit, von der Leyen is expected to meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, President Isaac Herzog, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, to visit Yad Vashem and to accept an honorary doctorate from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She also plans to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh in Ramallah. Her visit comes days after the European Commission proposed a deal to export gas from Israel to Europe via Egypt to reduce reliance on fossil-fuel imports from Russia following the war in Ukraine. The draft of the deal, which was seen by Reuters and dated June 7, needs approval from member states. The deal establishes the principles for enhanced cooperation between the three partners but does not say how much gas the EU would import nor set any timelines for deliveries. Shipments would include the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure in Egypt, which plans to become a regional hub for natural gas. The memorandum of understanding would run for nine years from its signature. Egypt already exports relatively small amounts of gas to the EU. Israel and Egypt expect to ramp up production and export of gas in the coming years. Israel is on track in the next few years to double gas output to about 40 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year as it expands projects and brings new fields online, according to industry officials. Israel has said it hopes to reach a deal to supply gas to Europe and is also considering building a pipeline to export more gas to Egypt.
The EU imported 155 bcm of gas from Russia last year, accounting for about 40% of the bloc’s overall consumption. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL TO BOOST BUILDING STARTS IN BID TO REIN IN SOARING HOUSING COSTS: Israel’s government plans to sharply boost construction starts and expand a discount scheme aimed at restraining rapidly rising housing prices as demand continues to outstrip supply.
Under a joint plan by the finance, interior, and construction and housing ministries, Israel aims to start building 280,000 housing units by 2025, or 70,000 on average a year. That compares to around 55,000 a year over the past decade. Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin noted that the various incentives would mean a loss of as much as 20 billion shekels ($5.89 billion) to the country’s lands authority, which allocates Israel’s land to developers. “The plan is not a one-step magic solution,” Elkin said at a press conference on Sunday, June 12. “(But) we believe (it)… will stabilize Israel’s housing market.” The proposal, parts of which require parliament approval, also includes other measures, such as cutting red tape and building more housing units for rentals. It is the latest government attempt to contain housing costs, with previous ones failing to stabilize prices. (JPost / VFI News)
SPANISH-ISRAELI TEAM FINDS MECHANISM TO MAKE BLOOD CANCER CELLS HARMLESS: New research led by scientists in Barcelona, Spain – with significant participation by colleagues at the Department of Human Genetics and Biochemistry of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine: Prof. Gideon Rehavi, Nitzan Kol, Chen Avrahami, and Sharon Moshitch-Moshkovitz – has managed to do this. They have just published their findings in the high-impact journal Leukemia under the title, “Remodeling of the m6A RNA landscape in the conversion of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells to macrophages.”
The article describes how leukemia cells become normal cells that no longer multiply by changing the chemical modifications – the so-called epigenetics – of a type of its genetic material called messenger RNA. The Spanish participants included Alberto Bueno-Costa, a researcher with the group of Dr. Manel Esteller, who heads the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute at the University of Barcelona. Experimental results showed that the reversal of the malignant cells into macrophages involved a tremendous revision in the chemical changes occurring on their messenger RNA – the carriers that help proteins form. The changes especially affected the distribution of an epigenetic mark named methylated adenine. This change in the angle formed between two adjacent chemical bonds of these molecules causes instability of the proteins that define leukemia while favoring the appearance of microphages – proteins characteristic of the normal cells that are being born. Although this line of research has not yet been tried on patients, the team said it seems quite promising and is worth further exploration as a new approach in the fight against leukemia. The more strategies developed to fight leukemia, the more hope there is for the half a million patients around the world who are diagnosed annually with blood malignancies. (JPost / VFI News)
ANCIENT CLOTH WITH BIBLE’S PURPLE DYE FOUND IN ISRAEL, DATED TO KING DAVID’S ERA: Three scraps from 1,000 BCE, the earliest such finds in the region, point to the Edomite kingdom described in the Bible; vibrant and lasting ‘royal’ dye, the mark of the elite, comes from murex sea snails.
Israeli researchers have found three textile scraps near the southern tip of Israel colored with the biblically described “argaman” royal purple dye, and dated them to circa 1,000 BCE — the era of King David. The earliest ever such finds in this region, the vibrant cloths add tangible weight, in particular, to the Bible’s account of an Edomite kingdom in the area at that time. Colored with the most precious dye of the ancient world, the textile scraps were excavated in the Timna valley near Eilat, and offer startling new insight into an ancient elite class. The tiny, vibrantly colored Iron Age cloth pieces are the earliest evidence of this precious dye in the entire Southern Levant and shed new light on the early Edomite kingdom and Israelite kingdoms 3,000 years ago — a period when the Bible details the conquering of the Edomites by King David. Also called “true” or “Tyrian purple,” the vibrant, millennia-lasting color is produced by dye glands gathered from three species of live murex sea snails on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. To reach the famed King Solomon Copper Mines at Timna near the shore of the Red Sea, the cloth would have traveled hundreds of kilometers, which only added to its prestige and value. “It is a very early period to find ‘true purple’ in use and it’s a very strange location,” Tel Aviv University Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef told The Times of Israel Thursday, June 2. “It’s deep in the desert, where we didn’t [traditionally] think these prestigious materials were in use.” The discovery, said Ben-Yosef, offers “additional evidence for our new understanding of nomadic people at that time period, at the time of the emergence of these ancient kingdoms of Israel, Edom, Moab, Amon, the local kingdoms of the biblical time.” Ben-Yosef has excavated at Timna since 2013. (TPI / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff