TERRORISTS CELEBRATE FALL OF AFGHANISTAN AND TALIBAN’S RETURN: Supporters of al Qaeda and other extremist social media accounts posted triumphant messages this week after the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan, sparking renewed concerns that the country could function as a haven for terror groups following the impending U.S. withdrawal.
Pro-al Qaeda social media accounts posted an unsigned message on Monday after the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul and prompted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country. The message congratulated “the brothers” – a reference to Taliban militants – following the takeover. “Afghanistan is Conquered and Islam has Won,” the message said, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a non-governmental organization that monitors jihadist social media accounts. The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan two decades after U.S. and allied forces invaded the country to oust the regime from power for providing support to al Qaeda. Nathan Sales, a former State Department counterterrorism coordinator and a senior fellow for the Atlantic Council, warned the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the Taliban’s return to power made it “virtually certain that al-Qaeda will re-establish a safe haven in Afghanistan and use it to plot attacks on the United States.” “The terrorist group responsible for 9/11 will soon find itself flush with cash looted from Afghanistan’s central bank, with weapons seized from the defeated Afghan army, and with fighters freed from prison,” Sales said. President Biden addressed concerns about a renewed terror threat in an address earlier this week, arguing the U.S. has effectively countered extremists in other countries in which it does not have a permanent presence. “If necessary, we will do the same in Afghanistan,” Biden said. “We’ve developed counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on any direct threats to the United States in the region and to act quickly and decisively if needed.” (FOX / VFI News)
HAMAS CONGRATULATES TALIBAN FOR ‘VICTORY’ OVER AMERICA IN AFGHANISTAN: The Hamas terror group praised the Taliban on Monday as the Islamist movement and military organization returned to power in Afghanistan, pushing out the United States and even overtaking Kabul after two decades of fighting.
In a statement, Hamas said it “congratulates the Taliban movement and its courageous leadership on this victory, which was the culmination of its long struggle over the past 20 years.” Its officials wished “the Afghan Muslim people and its leadership success in achieving unity, stability, and prosperity.” They added it proves that “the resistance of the peoples—foremost of which is our struggling Palestinian people—is destined for victory.”The Taliban took over the country’s capital of Kabul on Sunday, August 15, entering the presidential palace and declaring victory over the United States, its allies, and related “infidels.”(I365 / VFI News)
NASRALLAH SAYS US WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN SHOULD SERVE AS A LESSON TO ISRAEL: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah asserted that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan should serve as a lesson to Israel that the US is not a reliable partner.
Nasrallah made the comments in a televised speech on Tuesday night, August 17, which was carried by official Hezbollah media. He claimed that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is the “moral downfall of America” and added, “Those watching most closely and drawing conclusions from this are the Israelis.” On Sunday, August 15, Taliban insurgents entered the Afghani capital of Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani left the country. The spokesman for the Taliban’s political office later declared the war in Afghanistan as over and added that the type of rule and the form of the regime in Afghanistan will be clear soon. (INN / VFI News)
LEBANON’S MARONITE PATRIARCH CALLS ON ARMY TO CONFRONT HEZBOLLAH: Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi called on Sunday, August 8, for the Lebanese army to take control of the southern part of the country, Hezbollah’s stronghold, and strictly implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, after recent clashes between Israel and Hezbollah.
“We call upon the Lebanese army, which is responsible with the international forces for the security of the South, to take control of the entire lands of the South, to strictly implement Resolution 1701 and to prevent the launching of missiles from Lebanese territory, not for the sake of Israel’s safety, but rather for the safety of Lebanon,” said Rahi during Sunday Mass. The Maronite patriarch stressed that he could not “accept, by virtue of equality before the law, that a party decides peace and war outside the decision of legality and the national decision entrusted to two-thirds of the members of the government.” On Friday, August 6, 19 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, with the Iron Dome intercepting 10 rockets and 6 rockets falling in open areas near Har Dov, along the Lebanese border. The others fell inside Lebanon. There were no injuries or casualties. It was the sixth such attack in recent months and the first in which Hezbollah admitted responsibility. Alongside the stance against Hezbollah’s actions, Rahi condemned what he called “periodic Israeli violations against southern Lebanon, and the violation of Security Council Resolution No. 1701, as well as the heated tension in the border areas of residential villages and their surroundings.” Rahi also claimed that the clashes were meant to “divert attention from the sanctity and glow of the Mass of the martyrs and victims of” the Beirut Port explosion when the first anniversary of the blast was marked last week. (JPost/VFI News)
WESTERN EUROPEAN POWERS EXPRESS ‘GRAVE CONCERN’ OVER IRAN’S URANIUM ENRICHMENT: British, German, and French foreign ministers on Thursday, August 19, issued a joint declaration expressing “grave concern” over a report this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that found Iran has significantly accelerated its production of highly enriched uranium.
The IAEA report confirmed that, in direct contravention of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers, the Islamic Republic has produced uranium enriched up to 20 percent for the first time, and has drastically upped its production capacity for enrichment by up to 60 percent. The joint statement by the UK, Germany, and France – the Western Europeans signatories to the deal – described Iran’s actions as “serious violations” of its responsibilities under the accord.Both are key steps in the development of a nuclear weapon and Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure,” they stated. “Our concerns are deepened by the fact that Iran has significantly limited IAEA access through withdrawing from JCPOA-agreed monitoring arrangements.” They called Iran’s move “troubling” given that talks by the administration of US President Joe Biden to re-enter the accord after the Trump White House pulled out of the deal in May 2018 were paused by Iran two months ago with no signal by Tehran about a restart date. “While refusing to negotiate, Iran is instead establishing facts on the ground which make a return to the JCPOA more complicated,” they added. In April, Iran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, a move that would take the uranium much closer to the 90% suitable for a nuclear bomb. In a report last month, the IAEA said Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal. On Monday, August 16, the US urged Iran to return to the negotiating table. (INN / VFI News)
‘BLOCKING IRAN IS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY’ SAYS EX-NSC CHIEF BEN SHABBAT: The central threat to Israel and most important for its security must remain Iran, outgoing National Security Council adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat said Monday, August 9.
“Blocking Iran is the highest priority,” he said during a farewell meeting at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (FADC). “This goal grabs a central place on our strategic and security agenda, and it should remain so.” On a more cautionary note, Ben-Shabbat said: “Israel is a strong country and its strategic situation is good, and the [security] balance it has is positive but fragile and faces many challenges,” which could lead to a sudden negative turnaround. He also expressed concern about divisiveness within the country and the need to “join hands” and find “nontraditional solutions” to secure the nation. (JPost/ VFI News)
HOLOCAUST MASS GRAVE UNEARTHED IN POLAND: A Holocaust-era mass grave was found in a backyard in Poland, and a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial was held on Wednesday, August 18, according to the organization Shem Olam.
The grave was found in the Polish town of Wojsławice, otherwise known as Voislavize to its Yiddish-speaking residents. Voislavize had been the home to thousands of Jews since the early 19th century and had religious, educational, and Zionist institutions that were part of the Jewish community. The mass grave was discovered by the organization Shem Olam. a Holocaust research and education institute. Advanced scanning technology revealed the exact location of the grave, which turned out to include 60 murdered Jews, 20 of whom were children. (JPost/ VFI News)
COINS DATING BACK 1,700 YEARS FOUND WASHED UP ON BEACH IN ISRAEL: Ancient coins believed to be 1,700 years old that may have been aboard a ship navigating the Mediterranean Sea have been discovered on an Israeli beach, officials said on Tuesday, August 17.
The coins were discovered by tour guide Yotam Dahan, who found the coins while on vacation with his family on Neveh Yam beach near Atlit, Israel.Dahan saw something sparkly sticking out of the sand, which turned out to be the 13-pound lump of coins, that he later posted to Facebook. The salty seawater turned the massive hoard of coins into the giant ball discovered by Dayan. Dahan was given a certificate of appreciation by the IAA after handing the coins over to the organization. ‘Handing such findings over to the national collection helps us, the archaeologists, complete more parts of the puzzle that is the history of the Land of Israel,’ Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Karem Said said. (Daily Mail / VFI News)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff