New Level of Insanity Emerges in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Palestinians Now Sending Waves Of Incendiary Kites Across Gaza Border

Clash With Israeli Forces Near The Border Fence

As part of the latest flare-up (literally) in the never-ending Palestinian-Israel conflict, kites carrying incendiary payloads are being sent from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, setting off a scourge of highly destructive fires. One blaze in the Be’eri Forest has been particularly devastating. Agricultural lands have also been set on fire by the wind-carried improvised weapons in recent days. Launches of burning kites have coincided with a rash of violent protests near the border fences that separate Gaza from greater Israel. Referred to collectively as the “Great March Of Return,’ these demonstrations have turned deadly, with some reports stating that 7,000 Gazans have been injured and 45 killed as a result of skirmishes with Israeli forces.

The incendiary kites are especially problematic because they are incredibly easy to produce and rely on simple materials that are nearly impossible to embargo and/or interdict. What’s most concerning is that these improvised weapons are near impossible to shoot down, and even if they could be successfully engaged, their burning payloads will still land somewhere in Israeli territory.

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Incendiary kites adorned with swastikas fly across the Gaza border

Now it seems Israel Defense Forces are going to attempt to deter the launch of these kites in a similar fashion to how they deal with rocket barrages, by destroying the location of their origin. Earlier today, IAF aircraft struck a Hamas position near the border fence where incendiary kites were launched hours earlier. Israel is well equipped to identify and geolocate infrared events in the Gaza Strip as they have dealt with rocket launches from the territory for years. It is likely these same capabilities will now be adapted to finding and fixing targets where the flaming kites originate from.

Far from a new invention or general asymmetric warfare concept, incendiary kites can be as simple as a plastic and balsa wood kite-like device with a tin can filled with burning fuel attached to it via a long cord. Similar devices have been sent across the border sporadically over the years but they have become a much more persistent and organized threat in recent weeks. The fact that Israel is entering into another drought, with very dry conditions becoming a harsh reality, has made the kites a far more effective, albeit indiscriminate source of destruction than in the past.

With no signs of the violence along the border receding and bolstered by the effectiveness of the tactic, the use incendiary kites is only likely to increase. Whether or not punitive air strikes will actually curtail their employment remains to be seen.

Source: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone

 

Syrian War Tunnels

BBC

Syria ‘chemical’ attack: Douma’s warren of war tunnels revealed

A man rides a motorcycle in a tunnel in Douma, Syria, 20 April 2018

A Real Battle of the Planet of the Apes

'Monkey Menace' Spawns Massive Protest

Wild monkeys have overrun a region of India and frustrated residents are taking to the streets demanding that the government put an end to the simian invasion.

Once quiet communities have been transformed into veritable warzones worthy of the Planet of the Apes films due to mobs of monkeys that are becoming increasingly brazen in their quest for food and territory.

The Indian city of Almora and an astounding 24 surrounding villages have been enveloped by the monkey menace in recent weeks, leading to mass protests about the problem.

“Monkeys have made our lives hell,” one exasperated protestor told the Hindustan Times, claiming that people cannot leave anything of value outside their home lest it be taken by the sticky-fingered simians.

Irate residents also say that their houses are being swarmed by the creatures, children are afraid to walk down the street alone, and people are staying inside their homes during the daytime to avoid running into the marauding monkeys.

While some may suspect that the furor over the monkeys is overblown, the stunning number of alleged attacks by the creatures suggest that is far from the case.

Organizers of the protest alleged that an area hospital has been treating a staggering ten people per day for monkey bites and that a similar number of daily incidents simply go unreported.

And so, with nowhere else to turn, over two hundred residents have committed to a two-week-long protest that they say will amplify into a hunger strike if the Indian government does not help them stop the monkeys.

Fortunately, there may be an unlikely solution in sight as the area has seen a recent uptick in leopard attacks which wildlife officials are also being asked to thwart.

Should the leopards set their sights on the simian surplus, the Almora area could finally find themselves free from their nightmare, although they’d eventually have to find a way to fend off the ferocious felines once they’re done feasting on monkeys.

Hindustan Times

Middle East Animal Wars

Hamas ‘seizes Israeli spy dolphin’ off Gaza

Hamas claims to have captured a dolphin being used as an Israeli spy off the coast of Gaza, local media report.

The militant Palestinian Islamist group, which dominates Gaza, says the mammal was equipped with spying devices, including cameras, according to the newspaper Al-Quds (in Arabic).

It was apparently discovered by a naval unit of Hamas’s military wing and brought ashore.  Al-Quds said that the newest recruit was “stripped of its will” and turned into “a murderer” by the Israeli security services.

It shows the extent of Israel’s “anger” and “indignation” at the formation of Hamas’s naval combat unit, the paper reports.

Israeli authorities have not commented on the media reports.

This photo was possibly released by Russian intelligence, apparently taken from a Russian mini-sub.

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The dolphin appears to have some type of massive camera harnessed to its back

It is not the first time that Israel has been accused of using animals – and birds – for spying purposes.

In 2010 Israel dismissed Egyptian claims that a series of shark attacks in the Red Sea could have been the result of a Mossad plot.

A few weeks later a vulture found in Saudi Arabia with a GPS transmitter was accused of being an unwitting Mossad operative.

And in 2012, villagers in Turkey feared a small migratory bird found dead with a ring on its leg had been an Israeli spy. Their fear proved unfounded.

 

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Israel controls most of Gaza’s borders, coastline and airspace

More animal wars:

A huge vulture detained in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel has been returned home after UN peacekeepers intervened, Israeli officials said.

The bird, which has a 1.9m (6ft 5in) wing span, flew over the border from an Israeli game reserve and was caught by Lebanese villagers on Tuesday.

They became suspicious as the griffon vulture had a tracking device attached to its tail.

It is part of a conservation project to reintroduce raptors to the Middle East.

Wildlife officials say the vulture was brought from Spain last year and set free about a month ago in the Gamla Nature Reserve in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Tel Aviv University is involved in tracking the bird, and as well as a GPS transmitter, it had tags on its wings and an engraved metal ring on its leg saying: “Tel Aviv Univ Israel”.

animalq

 

‘Islamic State’ held city of Raqqa Liberated

RAQQA, Syria — U.S.-backed Syrian forces said Tuesday that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters had been completely defeated in the city of Raqqa, which the Islamic extremist group had held and ruled over brutally as a de-facto capital for more than three years.

Earlier on Tuesday the ISIS holdouts had been corralled into the city’s sports stadium after losing their only other position in Raqqa, the hospital.

CBS News’ Holly Williams, one of the few foreign television correspondents to make it into the former ISIS stronghold with the militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said Tuesday that there were still thought to be ISIS fighters holed up in buildings and tunnels in the sprawling city.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition battling ISIS said later Tuesday that were were an estimated 100 militants in the city.

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In addition to the holdouts, Williams notes, it could take months before Raqqa is finally cleared of all the explosives laid by the militants.

Then, Syrians will somehow have to find a way to rebuild the shattered city, where there is hardly a building left unscathed.

Williams reported Tuesday morning from al-Naim Circle, in the very heart of Raqqa. It used to be an ordinary traffic circle, but ISIS turned it into a place notorious for public executions, and then posted evidence of those horrific killings on the internet as propaganda.

Al-Naim Circle was taken back by the SDF forces on Monday night, and Williams watched them on the streets of Raqqa celebrating; they were in a victorious mood after a brutal four-month battle for the city.

Williams said it was a bizarre feeling to stand in al-Naim, as during the three-plus years that ISIS held Raqqa, she would almost certainly have been taken captive and killed.

Some buildings have been pulverized by the fighting, others flattened by U.S. airstrikes. Nearly all citizens of Raqqa, perhaps all of them, have fled the city.

It is a terribly irony, notes Williams, that in order to retake Raqqa from ISIS, it had to be all but destroyed.

Raqqa is in really bad shape.

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This is an incredibly horrific war.

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I guess the destruction of Raqqa was necessary in order to corner those ISIS rats and put them out of their misery.