News Digest — 6/9/22

Report: Iranian Drone Attack In Iraq Targets Mossad Squad

A drone attack in Erbil targeted a Mossad intelligence agency hit squad, Iran’s Fars news agency reported on Thursday (9th).

A UAV exploded on a road in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil on Wednesday (8th), injuring three people and damaging several cars, according to a statement by Kurdistan’s counterterrorism service.

The explosive drone detonated on Pirman Road in Erbil’s outskirts at 9:35 p.m. Iraq time, the statement said.

Two security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down.

A security source said earlier that a drone attack also targeted the US consulate but did not give further details.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi told Kurdish Prime Minister Masoud Barzani in a phone call that Baghdad will cooperate with Erbil to hold the perpetrators accountable according to a statement.

The attack on Erbil could be in response to reports of assassinations and mysterious deaths of senior Revolutionary Guard officials in Iran in recent weeks.

Last month, Iranian Revolutionary Guards artillery fire hit an area north of Erbil, targeting what Iranian state television described as terrorist bases.

In March, the Guards attacked the capital of the Kurdish region with a dozen ballistic missiles in an unprecedented assault on the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region.  Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps later said it targeted “a strategic center for conspiracy and mischief of the Mossad Zionists.” 

Iraqi officials said later no evidence had been found of the Mossad maintaining a permanent base in Erbil.

At least three other attacks have targeted oil refineries in Erbil since the March attack, but no group has claimed responsibility for them.



Two Police Officers, One Civilian Attacked In East Jerusalem

Two-off-duty Border Police officers along with one civilian were attacked in Issawiya and later in French Hill on Wednesday night (8th), Israeli Police said in a statement.

The officers were initially attacked in a civilian vehicle near the entrance to Jerusalem’s Issawiya neighborhood, which is directly southeast of the French Hill neighborhood when attackers threw rocks and used pepper spray against them.

One attacker grabbed the weapon of one of the police officers in the vehicle.  Judging that the attackers posed a threat to their lives, the officers fired into the air to scare the attackers who subsequently fled.

Israel police dispatched additional forces to the area and quickly recovered the stolen firearm while searching the area for the suspects.  

One officer was injured lightly by rocks thrown and pepper spray.  The vehicle in which the trio was traveling was heavily damaged.

Kan News tweeted a video of the scene showing the damaged vehicle.

Jerusalem District Commander Superintendent Doron Turgeman arrived on the scene, assessed the situation and confirmed that police forces will continue to operate in the area and investigate the incident.



Revealed: Hezbollah Establishes Positions Under Guise Of Environmental Activists

The Hezbollah terrorist organization is operating under the guise of the ‘Green Without Borders’ organization to gather intelligence at the Israel-Lebanon border.

In the new position built near the border, Hezbollah members operate under the guise of environmental activists, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and in defiance of the Lebanese military.

The IDF’s Arabic spokesman, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, revealed new photos of the organization’s operatives.  “Hezbollah is once again grossly violating UN resolutions despite the Lebanese army’s presence in the region.”

“Green Without Borders” is a Lebanese organization that claims to engage in the field of the environment with an emphasis on preserving forests in the border area between Lebanon and Israel, but in practice the organization operates positions near the border with Israel that provide Hezbollah with the cover of civilian work, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Head of the Northern Command, Major General Amir Baram said: “Recently, the construction of Hezbollah’s front positions on the border line has intensified; we know them by name and where they come from; when the day comes, they will pay the price for the infrastructure at the contact line.”



Liberia To Open Official Office In Jerusalem

Liberia announced on Wednesday (8th) it will open an official office in Jerusalem that will serve as a precursor to a full-fledged embassy in the future.

This makes the West African nation the fifth country to open a mission in the Israeli capital after the U.S., Guatemala, Kosovo, and Honduras.

Despite its relatively humble population size of around 5 million people, Jerusalem considers Monrovia (Liberia’s capital) an important actor on the multilateral stage that has been consistently standing alongside Israel in recent years, both at the UN and the African Union.

An official delegation from Liberia featuring cabinet ministers met with Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll and President Isaac Herzog, to whom they submitted a formal letter announcing their intention to open an official trade office in the city.

During their meeting with Roll, the Liberian delegation was very concrete about opening their office in Jerusalem, and received a detailed explanation of the procedure.

They said they will finalize a request for a location in Jerusalem within a few weeks and that they wish to advance the move at full speed.  Liberia also requested aid from Israel in agriculture, water management, and tourism.

After the meeting, Roll said that “Liberia is a true friend of the State of Israel and opening an official Liberian office in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is good news for the relations between the two countries.”

“Liberia is a loyal supporter of Israel at the United Nations and we are happy to deepen diplomatic ties with it.  We will continue to act so that as many countries as possible open their missions in Jerusalem, where they belong.  Welcome Liberia,” Roll concluded.



Pew Study Shows There Is Little American Support For BDS, But Young Adults Waver On Israel

Despite massive publicity campaigns, rallies and campus activism in America, only five percent of respondents to a Pew Research Poll said they support the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, with a mere 2% saying they strongly back the idea.

In fact, a whopping 84% of respondents said they had heard “not much” or “nothing at all” about BDS, which seeks to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state.

Additionally, the poll of more than 10,000 respondents – conducted in early-to-mid March and released on Thursday (2nd) – showed that Americans overall view the Israeli people and government more favorably than the Palestinian people and government.

Two-thirds of respondents view Israelis favorably, with 52% viewing the Palestinians favorably – and 48% holding a positive view of the Israeli government, compared with 28% who hold that sentiment of the Palestinian government.   

More concerning are survey results showing that younger Americans don’t feel as warm towards Israel and Israelis as older generations.  

Some 56% of adults under 30 feel favorably toward Israelis, compared to 78% of those 65 and older.  On the other side, 61% of those in the under-30 category feel favorably towards the Palestinians, compared to a minority of 46% of those aged 50 and up.

The poll also shows a wide disparity of opinions based on political party

Republican and Republican-leading respondents expressed much more positive views of the Israeli people (78% “very” or “somewhat favorable”) than the Palestinians (37%), and they view the Israeli government much more favorably (66%) than the Palestinian government (18%)

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents hold essentially equally positive views of Israelis (60% favorable) and Palestinians (64%) 

Overall, 30 percent of respondents encompassing all backgrounds believe God gave the entire land to Israel, which is a figure similar to a 2020 Pew survey of American Jews.    



Holocaust Survivor Honored By Queen During Jubilee

Holocaust survivor Zdenka Husserl was honored by Queen Elizabeth in her Jubilee Birthday Honors.

Husserl, who survived Theresienstadt and has lived in the UK since 1945 when she was six years old, has been active with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT), telling the story of surviving the Holocaust to children and community groups.

“We are delighted that a survivor and educator has been recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honor. It is a fitting tribute of the significant time and effort they have all made to Holocaust and genocide education and commemoration on Holocaust Memorial Day and throughout the year,” HDMT director of public engagement and deputy chief executive Rachel Century said in a statement.

Husserl was awarded an MBE, the third highest ranking order in the UK.

“Both her parents were murdered by the Nazis, and she was just six-years-old when she was brought to Britain as an orphan,” the HMDT said on its website.

“Zdenka has dedicated her life to Holocaust education and commemoration and has a huge personal commitment to ensure that the next generation learns from the past to create a society free of prejudice and discrimination.  She reaches thousands of people each year, especially on Holocaust Memorial Day.”