Debka News

Iraq hits ISIS in Syria - with Russia, without US - February 25, 2017, 4:29 PM (IDT)

The Iraqi air force Friday, Feb. 24, conducted its first ever bombardment of the Islamic State in Syria. The target was the southeastern town of Abu Kemal near the Iraqi border.Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Tahseen Ibrahim stated that Baghdad had coordinated the attack with Moscow, Damascus and Tehran using shared intelligence. Asked if the United State military was involved, he said he did not know. 

Twin suicide attacks in Homs, Syria, leave at least 42 people dead - February 25, 2017, 1:15 PM (IDT)

A Syrian army colonel was among the 42 people at least killed in government-controlled Homs Saturday in an attack later claimed by former Al Qaeda branch Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Nusra Front.)   At least six attackers blew themselves up near the state security and military headquarters. The colonel was identified as an intelligence officer Hassan Dahbul. Friday, two suicide bombings killed at least 65 people in northern Syria, where Turkish and Syrian rebel forces are fighting to wrest Al-Bab from ISIS. The Islamic State website claimed they included eight Turkish soldiers and 60 rebel fighters.

Trump White House shuts out certain media from briefings - February 25, 2017, 11:49 AM (IDT)

Shortly after President Donald Trump told the Republican Convention Friday, “The fake news doesn’t tell the truth… and we’re going to do something about it,” reporters of the New York Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, the Los Angels Times, Politico, the BBC and the Huffington Post were shut out of the regular White House briefing. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that only a pool of news organizations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps were invited. The pool included Reuters, Bloomberg, CBS, Hearst Newspapers and CBS Radio.

Others present at the briefing were Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times. Journalists from ABC, NBC, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from The Associated Press and Time magazine, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions. The Washington Post did not send a reporter to the session.

John Roberts, Fox's chief White House correspondent, said that Fox supports complaints being filed by the White House Correspondents Association and pool TV networks.

US VP Pence: The world will know America stands with Israel - February 25, 2017, 11:22 AM (IDT)

Vice President Mike Pence assured the Republican Jewish Coalition that he and President Donald Trump will work tirelessly on foreign and domestic issues important to the group, such as enacting business-friendly policies at home and supporting Israel abroad. “If the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel,” Pence told the group Friday night. The Republican administration is “assessing” whether to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, he said, and has put Iran “on notice.” The group was holding its annual conference at Sheldon Adelson’s casino resort in Las Vegas. 

This week, Pence visited the Jewish cemetery in Missouri where more than 150 gravestones had been toppled and vandalized. Speaking through a bullhorn at the site, he said there was “no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or anti-Semitism” and then picked up a rake and helped clean up the cemetery.

Coptic Christians flee N. Sinai homes after Islamist massacre - February 25, 2017, 9:34 AM (IDT)

Hundreds of Christian families arrived Friday in the Suez Canal town of Ismailia in flight from their northern Sinai home town of El Arish where ISIS' Sinai affiliate has massacred some 30 Coptic Christians since early January. Thursday, terrorists shot Kamel Youssef to death in front of his wife and children in El-Arish. The day before, they killed a Christian man and burned his son alive, killing three other Christians in drive-by shootings. DEBKAfile: ISIS launched its latest genocidal rampage following Egyptian army attacks on its strongholds in central Sinai.

At least 15 guards killed in ISIS attack on Iraqi-Jordanian border position - February 25, 2017, 9:22 AM (IDT)

 “Daesh launched an attack Friday with a suicide car bomb and gunmen on the 2nd border guard regiment near Trebil,” on the Iraqi border with Jordan, said an officer in the border guard. Among the dead Iraqi guards were two officers, he said. .The border with Jordan lies in Anbar, a vast western province where Daesh fighters have lost most of their urban strongholds but continue to harass government forces.

Iraqi forces claim that as ISIS defenses give way in western Mosul against advancing Iraqi government and US forces, they are staging diversionary terrorist attacks in other parts of the country.

Malaysian police: Deadly VX nerve agent killed Kim’s half-brother - February 24, 2017, 9:19 AM (IDT)

VX nerve agent, a chemical on a U.N. list of weapons of mass destruction, was used to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in last week's murder in a busy Kuala Lumpur airport, Malaysian police said on Friday. The two women who assaulted him wiped the deadly chemical on his face as he prepared to board a plan for the Chinese territory of Macau.
Malaysian police were investigating whether the illegal VX - believed to be the most toxic known nerve agent - was brought into the country or made there. Authorities intended to decontaminate the airport, along with other locations that suspects, three of whom were caught last week, had visited.

Police are holding the two women - one Vietnamese and the other Indonesian - along with a North Korean man. They are also seeking seven other North Koreans wanted in connection with the case, including a diplomat at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Trump: 'Military operation' against illegal immigrants in US is underway - February 23, 2017, 9:11 PM (IDT)

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration is conducting a "military operation" for the location, arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Trump's remark was a surprise because the administration was said to have no known plans to use the National Guard or any other military troops for the effort, only units from the Department of Homeland Security. The president also repeated his promise to expel gang members and drug lords, claiming "We’re getting really bad dudes out of this country and at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before." He made the comments at a roundtable discussion with CEOs of manufacturing companies at the White House.

Assad Will Let Hizballah Fire Rockets against Israel from Syrian Soil - February 23, 2017, 8:11 PM (IDT)

He promised Tehran the use of Syrian soil in a Hizballah war against Israel.

Even If Large-Scale US Forces Can Beat ISIS – It Won’t Be Swift - February 23, 2017, 8:11 PM (IDT)

Along with the deployment of US troops, Trump needs to establish a Sunni Arab front.

Saudis, Israelis Coordinate Military Steps to Face Iran - February 23, 2017, 8:11 PM (IDT)

The two governments are now working on practical, operational steps.

Iran Makes Oman Main Way-Station for Smuggling Arms to Yemeni Rebels - February 23, 2017, 8:11 PM (IDT)

Albeit a member of the GCC, Oman is supporting Iran against Saudis.

Updated: 2/26/2017 9:12:33 PM EST -5:00