Debka News

Saudi King Salman arrives in Jordan for the annual Arab Summit - March 27, 2017, 7:30 PM (IDT)

The annual Arab Summit opens in Amman Wednesday with the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen on the formal agenda. Jordan’s King Abdullah was on the tarmac at a military airport outside the capital to greet the Saudi monarch Monday with a lavish ceremony, complete with cannon salutes, guards on camel back and a cream-colored vintage Mercedes. 

President Rivllin denies Olmert’s pardon application - March 27, 2017, 5:10 PM (IDT)

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is serving a 27-month jail sentence on multiple corruption charges, applied to President Reuven Rivlin for a pardon and was rejected. The president said Monday that his service to the country and its security as prime minister were taken into account when the court handed down its sentence. Olmert was prime minister from 2006 to 2009. If he serves his sentence in full, he will be freed in the summer of 2018, unless his application to commute his sentence by one-third is approved by the Paroles Committee.

Congressional source: Kushner’s Russian meetings eyed by intelligence committee - March 27, 2017, 4:34 PM (IDT)

The US Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to interview President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on his Russian meetings, a congressional source reported  Monday, shortly after Kushner was revealed by the Washington Post as leading a new unit for overhauling the US federal bureaucracy. Kushner has said “government should run like a great American company.”
The accent will be on technology and data. 
 

Palestinian stabbing attack thwarted - March 27, 2017, 11:32 AM (IDT)

A terrorist who tried to stab a soldier at the Samaria Brigade Square near Nablus Monday was nabbed by the soldiers without using firearms.
 

WhatsApp: Scapegoat for London’s security lapses - March 27, 2017, 10:25 AM (IDT)

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd Sunday, March 26, attacked WhatsApp for refusing intelligence services and police access to its encrypted messaging service, used by Khalid Masood three minutes before his terrorist rampage in London last Wednesday. That is not the real impediment to the investigation, because Western intelligence knows how to hack such encrypted messages.
 

Pence: Trump is defender of Israel and Jewish people - March 27, 2017, 7:57 AM (IDT)

Vice President Mike Pence, in a keynote address Sunday to the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said of President Donald Trump,  “For the first time in a long time America has a president who will stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies.” Regarding his campaign pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Pence said only this was under serious consideration. Trump also wants to see Israeli-Palestinian peace, Pence said, “and undoubtedly there will have to be compromises,” an allusion to his asking Israel to slow down settlement building.

US-backed SDF storms N. Syrian air base from ISIS - March 26, 2017, 10:35 PM (IDT)

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, on Sunday entered the military airport of Tabqa held by the Islamic State militant group in northern Syria, a spokesman said. The alliance is tightening its grip on the vicinity around the ISIS de facto capital in Syria preparatory to launching an assault on the town. This is the second important success of the alliance under US command. Control of Tabqa air base will allow US attack helicopters to land for close air support of the offensive to capture Raqqa. 

Russian police detain opposition leader, hundreds of protesters - March 26, 2017, 9:09 PM (IDT)

In the biggest wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in six years, Russian police Sunday detained hundreds of protesters across Russia, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny. They were rallying against corruption and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, just a year before Vladimir Putin hopes to run for a fourth term as president. Navalny hopes to channel public discontent to support his candidacy, although the polls are heavily in favor of Putin. 

Hamas shuts Gaza-Israeli border crossings - March 26, 2017, 9:13 AM (IDT)

Hamas has just shut down the border crossing points between the Gaza Strip and Israel without explanation. Neither Palestinians not international officials are allowed to enter or exit the enclave.

IDF launches military exercises on two fronts, high alert on third - March 26, 2017, 8:59 AM (IDT)

Israel embarked Sunday on two week-long military exercises – one across the Golan to drill the forces’ preparedness for attack, and the other in Judea and Samaria. Residents were warned the drills will be accompanied by explosions.
The troops of the Southern Command and the Gaza region went on high terror alert following Hamas threats Saturday to avenge the gunning down of Mazen Fukaha, a senior member of its armed wing, of which they accuse the Mossad.  Fukaha, who was released from jail for multiple terrorist murders in the prisoner exchange for Gilead Shalit, was in charge of Hamas terror operations against Israelis in Judea and Samaria. Four shots from a silenced pistol ended his life outside his home in Gaza.
 

Pentagon: US air strike kills senior al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan - March 26, 2017, 8:40 AM (IDT)

A US counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed Qari Yasin, an al-Qaida leader from Baluchistan who had plotted numerous attacks, the Pentagon confirmed. The airstrike that led to his death was conducted March 19 in Paktika Province. Yasin plotted the September bombing on Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens, including two American service members, Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez and Navy Cryptologist Technician 3rd Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O’Bryant; as well as the bus attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore that killed six Pakistani policemen and two civilians and wounded six members of the cricket team. 

ISIS U-Turns West to Lebanon as Next Target - March 25, 2017, 11:12 AM (IDT)

Kurdish and Arab fighters dropped by American helicopters over a region west of the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa quickly captured at least five villages and so cut jihadist concentrations in the northwestern Syria from their Raqqa stronghold. debkafile: This operation was the opening shot of the US-led campaign to isolate the Islamic State’s Syrian capital before storming it. Escaping ISIS fighters from Mosul and Raqqa are meanwhile heading for the first time to Lebanon.

 

Updated: 3/27/2017 4:13:00 PM EST -5:00