• No Islamic State Defeat Without Ground Force, Kerry Says

    03/Dec/2015 // 298 Viewers

     
    Defeating Islamic State won’t be possible without finding troops to fight on the ground, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, calling for a political transition in Syria that would enable “all nations” to fight the group together.
     
    The U.S. and Russia are at odds over how to fight Islamic State, with the U.S. insisting on the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia launching a military campaign to defeat his opponents. With Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other foreign ministers from Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe countries looking on, Kerry said a “political transition” in Syria was necessary to bring more countries into the conflict.
     
    “If we get political transition in place, we empower every nation and every entity to come together, the Syrian army together with the opposition, together with all the surrounding countries, together with Russia, with the U.S. and others to go and fight Daesh,” Kerry, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State, said in Belgrade. “Just imagine how quickly can the scourge be eliminated, in a matter of literally months, if we are able to secure that kind of political resolution.”
    Kerry’s call for a political transition coincides with the stepped-up offensive against Islamic State following the terrorist attacks in France last month that killed 130 people. French, Russian and U.S. warplanes have intensified their bombing of militant targets, and British jets expanded their attacks against the group to Syria overnight. On Tuesday, Germany also committed more forces to the fight.
    U.S. Special Forces
    President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly said the U.S. wouldn’t commit large-scale ground troops to fight Islamic State, has authorized dozens of special operations forces to conduct missions in Iraq and Syria. The Defense Department said this week that about 200 U.S. personnel will be deployed to Iraq to conduct specialized operations in Iraq and Syria.
    John Kerry in Belgrade
    John Kerry in Belgrade
    Calling U.S. special forces “the best in the world,” Obama said his moves to deploy them in growing numbers doesn’t violate his pledge against putting American boots on the ground to lead the fight against Islamic State.
    “We’re not going to do an Iraq-style invasion of Iraq or Syria with battalions that are moving across the desert,” he said in an interview that aired Thursday on CBS Morning News.
    U.S. special forces can “give us greater situational awareness on the ground, generate additional intelligence, work with local forces to develop smarter strategies, help direct where air strikes are going to make the most difference,” he said.
    Assad Dispute
    The dispute over how to proceed was complicated last month when North Atlantic Treaty Organization member Turkey shot down a Russian warplane. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to step up sanctions imposed against Turkey after the incident. Russia has refused to agree that Assad must step down, and Lavrov said any negotiations must include his government.
    “The negotiating situation should be between the Syrian delegation and patriotic opposition which rejects violence and extremism,” Lavrov said in Belgrade. “We need a broad anti-terrorist front with the participation of all OSCE states and the Middle Eastern countries to ensure the military defeat of Islamic State.”
    Kerry said his country is determined to defeat Islamic State, and Lavrov said destroying its goal of an Islamist Caliphate in Syria and Iraq was a priority. Kerry said Islamic State can’t be defeated by bombing alone.
    “Without the ability to find some ground forces that are prepared to take on Daesh, this will not be completed from the air, and we know that,” he said.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Bloomberg Business
     
     


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  • Jordanian Sheikh: ‘There is no “Palestine” in the Koran. Allah gave Israel to the Jews’

    03/Jan/2017 // 2077 Viewers

     

    Sheikh Ahmad Adwan, who introduces himself as a Muslim scholar who lives in Jordan, said on his personal Facebook page that there is no such thing as “Palestine” in the Koran. Allah has assigned the Holy Land to the Children of Israel until the Day of Judgment (Koran, Sura 5 – “The Sura of the Table”, Verse 21), and “We made the Children of Israel the inheritors (of the land)” (Koran, Sura 26 – “The Sura of the Poets”, Verse 59).

    “I say to those who distort their Lord’s book, the Koran: From where did you bring the name Palestine, you liars, you accursed, when Allah has already named it “The Holy Land” and bequeathed it to the Children of Israel until the Day of Judgment. There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in the Koran. Your demand for the Land of Israel is a falsehood and it constitutes an attack on the Koran, on the Jews and their land. Therefore you won’t succeed, and Allah will fail you and humiliate you, because Allah is the one who will protect them (i.e. the Jews).”

    The sheikh added: “The Palestinians are the killers of children, the elderly and women. They attack the Jews and then they use those (children, the elderly and women) as human shields and hide behind them, without mercy for their children as if they weren’t their own children, in order to tell the public opinion that the Jews intended to kill them. This is exactly what I saw with my own two eyes in the 70’s, when they attacked the Jordanian army, which sheltered and protected them. Instead of thanking it (the Jordanian army), they brought their children forward to (face) the Jordanian army, in order to make the world believe that the army kills their children. This is their habit and custom, their viciousness, their having hearts of stones towards their children, and their lying to public opinion, in order to get its support.”

    It is worth mentioning, that the above mentioned sheikh visited Israel and met Jewish religious scholars. The “Israel in Arabic” site conducted an interview with him, in which he said that the reason for his openness towards the Jewish people “comes from my acknowledgment of their sovereignty on their land and my belief in the Koran, which told us and emphasized this in many places, like His (Allah’s) saying ”Oh People (i.e the Children of Israel), enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned unto you” (Koran, Sura 5 – “The Sura of the Table”, Verse 21), and His saying “We made the Children of Israel the inheritors (of the land)” (Koran, Sura 26 – “The Sura of the Poets”, Verse 59) and many other verses.

    He (Adwan) added: “(The Jews) are peaceful people who love peace, who are not hostile and are not aggressors, but if they are attacked, they defend themselves while causing as little damage to the attackers as possible. It is an honor for them that Allah has chosen them over the worlds – meaning over the people and the Jinns until the Day of Judgment. I made the reasons for Allah’s choice clear in my books and pamphlets. When Allah chose them, He didn’t do so out of politeness, and He wasn’t unjust other peoples, it is just that they (the Jews) deserved this


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  • Again, Nigerian Government dragged to court

    03/Jan/2017 // 530 Viewers

     

    The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) has dragged the Federal Government to court over the refusal to remove from office the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir Lawal and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

    In an originating summons filed at the Federal High Court by Save Nigeria Group(SNG) and Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, they groups are seeking for the immediate resignation/sack of Magu and Babachir, as well as their prosecution having been indicted/implicated in various corruption scandals.

    The summons brought pursuant to section 88 (1) (b) and (2) (b), section 89 (1) and section 171 (1) and (2) (a) and paragraphs 1 and 2 of part 1 of the 5th schedule of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), section 3 and 4 of the EFCC establishment Act, section 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the procurement Act, Rules 010101, 020603 and 020604.

    Joined in the suit between the incorporated trustees of SNG and Kingdom Human rights Foundation are: President Federal Republic of Nigeria; Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Mr David Babachir Lawal; The Chairman of the EFCC; Mr Ibrahim Magu; AGF; The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

    The suit among others seeks the determination whether or not the indictment of the SGF by the Senate is sufficient and reasonable ground to warrant and compile President Buhari to sack or suspend Mr Babachir Lawal as SGF or compel him to resign pending when he is cleared of every allegation of corruption.

    Whether or not the indictment for corruption of Babachir Lawal by the Senate should warrant his sack or suspension as to allow the security and anti-corruption agencies investigate the allegations of corruption and prosecute anyone indicted by their investigation in view of the on-going fight against corruption.

    Whether or not the Senate has the constitutional powers to recommend the sack or suspension of Babachir Lawal as SGF on grounds of corruption allegation against him and his company in view of section 88 (1) (b) and (2) (b).

    The suit further seeks the determination whetehr or not the provision of the Federal Civil Service Rules as applicable to the EFCC and whether under the rules, a person appointed in the acting capacity can act in such capacity for more than six months in view of Rules 010101, 020603 and 020604.

    Whether or not the office of the Chairman of the EFCC is vacant on the grounds of the Senate rejection of the nomination and failure to confirm Mr Magu, who has been acting in that capacity for more than six months.
    Whether the Senate’s rejection of President Buhari’s nomination of Magu as substantive chairman of EFCC following Senates votes and proceeding of December 15, 2016, is reasonable and lawful ground to warrant and compel Buhari to appoint/ nominate another person as the chairman of the commission without any further delay.


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  • Syria truce must be brought back on track - UN envoy

    03/May/2016 // 180 Viewers

     

     

    The United Nations special envoy for Syria has underlined the need for a faltering ceasefire in the Middle Eastern country to be brought back on track amid surging violence in some parts of the Syrian territory.

    “We need to make sure the cessation of hostilities is brought back on track," Staffan de Mistura said at the start of a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.

    The truce, brokered by Moscow and Washington, went into effect late February in a bid to facilitate negotiations between warring sides to the conflict gripping the Arab state.

    However, an escalation in fighting in recent weeks has left the ceasefire in tatters and torpedoed the peace talks.

    The latest round of UN-brokered indirect peace talks, which began in the Swiss city of Geneva on April 13, were brought to a halt after the main foreign-backed opposition group, known as the High Negotiations Committee, walked out of the discussions to protest at what it called the Damascus government’s violation of the armistice.

    Elsewhere in his remarks, the UN mediator on Syria praised the cessation of hostilities as a "remarkable achievement,” adding all efforts must make the truce regime more effective.

    He is also expected to push for the truce to include the northern city of Aleppo, which has been a flashpoint over the past weeks.

    Aleppo has been divided between the government forces and foreign-backed militants since 2012, a year after the conflict broke out in Syria. Dozens have been killed in renewed clashes over the past few days as warnings are high that a human tragedy may unfold in the city.

    Lavrov, for his part, stressed that Russian and US military officials are working on spreading the ceasefire to new districts across Syria.

     "Work is being conducted, primarily by the Russian and American military..., to consolidate the cessation of hostilities regime, spread it to new districts and create optimal conditions for delivering humanitarian aid," he said.

    Syrians inspect damage in the government-controlled side of the northern city of Aleppo following fighting between government forces and foreign-backed militants on April 28, 2016. ©AFP

    The top Russian diplomat also noted that Moscow and Washington will create a joint center in Geneva to monitor the situation in Syria.

    He further expressed concerns over Turkey’s shelling of Syria, adding that closing border between the two states is becoming more urgent.

    Germany to host talks on Syria

    In a relevant development on Tuesday, the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country's top diplomat will meet with his French counterpart, the UN envoy for Syria, and Syria's main opposition leader, Riad Hijab, on Wednesday over the crisis in the Arab country.

    The discussions will focus on "how the conditions for a continuation of the peace talks in Geneva can be met, as well as how a reduction of violence and an improvement in the humanitarian situation in Syria can be achieved,” the statement read. - AFP

     

     


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  • Ahmed Chalabi, the man who drove the US to war in Iraq, dies

    03/Nov/2015 // 146 Viewers

    Ali Al-Saadi, AFP / Former Iraqi deputy prime minister Ahmed Chalabi during a press conference on July 15, 2014 in Baghdad

    Ahmed Chalabi, the man who championed the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, died of a heart attack, Iraqi state TV announced Tuesday. He was 71.

    A scion of a wealthy Iraqi Shiite family, Chalabi was a key player in the George W. Bush administration’s controversial bid to build a case for the ouster of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.

    Details of the 71-year-old Iraqi politician’s death were sketchy. Iraqi state TV announced Tuesday that Chalabi died of a heart attack in Baghdad.

    According to Iraqi parliamentarian Haitham al-Jabouri, who is also secretary of parliament's financial panel which Chalabi had chaired, attendants found the secular Shiite politician dead in bed in his Baghdad home.

    A divisive figure often blamed for providing false intelligence on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction to justify the US invasion, Chalabi was a close ally of Washington neoconservatives such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith in the lead-up to the 2003.

    Return from exile 

    Following Saddam’s ouster, he returned from exile in the US to Iraq, where he played a key role in a disastrous de-Baathification programme. His return to Iraq marked a period of growing wealth for the Chalabi family amid numerous corruption allegations.

    A quintessential middleman and dealer, Chalabi maintained ties with former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, weathering corruption probes in the post-Saddam era.

    Despite a widely held view in Washington’s neoconservative circles that Chalabi was the ideal candidate to lead a post-Saddam Iraq, the secular Shiite politician who spent most of his life in exile never made it to the top spot in Iraqi politics.

    After the disastrous de-Baathification programme, Chalabi had a falling out with the Pentagon and was largely sidelined by other Iraqi leaders, many with close ties to neighboring Iran.

    Chalabi had been serving as the chairman of parliament's finance committee, and was previously a deputy prime minister.

     


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  • Russian jets bomb IS group near historic Syrian city of Palmyra

    03/Nov/2015 // 216 Viewers

    © Stuart Williams and Sara Hussein in Beirut, Russian Defence Ministry, AFP | A video grab from October 6, 2015, of footage from the Russian Defence Ministry's official website purporting to show an Su-24M bomber dropping bombs during an airstrike in Syria

    Russia's air force has struck the area around the Islamic State-held ancient city of Palmyra, the defence ministry said Monday, as Moscow pressed on with its bombing campaign in Syria.

    "Su-25 jets hit a fortified IS position in the Tadmur area of Homs province," Moscow's defence ministry said in a statement, using the Arabic name for Palmyra.

    "As a result of a direct strike, a fortification, an underground bunker and anti-aircraft artillery were destroyed."

    It appeared to be the first time that Russia has confirmed a strike close to the UNESCO World Heritage site, after Moscow denied Syrian state television claims that it hit the ancient city in early October.

    Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Brtiain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also said that Russian planes had targeted Palmyra with strikes on Monday.

    Khaled al-Homsi, an activist from Palmyra, said that Russian air strikes on Monday struck the ancient citadel on the western edges of the historical site.

    "The extent of the damage could not be verified," he told AFP.

    Russia did not specify when the strikes took place but said its jets struck over 237 targets in Syria over the past two days in a statement Monday.

    Russian warplanes pounded sites belonging to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front "terrorist groups" in the Homs, Hama, Latakia, Damascus, Aleppo and Raqa provinces, Moscow said in a statement.

    In Aleppo province, Moscow said it hit a training camp for foreign fighters and an improvised explosive device production plant, and said in the Hama province it destroyed two armoured vehicles.

    Russia's military said it also took out a key Al-Nusra Front command post on a strategic hill in the coastal Latakia region.

    The latest strikes came after the broadest international talks to end the conflict were held on Friday in Vienna.

    For the first time, the meeting brought together all the main outside players in the crisis, including Russia and Iran, key allies of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Participants agreed to ask the United Nations to broker a peace deal between the regime and opposition – which were not represented at the talks – to clear the way for a new constitution and UN-supervised elections.

    Russia has been bombing in Syria since the end of September to help troops loyal to Assad fight what it calls "terrorists".

    The US and its allies in a separate coalition bombing IS say that Moscow is mainly targeting more moderate groups fighting Assad.

    (AFP, DGW)


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  • BREAKING NEWS: Why Christianity’s holiest shrine is guarded by two Muslim families (Watch video)

    03/Nov/2016 // 671 Viewers

     

    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City is Christianity's most hallowed shrine. It's believed that the rock-cut tomb at the heart of the church was where the body of Jesus Christ was once laid.

    Over the past week, for the first time in centuries, a team of conservationists and researchers removed a marble slab that lay in a rotunda, known as the Edicule, at the center of the complex. It's the spot, as my colleague William Booth put it earlier this year, when the renovation project first began, "where millions of pilgrims have knelt and prayed, where the salt of tears and the wet of sweat have smoothed and worried the hardest stone."

    After hours of careful examination, the team found what they believe was the limestone bed where Jesus could have been buried. National Geographic had exclusive access to the project and published pictures and footage of its efforts.





    "I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this,” Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic's archaeologist-in-residence, is quoted by the publication's website. "We can't say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades." They have now resealed the tomb in its original marble cladding.

    The debate will go on about whether this is the true site of religion's most famous burial and resurrection. Whatever the provenance of the story — which, after all, led to the church's original construction some 1,600 years ago — it is now layered in centuries of real history.

    Here's Booth with a quick synopsis:

    Today, the site thrums with piety, but history knows it is soaked in blood. There have been at least four Christian chapels erected over the site. The first was by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, who swept aside a pagan temple Hadrian built to the goddess Aphrodite — perhaps a move by Rome to deny early Christians a place of pilgrimage. The Holy Sepulchre was saved by the Muslim conqueror Omar in 638; destroyed by the Egyptian Caliph al-Hakim in 1009; rebuilt by the Crusaders who themselves slaughtered half the city; protected again by the Muslim conqueror Saladin and laid waste again by the fearsome Khwarezmian Turks, whose horsemen rode into the church and lopped off the heads of praying monks.
    And when the world surrounding the religious complex was not convulsed in chaos, tensions among the faithful worshiping within could often boil over. The church has been shared for centuries by six old Christian congregations — Latin (Roman Catholic), Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syrian Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and Egyptian Copts.

    Disputes among these sects over the sharing of the church have sparked skirmishes and street riots over the centuries. Through the ages, clerics from the various orders have battled over the ritual sweeping of steps, the placing of carpets in front of altars, and even the right of walking in procession to the Edicule.

    "The rival groups of worshipers fought not only with their fists, but with crucifixes, candle sticks, chalices, lamps and incense-burners, and even bits of wood which they tore from the sacred shrines," wrote historian Orlando Figes, when referring to a particularly pitched battle between Orthodox and Catholic clergymen in 1846. "The fighting continued with knives and pistols smuggled into the Holy Sepulchre by worshipers of either side."

    The animosities linger to the present day and have inhibited much-needed repairs and structural improvements to the site. In 2009, a bloody brawl broke out between Armenian and Greek Orthodox priests and led to the church being flooded by Israeli riot police. Other recent incidents were summed up by a blogger at the time:

    In 2002, a Coptic monk whose job is to sit on the roof to express the Coptics’ claims to the Ethiopian part of the roof (!) moved his chair into the shade. The Ethiopians objected to this, and a fight erupted that put 11 monks in the hospital.
    In 2004, an Orthodox monk allegedly left the door open to the Franciscan chapel after a procession. The Franciscans took this as a sign of disrespect, and several arrests were made after the ensuing fistfight.
    In April 2008, on Palm Sunday, another brawl broke out after an Orthodox monk was ejected from the building. When police arrived to stop the fighting, the monks went after them, too.
    And this year, The Washington Post was on hand to watch scuffles break out between monks and onlookers observing the Miracle of the Holy Fire.

    The Washington Post Scuffle breaks out at Miracle of the Holy Fire celebration Priests and worshippers scuffle during the Miracle of the Holy Fire celebration at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in April. They were waiting for the bundles of lit candles that symbolize Christ's resurrection.
    The intractable nature of these rivalries has led to a rather curious, unique arrangement that dates to the 12th century: Two Muslim families were entrusted by a presumably weary Arab potentate to be the gatekeepers of the church. The Joudeh family keeps the key, while the Nuseibeh family opens up the church door every morning and locks it in the evening.

    In an interview with CNN earlier this year, Adeeb Joudeh, the current keeper of the key — an old, cast-iron object that's a foot long — described his family's hereditary task as a metaphor for religious tolerance.

    "For me, the source of coexistence for Islamic and Christian religions is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre," he said.

    His counterpart, Wajeeh Nuseibeh, described the vital role of these two Muslim families in Jerusalem to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005.

    "Like all brothers, they sometimes have problems," he said, referring to the feuding Christian sects. "We help them settle their disputes. We are the neutral people in the church. We are the United Nations. We help preserve peace in this holy place." - msn


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  • ISIS terrorists try to stone a woman to death for adultery then there was a miraculous intervention.

    03/Oct/2016 // 8052 Viewers

     

    The woman was sentenced to be stoned for committing adultery in the ISIS controlled area of northern Syria this past Friday according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The sentence was carried out by a group of gunmen in the small town Raqqa.

    After the identified woman was pelted by heavy stones and thought dead by her executors, she stood up and began to walk away. When one of the jihadi attempted to capture her again, he was stopped by an Islamic jurist.

    “Her sentence is done, let her go and repent to her God.” The jurist said.

    Some claim that it was “God’s will” that she survived her punishment for the crime of adultery:

    “An IS militant was about to open fire at her when an Islamist jurist intervened and stopped him saying it was God’s will that she did not die,” The Observatory said about the execution by stoning. 

    Other women have not been as fortunate. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 15 people, 9 of which have been women, have been executed by ISIS in Syria since  July for the crimes of adultery or homosexuality.


    Apostasy and blasphemy are also crimes that are punishable by death according to ISIS. And because of the jihadist group's fear-mongering and brutal interpretation of their religious laws, ISIS is able to strengthen its hold on the region.

    Feature image: The Stoning of Soraya.


    Link to news source: http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2015/02/09/isis-terrorists-try-to-stone-a-woman-to-death-for-adultery-then-there-was-a-miraculous-intervention.html


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  • Hollandes visits French military personnel aboard Charles de Gaulle carrier off Syrian coast

    04/Dec/2015 // 361 Viewers


    The President of France, Francois Hollande on Friday paid a visit to French military personnel aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. 

    The aircraft carrier is stationed somewhere off the Syrian coast from where French jet bombers have been launching air strikes on IS targets in the region, DailyGlobeWatch can authoritatively reveal.

    The carrier  France's only one with 38 warplanes on board had been deployed in the Mediterranean off the  Syrian coast before November 13  Paris attacks that left over 130 people dead.

    This is not the first time Charles de Gaulle would be deployed for such operations. Sources told DailyGlobeWatch that it had before now carried out similar operations in the Persian Gulf between February and April this year.

     


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  • Israel destroys east Jerusalem assailant homes

    04/Jan/2016 // 176 Viewers

     

     

    AFP | Israeli soldiers stand guard as cement mixers pump concrete into the home of Alaa Abu Jamal, shot dead after running over and then stabbing a rabbi at a Jerusalem bus stop, in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber on January 4, 2016

     

    JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli forces on Monday destroyed the east Jerusalem homes of two Palestinians who killed four Israelis in one of the deadliest days in the recent surge in violence.

    In the neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber, the home of Palestinian Alaa Abu Jamal was filled with concrete and sealed off, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

    Abu Jamal had on October 13 rammed his car into people at a Jerusalem bus stop and jumped out with a knife, stabbing a rabbi to death before being shot dead.

    Abu Jamal was also a cousin of two Palestinians who in November stormed a synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighbourhood with meat cleavers and a pistol, killing five Jewish worshippers and a policeman before being shot dead.

    In another part of Jabel Mukaber, Israeli forces used jackhammers to destroy the walls of Bahaa Allyan's home, the middle floor of a three-storey building.

    Allyan and another Palestinian, Bilal Ghanem, had on October 13 shot and stabbed passengers on a bus in Jerusalem, killing two Israelis and a US-Israeli dual national.

    Allyan was shot dead while Ghanem was arrested.

    Hundreds of Israeli police and soldiers were on site for the home destructions, which took place without incident after residents were cleared from the area.

    "I don't have any other place to live," Allyan's father Mohammed told AFP.

    "The army just said 'we are going to destroy the house, get out' -- this measure punishes a father, a mother, a brother, a sister and (four) children" who were living in the house, he said.

    In a wave of Palestinian attacks since October 1 -- including stabbings, car rammings and gunfire targeting security forces and civilians -- 22 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean have been killed.

    At the same time, according to an AFP count, 138 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out attacks.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November vowed to expedite punitive house demolitions in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which he said were "one of the most efficient tools" in discouraging Palestinian attacks.

    The controversial practice is widely used in the West Bank and resumed in east Jerusalem in November after a five-year hiatus.

    According to the United Nations, 19 homes of families and neighbours of Palestinian attackers were destroyed by Israel last year.


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