The Pentagon verifies the authenticity of an ISIS video released by its media allies showing fighters securing a single US air drop intended for Kobane Kurdish Defenders. However, they said these are equipment the ISIS already has. According to the Pentagon, one supply drop is not enough to arm a formidable platoon.
The Pentagon said the strong winds blew off the supply drop’s intended target.
In the video, the cache contained a large number of grenades and medical supplies. Some of the equipment were rusty and new. Some of the equipment shown were rocket-propelled grenades.
The Pentagon verified that there was only one supply drop that missed its mark.
US air strikes have destroyed other caches dropped into Kobane to avoid ISIS possession.
The Islamic State had also stolen several American M1 Abrams tanks from the Iraqi army base in the Anbar Province.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, highly opposed to the US air drop, said that the move was “wrong.” He stressed the long-term Kurdish possession of the weapons, which may land to the hands of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party designated as a dangerous terrorist organisation by the US and NATO.
However, Turkey has allowed Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to enter the Turkish border to reinforce Kobane’s defence and push back ISIS from the strategic town.
The Hong Kong Government announced Saturday that all necessary actions will be taken to ensure protests were removed by Monday morning. However, by 6am, student demonstrators still remained in the Central district and other areas of government offices in the Admiralty areas.
Some protesters have withdrawn from the protest, but hundreds have arrived to replace them. Many of the protesters blocked entrance to the Chief Executive’s Office.
The student protesters had earlier warned of extended protests after no agreement had become fruitful for talks regarding Hong Kong’s political system. As protesters prepared to have themselves forcefully removed by police, not one arrived to make good on the Government’s promise.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government had agreed to have dialogue with the Hong Kong Federation of Students regarding constitutional reform if they call on protesters to clear the streets and lift the blockades on government facilities.
The talks were offered on Thursday, but student leaders did not acknowledge the offer because many students were violently assaulted by riot police in Mong Kok on Friday. However, Federation Secretary Andrew Chow told the crowd that they had now started preparing for dialogue with Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students had also apologized to the public for the transportation inconvenience. Chow said that the protesters will be clearing access roads for government workers and other employees.
If not for the US’ attacks in Iraq, the balance between Sunni and Shia Muslims will still be the same. The US-led campaign had left many Sunnis in Iraq marginalised, especially with a Shia-dominated and western-backed Iraqi government. With majority of Sunnis in Syria revolting and dead against the dominance of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Shia minority, the Sunnis were left powerless to defend themselves against the Syrian regime..
All of these played right into the hands of the Islamic State.
According to political analysts, the US, Arab and other coalition country air strikes will only diminish the threat at present. However, it will not eradicate the threat of a new ISIS, al-Qaeda or any other terrorist splinter group forming because of the conditions there are for ethnic and religious minorities.
Meanwhile, the United States had thanked the efforts of Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for their support for the coalition. The five Arab countries had just finished their first bombing run with the United States and had confirmed the kill of 14 ISIS targets inside Syria.
Without a regional consensus, no true peace in the Middle East exists, says Financial Times political analyst David Gardner. Another front is fighting against the IS, namely Iran and other Shia militia from Iraq. He said that there is no possibility of re-ordering the Middle East unless its main actors want to put an end to the causes once and for all.
According to an anonymous Israel Military Official, Hamas had suffered 16,000 estimated combatant casualties as of Tuesday from the 50-Day Israel-Gaza war continues. The official said to reporters that militant Groups in Gaza probably had 2,500 to 3,000 rockets, which the Israeli military was able to destroy 3,000 before the ceasefire. Hamas and other groups had launched 4,000 rockets in total, misfiring against Israeli targets, hitting some Israel advances and suspected to have targeted some of Palestine’s own population.
The official provided evidence that Senior Hamas Commanders have been killed and thousands of operatives were wounded. Militant headquarters were also heavily damaged during the bombing run.
Hamas landed 875 rockets inside Gaza, increasing suspicion that Hamas was targeting the local Palestinian population and using civilians as their shields in the conflict.
The official commented that Hamas’ new tactics involved rocket sites concealed underground as operatives moved through tunnel networks accessible inside houses, making them hard to reach and virtually invisible.
Israel can only confirm the deaths of 341 Hamas, 182 Islamic Jihad militants and 93 other militants from smaller groups. Meanwhile, in the 2,127 Palestinian casualties, 706 were civilians, 805 still remain unknown as combatant or civilians.
The Israeli official has also not verified whether the bombing attack against the house of Muhammad Deif, the military chief of Hamas, has left him dead or alive.
Three Top Hamas Officials, Mohammed Abu Shamala, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar were killed in Rafah, a southern town in Gaza. According to the Palestinian Rescue Services, the three Hamas officials were among the three individuals out of six who were killed in the bombing in the area.
Meanwhile, both Hamas and Israel blame each other for re-starting the hostilities between the two countries. Israel said that 10 Hamas rockets flew into the town of Beersheba and Tel Aviv. Meanwhile Hamas said that Israel’s air strikes came first before the rocket volley.
Israel has made it an ultimatum to disarm Hamas and ensure the “full security” of Israel from the militant group.
So far, 2,103 Palestinians have died within six weeks
Shamala was the senior commander of the south of Gaza and was the Commander of Rafah, who had captured Gilad Shalit, an Israeli Soldier. Barhoum and al-Attar are responsible, along with Shamala, for building the tunnel networks and smuggling activities of the Hamas.
Both Hamas and Israel had abandoned efforts to negotiate a lasting ceasefire with Israel. The UN Security Council was “gravely concerned” at the restart of the hostilities and called for the two sides to re-negotiate their ceasefire options. Meanwhile, Egypt promised it will continue to pursue a lasting truce for both countries.
A 72-hour Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accepted by both Israel and Hamas, replacing the earlier one broken by one of the two sides will take effect Tuesday at 8AM local time. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that both parties must respect the terms of the truce. Both sides are encouraged to meet in Cairo and resolve the dispute for a long-term ceasefire arrangement.
Israeli Officials said Israel prepared for the possibility that Hamas might violate the ceasefire as it had done recently. The officials cautioned that the public must remain vigilant against any possible major attack pulled by Hamas before the ceasefire.
After Israel finished the underground tunnels used by militants for infiltration operations, Israel accepted the ceasefire.
A Palestinian Delegation representing Gaza presented their demands to the Egyptian government. It called for the lift of the siege of the Gaza Strip, the reopening of all the border crossings. They also called for policing Israel regarding military attacks and UN assistance in rebuilding the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Officials deemed the demands as unrealistic and it will pull out all Israeli forces in Gaza once it is honoured. Israel had also not made clear if they will be sending their delegation immediately for indirect talks on a long-term agreement.
Latest information from the United States Intelligence indicate that Russia created conditions favourable to ensure the attack against the MH17, which killed 298 passengers, majority of which were Dutch. Earlier intelligence indicated that the attack came from pro-Russian rebels because intercepted communications indicated in the same day a plane they have shot down.
US Officials also said that complex equipment, such as surface-to-air missile launchers, need training, and Russian forces are involved in training the pro-Russian rebels to use weapons they have provided. Information also indicates that the Ukrainian military is yet to fight through airstrikes because the fighting in Donetsk and eastern Ukraine is still on the ground.
Russia had tried to present their theory regarding a Ukrainian Military Jet flying close to the MH17 and shooting it down near Torez at eastern Ukraine to debunk the surface-to-air missiles theory and their suspected sponsorship of the Donetsk rebels.
Social media intelligence posted by rebels in the past show a surface-to-air armament situated in Shizhne, which is not far from the Russian border. US intelligence indicates the missiles were fired from this town.
Meanwhile, Netherland investigators are currently studying the bodies of the passengers of the MH17. Malaysian officials have also retrieved the black boxes from the rebels surrounding the downed aircraft.
Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have agreed to take on mutually-agreed steps to stop the hostilities in eastern Ukraine as the 10-day ceasefire between the Ukraine Military and Pro-Russian rebels have expired. A village with unknown assailants from the Ukraine Military and the Rebels have nine civilians dead during a skirmish on Wednesday.
The Foreign Ministers have agreed to hold talks including the pro-Russian rebels by July 5. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the talks will discuss the conditions for truce that would help all sides stop hostilities as soon as possible. The Contract Group, composed of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will be maintaining three-way communications for the truce talks.
Ukraine Foreign Minister Pablo Klimkin said that Ukraine wanted all Rebel-held hostages be released and that Ukraine should have higher security detail on its borders to stop the rebels from having new fighters join their ranks and new weapons into east Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier said that the situation in Ukraine “had escalated” and that it is on the brink of being out of control.
Hostages with the Rebels include Two Ukrainian TV journalists, who had been released earlier, and other Ukrainian military soldiers and officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had called on Russia’s upper house on Tuesday to revoke his right to use military intervention in Ukraine to defend Russian speakers in the country. The United States and the UN had welcomed Putin’s move, but it is still calling for more stand-down between the Russian and Ukrainian military.
However, the cease fire proposed by the two countries is in peril as pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine had shot down a military helicopter that killed Ukrainian passengers on board.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s welcomed Putin’s move and said that it was the first step towards the resolution of the Ukrainian conflict in its eastern areas. The western world views Putin’s move as a sign that Russia was willing to help resolve the Ukrainian crisis, and follows his statement of support for Poroshenko’s peace plan for eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton did not comment if Russia’s request for removal of military intervention could earn it less-tougher sanctions. The US still called on Russia to perform “tangible actions” evident for its support of the cease fire. According to US Vice President Joe Biden, Russia should stop supplying weapons to militants across the border.
According to the Ukrainian government, the shot-down helicopter were a crew of technicians who were installing devices that will help monitor any violations of the Ukraine-Russian Peace Plan.
Iran’s government already claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s victory in the Syrian election Monday. Iran had already announced his re-election and had hailed it as a defeat of the western countries, particularly the United States.
However, the United States does not consider the Syrian elections a fair and just elections as it is only a “parody of democracy” as the public must play in the hands of the Assad regime, which guarantees that the outcome works for them. No serious competitors to the presidency were also present.
The elections, with Assad’s pre-emptive win, will extend his presidency for seven years in the country.
Iran had dispatched monitors to observe the voting.
Many political analysts also claim that the Syrian elections is unofficial because many Syrians are scattered all over the world. Millions from the population have taken refuge in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Some have fled to other European and Western countries.
According to Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, western countries should give up their illusions of dominating Syria through military methods. According to Major General Rahim Safavi of the Iranian Military, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other western powers have failed to overthrow Assad.
Iran’s hailing of Assad’s pre-emptive one is indicative of its undying support to the Syrian regime, according to political analysts.