It was clear that the beheading of freelance journalist James Foley was revenge for the US air strikes against the Islamic State (IS), halting their advances in different areas. Meanwhile, the US had recently failed in trying to free US hostages held in Syria. The Pentagon said that they involved air and ground components focusing on a captor network within ISIS, the former name of the Islamic State.
The mission failed because the hostages were not present in their target location.
Senior Obama Administration officials said that several dozens of special troops have been deployed into Syria to try and rescue American hostages, which included Foley. These special forces have encountered and exchanged fire with the IS militants.
James Foley was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.
Meanwhile, the video of the beheading was condemned by the United States, UK and France. They had condemned the “barbaric” act and US President Barack Obama pointed at it as an “act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world.” The UK is planning to step up its actions in Iraq after the video.
The Committee to Protect Journalists had expressed their condemnation of such actions and said they are worried about all other journalists kidnapped by the IS.
By the end of the video, another photo of a journalist was shown to be next if the United States does not halt its military operations in Iraq.
Syrian rebel forces had killed 10 Lebanese soldiers and captured more than 10 troops in their invasion of Arsal. According to Lebanon’s Army Chief, most members of the Syrian Rebel forces were affiliated with the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), both involved in heavy fighting in Syria and northern Iraq.
Residents and relief workers in Arsal said that on Sunday, the rebel forces had seized the towns. The Lebanese Army cornered them after their well-planned attack. The Lebanese forces had fired mortar, artillery fire and air strikes from fighter jets.
At least 25 other soldiers had been killed during the offensive. From the count off, Lebanese Officers confirmed that 10 more soldiers remain missing.
The Syrian Rebels and ISIS forces had taken action in Arsal after they had arrested Imad Ahmad Jomaa, according to sources the commander of a Syrian Islamist rebel group.
Arsal is home to many Syrian refugees escaping the civil war. It also worsened conditions for the townspeople. During the skirmish, the makeshift hospital in Arsal had 14 Syrian refugee casualties and dozens wounded during the attacks. The hospital had also treated Syrian rebel fighters and those from other Arab countries.
Refugees from the years-long Syrian civil war have spread throughout the Middle East, mostly in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
According to the Russian Government, Russian records show that a Ukrainian fighter jet flew close to the Malaysian passenger plane before it crashed. It also blamed Kiev for operating missile system radar stations in the area.
A separate Russian television agency had accused the United States CIA for attacking and shooting down flight MH17.
The Russian government had shown a detailed version of its theory regarding MH17. However, the detailed version did not say whether the jet fired a rocket, or which side stil fired the rocket against the MH17. Lieutenant General Igor Makushev said on national television that their radar showed another jet approaching the passenger plane.
Another satellite captured image showed that Ukraine’s missile systems were moved into the area pre-incident. The data also showed the movement of the missile systems across the areas near the airplane
However, US officials did not acknowledge the new theory and called it as “desperate propaganda” on part of the Russian government. US officials said that Ukraine’s fighter jets were on ground during the crash, and that Ukrainian jet fighters could not fly at 30,000 feet, the height of MH17 during its flight.
Intercepted calls by Ukraine’s security service revealed pro-Russian rebels having claimed to have shot down a plane, then discovered afterwards that it was a civilian aircraft. However, both Russia and the rebels have denied the accusations.
As Israel held its “day of mourning” for the three Israeli teenagers who were killed in the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced that Israel is planning its offensive against the Hamas, who they accused of kidnapping and murdering the three teenagers.
Netanyahu said that they will aim to weaken the Hamas in the West Bank and will have an offensive against the operations of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
However, Hamas has neither denied nor confirmed their involvement in the kidnapping and killing of the three teenagers. Israel suspects two prominent Hamas members to be responsible for the killing.
It was confirmed that a militant group had killed the three teenagers, with one of them, Gilad Shaar, had made a last call from his mobile phone that they were kidnapped and gunshots were heard in the background.
The Israel Military’s objective in the West Bank is to hunt down the two Hamas suspects from Hebron.
The situation had also created a critical divide in Israel’s Security Cabinet, with right-wing ministers pushing for an all-out offensive against the Hamas, while the other half wants to approach the situation with a cautious consideration for the consequences.
According to Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the weak response of Israel will only guarantee another kidnapping.
According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States ensures the support of the country if Iraq will unite against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The ISIS had already tightened their grasp on Iraq’s vital Baiji Oil Field, and several other villages and borders.
In a meeting with Iraqi leaders, Kerry said that the future of Iraq depends on the decisions made in the next few weeks by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq.
The Iraqi Prime Minister had made a deadline of July 1 to begin the process to form Iraq’s new government, which is also part of the agreement for US assistance against the militants.
Many US politicians view al-Maliki’s policies as deepening the sectarian divide, and most Sunni Muslim groups had voiced that the ISIS is only fighting for inequality and injustice, as Iraq’s government is composed mostly of Shia Muslims.
Kerry urged that the new Iraqi government be free from “sectarian motivations” and become the true voice of Iraq’s entire population. He had also met with Sunni and Shiite leaders.
Meanwhile, US military advisers conclude that Iraq’s military is demotivated after the summary executions done by the Sunnis and the apparent desertion of key military installations. The advisers also assessed that Iraq’s military equipment is inadequate against the superior equipment and veteran fighters of the ISIS.
According to the Syrian rebel group Suqour al-Sham Battalion’s leader Abu Farouk al-Shamy, an American muslim had loaded a truck with munitions and drove up the truck by a hillside in Northern Syria. His attack was in coordination with the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda tied organisation.
The al-Nusra was involved in the plot following a video that circulated in the internet. The American muslim was identified as Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki. However, his identity is still not known. US Law Enforcement deduced that the man certainly has an American connection, but it is still uncertain if he is a US citizen or resident.
Syrian activists said that four vehicles were originally part of the attack, the American was driving the biggest vehicle, which contained 17 tons of explosives, including artillery shells.
The man gained a lot of attention with netizens and radical Islamists. One website, Hanein, had posted a photo of the American, who was called Abu Hurayra al-Amriki and beside it a caption that said he performed a martyrdom operation in Idlib, Jabal Al-Araba’een.
According to observers, it will not be so surprising to confirm that the man has a US citizenship. It is also not surprising to see western fighters, including Americans, joining Islamist militant groups such as al-Nusra and al-Qaeda.
The South Korean Navy fired warning shots against the North Korean patrol boats that crossed the Yellow Sea boundary or the “Northern Limit Line” at 4PM local time. The line is the maritime border line set by the United Nations after the Korean War. However, North Korea does not recognise it, or refuses to accept it.
According to the South Korean Defense Ministry, the North Korean ships had turned the other way after the naval vessel had fired 10 warning shots.
The NLL had become infamous with many North Korean attacks against the south. Recently, North Korea shelled the waters a few meters away from the border, to which the South responded with equal measure of artillery fire in the same area. In 2010, South Korea speculated that North Korea used a submarine and launched a torpedo that sunk the South Korean ship Cheonan, which had killed 46 sailors.
Defending its borders were two new frigates that were designed to protect against South Korean submarines and protect its water borders. However, due to limited sources, media could not verify whether the frigates are ready for service. The massive size of the frigates had caused alarm for the South Korean Defense Ministry.
Ukraine Interim Government President Oleksandr Turchynov issues a decree on military service as pro-Russian activists continue to take over government buildings and had recently stormed a regional prosecutor’s office in Donetsk.
Pro-Russia separatists took over the regional prosecutor’s office on Thursday, overpowering riot policemen inside the building. Interim President Turchynov announced the compulsory military service because the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine is slowly deteriorating threaten territorial integrity.
The separatists gathered in Lenin Square for the May Day Celebrations and made their way forcefully inside the regional prosecutor’s office. More than 100 riot police fell back into the building’s internal courtyard and they were surrounded by the crowd. They surrendered their equipment and they were filed out by the protesters.
The “Donetsk People’s Republic” supporters sang songs from the Soviet era. There had been extensive looting, including stealing vehicles.
Despite the strength and integrity of the pro-Russian separatists, their numbers remain small as Donetsk has 1 million people in population, with the majority supporting Ukraine. However, due to the violence presented by the pro-Russians, they are afraid to express their opinions in public. On Sunday, a pro-Ukraine protest had been attacked by thugs with police powerless to help.
Prosecutors had raided the house of the head of the company that operated the sunken Sewol ferry, which had lost 100 lives and still has 200 passengers missing from the original 476. According to local Yonhap News Agency in South Korea, Yoo Byung-un’s house had been raided. Yoo is the owner of the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. which operated the ferry.
According to history, Yoo Byung-un had been jailed for fraud in the early 1990s. Prosecutors had also exposed several misdemeanours of the company, including its difficult share structure.
The maritime disaster that involved hundreds of students on a field trip was indicated as the biggest maritime disaster in South Korea for over 21 years.
Local media highlighted that the Sewol ferry captain Lee Joon-seok had delayed evacuating the passengers of the ship and that they all fled before all passengers could escape the sinking vessel. However, stories from both survivors and crew members made it evident that some crew members remained, and gave their life, to shepherd passengers into safety boats and rescue.
Divers are now moving the bodies of the dead into a cabin in Jin Island where the ferry had been docked. Meanwhile, Lee and two other crew members were arrested and are accused of negligence and abandonment of duty.
Considered as a traitor to the United States, Naval Intelligence Analyst based in Washington Jonathan Pollard appalled the entire country as he was discovered passing security information regarding the country to Israel. While he was the last thing on the minds of US officials, his freedom may spell hope for the Israel-Palestine peace talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had discussed with US Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the release of Pollard, who had been imprisoned in the Israeli US Embassy in 1985.
However, the now 59-year old veteran’s freedom is still pending as US President Barack Obama had not yet given a final word yet regarding his release. According to White House Spokesperson Jay Carney, “a lot of things are still happening in that arena.”
Pollard won sympathy from the Israelis because he helped Israel from the United States during the cold war. Israel is a close ally of the United States. However, he is still viewed as an unrepentant traitor and the damages of his actions were more serious. Aside from Israel, he had also sold information about the United States to China.
Meanwhile, Kerry continues to glue together the peace talks between Israel and Palestine despite a small setback involving Israel withholding the last batch of Palestine prisoners until Palestine agrees to extend talks, and Palestine wanting the release of the last batch of prisoners until they guarantee peace talks.