The Islamic State terrorist group released a video Tuesday showing the burning to death of captured Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Jordan vowed revenge, and as an initial step security officials announced that on Wednesday the country will carry out the execution of a female prisoner that IS sought in exchange for Kasasbeh.
Earlier Tuesday, eight people were killed and at least 24 were injured in a traffic accident in the Negev Tuesday. The fatalities were all women from a Bedouin tribe.
Meanwhile, the Labor-Hatnua joint list for the Knesset was announcing its socioeconomic plan, drafted by Manuel Trajtenberg. The Times of Israel followed events as they unfolded.
Herzog’s new slogan? ‘It’s the economy, Bibi!’
Isaac Herzog channels Clinton to Bush: At opening of press conference in Tel Aviv on Labor’s social-economic agenda, he says, “It’s the economy, Bibi! It’s healthcare, Bibi! It’s cost of living and cost of housing, Bibi!”
Trajtenberg says a trillion shekels is kept from public
Zionist Camp candidate Emanuel Trajtenberg says state financial institutions are “sitting on a trillion shekels” which effectively belong to the people of Israel.
“It’s a hard number to grasp, like a long search result on Google,” he jokes. This money is “inaccessible” to Israeli families , but this should change, he says.
20 or more hurt in traffic accident in south
At least 20 people were injured in a collision between a bus and a tractor near Lehavim junction in the south of Israel.
Magen David Adom announces the collision a “multiple casualty incident.”
Hamas claims to capture ‘chief collaborator’
Hamas claims to have captured the most senior collaborator with Israel, NRG reports. Palestinian officials say that during wide-scale operations in Gaza City by the Hamas security forces, a man who is considered “highly dangerous” by the terror organization was captured.
The unnamed Palestinian officials also say the man admitted during interrogations that he is a collaborator with Israel and was also responsible for recruiting other Gazans to collaborate.
More details emerge of Lehavim crash
First details emerge of traffic collision in the south: Shortly before 2:30 p.m., a tractor, a bus and a private vehicle collided near Lehavim junction.
At least 20 people were injured and all Magen David Adom teams in the area are called to help evacuate them to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
At least 7 dead in multi-vehicle crash
At least seven people were killed, five people are in critical condition and at least 50 were injured in the traffic collision in the south of Israel.
Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller says “this is a very serious collision between a bus, a truck and a tractor. From initial reports [we know there are] paramedics helping 50 commuters who were on the bus. There are several killed but the rest of the injured are conscious. Helicopters were scrambled to the area.”
People still trapped on bus, says firefighter
Channel 2 says several people with critical injuries are still on the site of the accident in Lehavim, also that some injured may be trapped on the bus.
Death toll according to Channel 2 is at least 7, one fewer than previously reported.
The bus was hit all along its length and was full of passengers.
Eli Peretz, from the Beersheba Fire Rescue forces, says the “accident is very tough. Every person that was on the side of the bus that was hit is injured badly.”
As of now, 9 or 10 people are still trapped inside the bus, Peretz said.
Some on site still undergoing resuscitation
“We are getting reports live from the scene. We learn there are more than 50 people hurt. There are several dead people, apparently 8. These are preliminary reports, the event is still ongoing,” an MDA official tells Channel 2.
“Some injured people are in critical condition and some are still undergoing resuscitation. I say carefully based on the reports we get there are no people alive left trapped on the bus. I say this very carefully since we are not sure but this is what I know from reports on the scene.”
Zaka man says eight dead in accident
Zaka’s Shimon Zagouri tells Channel 2 that a truck carrying a tractor collided with the bus and the tractor fell near the bus and damaged the left side of the bus.
Zagouri says eight people are dead [as of 3 p.m.].
‘It feels like a terror attack’
Gadi Kellerman, a Zaka official in Beersheba, says the scene of the accident is “reminiscent of terror attacks. It’s very difficult here.”
IAF, firefighters, MDA join forces on site
Firefighters from the Beersheba Fire and Rescue Services, Magen David Adom paramedics and helicopters, and IAF helicopters, all join forces on the site of the massive accident near Lehavim junction in the south. Zaka volunteers are also on site.
The bus that was hit is a public bus. Most people killed or injured are residents of the area, says Channel 2.
Images from scene of accident in the south
Bus carried Bedouin returning from al-Aqsa
Rahat Mayor Talal al-Karinawi says eight people killed were Bedouin residents of Rahat and its environs.
“This is a very serious accident. The eight killed were from communities around Rahat… and 21 people were badly hurt.”
These people returned from prayers at al-Aqsa mosque and they were on their way home, says al-Karinawi. “These are senior citizens, not children, they have families.”
Bus owner describes phone call with driver
Nezir, owner of the bus company whose bus was hit in the accident, says in shaky voice that the driver of the bus “calls, he is crying, says there were 54 passengers on the bus and that a truck rammed into him.”
“He said ‘there was an accident, many dead’ and shut the phone,” Nezir tells Channel 2.
Truck driver held by police; roads closed
Route 31 is blocked from Shoket junction to the Eshkolot roundabout and Route 40 is blocked from Lehavim junction toward Lehavim.
Commander Yoram Halevi, chief of the Southern District of Israel Police, says the driver of the truck is being interrogated by police.
“In fact what happened is a collision of a truck with a bus with light friction, but it was sufficient to kill many civilians in the bus.”
The bus passengers were reportedly all women returning from Jerusalem.
Evacuation of injured complete
Yehuda Shushan, Southern District Director at Magen David Adom, says the evacuation of the injured has come to an end. There are 21 people lightly hurt, two suffering moderate injuries, one badly injured and eight women dead.
Council head says he warned of hazardous road this morning
Eli Levi, head of the Lehavim Regional Council, says he alerted the director general of the Transportation Ministry this very morning of the hazards of Road 31, where a pickup truck carrying a tractor lethally collided with a bus, claiming the lives of eight women and injuring 24 others.
“All relevant authorities are skirting the issue,” Levi tells Ynet. “This is a dangerous road with bad infrastructure,” he adds.
Police spokesman tweets image of crash
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweets an image taken from a police helicopter of the crash:
Photo from police helicopter above bus crash site. Emergency and rescue teams Coordinating. Investigation continuing pic.twitter.com/gI2sHEji7N
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) February 3, 2015
Image of tractor that collided with the bus
Passengers on the bus that collided with a truck carrying a tractor say the tractor “shaved” the upper segment of the bus along its left side. The tractor has a plowing appendage connected to its front.
Schabas says he got death threats by email
Former head of the UN commission into the Gaza summer conflict William Schabas says he received emails threatening his life.
Schabas tells the Middle East Eye website he received “aggressive, threatening emails,” including threats on his life.
Schabas says he does not blame a specific state or organization for the threats but says that the verbal attacks came from an environment that “encourages” such behavior.
Israelis trust US to keep Jews safe, but wary of Obama signing bad deal with Iran
78% of Israelis are happy that Arab parties have united for the coming elections, the monthly Peace Index poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University finds.
58% of the Jewish public state that a government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is better suited to deal with Israel’s security issues, while 27% state that a government headed by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog is better suited. Among Arab respondents, 48% state that a government headed by Livni and Herzog is better suited to deal with Israel’s security issues, while 26% state that a government headed by Netanyahu is better suited.
In a survey covering a wide range of issues, 61% of Jewish respondents interestingly say there is a high chance that Obama will approve the signing of an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue even if Israel’s government makes clear that, in its view, the agreement endangers Israeli security; 29% of Jewish Israelis believe there is a low chance that Obama would approve the signing of an agreement under those conditions.
However, Israeli Jews trust the government of the United States more than any other to keep Jews safe (84%). After the US come Germany (60%) and Britain (49%). Israeli Jews do not trust the governments of Russia (70%), Argentina (68%), and France (60%) to take relevant steps to protect their Jewish citizens.
The survey was conducted on January 27-29 with 600 respondents and has a 4.1% margin of error.
French soldiers attacked near Jewish center
An attacker with a knife hidden in his bag attacks three soldiers on an anti-terror patrol in front of a Jewish community center in southern France on Tuesday, two police officials say.
Sarah Baron, a police union official in the city of Nice, says the attacker was detained after the attack near the Galeries Lafayette department store. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi says the attacker had an identity card with the name Moussa Coulibaly.
The surname, which is relatively common for families of Malian descent, is the same as that of the man who seized hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris and gunned down a policewoman last month.
Another police official says the attacker pulled a knife at least 20 centimeters long out of a bag and set upon one of the soldiers, injuring him in the chin. He then swiped two other soldiers — one in the cheek, the other in the forearm — before being apprehended by riot police stationed near the building, which houses the city’s Jewish community center.
Likud counterstrike to V15, the B15
Miri Regev holds a sign with the text B15, a play on the V15 (Victory 2015) slogan of activists who seek to replace Israel’s government in the coming elections.
B stands for Benjamin. The vocal Likud MK is placed 5th on the Likud list, reporetdly much to the chagrin of PM Netanyahu, who is said to deeply dislike her conduct during public appearances.
Oren says Schabas appointment ‘born in sin’
Kulanu party candidate Michael Oren reacts to the resignation of William Schabas from UN human rights panel: “The appointment of Schabas was born in sin, and his resignation is a necessary and commendable step. The sheer choice of a man who served as a legal adviser to the PLO and called Netanyahu and Peres ‘war criminals’ is a statement unto itself regarding the biased agenda by which the Human Rights Council operates.
“The time has come for the international community to begin dealing with the serious war crimes and injustice in Gaza – caused not by Israel but by Hamas – Hamas which holds its people hostage cynically and endangers human life.”
Police say tractor in crash wider than allowed
A police official says that the tractor that was carried by a truck near Lehavim junction apparently was wider than legally allowed.
A relative of one of the victims tells Ynet: “This is a redundant death, a death that was known in advance. Again, investigations, what help’s it gonna do? They killed people here, someone needs to answer for that. This is not fate, it’s someone who killed them, murdered them. Look at the road, where’s the officer who allowed to open a road this narrow and have trucks this big drive on it?”
Gov’t to take 200 young Germans on Israel trip
The Foreign Ministry is planning to invest NIS 3 million ($770,000) in flying 200 German youths to Israel where they will meet with the president and prime minister and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
The project was launched several days ago and will be, Ynet reports, one of the most expensive undertakings in public diplomacy.
The initiative coincides with 50 years of bilateral ties between Israel and Germany, but was conceived due to recent surveys that show that Israel is losing the support of the young generation in Germany, which is becoming more critical of Israel and more pro-Palestinian.
IS ‘burns Jordanian pilot to death’
Islamic State burned Jordnaian coalition pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh to death, according to initial reports. The Times of Israel cannot as yet verify whether reports on al-Kasasbeh are true.
UN alarmed over images of IS distributing its food
The UN’s World Food Program says it is “extremely concerned” about images circulating on social media showing Islamic State labels affixed to its food aid boxes in Syria.
It says in a statement Monday that it is still trying to verify the photos, but that they appear to have been taken in the northern Syrian village of Deir Hafer, which was last reached by the WFP on Aug. 5, when a convoy delivered 1,700 food rations, enough to feed 8,500 people for a month.
The WFP says it learned in September that IS members raided Red Crescent warehouses in the village where the rations may have been stored.
“WFP condemns this manipulation of desperately needed food aid inside Syria,” says Muhannad Hadi, its emergency regional coordinator for the Syria crisis.
Tweeted image shows burning of Jordanian pilot
Zaid Benjamin, a UAE journalist, tweets images of Islamic State burning the Jordanian pilot alive. Other images circulated on Twitter, but contain very graphic violence.
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) February 3, 2015
Jordan says pilot was killed one month ago
The Jordan Times tweets that Jordanian authorities know pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was actually killed by Islamic State on January 3, a month ago:
BREAKING NEWS Jordan confirms death of pilot, says killed January 3 http://t.co/n9exJwdEEi
— The Jordan Times (@jordantimes) February 3, 2015
Chadian troops enter Nigeria, fight Boko Haram
Chad sent ground troops into Nigeria for the first time on Tuesday to fight Boko Haram in a clear sign of increased regional pressure on the Islamist rebels after weeks of surging violence.
For almost an hour, Chadian warplanes struck Boko Haram positions, then armored vehicles rolled across the bridge linking Fotokol town in Cameroon with Gamboru in Nigeria, clearing the way for the infantry.
The action comes after the African Union last week backed a new five-nation, 7,500-strong force to take on Boko Haram because of growing fears about its threat to regional security.
Clip of pilot has IS’s ‘most wanted’ list
The video showing the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was released on militant websites and bears the logo of al-Furqan media service, Islamic State’s media branch.
In the beginning, al-Kasasbeh can be seen speaking about the operations of coalition pilots.
The 20-minute-long video featured the slick production and graphics used in previous videos released by the group. At its end there appears a list of the “most wanted pilots,” promising a reward for anyone who can turn any of them to the hands of IS.
Obama says clip shows Islamic State’s barbarity
US President Barack Obama says the video showing the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh highlights Islamic State’s “barbarity.”
A clip on the vine network shows the man crouching as he burns to death, still writhing in agony for several seconds. Islamic State reportedly previously asked adherents via a hashtag to suggest novel ways to execute the hostage.
US to nearly double financial aid to Jordan
The Obama administration is hoping to nearly double US assistance to Jordan over the next two years as the country struggles to cope with domestic issues and pressure from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh sign an agreement that will see American aid to Jordan rise from $660 million to $1 billion per year between 2015 to 2017.
The money is subject to congressional approval. It is intended to help Jordan deal with a massive influx of refugees from Syria, support its security and energy needs as well as promote social, political and economic reform.
‘US stands in solidarity with Jordan’
A White House spokesperson says the US is working to confirm the authenticity of the video showing Islamic State executing Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
“The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all those held captive by ISIL,” they said, using another acronym used for IS or ISIS.
“We stand in solidarity with the Government of Jordan and the Jordanian people.”
President Obama says the video is another indication of the “viciousness and barbarity” of the organization.
Obama adds that if the video is confirmed as genuine, it would “re-double the determination” of the global coalition to destroy IS, the Independent reports.
Obama says IS has ‘bankrupt’ iedology
Obama says that if the Islamic State video is genuine, it would indicate that “whatever ideology they are operating out of is bankrupt.”
Jordanian king cuts US visit, returns home
Jordanian King Abdullah, who is currently on a visit of the US, decided to cut his visit short after Islamic State released a video reportedly showing the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, and is heading back to Jordan, Channel 2 reports.
Amman may execute the al-Qaeda female prisoner that IS initially wanted to swap for al-Kasasbeh in revenge for his killing by the terror group. AFP tweets that the Jordanian army vowed to avenge the death of the pilot.
Trajtenberg rejects being tagged as ‘neoliberal’
Likud member and former finance minister Yuval Steinitz calls the social-economic plan presented by Prof. Manuel Tajtenberg on behalf of the Zionist Camp “a check that will bounce.”
Trajtenberg says that his critics “made me a neoliberal… I grew up on the Kibbutz.”
The former head of the Trajtenberg Committee on the cost of living is also criticized from within his party. Shelly Yachimovich says Trajtenberg “stole his plan from Amir Peretz,” who is now running on the Zionist Camp’s list as a member of Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party.
Jordan’s revenge will be ‘as huge as our loss’
A spokesman for the Jordanian armed forces confirmed the death of the “hero pilot” Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh and vows revenge.
“While the military forces mourn the martyr, they emphasize his blood will not be shed in vain. Our punishment and revenge will be as huge as the loss of the Jordanians,” Mamdouh al-Ameri says in a statement read on Jordanian TV.
Kasasbeh, 26, fell into the hands of the terrorists in December when his Jordanian F-16 crashed near Raqqa, Syria. He is the only pilot from the US-led coalition battling the group to have been captured.
At a tribal meeting place where the pilot’s relatives have waited for weeks for word on his fate, chants against Jordan’s King Abdullah II erupted and some family members wept. An uncle shouted in Arabic: “I received a phone call from the chief of staff saying God bless his soul.”
US commander condemns ‘savage murder’
The general leading the US-led war against Islamic State jihadists on Tuesday denounced the “savage” execution of a Jordanian pilot, who was purportedly shown being burned alive in a video released by the group.
The “vicious act” is yet another example of the IS group’s “brutality and warped ideology,” General Lloyd Austin, head of Central Command, says in a statement.
“US Central Command strongly condemns ISIL’s savage murder of Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh,” he says.
Austin says he spoke with the chief of staff of Jordan’s armed forces and “assured him that we stand with our Jordanian partners and together we will fight this barbaric enemy until it is defeated.”
Prisoner held in Jordan to be executed tomorrow
Jordan will execute an Iraqi female jihadist on Wednesday, says a security official. The prisoner is a woman sought by Islamic State in exchange for a Jordanian pilot that was executed by being burned alive. A video of his brutal killing was released this evening, but it is unclear when the event took place.
Sajida al-Rishawi was given a death sentence for her involvement in al-Qaeda terror attacks in Amman in 2005. “The death sentence against Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi will be executed tomorrow at dawn,” a Jordanian security official tells AFP.