Israeli hackers bring down Saudi, UAE monetary sites

Hackers post in forum that attack is a response to “lame” Saudi attack on Israelis, including TA Stock Exchange and El Al websites, add that if Saudi attacks continue, they will hit back harder.

Israeli hackers said they brought down the official websites of Saudi Arabia’s monetary agency and Abu Dhabi’s securities exchange on Tuesday in retaliation for a denial of service attack on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange the previous day.

Both official websites did appear to be offline following the announcement by the Israeli hackers. An Israeli hacker told The Jerusalem Post that members of the Israel Defenders internet group were behind the attack.

The Israeli hackers said in a message on a forum that their actions came “because lame hackers from Saudi Arabia decided to launch an attack against Israeli sites,” noting the denial of service attacks against TASE and El Al, as well as three Israeli banks on Monday. Read more.

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Terrorist who killed the Fogel Family gets 132 years

Convicted for murder of five members of Fogel family in Itamar last March Amjad Awad to serve five life sentences, additional seven years in prison

The Samaria Military Court on Monday sentenced Amjad Awad, who was convicted for the murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, to five life sentences and an additional seven years – a total of 132 years in prison.

Awad and his cousin Hakim brutally murdered Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children: Yoav (11) Elad (4) and four-month-old baby Hadas, last March.

Awad was convicted of murder last November. Awad’s cousin, Hakim, was convicted of murder in August and sentenced in September to five consecutive life sentences for his part in the Itamar massacre. Read more.

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Joint US-Israel drill postponed to ‘defuse Iran tensions’

Israeli officials say Americans asked to postpone mass exercise meant to test air-defense capabilities to avoid escalation of tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program

A major joint Israel-US military drill, which was set to take place in a few weeks time with the participation of thousands of IDF and US army soldiers, has been postponed by at least six months, Ynet reported Sunday

The decision was made by Defense Ministry officials in coordination with the Pentagon.

A number of global media outlets said the exercise will likely take place in the summer – at the earliest.

Israeli officials said the Americans asked to delay the drill so as not to heighten tensions with Iran over its nuclear program and avoid drawing any additional attention from the Arab countries during such a turbulent period.

Security establishment officials said the decision was also related, in part, to budgetary concerns.

The decision to postpone the drill comes after the US condemned last week’s assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran and after US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the recent developments in the Islamic Republic. Read more.

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Blast hits home of Gaza terror chief

At least one person reportedly killed, several wounded at home of Popular Resistance Committees commander in Rafah Saturday evening

At least one person was killed in an explosion reported at the Rafah home of a senior terrorist in the Gaza Strip Saturday evening, Palestinian officials said.

Adham Abu Salima, a Gaza Health Ministry official, said the house belonged to Popular Resistance Committees Secretary-General Zuheir Qeisi.

Five or six Palestinians were wounded in the mysterious explosion, sources in Gaza said.

Eyewitnesses said the huge Rafah blast could be heard far away and that the house was completely burned down. The initial explosion was reportedly followed by several smaller blasts. Read more.

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NJ synagogue firebomb injures rabbi

Rabbi injured in fourth incident against New Jersey synagogues in a month; synagogue leaders to re-examine security.

Jewish leaders and law enforcement officials are tightening security measures as investigators search for the culprit who firebombed a Rutherford, NJ, synagogue Wednesday, injuring its rabbi.

Many synagogue leaders said they would re-examine security in the wake of the fourth bias incident within a month, and they will be gathering in Paramus for a meeting at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey with top law enforcement and elected officials to address security issues at Jewish institutions.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League is increasing its reward to $2,500 in the hopes that it will encourage those with information about any of the attacks on synagogues to step forward.

“We’ve seen a rise from vandalism to arson to attempted murder,” said Etzion Neuer, director of the ADL’s New Jersey office, who has sent out security alerts to area synagogues calling for greater vigilance. “Every synagogue must take extra steps to protect its constituents and building,” he said. Read more.

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Former inspector: Iran ‘one year from’ bomb material

Tehran could easily “break out” from int’l obligations, begin stocking materials needed, but not necessarily build a bomb quickly, former IAEA inspector writes in ‘FP’ article.

Having switched production of higher-grade enriched uranium to a new, underground site, Iran is now just a year or so away from having enough such material for a nuclear bomb, a former head of UN nuclear inspections said.

However, Olli Heinonen wrote in an article published on Thursday that building a stock of some 250 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium – a form that could within weeks be further purified to the 90-percent weapons grade – did not automatically mean Iran could deploy a bomb without further engineering work.

Heinonen, a Finn, was deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) until 2010 and is now at Harvard University. He made the prediction days after Iran confirmed the start of 20-percent enrichment inside the Fordow mountain, fueling Western fears Tehran is seeking atomic arms.

Estimates on when Iran, which says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, might be able to develop such weapons are significant as they could help determine the time available for major powers to resolve the long-running nuclear row peacefully. Read more.

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Tehran blast kills nuclear scientist

Mysterious explosion in Iranian capital leaves one dead, injures two. Local media reports say blast ‘reminiscent’ of previous attacks on nuclear scientists

Another mysterious blast in Tehran: An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran on Wednesday, and a city official blamed Israel for the attack, similar to attacks on nuclear scientists just over a year ago.

According to Iranian media reports, the incident, which took place at the Seyed Khandan neighborhood in Northern Tehran, “looks similar to attacks on nuclear scientists in the city,” more than one year ago.

The semi-official Fars news agency identified the victim as Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, “an oil professor at Tehran’s technical university and nuclear scientist.” The report referred to the attack as an act of terror.  Read more.

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A 1,500-yr-old ‘bread stamp’ is found in Israel

Archeologists digging near Acre have uncovered a menorah-emblazoned ceramic seal they believe was used by a 6th-century village baker to certify his bread as kosher.

The diminutive “bread stamp” is the first of its kind to be found in a controlled archeological excavation in which its origin and date of manufacture can be precisely determined.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is currently excavating Uza, a site east of Acre where a Byzantine village by the same name once stood. The dig is being conducted as part of ongoing preparations to lay new rail tracks from Acre to Carmiel.

Gilad Jaffe and Danny Syon, the archeologists leading the dig, said in a statement, “A number of seals bearing menorahs are known from other collections. The menorah from the Temple, as a Jewish symbol par excellence, indicates the seal belonged to Jews, in contrast to Christian bread seals featuring crosses, which were very common in the Byzantine era.” Read more.

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Iranian, Venezuelan leaders rebuff US, joke about bomb

Ahmadinejad, Chavez vow to fight imperialism, joke about dropping missiles on Washington

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez lavished each other with praise on Monday, mocked US disapproval and joked about having an atomic bomb at their disposal.

“Despite those arrogant people who do not wish us to be together, we will unite forever,” the Iranian president told socialist leader Chavez at the start of a visit to four left-leaning Latin American nations.

Despite their geographical distance, the fiery anti-US ideologues have forged increasingly close ties between their fellow OPEC nations in recent years, although concrete projects have often lagged behind the rhetoric. Read more.

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Iran Sentences U.S. Man to Death in CIA Spy Case

An Iranian court has convicted an American man of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death, state radio reported Monday, in a case adding to the accelerating tension between the United States and Iran.

Iran charges that as a former U.S. Marine, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged intelligence mission. The radio report did not say when the verdict was issued. Under Iranian law, he has 20 days to appeal.

The 28-year-old former military translator was born in Arizona and graduated from a high school in Michigan. His family is of Iranian origin. His father, a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan, has said his son is not a CIA spy and was visiting his grandmothers in Iran when he was arrested. Read more

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