Maalot Massacre Mastermind Returning to West Bank?February 3, 2013 16:25 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. More info and fallout from last week’s airstrike is trickling into the mainstream media. More on all that below.
2. Bringing closure to its toon tempest, the Sunday Times formally apologized for Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon. The staff-ed’s behind a paywall; HonestReporting’s response to the apology includes the article’s full text. See also all the letters to the editor.
3. Jerusalem Post: Palestinian leaders are trying to secure Israeli permission for an old-time terrorist and Oslo-rejectionist to return to the West Bank. Nayef Hawatmeh, now 76, is the head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Hawatmeh’s best known for masterminding the 1974 Maalot massacre in which terrorists stormed an elementary school and held more than 100 children hostage.
Syrian Air Strike
• Defense Minister Ehud Barak dropped the strongest hints yet that Israel was responsible for last week’s airstrike.
• Israel struck other Syrian targets last week, according to Western officials. Time writes:
A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes. . .
Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces. The lab facilities dedicated to biological warfare were of special concern, given both the damage that can be done by even small amounts of biological agents, and the interest expressed in such weapons by Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. No specific armed force was identified as threatening the compound. Intelligence officials said the concern was unconventional weapons “dripping” into control of extremists in the relative chaos of the rebel side.
One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region.
• Arab media reports claim Iranian Revolutionary Guards personnel were killed at the Syrian military facility allegedly attacked by Israel. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Turkey’s government went off the deep end; they’re outraged at Israel for attacking a Muslim state, and they’re outraged at Syria for not firing back. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shared his utterly illogical conclusion with Hurriyet:
Davutoglu also accused Syria’s embattled leader of having made a secret deal with Israel. “Is there a secret agreement between al-Assad and Israel? Wasn’t the Syrian army founded to protect its country and its people against this sort of aggression? The al-Assad regime only abuses. Why don’t you use the same power that you use against defenseless women against Israel, which you have seen as an enemy since its foundation,” he said.
• The Christian Science Monitor looks at how both Assad and rebels are trying to use the airstrike to their advantage.
• For more commentary/analysis on the raid, see Tariq Alhomayed.