• Sam Dagher’s the first Western reporter I’m aware of to reach Qusayr. His dispatch (Wall St. Journal via Google News) says the carnage “spoke of a battle as deep in sectarian wrath as it was in destructive power.” And the LA Times talked to a Hezbollah squad commander who just returned from Syria. Whoda thought the Party of God would find asymetric warfare so grinding?
“It was guerrilla warfare with gangs, not a war with a traditional army. . . . So it needed a bit more work. It brought more fatigue. You want to deal with these people as they are dealing with you.”
• This was predictable: Responding to Hezbollah’s all-in role in Qusayr, foreign jihadis are streaming into Syria. Analysts told McClatchy News:
And while many foreign fighters have been absorbed into established Syrian rebel groups, there are signs now that an increasing number are remaining in free-standing units that operate independently and are willing to clash with other rebels and Syrian communities to implement their own rigid vision of Islamist governance.
“The numbers are increasing, with more radical groups inside now,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center in Qatar.
Hezbollah has stayed silent on its casualties in Syria. But sources close to the group told dpa that more than 100 fighters had been killed and as many as 200 were wounded.
“It is no longer that party that defends the Umma [Islamic nation]; instead it plagues the Umma,” he said.
• The Jerusalem Post picked up on a German report declaring that Hezbollah has more than 950 operatives in Germany, and that Berlin’s the hub of fundraising activity:
A Hezbollah-controlled orphans organization in Lower Saxony state is used to raise money for the families of suicide bombers targeting Israelis . . .
• The UN’s seeking a whopping $5.1 billion to help Syrian refugees. The numbers reported by the Christian Science Monitor are off the charts and spell destabilization for Jordan and Lebanon.
• CNN updates what’s known about a number of Western journalists who disappeared in Syria.
• Worth reading: Mordechai Kedar assesses what’s behind the Turkish protests and how far they’re likely to go.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• The American army successfully tested its newest bunker-busting bombs on a replica of an underground nuclear facility from a B-2 bomber. YNet notes:
The US has suggested it will manufacture only a limited amount of such bunker busters. Each bomb is estimated at $ 3.5 million and the overall cost of developing the new weapon was $500 million.
The size of the munition is six times greater than any other known bunker buster. It weighs 13 tons and its speed of penetration two times faster than the speed of sound at a rate of accuracy of five meters.
• NY Times: The US is helping unspecified allies battle Iranian hackers. Interesting info nugget:
A senior Israeli military official said Israel had evidence that Iran and North Korea were beginning to collaborate on developing cyberweapons. He declined to cite the specific evidence.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Is there’s an Israeli angle to the National Security Agency’s domestic spying scandal? asks Haaretz.
• Times of Israel: Striking employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cut ties with the IDF and Shin Bet.
• The Pentagon denies it was responsible for leaking details of Israel’s Arrow anti-ballistic missile system online, blaming Israeli defense officials. Israel denies the Pentagon’s claim. And so it goes . . .
“Allegations that we released classified information are false,” she said, adding that the instructions the United States had received made it clear that Israel viewed the matter as “an unclassified project.”
Israel continued to sharply disagree Thursday and to say the bidding proposal had revealed details that were to have been kept secret, including the location of the base, how the missiles are to be arrayed and even how thick the walls of the structures that would hold the missiles should be. One official had called the released details a blueprint for an attack.
Tell Mama and Mr Mughal did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain . . . .
“Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to DCLG which wasn’t stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by Acpo [the Association of Chief Police Officers],” said one source closely involved in counter-extremism.
• An Australian investigation into the 1982 bombing of Israel’s consulate in Sydney is getting a new boost. According to Australian media reports, authorities say they have some primary suspects, and they’re offering a $100,000 reward to anyone turning in the suspects.
For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.