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Syrians fire at IDFin Golan
( The Israel Defense Forces destroyed a small Syrian army post just beyond the Golan border with Israel on Sunday, March 24, after Syrian gunmen fired at Israeli military patrols in two separate incidents over 24 hours, Israel Hayom reported. It was still unclear, as the Ledger went to press, whether the source of the fire was a Syrian Army post or a rebels’ post. On Saturday night, Syrian gunmen fired at an IDF jeep patrolling the northern border. There were no injuries. Syrian gunmen then reportedly fired automatic weapons at an IDF patrol a second time, on Sunday morning, prompting an IDF response. The IDF Spokesperson Unit confirmed that, “the military returned fire at a Syrian post after an IDF patrol came under machine-gun fire. The target was destroyed using precision fire.”
Calling the Syrian fire a “violation of Israel’s sovereignty,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “Any … fire from the Syrian side will be answered immediately by silencing the sources of fire when we identify them.”

Twitter sued over antisemitic tweets
( Twitter is again facing legal action from a group of French-Jewish students, the Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), because the U.S. social networking giant has not responded to a January French court order to hand over the identities of users who tweeted antisemitic messages last October with the hashtag #unbonjuif. UEJF filed a summons Wednesday, March 20, asking for $50 million in damages, which if received will go to the Shoah Memorial fund. “In protecting the anonymity of the author of these tweets [Twitter] is making itself an accomplice and offering a highway for racists and antisemites,” said Jonathan Hayoun, UEJF president. Twitter plans to appeal the January decision.

Khamenei threatens Tel Aviv and Haifa
( Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday, March 21, in a televised speech marking the Iranian New Year that if Israel attacked its nuclear facilities, Iran would “raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said the threat of an Israeli attack is “not big enough to stand out among the Iranian nation’s enemies,” according to Reuters. Khamenei’s remarks came as President Obama visited Israel, where he said that America “will do what we must to prevent a nuclear Iran.” The President added, however, that the U.S. remains focused on diplomacy
and sanctions as the preferred solutions to the Iranian threat before a military option is necessary. Talks between Iranian officials and officials from the six global powers — the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany — will continue in April in Kazakhstan.

Israeli general: Assad has already used chemical weapons
( Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army has likely already used small amounts of chemical weapons against rebel forces, Israel Defense Forces Northern Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan told Israel Hayom. “He hasn’t crossed the Rubicon yet. What I think he has done, if he has done it, is make use of chemical weapons in a way that leaves a small enough signature that doesn’t paint him as having used WMD in a significant way,” Golan said.
“He will use whatever he has,” Golan added, pointing to the eventuality that the beleaguered Assad could make use of his chemical weapons stockpile, believed to be the largest such stockpile in the world. Golan predicted that Assad’s demise should come about “in months, not weeks.” However strong his command structure is, Assad has “lost his borders,” Golan said.
“Everything is wide open,” he said. “The northern border is split between Sunni and Kurd zones. The borders with Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are wide open. This makes it hard for Assad to isolate the rebels, who in turn are receiving massive outside assistance in manpower and munitions.”

Coptic Christians tortured by Libyan extremists
( Dozens of Coptic Christians claimed they were tortured while being held in Libya by Islamic militiamen on charges of proselytizing. “They shaved our heads. They threatened to sever our heads in implementation of Islamic Shariah (law) while showing us swords,” said 26-year-old Amgad Zaki, who spoke to the Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home after returning to Egypt earlier this month. “I was dying every day, and at one point I thought death is better than this.” Islamic militiamen arrested the Coptic Christians — who were working in Libya — in late February during a raid on a Benghazi market. They were held on charges of proselytizing because the militiamen had found Christian materials among their belongings. One Egyptian, Ragaa Abdallah, died while in custody; his body was returned to Egypt and buried earlier this week. His family claims he was tortured to death, but the Egyptian Foreign Ministry claims he likely died of natural causes related to his diabetes and heart ailments.
Egypt has reportedly offered to swap prisoners in order to secure the Christians’ release.

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