Islamic State Expanding

Hello Friends,

The Islamic State is expanding.

It seems that they feel they are not going to be gaining more territory any time soon in Syria and Iraq – so they are looking to destabilize and create new areas of influence.

We already know that they wish to see their black flag raised in the Kingdom of Saud.

In Libya, the Islamic State's influence is moving west with fighters claiming loyalty to IS now in complete control of the city of Derna, with a population of about 100,000, not far from Egypt's western border.

This area is a known weapons smuggling route, and places the extremist group about 200 miles from the shores of the European Union.

Libya is suffering from political chaos and ethnic strife.

Reports say that up to 300 Libyan jihadists have returned from fighting in Syria and Iraq in order to expand IS's presence westwards along the coast towards Algeria - where Islamic State has recently gained a foothold as well, through the allegiance of a large terrorist group there.

In Egypt's Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis – the area's largest and most effective terror group has now pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

They now call themselves the "State of Sinai" – eluding to ISs desire to grow its boundaries.

The terror group has been responsible for the death of hundreds of Egyptian police and soldiers – along with escalating attacks upon Israeli interests.

The Islamic State has sent a deputy commander of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to lead the acquired groups operations.

Egypt's President Abdel al Sisi has vowed to crush the group.

Reports say that as many as 20,000 soldiers are in the area preparing to confront the Jihadists. Israel authorized the expansion of the Egyptian presence as it sees President Sisi serious about wiping out this potential major threat before it can organize any further terror.

The buffer zone to the Gaza Strip has now been extended to roughly ½ miles width as opposed to the original size of ¼ mile.

President Sisi (and Israel for that matter) wishes to block any physical ability for Jihadists in the Northern Sinai to link up with Hamas or any other group in Gaza.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Terror Attack

Hello Everyone,

Sadly we must discuss what it the deadliest terror attack in Jerusalem for a long time.

Four Israelis with dual citizenship to America and one to the UK were killed this morning by two Arab residents of what is commonly referred to East Jerusalem.

The victims, and eight wounded, were in a synagogue in a religious neighborhood in West Jerusalem for early morning prayers and were attacked by two Arab young men who were cousins.

Police arrived on the scene quickly and are said to have encountered the two attackers outside. A gunfight ensured and the attackers were killed and two officers wounded – one critically in the head (who incidentally is an Arab traffic policeman and has a months old baby daughter at home).

There had been speculation about a third man possibly being involved but this was latter dismissed.

International condemnation has been plenteous in response to the tragedy, as thousands joined in on the funerals held this afternoon for the victims.

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was quick to point the finger, blaming the attack squarely upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who he says is inciting terror.

Mr. Abbas condemned the attack, and violence towards worshipers and civilians.

Oddly, Israel's head of the Shin Bet intelligence service contradicted Mr. Netanyahu saying that the President does not incite violence against Israelis.

Critics have been pointing to Mr. Netanyahu for squeezing political gains from the attack, but he also oversaw a Security Council meeting soon after the attack and said Israel will respond with a heavy hand.

Netanyahu ordered the homes of the terrorists demolished – this after police spent much of the day rounding up family members of the attackers. Large bodies of police were seen around several Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem with ensuing clashes.

West Bank Palestinians also were in conflict both with police and settlers in multiple areas.

Many Palestinians feel that the attack occurred because of revenge for the death the night before of an Arab bus driver of an Israeli public bus found hung within.

Witnesses say six Jewish youth were seen at the scene in confrontation with the driver. The police say there was no foul play involved and described the incident as a suicide.

This enraged many Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who then took to the streets.

Curiously, the police have not released the body to the family for burial, and a Palestinian pathologist who observed the body said he disagreed with the police determination of death.

Lets pray that cool heads prevail, as Jerusalem has been suffering back and forth attacks and now appears set for some serious repercussions unless there is a 'stepping back' from the path of violence.

Thank you friends – for those prays of intercession.

Brian Bush Middle east Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Demonstrations in Israel

Hello Everyone,

Lets give you a rundown on what has been a busy day here in Israel.

Thousands of demonstrators protested in the Arab towns up north in Israel.

Kafr Kana was the site earlier this week of rioting and demonstrations and this is the area of the Biblical town of Cana where the Gospels record Jesus turning the water into wine at a wedding.

Thousands were again on the street today protesting the killing by police of a local youth who had attacked a police van with a knife, and who ran away when officers exited the van – one killing the young man.

Israel police policies of engagement specify rules of engagement and self defense, which were not followed according to a CCTV recording of the incident.

Protests also centered around the ongoing controversy as Jewish extremists, Settlers, and right wing activists – including members of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's government challenge Muslim sovereignty over Islam's third holiest site – the Haram Al-Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

North of Jerusalem in the West Bank a group of Palestinian activists used foot bridges and ladders scaling the separation wall in a symbolic attempt to reach Jerusalem mostly done for the media's attention.

Security forces prevented the march from getting very far and ultimately broke up the gathering.

Another 100 or so Palestinian activists gathered in an Israeli area waving flags and occasionally blocking traffic.

Security forces were on the scene there and dispersed the crowds with stun grenades.

In Hebron, some 300 Palestinians clashed with IDF forces..

Security forces were deployed all across Jerusalem and particularly here in the Old City.

Israeli authorities did not impose age restrictions on Muslim worshipers attending Friday prayers at the Temple Mount complex.

This a direct result from a meeting held last night in Amman with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah. At the meeting Secretary Kerry stressed that more can be done to calm tensions in Jerusalem and that Israel must restore the freedom of access to Holy Sites. Netanyahu promised not to change the Status Quo on the regulations prohibiting Jews from prayer atop the Muslim compound.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Harvest Live from Jerusalem!

Hi Everybody!

We had a fantastic show from here in Jerusalem!

If you missed it - check it out at harvest-tv.com and enjoy!

See you tomorrow for a fresh update on the Middle East tomorrow on the Harvest Show.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Jerusalem Unrest

Hello Friends,

The Palestinians have kept up the pressure on Israel as clashes continued today in East Jerusalem and the West Bank over continued Jewish activists and Palestinians Israeli politicians visiting and seeking to change the Status Quo on the Haram Al Sharif – the third Holiest site to Islam – known as the Temple Mount to Jews.

The violence comes after terror attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem and the response of extremist political Jewish figures visiting the Islamic site demanding a change in rights.

The actions have strained Israel's peace agreements with both Jordan and Egypt.

Army and paramilitary units used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesting crowds and control neighborhoods.

The backdrop to the brewing tension has been the settlement expansions in the West Bank and particularly into the Muslim neighborhood of Silwan just outside the Old City.

Jordan recalled it's ambassador to Israel in response to the rising tension seen recently in Jerusalem. Reports say Jordan will head to the UN Security Council to stop what it termed as Israeli attacks on the Holy Site. Jordan is the Custodian of the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques atop the compound.

Israel has now to confront the phenomenon of vehicular terrorism after vehicles were used in three separate attacks – two against citizens standing for public transportation and one against soldiers in the West Bank.

Israel is down playing the West Bank incident as a potential car accident. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to control Jewish right wingers as they continue to push for change in the laws prohibiting Jews from prayer and worship atop the Muslim holy site.

The Chief Rabi of Israel has said prayers and visits themselves, are prohibited for Jews, and Mr. Netanyahu has succumbed to international pressure stating publicly there will be no change in the status quo of the holy site.

Having said all this I want you to know that the tour group here right now is away from the areas of tension, and there is no need for worry as to their safety. They are going to have a great time here in the Holy Land!

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

The Albu Nimr Dilemma

Hello All,

I think it would be good today to focus on our role as intercessors in the world we live in.

What prompts me here is the report about the 322 members of the Sunni Albu Nimr tribe who have been killed in a series of executions by Islamic State militants.

Some reports surfacing today say that there were woman and children executed as well.

What's important here to understand is that this is a Sunni tribe who both have and are willing to confront IS (who is also Sunni), but not without the necessary weaponry to do so.

These people are in the Anbar province west of Bagdad where IS has largely assumed control.

The tribe has asked the Iraqi government for firepower for weeks if not months, but the Shia dominated government has not responded.

IS is moving in, rounding up males aged from their from teens to older men – and shooting them.

No fight.

The tribe has appealed to America, but officials claim it is up to the Iraqi's to decide.

There is the perception that the tribe, who has a reputation for it's fighting prowess, is purposely being ignored.

While it is true that America dropped food into the tribe who are now largely surrounded, they face the potential of being killed off.

This tribe numbers into the tens of thousands.

They fought long and hard to keep the town of Hit (in the Anbar province), but lost it last month to IS.

The men also fought in defense of Ramadi – but when you can't get resupplied with weapons or ammunition, or for that matter fighters, you have nothing to fight with.

It is a confusing and complex situation yes, but if the tribe chose to fight IS, and fought hard for weeks proving that, then why are they not being supported? What is underlying this dilemma?

The international community has repeatedly said that Muslims, both Sunni and Shia need to stand up against IS... but by this example, what is the end?

Lets pray for the innocents, the children, the abducted women, those who are in leadership on the field and at the command centers.

There is a time to fight scripture says, and when there are people standing for what is theirs and defending there own and doing what is wanted – they should be supported.

These are the people who hurt IS the most – when they say no to extremism and slow their (IS's) momentum.

Brian Bush Middle east Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Netanyahu is Capitalizing

Hello Everyone,

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone ahead and authorized planning to advance 1,060 new settlement housing for Israelis in the West Bank.

660 homes will be constructed in Ramot Shlomo, the same place that brought US Israeli diplomatic ties to a low when Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Jerusalem.

The other 400 homes are to be built in Har Homa which is opposite Bethlehem.

Mr. Netanyahu also approved so called infrastructure projects in the West Bank as well.

Europe and the US sharply condemned the announcement earlier this month of more settlement housing to be built in a third area of the West Bank; Givat Hamatos.

Some analysts say Mr. Netanyahu is capitalizing on the postponed Cairo Peace Talks with the Palestinians, and that the Palestinians have told the Americans they will not go to the United Nations Security Council as planned to draw attention to Israel's actions against the peace process.

Others point to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's recent visit to Washington DC where his requests for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the National Security Adviser Susan Rice were turned down.

Netanyahu has been under pressure from extremist groups and the political right to take punitive steps in retaliation to the violence that has recently been experienced.

It also serves to draw attention away from the settler expansion in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, an almost entirely Muslim area.

Various officials in the Palestinian Authority have condemned the Israeli plans.

Some warned of the spread of violence, others pointed to the breaking of International law in Israel's announcements.

But many see that what these plans do is make it increasingly possible that a de facto one-state solution will ultimately come about.

Mr. Netanyahu has been long viewed, both in and out of Israel, as one who does not want to make peace – and these further steps will serve to only reinforce that view.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Kobane Boost of Moral

Hello Everyone!

The most impactful news right now may be that Turkey will now reportedly allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters (not Syrian Kurds, not Turkish Kurds) to enter the Syrian border town of Kobane to fight Islamic State.

It is being understood as a reversal of their earlier policy.

The news came after America carried out air drops of weapons, ammunition, and first aid supplies to the Kurdish fighters who have long complained that they are outgunned by IS who has tanks, armored personnel carriers and heavy weaponry.

Sometimes using home made bombs, the defenders have regained a fairly large portion of the city – but the battle isn't over yet.

This announcement is huge because the Islamic State has freely sent supplies and fighters as reinforcements into battle where as the Kurdish forces were left on their own not able to receive much in terms of fighting relief or supplies.

Perhaps as many as 200,000 people have fled Kobane in the recent months of fighting.

Many Kurds who fled with their families into Turkey have sought to return to fight in defense of their homes.

Turkey has not officially allowed re-entry into Kobane.

This has caused hundreds to stand upon the hills and offer only their cheers as support for their brothers fighting a desperate battle.

At points durring the past weeks, Kurds have broken through border fencing to reach the town - which is roughly a mile away from the border.

This past week saw an major increase in US Coalition airstrikes upon IS targets in and around Kobane, shifting the momentum back into the hands of the Kurdish fighters of the town. For a second day now it has been somewhat quite.

There are still battles, but not the same intensity and breadth across the town.

Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of this is a boost of moral for these men and women who have, particularly over this last month, lost many of their comrades and friends who fought to defend this strategic and symbolic city.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Update on Islamic State

Hello Friends,

Lets update ourselves on the situation with the Islamic State.

In Iraq, advancing Islamic State fighters now appear to hold as much as 80% of the Anbar province west of Baghdad.

IS fighters reportedly reached as close to 6 miles distance from Baghdad's International airport before retreating under fire from American Apache helicopter gunships sent to stop their advance.

Despite this occurrence Iraqi and American officials remain confident that Baghdad itself will not fall to Islamic State.

In Baghdad this week the Shia areas suffered from extensive car and suicide bombings. Markets, checkpoints, and crowed streets were targeted where perhaps as many as 100 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in the series of daily attacks which included mortar rounds striking Shia neighborhoods. Meanwhile in Syria where intensified US airstrikes and a resolute Kurdish fighting force on the ground appear to have made progress in retaking parts of the Syrian Kurd border town of Kobane.

The fighting in and around Kobani has ebbed and flowed this week, where more than 550 people, the majority of them Islamic State fighters, have died. Islamic State outnumbers and outguns the Kurds with tanks and heavy weaponry, and the free flow of supplies and fresh fighters. But increased Coalition airstrikes have served to assist the pushing back of the Jihadists who had reportedly taken up to 50% of the besieged town. Lets continue to pray for those effected, displaced, wounded, and suffering from the fighting – and that God in His great mercy would find His way into the hearts of men – so desperately needing Him.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

Sukkoth 2014

Hello Everyone!

As I'm sure you know from watching the Harvest Show – that this week I'm giving you Moments from the Holy Land - it's Sukkoth here in Israel.

Tonight will usher in the final day of the holiday.

Let's look at what the holiday is all about.

It is a seven-day festival (and the Old City has been absolutely packed) and largely a family gathering time.

In the Old Testament you can find the references to the holiday in Leviticus 23:34-35 and 23:39-43.

Essentially, it is a time of remembrance that God delivered the Children of Israel from the hand of Egypt's bondage.

The center point is the Sukkot, the temporary 'throw together booth' in which Jewish families will typically share a meal within, talk about (what we refer to as the Old Testament) interpretations, and even sleep within if possible.

It is primarily meant to remind Jews of the wondering their forefathers did in the wilderness – and how God provided for them in every way.

Sukkoth is characterized by two main practices today.

First is the hut I just described, and the second today a special bouquet.

It consists of a closed palm frond, a citron, a myrtle branch and a willow branch – which is held during morning prayers.

Its origins derive from Leviticus 23:40, and there are many extra-biblical traditional explanations of its symbolism.

Join me tomorrow on the Harvest Show to learn more about Sukkoth, in our Moments from the Holy Land - together from here in Jerusalem!

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

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