Meet France’s First Family of Terror

Sabri Essid, a French national, recently appeared in an Islamic State (IS) video alongside his own stepson, who is shown murdering an alleged Palestinian Mossad agent. Essid’s stepbrother, Mohammed Merah, killed three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012. And last year, Merah’s sister Souad left France along with her four children to join jihadists—including her husband—in Syria. John Rosenthal reports:

In recordings made public in November 2012, Souad Merah declares that she is proud of her brother Mohammed and thinks highly of Osama bin Laden. Denouncing the “injustices” committed by “the Jews and the Americans,” Souad praises Salafists—adherents of the radical Islamic current of which both IS and al-Qaeda form a part—for taking action while others merely talk. . . .

Souad’s words were secretly recorded by another of her brothers, Abdelghani. The anti-Islamist “black sheep” of the family, Abdelghani has said he made the recordings to dissociate himself from the other Merahs and expose the anti-Semitism in which Mohammed was “immersed” from childhood. His own relationship with a woman of Jewish origin (now his wife) was, he says, such a profound source of discord in the family that, during an argument about it in 2003, [another of his brothers] stabbed him seven times, nearly killing him. According to Abdelghani, guests at a memorial service held at his mother’s home a few days after Mohammed Merah’s death [at the hands of police] broke into ululations of joy and, rather than offering condolences, congratulated his mother on her son’s actions.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Anti-Semitism, Charlie Hebdo, France, ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security