Three charged in mysterious, failed terror-linked attack on Paris building

PARIS — Three men have been handed preliminary terror-linked charges in the failed attack at a residential building in an upscale Paris neighborhood with gas canisters that failed to ignite.

The three, identified as Amine A, his cousin Sami B, and Aymen B., were charged late Friday with “attempted murder in an organized group in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and placed in pre-trial detention, a judicial source said.

All three were arrested on Monday evening, two days after the device was found in a block in the 16th arrondissement, one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods.

In total, police found four gas cylinders — two of them in the hallway attached to a mobile phone which investigators believe was meant to be used as a detonator. The other two were on the pavement outside.

The judicial official said on Saturday that the three were placed under formal investigation late Friday in the mysterious attack attempt. The official wasn’t authorized to speak on the record in an ongoing investigation.

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said at a Friday news conference that investigators have yet to find a “logical explanation” for why the building was targeted.

Two of three men, Aymen B. and Amine A., are among thousands on a list for radicalization.

Three of their associates who were taken for questioning earlier this week have all been released.

“The consequences in terms of human life and material damage could have been dramatic,” Molins said on Friday, adding that it was unclear why they chose to target that particular building in Porte d’Auteuil.

It also remains unclear why the men did not activate the device. Police tracked them down by means of DNA found at the scene.

Over the past few years, France has suffered a string of deadly attacks which began in January 2015 and has claimed the lives of 241 people.

Last month, the interior minister said 12 attacks had been foiled since the start of the year.

In September 2016, three women were arrested after a foiled plot to blow up a car containing five gas canisters near the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris


An Israeli trauma expert predicted a Las Vegas attack three years ago

(JTA) — When Dr. Avi Rivkind landed in Las Vegas three years ago to lecture as a trauma care expert, he saw something that troubled him.

The airport, McCarran International, felt too open, almost exposed.

He felt no more comfortable on the city’s Strip while watching crowds flow from hotels to casinos to shops to the street — with little security in sight.

“I felt there was a lack of presence, from the ease of getting around there, from the casinos, from how easy it is to enter all the malls,” he told JTA on Monday. “I felt very uncomfortable.”

Rivkind, who heads the Shock Trauma Unit at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, is a pioneer in treating victims of mass-casualty terror attacks. He gained his experience treating terror victims in Israel, and his techniques were used in 2013 to save the lives of some of the injured in the Boston Marathon bombing.

He came to Las Vegas in the summer of 2014 to speak at a Hadassah conference, but cut his trip short when Israel’s most recent war with Hamas broke out.

Before he left, however, Rivkind delivered a warning to a local TV channel: Get ready for a potential terror attack.

“With all the casinos and people are coming here from all over the world, I think you should take a huge situation,” Rivkind told Channel 8, the local CBS affiliate. “I don’t want to give anybody any ideas. However, you should be well prepared. In my mind, it’s a question of time.”

Rivkind’s words feel ominous today after a gunman rained bullets from a Las Vegas hotel room window, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500 at a concert Sunday in the worst mass shooting in American history. Police said the gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada — killed himself and appears to have acted alone.

Rivkind had spent stints living in Los Angeles and Baltimore, so he was familiar with the scale of an American metropolis. But he hadn’t felt scared in those cities.

Although he can’t remember details now, Rivkind said something felt more dangerous about the public spaces in Las Vegas. He noted that some of the 9/11 hijackers met in the city before carrying out their 2001 attack.

The doctor said he offered to advise local government officials on emergency preparedness but never heard back.

“It was clear, I don’t know why, that it was destined for calamity,” he told JTA.

His specialty is blast trauma, or how to care for victims of a bombing attack, honed during the bloody years of the second intifada at the beginning of the century. Rivkind has taught at hospitals around the world how to save victims from massive blood loss and injuries to vital organs. In one instance he revived a soldier who had been shot in the heart and was pronounced dead in the field.

Rivkind also invented the “accordion method” of efficiently moving patients through stages of assessment in a crowded emergency room. He was the personal physician for the late Israeli President Ezer Weizman, and helped care for Ariel Sharon when the former prime minister fell into a coma in 2006 following a stroke.

But Rivkind cautioned that medical care after a mass shooting like Sunday’s is different from treatment following a bombing. Besides, he said, “this is a time to turn inside yourself and feel the pain. This is not a time to give suggestions.”

But after a career saving the lives of terror victims, Rivkind said the news of the Las Vegas attack hit especially hard.

“On one hand, you do exceptional things to save a human life,” he said. “Then one crazy piece of shit comes to kill without blinking an eye.”

Jewish groups call for tougher gun control laws in aftermath of Las Vegas attack

Jewish groups responded to the mass shooting in Las Vegas by condemning the violence and calling for gun control legislation.

At least 59 people are dead and more than 500 wounded in the attack at a country music festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Strip late Sunday night. It is the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

The Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reform movement were among the groups that called for tougher gun control laws in the attack’s aftermath.

“While we are still learning details and do not know the impetus for the killings, one thing is clear: the threat of mass violence against innocent civilians in America has not abated. This threat must be taken seriously,” Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. He called for the enactment of “tough, effective gun violence prevention measures.”

Greenblatt said the group’s Center on Extremism is investigating the background and activity of shooter Stephen Paddock and whether he may have ties to extremists or was motivated by any extremist ideology.

B’nai B’rith International said it is “well past time for meaningful, bipartisan gun violence legislation in this country.” It also said: “Though information about the shooter and his arsenal is still being uncovered, we have long held there is no acceptable, reasonable need for civilians to have access to large rounds of ammunition.”

“B’nai B’rith stands in solidarity with the Las Vegas community and with all those impacted by gun violence around the nation,” the statement also said.

National Council of Jewish Women CEO Nancy Kaufman in a statement called for Congress to act to “stem the tide of this senseless violence before yesterday’s tragedy becomes just another record to be broken.”

“Federal lawmakers must act now to restrict access to automatic weapons, reject the current bill before Congress that would make it easier to buy silencers, and instead focus on how to make our communities and our country safer. NCJW expects nothing less from our elected officials,” the statement also said.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said the mass shooting cannot be termed a random act of violence.

“Even before all the facts are known we know this: rather than revere gun rights our country must finally revere human life,” he said.

“We mourn those callously slaughtered in Las Vegas and pray for the wounded. But our prayers must be followed by action, long overdue limits to the easy access to fire arms.”

The Jewish Federations of North America in its statement called on people wherever they are to donate blood.

“These attacks are just the latest instances of senseless violence that terrorizes innocent people everywhere and must come to an end,” the group said.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, also called the attack “senseless.”

“On behalf of world Jewry, I condemn this horrific criminal act,” he said in a statement.

David Bernstein, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said that while authorities have not determined whether the shooting was an act of terror, “there is no question that it has terrorized and traumatized hundreds of innocent people.”

Cheryl Fishbein, the JCPA’s chair, added: “It is imperative that we come together to address the underlying causes in the days ahead.”

There are over 70,000 Jews and at least 19 synagogues in Las Vegas, according to the website.



British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a curt statement on Friday afternoon urging people not to speculate on any investigation into the identity of the culprits behind Friday’s terror attack on London’s metro in a comment that seems to have been aimed directly at US President Donald Trump, who took to Twitter following the attack to suggest UK security forces should have been better prepared.

The American president wrote a series of tweets after the attack, which saw 22 people injured after a train caught on fire in the west of the British capital as a result of what security forces explained was the blast from a bomb that had been placed on the train in the Parsons Green station.


“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” the president tweeted, going on to say that the unnamed attackers were “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard.”

“Must be proactive!” Trump added, suggesting that British police was familiar with the attacker who perpetrated the attack and could have prevented it.

Trump then went on to claim that most attackers use the Internet to instigate assaults and to incite potential attackers to carry out attacks, and that security forces should amp up their efforts to clamp down on terrorism. “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better,” he wrote in an additional tweet.

He then penned a third tweet, this time using the incident to bring up the extended travel ban he has been attempting to reinstate in order to forbid migrants from Arab-majority countries from entering the US. “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” he retorted, taking a jab at critics of the executive order.

In one final tweet concerning the manner, he wrote: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

When asked about Trump’s comments, May said: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”

She also said that the police and security services were doing all they could to identify those responsible for the “cowardly attack.”

The US president made similar comments in June after Britain was hit by terror attacks on the London Bridge.

Britain met Trump’s comments levelly, flatly denying that security forces are aware of a specific attacker as of yet. A police spokeswoman told CNN on Friday afternoon that Trump’s comment was “pure speculation given we don’t know who [is] involved. Any speculation is unhelpful.”

The president later told reporters that he intended to call May and dubbed the attack a “terrible thing.”

President Trump later spoke about the attack at Joint Base Andrew in Maryland, calling May a “wonderful woman” and relaying his sympathy to the people of Britain.

Trump suggests UK police should have stopped attack by ‘loser terrorist’

US President Donald Trump called a bombing at a London Underground station another attack “by a loser terrorist” on Friday, and suggested police there may have missed an opportunity to prevent it.

British government officials denounced the terror attack that injured 22 commuters. Israel also condemned it.

The Metropolitan Police said the attack on a train at Parsons Green station was caused by the detonation of an improvised explosive device, as photos from the scene showed a bucket with wires emerging from its torched lid. The National Health Service said 22 people were taken to hospitals with injuries, though none were thought to be life-threatening. Police said most of those injured were suffering flash burns.

Trump tweeted Friday: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!

He later added: “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”

Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!

Israeli officials on Friday also denounced the blast, which London police had declared a terror attack.Witnesses reported seeing passengers covered in blood and with facial burns and hair coming off at Parsons Green station in west London after the explosion on the train.

“Israel condemns the #terror attack in London,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely tweeted. “We stand with you and our prayers for a quick recovery go out to the injured.”

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan echoed her remarks.

“Last week we brought love & culture to London,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to a four-day Israel celebration in the English capital last week. “Today terrorists sent message of hate. Israel & UK stand together against #terror”

Also Friday, the mayor of London said the city “will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.” Sadiq Khan said the city “utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life.”

He added that Londoners should remain “calm and vigilant.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee in response to the incident.

May tweeted Friday: “My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident.”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said people should “keep calm and go about their normal lives” as emergency services respond to the Parsons Green attack.

He added that it would be “wrong to speculate,” and that police and transit authorities “are on it.”

There will be an increased police presence on London as the incident is investigated.

Police did not provide details on any suspects.

French minister slams ‘anti-Semitic’ attack on Jewish family

France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb condemned an anti-Semitic attack in which a French Jewish leader and his family were assaulted in their home.

The statement issued over the weekend by Collomb’s office reiterated the French government’s determination “to do everything to combat every form of racism and anti-Semitism, which have no place in the French Republic.”

Collomb’s statement expressed his “indignation’’ about the attack, which took place Thursday night, and said that “according to initial indications, the motivation for this cowardly act seems to be directly related to the religion of the victim.”

“Everything will be done to identify and arrest those who carried out this foul attack,” the statement also said.

In the attack, three men, two of whom were wearing masks, broke into the home of Roger Pinto, the president of Siona, a group that represents Sephardic Jews — descendants of the Jewish people who were expelled from the Iberian peninsula in the 15th century during a period of Catholic zeal. The attackers beat Pinto’s son and wife in the home in the northeastern suburb of Livry Gargan, the Dreuz news website reported Sunday.

One of the attackers said, “You Jews have money,” according to the family members.

The Pintos were taken to hospital for treatment. They suffered some minor injuries and were deeply traumatized, the report said.

The incident, one of several cases in France in recent years in which criminals apparently singled out Jews based on the belief that they have money, provoked passionate condemnations from the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities and the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism. Both groups said the incident was an anti-Semitic attack.

The European Jewish Congress called on French authorities “to firmly root out societal anti-Semitism and its passive acceptance.”

“We appreciated the important words of the French Government in trying to make Jews feel safe in their country,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said in a statement. “However, it doesn’t appear that much has changed on the ground for French Jews who are still regularly attacked.”

At least 18 Egyptian police killed in attack on Sinai convoy

EL-ARISH, Egypt — Islamic State fighters ambushed a police convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Monday, killing 18 police and wounding seven others in one of the deadliest attacks this year in the restive region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Police and military officials said roadside bombs destroyed and set ablaze four armored vehicles and a fifth one carrying signal jamming equipment. The gunmen later opened fire with machine guns and commandeered a police pickup truck.

Among those killed were two police lieutenants. The wounded included a police brigadier general. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack in a brief item carried by its Aamaq news agency.

The attack took place about 30 kilometers (nearly 19 miles) west of el-Arish in northern Sinai, the epicenter of a long-running insurgency now led by an IS affiliate.

Monday’s attack was the deadliest against security forces since July, when Islamic State militants attacked a remote army outpost in the border town of Rafah, killing 23 soldiers. That was the deadliest attack in two years.

In March, the military said militants killed 10 soldiers during an army raid in Sinai’s central region.

Egypt has battled militants in Sinai for years, but the insurgency became far more deadly after the 2013 military ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an elected Islamist president. In recent years there has also been a wave of attacks, mainly targeting security forces, blamed on splinter factions of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group.

Monday’s attack came a day after authorities said they had busted a militant cell planning attacks in Cairo. Police said they killed 10 militants in two simultaneous raids on apartments in a densely populated Cairo neighborhood. They said the militants sneaked into the capital from northern Sinai, but did not say whether they were members of the IS group.

‘Why Should I Resign?’: Florida GOP Official (White Idiot) Refuses to Quit After Being Outed for Claw-Hammer Attack on Teen

A member of the Broward County GOP is refusing to step down after horrified fellow Republicans discovered he pleaded down to misdemeanor charges of attacking a high school classmate with a claw hammer over a decade ago.

According to the Miami-Herald, Rupert Tarsey was outed over the Labor Day weekend to GOP Chairman Bob Sutton for an assault at the Los Angeles Harvard-Westlake School. Tarsey attacked classmate Elizabeth Barcay, hitting her over the head at least 40 times with a claw hammer.

Police records state that Tarsey invited Barcay — the daughter of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon — to go with him to a Jamba Juice where he  allegedly pulled the claw hammer from his backpack and began hitting her with it before choking her and dumping her out of the car.

Following the assault, Tarsey’s parents had him admitted for psychiatric evaluation, with the then-teen claiming he was protecting himself from the young woman.

At the time Tarsey went by the name Rupert Ditsworth before changing his last name to his mother’s maiden name after this attempted murder charge was pleaded down to a misdemeanor.

Moving to Florida, Tarsey became involved in local politics — and threw his support behind now-President Donald Trump — before being elected to the Broward County broad as secretary.

Tarsey has refused calls for him to step down, calling complaints about his history “party politics.”

“Why should I resign,” he stated in an interview at his $2 million beachfront home. “I did nothing wrong and I was elected. ”

According to Tarsey — a real estate investor — he wasn’t trying to hide his violent past when he changed his name, simply saying, “I’m estranged from my dad.”

Broward GOP Chairman Sutton pleaded innocent about knowing about Tarsey’s history of violence, saying: “We were blindsided. He’s a member of the Knights of Columbus for Christ’s sake. And he came highly recommended by the former chair.”

‘We had no idea what his background is,” Sutton continued. “We want him out but he is refusing to resign. He deceived us. It looks like he even used a reputation management firm to make sure we wouldn’t find out who he is.”

Jewish groups attack Trump’s call to end DACA immigration program

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An array of Jewish groups and lawmakers attacked as immoral President Donald Trump’s decision to end an Obama-era program granting protections to illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

The Trump administration said Monday that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in six months. President Barack Obama had launched DACA in 2011 after multiple attempts failed in Congress to pass an immigration bill that would settle the status of 11 million undocumented immigrants. The program protected those who arrived as children from deportation and granted them limited legal status.

In statements, Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the principal objection to Obama’s so-called Dreamers program was that it was unconstitutional because it was established by an executive order, and indicated that Trump was ready to sign any congressional legislation that would accommodate the “dreamers.” It was unclear what would happen in the meantime or, should Congress not pass legislation, what would happen to the 800,000 people who have sought and received DACA’s protections.

Trump in a statement said his hand was forced as well by plans by attorneys general from conservative states to sue to kill DACA.

“The attorney general of the United States, the attorneys general of many states and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court,” he said.

Republican leaders in Congress have expressed a willingness to pass the legislation necessary to protect the affected immigrants, but Jewish groups and lawmakers said ending the program presented immoral perils, given the failures of Congress in the past to agree on comprehensive immigration reform.

“DACA recognized these individuals for who they are: Americans in everything but paperwork,” Melanie Nezer, the vice president for public affairs of HIAS, the lead Jewish immigrant advocacy group. “Their hopes and dreams are no different from kids who are born here, and there is no legitimate reason for inflicting this needless suffering on them and their families.”

The Reform movement called the action “morally misguided” and demanded that Congress act to redress the rescission.

“It is imperative that Congress step up in support of these young people who grew up in the United States and who want to give back to the only country they know as home,” said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who directs the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center. “We call on Congress to protect DACA recipients from deportation by immediately passing a clean bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 – and on the president to support it.”

Richard Foltin, the American Jewish Committee’s director of government affairs, called the decision “devastating,” and the Anti-Defamation League said it was one of “a long list of actions and policies by this administration that have deeply hurt immigrants and their families.” The ADL noted the pardoning last month of Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff who had been convicted of discriminatory practices against Hispanics, and the threat to withdraw funding from cities offering sanctuary to illegal immigrants.

Other Jewish organizations condemning the decision included Bend the Arc, J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Shalom Center and the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. Bend the Arc listed rallies across the country it would join to oppose the decision.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for public policy, said it “strongly opposed” the decision and called on Congress to act to protect the “dreamers.”

“The Jewish community has a long history of active engagement in the struggles of new immigrants and in development of our nation’s immigration policy,” it said. “We believe that Congress must enact a permanent solution and we call on lawmakers to act immediately to protect immigrant youth by passing the ‘Dream Act of 2017,’ bipartisan legislation that would replace fear and uncertainty with permanent protection.”

Jewish Democrats also slammed the decision.

“Terminating #DACA now puts 800,000 talented young #DREAMers who love, contribute to, and live in America officially at risk of deportation,” Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Twitter.

Terminating  now puts 800,000 talented young  who love, contribute to, and live in America officially at risk of deportation.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Engel’s counterpart on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the decision was “clearly written with little thought of the human consequences.” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the decision “cruel and arbitrary.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress, in a long and anguished statement said he supported Trump’s decision but added that he would work to pass legislation to protect the undocumented immigrants.

“I am very much willing to work with any of my colleagues on either side of the aisle on this issue and others to find common ground however possible,” he said. “Working together productively and substantively, I am hugely confident that long overdue progress can absolutely be achieved at least in part to move the needle more in the right direction.”

Dreamers and their supporters on Monday night held a candlelight vigil outside the home of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the daughter and son-in-law of the president.  The couple, who both serve as advisers to the president, reportedly advocated for continuing DACA.

Haredi man says he was punched and called a ‘Jew’ in Antwerp attack

(JTA) – Police in Belgium apprehended and briefly detained a man who allegedly assaulted a haredi Orthodox man on the street in Antwerp while shouting “Jew.”

The incident happened Friday evening on a central street in the capital of the Flemish Region, the Jewish man, who spoke to JTA on condition of anonymity, said Monday. He said the man approached him smiling and in a relaxed manner that left him not expecting an assault.

“Then he hit me on the chin, said ‘Jew’ and just walked away,” the Jewish man said.

The Jewish man said he filed a complaint with police that night but would not sign it, citing a religious prohibition on writing on Shabbat. He told JTA he intends to press charges and sign the deposition in the coming days. He said reports that he had been injured in the altercation were exaggerated.

“I was not hurt,” he said.

The Jewish man said he followed the attacker as he walked away, and shouted that he had been assaulted. Jewish men living in the area joined him and forcibly detained the alleged attacker until army soldiers guarding the area due to the presence of several Jewish institutions arrived. They called police, who arrested the man on suspicion of assault.

“This incident was unpleasant but I was glad to see the immediate response both by the community and the authorities,” said the Jewish man, a citizen of a country in Central Europe who is living in Antwerp.

Police told Michael Freilich, the editor-in-chief of the Joods Actueel Jewish newspaper in Antwerp, that the alleged attacker was often loitering at the scene of the incident, and he appeared to be intoxicated at the time of his arrest. Police questioned the man and released him as the complaint lodged against him is being evaluated, police told Freilich.

Freilich added that he was not able to confirm reports that the man accused of attacking the Jewish man was of Muslim descent or a convert to Islam, as Shomrim, the emergency service of the local Jewish community, initially claimed on social media.