ISIS plans to attack Israel; Iranian general warns of retaliation; Violence in Iraq

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on January 28 in last twelve hours from

Islamic State announces ‘new phase’ of attacks: Mainly targeting Israel

The Islamic State group vowed Monday to shift its focus from the remnants of its “caliphate” toward making Israel the main target of its attacks. It also called to sabotage a peace plan US President Donald Trump is due to unveil, according to a purported audio message from its spokesman.

Abu Hamza al-Quraishi said IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi encourages the group’s fighters to launch “a new phase” and vowed major operations against Israel.

“The eyes of the soldiers of the caliphate, wherever they are, are still on Jerusalem,” the spokesman said in the 37-minute message.

“And in the coming days, God willing, you will see what harms you and what will make you forget the horrors you have seen,” he said, apparently threatening attacks of unprecedented scope.

The spokesman said IS leader Quraishi was “determined, and has encouraged his mujahideen brothers in all provinces, and Muslims across the world,” to launch “a new phase.”

That new focus “is fighting the Jews and reclaiming what they have stolen from the Muslims, and this cannot be reclaimed except through fighting,” he said.

Iranian general warns of retaliation against Israel if US threats continue

The chief of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Monday that it will retaliate against American and Israeli commanders if the US continues to threaten top Iranian generals.

“I warn them to withdraw from this field,” Gen. Hossein Salami told state television, adding if they do not, they “will definitely regret it.”

The US killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the expeditionary Quds Force, in a drone strike outside of Baghdad’s airport in Iraq on January 3. Five days later, Iran retaliated by launching ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing American troops, causing injuries but no fatalities among soldiers there.

Soleimani was responsible for Iranian proxy forces across the Mideast. The US alleged that he was plotting attacks on American targets.

Soleimani’s replacement, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, has said he would carry on with his predecessor’s work.

Violence escalates in Iraq as government pushes to end protests

Gunmen shot dead two protesters in Iraq’s southern city of Nassiriya overnight and a Baghdad district became a battlefield on the third day of a drive by security forces to end months of demonstrations against the largely Iran-backed ruling elite, Reuters reports.

Clashes over the weekend had already killed at least five protesters. Rockets also hit the US embassy compound in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone housing government buildings.

Ambassadors of 16 countries in Baghdad including the United States, France and Britain condemned the use of live fire by Iraqi security forces and called for a credible investigation into the deaths of more than 500 protesters since October.

Security sources said three people were wounded when at least one rocket landed in the US embassy compound, the first time in years that an attack on the Green Zone – a regular occurrence – had hurt staff there.

The Iraqi military said five Katyusha rockets hit the Green Zone late on Sunday, without reporting casualties.

In a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed outrage at the continued assaults by Iran’s armed groups targeting US facilities in Iraq, including Sunday’s attack, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

She said Sunday’s rocket attack resulted in one injury. “The Secretary underlined once again that these attacks demonstrate a wanton disregard for Iraqi sovereignty and a failure to rein in these dangerous armed groups,” Ortagus said in a statement.

“The Secretary noted that we view last night’s attack on the Embassy as an attempt to distract Iraqi and international attention away from the brutal suppression of peaceful Iraqi protesters by Iran and its proxies,” she said.

Authorities began the pushback on Saturday to try to end protests that began in the capital on Oct. 1 and in other southern cities. Demonstrators are demanding the removal of all politicians, free elections and an end to corruption.

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Source: TTI, MEMO