Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism

Vatican Rejects Reports About Papal Assassination Plans

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Italian press report has claimed that Islamist terrorists were preparing to assassinate Pope Francis – Vatican spokesman Lombardi: “The Vatican does not harbor special concerns in this direction”

Vatican City (kath.net/KNA/red) The Vatican has denied a report according to which Islamist terrorists were preparing an assassination attempt on Pope Francis. This lacks foundation, in the words of Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. “There is nothing to be taken seriously. The Vatican does not harbor special concerns in this direction,” as the media quoted him on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Italian daily newspaper “Il Tempo” spread rumors, that fighters of the terrorist militia “Islamic State” were planning an attack on the Pope. Referring to Israeli sources, it was said that their leader, the self-styled “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had ordered attacks in Europe and in particular against Francis as “the greatest representative of the Christian Religion” and “support of false truth”.

Currently, the jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, are coming to Italy, militia mingled with the numerous refugees coming across the Mediterranean. Last week the Italian media reported that Italy is reinforcing its security measures. But a concrete suspicion of terrorism did not exist.

During the general audience on 13 May 1981 in St. Peter’s Square Ali Agca, surrounded by about 15,000 people, made ​​an attempt on John Paul II. The Pope barely survived.  There is still nothing certain known about the actual motivations and instigators of the Turkish-Muslim assassin. This assassination-Shirt by Pope John Paul II. (Rome Reports, Eng.)

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 27, 2014 at 21:39

Kalashnikov ‘Repented Killings’ in Letter to Church

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Yes, the AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova) has historically been the weapon of choice for terrorists and other evildoers. More AK-type rifles have been produced than all other assault rifles combined. Now, the Telegraph is reporting that,

The creator wrote a lengthy emotional letter to Russian Orthodox Church to repent in the months before his death in December.

Mikhail Kalashnikov presents the submachine gun named after him

The designer of the Kalashnikov assault rifle was apparently so racked with guilt that he sought solace from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to express remorse for those killed by his invention.

In a lengthy letter to Patriarch Kirill, Russia’s chief cleric, written just six months before his death in December Mikhail Kalashnikov described struggling with the “unbearable spiritual torment” of knowing the carnage the AK-47 rifle wreaked upon the world.

“My spiritual torment is unbearable. One and the same question: if my rifle killed people does that mean that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, 93 years of age, the son of a peasant, Christian and orthodox by faith, am responsible for people’s deaths, even if they were enemies?” He wrote.

Mr Kalashnikov, who died on December 23 at the age of 94, began designing weapons after being wounded in battle during the Second World War.

He later blamed the Nazis for prompting him to invent the AK-47, the assault rifle that sired a family of weapons that has been called Russia’s most successful global brand.

But while he was known to have expressed regret at how it had been misused, Mr Kalashnikov always publicly defended his invention, saying in successive interviews that he had designed it only to be used in defence of the country.

Born and bred in the Soviet Union, and later a national hero of the fiercely secular Communist state, Mr Kalashnikov was for most of his life an atheist.

But in his letter to Kirill, which was reproduced by the Russian daily Izvestia on Monday morning, the aging designer explained how he turned to God as he grew older.

Mr Kalashnikov wrote that he his conversion began with the sense of “excitement” he felt when he first entered a church at the age of 91, later being baptised into the Orthodox faith.

A spokesman for the Church said Patriarch Kirril had welcomed the letter and even written a reply.

“This letter was very welcome at a time of attacks on the Church. The Patriarch thanked the legendary designer for his attention and position and answered that Mikhail Timofeevich was himself an example of patriotism and appropriate attitude to the country,” Patriarch Kirill’s spokesman Alexander Volkov told the paper.

And he added that from the Church’s point of view Mr Kalashnikov had little to repent for, at least as far as his invention is concerned.

“The Church has a very definite position: when weapons serve to protect the Fatherland, the Church supports both its creators and the soldiers who use it,” Volkov said.

“He invented that weapon for the defence of the country, not for the use of Saudi Arabian terrorists,” he added.

Wikipedia has more on Lt Gen Mikhail Kalashnikov here.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 14, 2014 at 12:55

Terror in School

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Sometimes, you simply have the right to defend yourself.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 29, 2012 at 23:30

Posted in Culture

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Israel: Rockets Rain Down on Israel. Tensions Rise in the Middle East

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Virtue Online:

Last night I was watching CNN and Jenny (5) said, “What are those? Rockets?” It was footage of the fighting between Hamas and the IDF. I answered (without thinking about it), “Yeah, they’re firing rockets at Israel,” and then quickly added, “But not here.”

So soldiers are being mobilized and it looks like foot soldiers will be going into Gaza.

In truly worrying news, a rocket from Gaza recently reached the suburbs of Tel Aviv, which is the hub of the entire country. That little coastal strip from Tel Aviv up through Haifa is where most of the population of this little country lives. (Israel is about the size of New Jersey, incidentally.) If the guys in Gaza get better missiles from Iran (which is where they are coming from) then you will start to see serious casualties on the Israeli side, and the government will not permit that.

In the past Egypt could more or less be counted on to make smuggling arms into Gaza hard. No more…

Meanwhile, the fighting in Syria is spilling over into the always-unstable country of Lebanon. And fighting among the various parties (and there are several, not just two) in Syria recently made the Israeli army fire the first warning shots in decades in the Golan cease-fire area. It appears that the Syrians had not intended to cross the cease-fire line, fortunately.

Our neighbors in Jordan, which has the reputation of being a stable country, have recently eliminated fuel subsidies, which has caused massive protests over there. A line has been crossed, in fact, in that some people are openly calling for the abdication of King Abdullah. If he does not abdicate, force will have to be used to suppress dissenting voices. If he does abdicate the monarchy will be abolished, or a sibling of his will become monarch. Either way, Jordan will go the way of Egypt and become much more Islamist-leaning in its politics and foreign relations.

In my e-mail inbox this morning I had a message from the US Embassy-consulates are closed today and the embassy hours have been reduced. Also, diplomats may not travel through the West Bank because of the instability in both Israel and Jordan. Jordan, meanwhile, is trying to figure out what to do with tens of thousands of refugees from Syria. Jordan does not even have enough food or water for its own population.

We have been living in the Middle East now for many years, and I’m quite used to the occasional instability or violence. But it was always isolated to this or that area. The instability is too widespread now. I’m not an alarmist, but I don’t see how any of this ends up happily. That having been said, I do not feel our family is in any imminent danger, I am glad to say.

Would you please pray for peace in the region? Pray that the local churches would be part of the solution and not just close their eyes and ears to these difficulties? And pray for us, that in the midst of all of this we would be people of light and hope and witnesses to the grace of our Creator and the love of our Redeemer.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 16, 2012 at 17:21

A Soldier’s Mother: ‘Don’t Cry for Him, Gaza’

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Here’s a post from one of our favorite Israeli bloggers, on life under the Iron Dome, and her take on the recent rocket activity and retaliation:

In a pinpoint strike, Israel has assassinated Ahmed al-Jabari – equivalent to the Chief of Command of Hamas. al-Jabari died as he lived – a man of hatred and violence. I do not mourn his passing, nor do I celebrate it. That is not what Jews do. It is said that as the ancient Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea as the Jews crossed into Sinai on their way to the land that God had promised them – that the angels themselves celebrated and danced. And they asked God why he was not celebrating too. God answered that he could not celebrate while his creations were dying.

Read more on A Soldier’s Mother.

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 15, 2012 at 12:56

Iran Terror Plot in USA

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abc News reports:

Suspect Manssor Arbabsiar in alleged Iran-backed terror plot

FBI and DEA agents have disrupted a plot to commit a “significant terrorist act in the United States” tied to Iran, federal officials told ABC News today.

The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. Bombings of the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were also discussed, according to the U.S. officials.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in an announcement today that the plan was “conceived, sponsored and was directed from Iran” by a faction of the government and called it a “flagrant” violation of U.S. and international law.

“The U.S. is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions,” Holder said.

Read on here.

The Guardian today has: Alleged Iran plot could have been trigger for war in Middle East, here:

Whoever was behind the Washington plot was ready to start a war in the Middle East. The region is already on the brink of conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme, with Israel increasingly twitchy over the progress Tehran is making towards a capacity to make nuclear weapons.

Leaked US State Department cables also make clear that the Saudi king, Abdullah, has repeatedly urged the US to “cut off the head of the snake” and attack Iran.

Against that backdrop, the assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington, with mass American casualties and perhaps an attack on the Israeli embassy too, would have ensured that the region went up in flames…

More on this here.

And lastly then: Alleged plot is uncharacteristically bold, in The Washington Post:

The alleged plot to carry out an assassination on U.S. soil would represent, if proven, a significant escalation of a long-running covert struggle between Iran and the West that has included industrial sabotage, terrorist bombings and the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists.

It also would reflect a radical shift in tactics for a country that usually prefers to leave its dirty work to proxies…

The brazenness of the plot outlined by Justice Department officials struck many current and former U.S. officials as out of character for Iran, which has rarely, if ever, been so bold as to strike targets in America. U.S. officials were similarly surprised last month when an Iranian admiral threatened to send naval ships to patrol off U.S. waters…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 12, 2011 at 09:55

Posted in Church

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Israel Foils Multiple Terrorist Attacks in Jerusalem

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The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed today that in recent months it had arrested dozens of Hamas terrorist suspects who belonged to 13 different terror cells operating in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The cells were planning a number of terrorist plots including the abduction of an IDF soldier and a suicide attack:

The cell plotting the attack in Jerusalem was based in Hebron and had manufactured two explosive devices using fire extinguishers loaded with six kilograms of explosives and wrapped in a metal ball to increase collateral damage. The suicide attack was scheduled to be carried out on August 21 in the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood in Jerusalem and the cell was in the advanced stages of plotting the abduction of an Israeli soldier from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of the capital.

The Shin Bet and police captured two explosive devices: One in the home of Azhak Arfa, a 23-year-old resident of Ras al-Amud in east Jerusalem, and the holder of an Israeli blue identity card.

Arfa worked until his arrest in a Jerusalem mall near the Central Bus Station and was recruited into the cell by Hassin Kussama, a 36-year-old resident of Hebron who was a known Hamas operative and explosives expert, who also served as an “engineer” for the cell. A second device was discovered in Kussama’s home in Hebron.

The above was here.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

September 7, 2011 at 20:15

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