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Anti-Israel Protester Arrested for Allegedly Killing Elderly Jewish Man at California Rally

Community college professor Loay Alnaji, 50, as seen on Nov. 5, 2023 at the scene of an alleged assault on 69-year-old Paul Kessler, who later died after falling and hitting his head on the ground. Photo: Screenshot

Police in California on Thursday arrested community college professor Loay Alnaji and charged him with involuntary manslaughter for his alleged role in the death of an elderly Jewish man during dueling demonstrations held over the Israel-Hamas war in a Los Angeles suburb earlier this month.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Alnaji, 50, will be booked at a detention facility in the county and bail will be set at $1 million.

Paul Kessler, 69, died on Nov. 6 at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, after succumbing to injuries caused by “blunt force head trauma” suffered the prior day, Ventura County medical examiner Dr. Christopher Young confirmed last week.

During an altercation with someone whom police previously described as a “pro-Palestine” protester, Kessler, who had been waving an Israeli flag, fell backward and hit his head on the ground.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has said that an anti-Israel protester struck Kessler in the head with a megaphone during the Nov. 5 confrontation.

Young confirmed that Kessler did have injuries to his face, but the medical examiner and the police declined to comment on how they were caused and what immediately preceded Kessler hitting his head on the ground.

This week, photos emerged online showing Alnaji holding a megaphone that is believed to have been used in the alleged assault that caused Kessler’s fall.

Alnaji’s arrest came over a week after the Ventura County Sheriff’s office, citing conflicting witness accounts of the altercation and a lack of video documentation, claimed there was insufficient evidence to begin criminal proceedings against any suspect.

Before Thursday, police had only briefly detained Alnaji during a traffic stop while a search of his home in Moorpark — a city in Ventura County — was conducted with a warrant. Authorities at the time declined to confirm the identity of Alnaji or anyone else as a potential suspect.

“Though an arrest has been made, we continue to encourage community members who may have information about this criminal investigation and have yet to come forward to please contact Detective [Corey] Stump at 805-384-4745,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in Thursday’s statement.

StopAntisemitism, a nonprofit that tracks antisemitic incidents around the world, reported last week that Alnaji has shared pro-Hamas content on social media, including a video in which activist Shahid King Bolsen, who in 2006 was convicted of killing a German engineer in Dubai, said the Palestinian terrorist group will be remembered as civil rights heroes.

Alnaji has also reportedly posted on his Facebook and YouTube pages statements that said “O Allah, release the captivity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and “Oh, God, give victory to your weak servants in Palestine, and everywhere.”

The Ventura County Sheriff’s office has said it has not ruled out the possibility that Kessler’s death was a hate crime.

Alnaji teaches computer science at Ventura Community College in California.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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