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Iran Vows Revenge on Israel After Damascus Embassy Attack

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during the official farewell ceremony for his trip to New York, at Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, September 17, 2023. Photo: Iran’s Presidency/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

Iran vowed on Tuesday to take revenge on Israel for an airstrike that killed two of its top generals and five other military advisers at the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, underlining the risk of further escalation after the attack.

Conflict has rippled across the Middle East since the onset of the Gaza war; until now, Tehran has carefully avoided direct conflict with Israel while backing terrorist allies attacking Israeli and US targets.

Israel has not declared responsibility for the attack which destroyed a consular building adjacent to the main embassy building in the upscale Mezzeh district of Damascus on Monday night, killing seven members of Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a US-designated terrorist organization.

But a senior Israeli government official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said those hit had “been behind many attacks on Israeli and American assets and had plans for additional attacks.”

The embassy “was not a target,” the official said.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed revenge. “The Zionist regime will be punished by the hands of our brave men. We will make it regret this crime and others it has committed,” he said.

Khamenei’s political adviser Ali Shamkhani, in a post on X/Twitter, said the United States “remains directly responsible whether or not it was aware of the intention to carry out this attack.”

At least one member of the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah was also killed in the strike, two security sources in Lebanon said.

Israel has stepped up a years-long campaign of airstrikes against Iranian or Iran-backed targets in Syria since the onset of the Gaza war, but Monday’s apparent strike was one of the boldest yet.

Syrian civil defense teams were still working on Tuesday to clear the rubble as ambulances were parked nearby.

Iran‘s ambassador to Syria Hossein Akbari, who was not wounded in the strike, has said the flattened building housed his residence. He could be seen exiting the main embassy building on Tuesday with his security guards.

“Having failed to destroy the will of the resistance front, the Zionist regime [Israel] has put blind assassinations back on its agenda to save itself,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said, referring to Iran‘s allies in the “Axis of Resistance.”

“It must know that it will never achieve its goals and that this cowardly crime will not go unanswered,” Raisi said.

Iranian state media said Tehran believed the target was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, one of the brigadier generals killed.

A brief biography shared by Hezbollah’s al-Manar outlet said Zahedi was in the IRGC’s Quds Force from 2008 to 2016, then led the Guards’ operations from 2016 and 2019 before returning to the Quds Force to work on its Lebanon and Syria operations until this year.

The attack was one of the heaviest blows to the Revolutionary Guards since the assassination of Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike on Baghdad in 2020.

Iran backs groups that have entered the fray across the region since Hamas ignited the Gaza war on Oct. 7 by attacking Israel, with Hezbollah waging attacks from Lebanon while Iraqi groups have fired on US forces in Syria and Iraq and the Houthis of Yemen have attacked Red Sea shipping.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has drawn on Iranian military aid during more than a decade of civil war in the country, and Iran-backed forces have carved out a significant presence on the ground.

Israel typically does not discuss attacks by its forces on Syria. Asked about the strike, an Israeli military spokesperson said: “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.”

The New York Times cited four unnamed Israeli officials as acknowledging Israel had carried out the attack.

According to Axios citing a US official, Washington told Tehran it “had no involvement” or advanced knowledge of the Israeli strike.

Iran‘s UN mission described the strike as a “flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, international law, and the foundational principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises.”

Saying the strike was “a significant threat to regional peace and security,” the Iranian mission urged the UN Security Council to condemn the attack and said Tehran reserved the right “to take a decisive response.”

The Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7 killed about 1,200 people and resulted in another 253 being taken hostage.

The post Iran Vows Revenge on Israel After Damascus Embassy Attack first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips

After a weekend overnight shutdown of Israeli airspace, during which time Iranian missiles and drones attacked the country, Canadians ware cautiously optimistic that travel to and from Ben Gurion Airport will resume regular schedules later this week. Air Canada cancelled departures from Toronto on Saturday and from Tel Aviv on Monday—the latter despite the airport […]

The post Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Harvard University Wants Antisemitism Lawsuit Dismissed, Denies Injury to Students

Students accusing Israel of genocide at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, Nov. 16, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Lawyers representing Harvard University in Massachusetts have requested the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by six Jewish students who accused the school of ignoring antisemitic discrimination.

According to The Harvard Crimson, the university said in a court filing that a lawsuit, as well as a period of discovery during which its conduct would be thoroughly examined, was not necessary due to the “tangible steps” it has taken to combat antisemitism in just the past few months. Additionally, the school argued that the civil suit, led by graduate student Shabbos Kestenbaum and Students Against Antisemitism, lacked standing.

“Without minimizing at all the importance of the need to address energetically antisemitism at the university, plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the strategy and speed of Harvard’s essential work does not state a legally cognizable claim,” said the motion to dismiss, as quoted by The Crimson. “Consequently, the amended complaint should be dismissed.”

Harvard University recently received an “F” grade for its handling of antisemitism in a first-ever Campus Antisemitism Report Card issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, students have stormed the campus calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, terrorizing students and preventing some from attending class.

In November, a mob of anti-Zionists — including Ibrahim Bharmal, editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — followed, surrounded, and intimidated a Jewish student. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crush of people screamed in a call-and-response chant into the ears of the student who —as seen in the footage — was forced to duck and dash the crowd to free himself from the cluster of bodies that encircled him.

In February, a faculty group posted on social an antisemitic cartoon which showed a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David dangling two men of color from a noose.

These incidents, and more, are currently being investigated by the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which is probing Harvard’s handling of skyrocketing instances of antisemitic intimidation and harassment on campus.

Proclaiming that Harvard “failed Jews repeatedly,” Kestenbaum told The Crimson that he would not stand down.

“Harvard’s meritless motion to dismiss our lawsuit only proves our point: It has never taken the concerns of us Jewish students seriously, and has no plans to start now,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure in both the court of law and the court of public opinion … We hope that donors and prospective students follow closely.”

No Ivy League school earned better than a “C” in the ADL’s landmark report, a grade awarded to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Four others — Columbia University, Brown University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania — received “D’s” while Harvard and Princeton University both received “F’s.”

“Every campus should get an A — that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects,” ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement announcing the report. “They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate. But that hasn’t been the experience with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before Oct. 7.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Harvard University Wants Antisemitism Lawsuit Dismissed, Denies Injury to Students first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israel Sets New Standards for Saving Wounded Troops in War

Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel, near Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israeli army’s chief medical officer told a recent gathering of NATO and allied officials about the striking success of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in saving injured soldiers during the war against Hamas in Gaza.

According to IDF Medical Corps chief Elon Glassberg, the army has brought the time between the moment of injury and seeing a senior medical practitioner to under four minutes, and in many cases under one minute. One reason for the speed is that the IDF has changed its strategy for treating wounded soldiers from the typical field hospitals to which soldiers are evacuated and treated — and in serious cases transferred via helicopter to a hospital — to a system that brings doctors to the battlefield with soldiers.

The new system has, according to Glassberg, more than 670 doctors and paramedics embedded within combat groups in Gaza. As a result, wounded soldiers are given immediate care.

Additionally, the new policy calls for airlifting every wounded soldier to a hospital via helicopter, which are on standby at all times and outfitted to be like flying emergency rooms, staffed with surgeons and intensive care doctors.

The IDF has conducted over 950 such operations in the helicopters, according to Glassberg, bringing approximately 4,200 soldiers to hospitals. In the field, 80 soldiers were saved due to quick doses of plasma and 550 had bleeding stopped before the flights.

Of course, helicopter times to hospitals vary and are not predictable on the minute. The current time from moment of injury to arriving at the hospital stands at one hour and six minutes. This is in comparison to an average time of two hours and ten minutes during the 2014 Gaza War, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

The new processes by the IDF are saving lives. According to Glassberg, the current rate of death among wounded soldiers is 15 percent. In Gaza today, however, 6.3 percent of soldiers who are injured end up succumbing to their wounds, showing how quick action is key in ensuring the injured soldiers can return home after the war — or, in many cases, back to the battlefield.

Glassberg also pointed out how the IDF is continuing to learn how to best protect soldiers in the future. For example, he noted, a majority of deaths occurred due to injuries to parts of the body that are not protected by bulletproof vests. Therefore, Israel is already discussing new vests to give to soldiers to lower the casualty count.

The post Israel Sets New Standards for Saving Wounded Troops in War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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