Permalink US hits 85 targets in Syria and Iraq

US Central Command announced on Friday that that it had hit 85 Kata'ib Hezbollah targets in Syria and Iraq in retaliation for a recent drone attack on a U.S. military headquarters in Jordan near the border with Syria that killed three US service members. | The attacks were conducted last night. Officials in Iraq have condemned the attacks. Reportedly, the overnight air strikes on Syria killed at least 18 fighters.  Kataib Hezbollah had said the attacks on the American headquarters in the region, including the recent one in Jordan, were in response to Washington’s full support for Israel’s massacre of the Palestinians in Gaza, which started in October 2023. Kataib Hezbollah, also called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, have so far fired missiles at Israel's for its genocidal war in the besieged Gaza Strip. US military officials have not provided an estimated death toll but have said the strikes resulted in causalities.

Lloyd Austin: ‘We Don’t Know’ If Iran Was Involved in Jordan Drone Attack (antiwar.com)
Damascus says US occupation of Syrian territory ‘cannot continue’ (Malay Mail)
Military statement: A number of civilian and military martyrs in U.S. new aggression near borders with Iraq (SANA)
Iraq condemns US airstrikes as ‘breach of sovereignty', warns of 'disasterous consequences' (PressTV)
Most targeted sites completely evacuated before aggression (Al Mayadeen)
Yemen's Ansarullah vows to stand by Iraqi, Syrian resistance groups 'in battlefield' after US strikes (PressTV)
Iraq’s Nujaba: We’ll Keep up Ops against US until Occupation Ends, Gaza Genocide Stops (Alahed News)

Permalink Uncovering ancient Ashkenaz – the birthplace of Yiddish speakers

Eran Elhaik | Did Ashkenazi Jews descend from ancient Turkey? | At 1,000 years, the search for the location of Ashkenaz – thought to be the birthplace of Ashkanazic Jews and the Yiddish language – is one of the longest quests in human history. It is perhaps second only in length to the search for Noah’s Ark which began in the 3rd century AD.  The place name Ashkenaz occurs three times in the Bible, but by the Middle Ages the exact origin of Ashkenaz was forgotten. Because of the migration of the Ashkenazic Jews it later became associated with Germany. This led to all German Jews being considered “Ashkenazic”, a term which was then applied to central and eastern European Jews who follow Ashkenazic religious customs and who speak Yiddish.  The Yiddish language – which consists of Hebrew, German, Slavic elements and is written in Aramaic – has been spoken at least since the 9th century AD, but its origins have been debated by linguists for several centuries. While some have suggested a German origin, others believe a more complex beginning for the language, starting in Slavic lands in Khazaria – the Middle Age Khazar Empire that covered present-day southern Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and parts of the Caucasus – and followed by Ukraine, and finally Germany. Although the language adopted a German vocabulary it retained its Slavic grammar – which is why Yiddish is often referred to as “bad German”.  The inability of linguists to reach a consensus have led some to decry that the mystery of where Yiddish came from will never be solved. But now for the first time a pioneering tool that converts genome data into ancestral coordinates, is helping to pinpoint the DNA of Yiddish speakers.  In the largest genomic study of Ashkenazic Jews, and the first one to study Yiddish speakers, we applied our Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool – which operates in a similar way to the sat nav in your car – to the genomes of more than 360 Yiddish and non-Yiddish speaking Ashkenazic Jews.  Surprisingly, our GPS homed in on north-east Turkey, where we found four primeval villages, one of which was abandoned in the mid-7th century AD.  These ancient villages identified by the GPS tool are clustered close to the Silk Road – the ancient network of trade routes – and are named Iskenaz, Eskenaz, Ashanaz, and Ashkuz. And it is likely that these are the villages that mark the location of the lost lands of Ashkenaz.

New Genome Study Destroys Zionist Claims to Palestine (03/04/13)
Jews Are Not a Race But Jewish Identity is Racist (10/14/13)

Permalink ‘Love of my life’: Shot dead, waiting for her husband in the West Bank

Mosab Shawer | Ahed Emtair was shot by Israeli forces during a raid near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. | Bahaa Masalmeh was planning to shower his young wife with gifts on her upcoming 21st birthday, which he had been planning for several weeks.  But on January 15, Ahed, a mother of a six-month-old baby daughter, was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a raid into the town of Dura near Hebron in the southern West Bank. She was inside her brother-in-law’s house at the time, watching for her husband’s arrival at a window.  The couple had only been married for 15 months, but Masalmeh said his wife had left him with his best memories and that she had given him the “best days” of his life. Ahed was a keen learner, loved by “everyone”, he said – her cheerful soul and thirst for life were contagious. “She was the love of my life,” he told Al Jazeera. “She was the epitome of everything good in life.” Now, he has been left to raise their daughter, Ayloul, without her.

Permalink The New York Times: Stripped, Beaten or Vanished: Israel’s Treatment of Gaza Detainees Raises Alarm

Raja Abdulrahim | A U.N. office said Israel’s detention and treatment of detainees might amount to torture. It estimated thousands had been detained and held in “horrific” conditions. Some were freed wearing only diapers. | Cold, almost naked and surrounded by Israeli soldiers with M16 assault rifles, Ayman Lubbad knelt among dozens of Palestinian men and boys who had just been forced from their homes in northern Gaza.  It was early December and photographs and videos taken at the time showed him and other detainees in the street, wearing only underwear and lined up in rows, surrounded by Israeli forces.  In one video, a soldier yelled at them over a megaphone: “We’re occupying all of Gaza. Is that what you wanted? You want Hamas with you? Don’t tell me you’re not Hamas.” The detainees, some barefoot with their hands on their heads, shouted objections. “I’m a day laborer,” one man shouted. “Shut up,” the soldier yelled back.  Palestinian detainees from Gaza have been stripped, beaten, interrogated and held incommunicado over the past three months, according to accounts by nearly a dozen of the detainees or their relatives interviewed by The New York Times. Organizations representing Palestinian prisoners and detainees gave similar accounts in a report, accusing Israel of both indiscriminate detention of civilians and demeaning treatment of detainees.

Field executions: Bodies of 30 Palestinians found in bags at Beit Lahia school (01/31/24)

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