Iranian Gen. Hossein Hamedani, pictured above, second in command of the Al Quds Brigades under Qassem Soleimani, was killed in the fighting outside Aleppo in northern Syria Wednesday. Hamedani is the highest ranking officer Iran has lost so far in the Syrian war.
The Pentagon said that its “train and equip” program for Syrian rebels, which produced only four or five combatants for $500 million, would be replaced with a far less ambitious plan.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt was pulled Thursday out of the Gulf, leaving the US Navy for the first time since 2007 with no aircraft carrier in the Middle East. This week, Russian warships twice fired cruise missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea. The Roosevelt carries some 5,000 troops and 65 combat planes. Most of the US air strikes conducted in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were mounted from its decks. According to the Pentagon, US air strikes will continue to be launched from bases in Turkey. The US Air Force keeps no more than half a dozen F-16 warplanes at those bases. They are nowhere near filling the gap left by the Roosevelt’s departure.
Traffic and security forces on central Israeli highways came under firebomb attack Friday night from the Israeli Arab towns of Wadi Iron and Taibe. The firebombs and burning tires forced police to intermittently open and close Highways 65 and 444.Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu held a news conference in Jerusalem on Thursday evening regarding the current wave of Palestinian attacks, vowing to defeat terror, restore calm and security, and crack down on incitement by Islamic radicals. He said the terror, although unorganized, is the result of incitement by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s Islamic movement and several countries in the region. He added that Israel is acting on all fronts against both terror and incitement. The prime minister was accompanied by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Chief of Staff Gady Eisenkot, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan and interim Police Chief Bentzi Sao.