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The Daily TIP: Counterterror Chief: Hezbollah “Determined” to Attack U.S. Homeland

Posted by Tip Staff - October 11, 2017

Counterterror Chief: Hezbollah “Determined” to Attack U.S. Homeland
Former Argentinian President Ordered to Testify in Terror Cover-Up Probe
U.S. Bans Russian Anti-Virus Software After Israel Warns about Hacking
Israeli Footbridge Wins Int'l Design Award for "Imaginative Concept"

Counterterror Chief: Hezbollah “Determined” to Attack U.S. Homeland

The United States announced multi-million dollar rewards for information on two Hezbollah operatives, and the top U.S. counterterror official said that intelligence agencies have assessed that Hezbollah is "determined" to attack the U.S. homeland, at a State Department briefing Tuesday.

Nathan Sales, Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, announced that the State Department was offering rewards for two top Hezbollah officials.

A reward of up to $7 million is being offered for information leading to the capture of Talal Hamiyah and one of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Fuad Shukr.

However Sales said “more work needs to be done” referring to regions where Hezbollah has not be designated a terrorist organization or where countries have only designated Hezbollah’s “military” wing. “Make no mistake – Hizballah has no political wing,” Sales said. “It is a single organization, a terrorist organization, and it is rotten to its core.”

Noting that the arrest of two Hezbollah operatives in June in the United States served as “a stark reminder” of the terror organization’s global reach, Rasmussen said, “It’s our assessment that Hizballah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook, and that is something that those of us in the counterterrorism community take very, very seriously.”

Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terror group, boasted last month that without it, the Lebanese army is nothing.

In July Rasmussen had identified Hezbollah as a direct threat to the United States.

Former Argentinian President Ordered to Testify in Terror Cover-Up Probe

Former Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, along with 14 others, were summoned on Monday to testify before the Argentinian federal judge that is investigating her administration’s role in hiding Iran’s involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, The Algemeiner reported.

Judge Claudio Bonadio’s request was based on the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s charge that Kirchner sought a secret deal with Iran in connection of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA, a major Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Nisman accused Kirchner and former foreign minister Hector Timerman of covering up Iran’s role in the bombing through a memorandum of understanding with Tehran. The memorandum of understanding was later declared unconstitutional. Nisman was found dead in his apartment of a gunshot wound to his head hours before he was due to present his findings to a closed-door session of Congress.

Timerman will be the first to testify on October 17 and Kirchner is to appear before Bonadio on October 26, four days after she is expected (Spanish link) to win a Senate seat in the midterm elections in Argentina. A win would guarantee her immunity (Spanish link) from getting arrested.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Kirchner said (Spanish link) that the judge's order is a “political persecution” and accused Bonadio of satisfying President Mauricio Macri’s interests. Macri has repeatedly said that he was determined to solve Nisman's death and the AMIA bombing.

Timerman, along with other former Kirchner officials, including former secretary of the presidency Oscar Parrilli, and Luis D’Elia, who was part of Kirchner’s cabinet and had contact with Iranian officials, were also subpoenaed. None of those called will be allowed to leave the country until they have all testified.

Bonadio is expected to question Kirchner’s role in covering up Iranian responsibility of the terror attack as well as the the secret meeting held by Timerman with Iranian envoys in Syria where they discussed cancelling the red alerts set by INTERPOL on several Iranians accused of planning the AMIA attack.

Argentina has accused Iran's terror proxy Hezbollah of the attack, but even after more than 20 years, no arrests have been made and the investigation has been plagued with irregularities.

U.S. Bans Russian Anti-Virus Software After Israel Warns about Hacking

Israeli intelligence officials warned the U.S. about Russian hackers breaking into their information security, using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The U.S. government recently prohibited federal agencies from using the company's products, after it emerged that Russian operators had morphed the program into a search engine for sensitive information. The classified data was then extracted back to Russian intelligence systems.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky's network became suspicious, after discovering evidence that Russian hackers were accessing classified U.S. programs through the computers of Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm.

Israel then warned their U.S. counterparts of the Russian intrusion and alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach. That led to a decision in Washington only last month to order Kaspersky software being removed from government computers for facilitating Russian espionage.

Kaspersky Lab denied accusations that it had been involved in the hacking. “Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the company said in a statement.

It isn't clear if employees at Kaspersky were involved in the hacking, or if Russian intelligence agencies exploited the company's anti-virus software to gain access to the U.S. government systems.

In November 2015, an Iranian hacking group believed to be affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was crippled by raids carried out by police across Europe after an Israeli-American cybersecurity firm informed them about the group’s activities.

Israeli Footbridge Wins Int'l Design Award for "Imaginative Concept"

A bridge in Beersheva’s Gav Yam high-tech park was chosen as the winner in the long-span category of the triannual Footbridge Awards, at the Footbridge 2017 conference held in Berlin, Germany recently.

The Beersheva High-Tech Park Bridge, nicknamed the double-helix bridge or the DNA bridge, because of its unusual design, was chosen by a panel of judges, beating out bridges in Canada and New Zealand.

The $25 million footbridge, which is 210 meters long and has 36 varied sections, was commissioned by Beersheva municipality, and designed by Bar Orian Architects. Structural engineers were Rokach Ashkenazi Engineers, and lighting design was by Orly Avron-Alkabes.

The bridge, which lights up at night, was opened in January 2016, and links Beersheva University railway station in the north of the city with the Gav Yam High Tech Park, which is next door to Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

In their decision, the judges said the bridge was a “thorough, rigorous and well-resolved design and an imaginative concept for a long span crossing. It fits well within the railway environment – the footbridge has a clear structural scheme with rhythm, and creates a space where pedestrians feel protected when crossing the train platforms.”

The Footbridge Awards are presented once every three years and recognize the best in design, renovation and lighting of bridges for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians that have been completed in the previous three years.

For a look at some other stunning bridges in Israel click here.

(via Israel21c)

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