Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Pentagon Describes Anti-ISIL Operations in Iraq

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Pentagon Describes Anti-ISIL Operations in Iraq
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth + DoD News, Defense Media Activity
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 19, 2014: (WASHINGTON) The U.S. military used fighters, bombers, attack, and unmanned aircraft to conduct 35 strikes that eliminated ISIL positions in and around the Mosul Dam complex, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement released yesterday.

Kirby’s statement reads as follows:
Over the past 72 hours, at the request of the Iraqi government, the U.S. military used fighters, bombers, attack, and unmanned aircraft to conduct 35 strikes that eliminated ISIL positions in and around the Mosul Dam complex. In all, we destroyed over 90 targets including a range of vehicles, equipment, and fighting positions. 

Iraqi forces have cleared the dam and are working to further expand their area of control. Secretary Hagel remains extraordinarily proud of the men and women serving on land and sea who conducted these operations. 

He knows they stand ready to continue such missions as needed. Secretary Hagel also commends the way in which Iraqi forces worked together in this operation. It reflects the growing determination of Iraqis to fight back against ISIL.

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*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth + DoD News, Defense Media Activity
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. DoD Awarded Contract To Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.,, For 12 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters For Saudi Arabian National Guard

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. DoD Awarded Contract To Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.,, For 12 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters For Saudi Arabian National Guard
Source: K. V. Seth DTN News + U.S. DoD issued No. CR-158-14 August 19, 2014
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 19, 2014: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Connecticut, was awarded a $30,351,927 modification (P00072) to foreign military sales contract (Saudi Arabia) W58RGZ-12-C-0008 for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. 

Fiscal 2014 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $30,351,927 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is Aug. 31, 2017. 

Work will be performed in Jupiter, Florida, and Stratford, Connecticut. 

Versatile, dependable and rugged: just three reasons why 25 nations depend on BLACK HAWK helicopters for multi-mission support. With more than 2,300 aircraft in service through 30 years of legendary performance for the BLACK HAWK family, UH-60M and S-70iTM  BLACK HAWK helicopters clearly demonstrate Sikorsky's continued commitment to our customers' tactical operations.

Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter

More than 2,000 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter variants are in service with the US Military and more than 600 exported.

Black Hawk helicopters have logged over four million flying hours, including a diverse range of combat missions in Grenada, Panama, in the liberation of Kuwait, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous humanitarian and rescue missions including operations in Bosnia.

The helicopters are manufactured at the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation production facilities based in Stratford, Connecticut, USA. Licensed production of Black Hawk helicopters is also carried out in Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The primary mission of the Black Hawk helicopter is as a troop carrier and logistical support aircraft, but in addition the helicopter can be configured to carry out medical evacuation, command-and-control, search-and-rescue, armed escort, electronic warfare and executive transport missions.

UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter design

Black Hawk has low detectability and outstanding nap-of-the-earth flight capabilities. The aircraft is tolerant to small arms fire and most high-explosive, medium-calibre (23mm) projectiles. The flight controls are ballistically hardened and the helicopter is equipped with redundant electric and hydraulic systems.

"The S-70A Black Hawk cabin provides accommodation for 11 fully equipped troops or four litters."

The helicopter has the ability to absorb high-impact velocities. The fuel system is crash-resistant and self-sealing. The crew seats and the landing gear are energy absorbing.
UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter upgrade programme

In April 2001, the US Army approved an upgrade programme for more than 1,500 Black Hawks to UH-60M standard. The first flight of the UH60M took place in September 2003 and three helicopters have been delivered for the test programme.

"The UH-60M features new wide chord composite spar main rotor blades."
The US Army initially decided to opt for new build helicopters rather than upgrade existing airframes.

The new-build helicopter entered low-rate initial production (LRIP) in April 2005. The first of 22 new UH-60Ms was delivered in July 2006. Initial operational evaluation (OPEVAL) was successful and a decision on full-rate production of 1,227 helicopters was authorised in December 2007 with the award of a five-year contract. Under this contract six UH-60M utility and 20 HH-60M combat rescue helicopters were ordered in March 2008.

In December 2007, the US Army ordered 11 low-rate initial production (LRIP) upgrade UH60M. The UH-60M upgrade completed its maiden flight in August 2008. More than 950 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by 2025. As of July 2012, Sikorsky had delivered 400 UH-60M helicopters.

The UH-60M features new wide chord composite spar main rotor blades (which provide 500lb more lift than the current UH-60L blade), strengthened fuselage and advanced infrared suppression.

The fly-by-wire glass cockpit has a digitised 1553 bus-based avionics suite with four Rockwell Collins multi-function displays, four-axis fully-coupled autopilot, two Canadian Marconi (CMC) electronic flight management systems, dual Honeywell embedded GPS inertial (EGI) navigation system, digital moving map and Goodrich integrated vehicle health management system (IHVMS).


The new General Electric T700-GE-701D engine (with full authority digital electronic control) is more powerful and provides additional lift during sling load operations.

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*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth + U.S. DoD issued No. CR-158-14 August 19, 2014
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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News Contact:dtnnews@ymail.com 
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Boeing Delivers First U.S. Army Multiyear II Configured Chinook

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Boeing Delivers First U.S. Army Multiyear II Configured Chinook
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada  (RIDLEY TOWNSHIP, Pa.,) - July 29, 2014: Boeing [NYSE: BA] today delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule.

The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Pa.
“This delivery is an example of teamwork and commitment to the troops in the field,” said Col. Rob Barrie, project manager, Cargo Helicopter Office, accepting the aircraft for the U.S. Army.
Boeing was awarded a $4 billion multi-year contract in June 2013 that included 155 CH-47Fs and options for an additional 60 aircraft. Deliveries for this contract are expected to continue through 2019. International customers on contract to receive this advanced configuration include Australia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
“This delivery demonstrates Boeing’s ongoing commitment to our customers,” said Steve Parker, vice president, Cargo Helicopters and H-47 program manager. “Experienced teams worked together to deliver the advanced, multimission capability of this aircraft to meet the Army’s needs today and well into the future.”
The multiyear II configuration incorporates a number of product improvements such as the new Cargo-On-Off-Loading system that enables rapid re-configuration of the floor for cargo missions and the Cargo Platform Heath Environment system that provides real-time health monitoring to further reduce maintenance actions and ultimately reduce the overall life cycle cost of the product.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $33 billion business with 56,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Boeing
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

DTN News - MIDDLE EAST HOT SPOT: Israeli Ground Troops Enter Gaza after 10 Days of Bombings And Airstrikes As Hamas Threatens To Make IDF Pay A 'High Price'

DTN News - MIDDLE EAST HOT SPOT: Israeli Ground Troops Enter Gaza after 10 Days of Bombings And Airstrikes As Hamas Threatens To Make IDF Pay A 'High Price'
*Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the ground offensive in a bid to halt rockets being fired at Israel
*The ground operation will include infantry, artillery and armored corps, along with aerial and naval support
*Hamas: Israel will pay a heavy price for its ground operation
*Israel and Palestine have been fighting an intense cross border war for the past 10 days as other nations fail to help them come to a truce
*240 people have been killed in Gaza - including seven children on Thursday - and 1,800 have been injured; one person has died in Israel
*Israel had called up 48,000 reserve soldiers

*Later on Thursday the Cabinet authorized the military to call up 18,000 more
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources AP, Reuters & James Nye
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 19, 2014: Israel resumed its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday a day after holding its fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks.


Hamas has vowed that Israel will 'pay a high price' for their 'foolish' actions after their military began a ground invasion of Gaza on Thursday evening.


Thousands of troops from the Israel Defense Force backed by tanks launched amphibious, air and ground incursions into the narrow Gaza strip after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military action in a bid to stop rockets being fired from Gaza.

The assault, which began at 10pm local time, followed a heavy barrage of rockets fired at Tel Aviv by Hamas militants from Gaza who have promised 'dreadful consequences' for Israel in the aftermath of the invasion.

Blaze: Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza strip as Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive
Blaze: Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza strip as Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive
Blast: A picture taken on Thursday shows an explosion following an Israeli strike in Gaza City
Blast: A picture taken on Thursday shows an explosion following an Israeli strike in Gaza City
Heavy attack: An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014 as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza
Heavy attack: An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014 as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza
Tracer: An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip July 17, 2014. The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired more than 1,300 rockets into Israel
Tracer: An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip July 17, 2014. The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired more than 1,300 rockets into Israel
Full scale assault: An Israeli missile hits Palestinian buildings in Gaza City
Full scale assault: An Israeli missile hits Palestinian buildings in Gaza City
Detonations: An Israeli army flare illuminating the sky above the northern Gaza strip on 17 July 2014 as members of the IDF begin their invasion
Detonations: An Israeli army flare illuminating the sky above the northern Gaza strip on 17 July 2014 as members of the IDF begin their invasion
Response: Palestinian missiles are fired from Gaza City toward Israel following Israeli air strikes on July 17, 2014. Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza late Thursday on the 10th day of an offensive to stamp out rocket attacks
Response: Palestinian missiles are fired from Gaza City toward Israel following Israeli air strikes on July 17, 2014. Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza late Thursday on the 10th day of an offensive to stamp out rocket attacks
Response: Palestinian missiles are fired from Gaza City toward Israel following Israeli air strikes on July 17, 2014. Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza late Thursday on the 10th day of an offensive to stamp out rocket attacks 
IDF soldier prepares: Israel announced the start of a Gaza ground campaign on Thursday after 10 days of aerial and naval bombardments failed to stop persistent Palestinian rocket attacks, but it signalled the invasion would be limited in scope
IDF soldier prepares: Israel announced the start of a Gaza ground campaign on Thursday after 10 days of aerial and naval bombardments failed to stop persistent Palestinian rocket attacks, but it signalled the invasion would be limited in scope
Forces mass: Israeli Markava tanks heading toward the Israeli Gaza border, 18 July 2014. The Israeli military launched a ground operation overnight in the Gaza Strip, following the failure of ceasefire efforts after a 10-day air campaign
Forces mass: Israeli Markava tanks heading toward the Israeli Gaza border, 18 July 2014. The Israeli military launched a ground operation overnight in the Gaza Strip, following the failure of ceasefire efforts after a 10-day air campaign
Power: The Israeli military launched a ground offensive on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Thursday night after days of heavy bombardment, the IDF said
Power: The Israeli military launched a ground offensive on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Thursday night after days of heavy bombardment, the IDF said

The IDF's attack follows a brief humanitarian truce and despite an appeal from Washington, which cautioned against a land assault and for Israel to do more to protect civilian lives.

'The prime minister and defense minister have instructed the IDF to begin a ground operation tonight in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel,' the official statement said as military officials announced that  an additional 18,000 reservists have been called up to bolster the 48,000 already summoned.

The operation will include 'infantry, armored corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support', a statement from the Israeli military added.

The army said the aim of the operation is to protect Israeli lives and crush Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

The objective was 'to establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continued indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas's terror infrastructure'.

And in extraordinary scenes played out live on CNN, Israeli's gathered on a hill and cheered as missiles launched by their military hit targets inside Gaza.

So incensed by this was British reporter, Magnay, that she took to Twitter to express her disgust after she claims she was intimidated by the baying mob.

'Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza; threaten to 'destroy our car if i say a word wrong'. Scum'



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695422/Hamas-Israel-resume-attacks-brief-truce.html#ixzz37zntZWe2
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*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources AP, Reuters & James Nye
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News Contact:dtnnews@ymail.com 
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

DTN News - AIRLINES NEWS: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Navigating Airspace Over Warzones

DTN News - AIRLINES NEWS: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Navigating Airspace Over Warzones
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources CBC
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 18, 2014: The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 catastrophe in Ukraine could have been a tragedy for another international carrier, aviation experts say, noting the doomed jet’s flight plan was the very route that was, until recently, used by several European airlines.

The European Cockpit Association, which represents 38,000 pilots, said Thursday the path taken by the doomed Boeing 777 flying to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam is the "the most common route for flights from Europe to Southeast Asia."

MH17 ended up flying over a volatile region near eastern Ukraine.

A surface-to-air missile reportedly shot it down on Thursday after the commercial airliner carrying 298 people was believed to have drifted about 300 kilometres off its normal course to evade a thunderstorm.

'Mischance'

"The flight was diverted … into an area where the conflict was very active," said Ted Lennox, president of LPS AVA Consulting.

People place flowers outside Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, on July 18, 2014. The attack on a Malaysian jetliner Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations, more than half being Dutch, including vacationers, students and a large contingent of scientists heading to an AIDS conference in Australia.   

"It was mischance, in some respects."

Amid calls for an international investigation, airlines and aviation authorities around the world ordered flight routes to circumvent the region.

"It’s a mistake a lot of people were making, and until now, very few were avoiding," said retired Air Canada and Canadian Air Force veteran Russ Cooper.

"The only ones that were basically opting out [of flying over the region] were the Americans because of the FAA."

Passengers' nationalities

Jos Nijhuis, CEO of Schiphol Airport, confirmed the 15-member crew were Malaysian nationals and said that along with at least one Canadian, the plane also carried:

154 Dutch passengers.
27 from Australia.
28 from Malaysia (including two infants).
12 Indonesians (including one infant).
Nine from the United Kingdom.
Four from Germany.
Four from Belgium.
Three from the Philippines.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority warned American aircraft on April 25 to steer clear of the region near the Crimean peninsula, where Ukraine’s military and pro-Russian separatists have clashed for months.

Air Canada released a statement Thursday confirming the carrier "has been proactively avoiding airspace over the region for some time already."

Before the disaster, there appeared to be little reason for concern given MH17’s high altitude, noted Pierre Jeanniot, a former Air Canada CEO who once negotiated flight routes over conflict areas.

The International Civil Aviation Organization had also deemed the route, known as L980, a safe corridor.

"I would think there are a lot of precedents around the world," Jeanniot said. "I mean, we flew over Afghanistan at those levels. We fly over Syria, we fly over Iran and Iraq … and we fly over a lot of Middle East points. We fly over Egypt, over a lot of potential problem areas, and no incidents have taken place. No major events."

Earlier in the week, however, Ukraine claimed that a military transport plane was downed by a Russian missile.

That should have raised red flags among risk-reduction analysts, said Arthur Rosenberg, a New York aviation lawyer.

"I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact that this is a warzone and no commercial airline should have been flying — in my view — in, near, or around this area," he said.

Knowledge of open or closed airspace and "war exclusion zones" are communicated through documents called "NOTAMs" (notice to airmen), which would be reviewed by everyone from the airline to the pilot, air traffic controllers and dispatchers.

Studying up on NOTAMs is part of routine flight planning, explained John Maris, president of the Ontario aerospace research firm Marinvent.

NOTAMs issued by each country

"The NOTAM will give you whatever information you need to stay out of trouble. So in Quebec we’ve got fireworks displays in the summer, and they’ll establish a little zone above the fireworks display prohibiting flight over that area, and give whatever altitude limit is required," he said.

A man uses his mobile phone to film the wreckage at the site of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine on July 18.

For a space shuttle launch, a NOTAM would inform pilots whether an area has become "hot" or active, and indicate whether a patch of airspace that is normally dormant should be avoided at any altitude.

The publicly accessible documents would also advise pilots about whether an airport is closed, a taxi runway is congested, or whether local air shows or military test sites are active in the area.

"If you're going to fly all the way across Europe, you'll get the French NOTAMs, the German NOTAMs, Greek NOTAMS, all in one big dump, if you will. It's up to you as a pilot to decide how you'll react to them," said Maris, who has conducted aviation accident investigation work.

'The argument would be that at that altitude, the airplane is not a threat. Who's going to shoot down an airplane at 35,000 feet?' - Mike Boyd, aviation expert with the Boyd Group

The non-profit Nav Canada runs and lists national NOTAM data. Ukraine’s civil air navigation system publishes its own.

If carriers failed to follow Ukraine’s aeronautical advisories then, they’re much more likely to heed them now.

"I guarantee there’s not going to be a commercial airline within a 1,000 kilometres of that place now," said Mike Boyd, a Colorado-based airline security consultant and president of the Boyd Group.

While North American airliners exercised caution around Russia and Ukraine, Boyd said, "you can make the argument legitimately that Malaysia should have known better than to be there."

Yet it appears Malaysia flight never actually violated closed airspace near Dontesk in Ukraine’s east.

A deadly presumption

Eurocontrol, which co-ordinates European airspace, said its records showed the Malaysian airliner was flying at a cruising altitude of roughly 10,000 metres, or 305 metres above restricted airspace.

Although the airline company may have believed that to be a "safe" distance from the reach of military ground fire, Boyd said that was a deadly presumption to make.

"The argument would be that at that altitude, the airplane is not a threat," he said. "Who’s going to shoot down an airplane at 35,000 feet?"

Cooper called that a grave "miscalculation."

The BUK missile launcher, also known as the SA-11, is sophisticated radar-guided weaponry that can launch missiles with a range of up to 80,000 feet.

Saving on fuel costs

While flying in the Persian Gulf during his Air Force days, Cooper said, he narrowly escaped a variant of the same missile fired at his fighter jet by the Iraqi Republican Guard.

"My F18 at the time had pretty state-of-the-art (radar) jammers and I had a lot of training with regard to how to avoid missiles, and I had to use every trick in my book to avoid being taken down by one of those SA-11s," he said. "There’s no way a civil airliner could come out of this on the bright side."

But knowing that transport planes have already been taken down in the region, why would any airline continue to take the risk in that airspace?


Cooper, who was tapped after the 9/11 attacks to work as a member of the Air Canada Pilot’s Association Security Committee, supposes the main reason in many cases is companies don’t want to hurt their bottom line.

MH17's flight path was considered to be cheaper, busier and more direct.


"Airlines run on a real tight profit margin and one of the biggest factors is fuel," Cooper said. "You go around things, you make your travel longer, you burn more fuel, you lose more money, and sometimes, saving money is the name of the game."

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*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources CBC
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

DTN News - MIDDLE EAST HOT SPOT: Israeli Troops Enter Gaza To Take Out Missile Sites

DTN News - MIDDLE EAST HOT SPOT: Israeli Troops Enter Gaza To Take Out Missile Sites
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources By Dean Schabner - ABC +
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 13, 2014Israeli ground troops entered northern Gaza tonight to take out a number of missile launch sites, according to the Israeli military.
The move comes after weeks of growing tensions and nearly a week of escalating missile strikes from both sides.

The mission was launched early Sunday local time comes after the UN Security Council urged the two sides to reach a cease fire, and the Israeli government said it hit northern Gaza "with great force" to prevent more Hamas rocket attacks.

The IDF, the Israeli military, said its goal in crossing into northern Gaza was to dismantle some of the sites that Hamas militants have been using to launch rockets into northern Israel.

During the incursion there was an exchange of fire with militants that left four Israeli soldiers lightly wounded, according to the IDF.

The IDF troops returned to Israel after the mission, and no soldiers were left in Gaza, the Israeli military said.

The Israeli naval commando raid in Gaza reported earlier occurred in the Al-Sudaniya beach to the northwest of the Strip, Al Jazeera reported.

The Israeli force encountered Palestinian gunmen, and a battle ensued that included the use of heavy arms. Palestinian sources said three Hamas fighters were killed, DPA reported.

What is not clear is whether this brief surge into northern Gaza by the Israeli military is a pre-cursor to a full scale ground invasion, but all along the road toward northern Gaza ABC News correspondents have seen what appear to be the preparations for one. There are tanks and troops amassed by the border.

The Israeli military has been saying for a couple of days that it is ready, and tens of thousands of troops have been mobilized in support of a potential ground invasion.

The IDF had earlier warned residents of the northern Gaza Strip to leave their homes, saying it was for their own safety.

The conflict had already escalated Saturday, with Hamas bombarding Tel Aviv with the most rockets yet, and Israel responding by pummeling the Gaza Strip.

In the five days of bombardment by Israeli missiles, more than 156 Palestinians have been killed, according to officials there.

One of the Israeli strikes hit a center for the disabled where Palestinians said two patients were killed and four people seriously hurt. In a second attack, on Saturday evening, an Israeli warplane flattened the home of Gaza's police chief and damaged a nearby mosque as evening prayers ended, killing at least 18 people, officials said.

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*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources By Dean Schabner - ABC +
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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News Contact:dtnnews@ymail.com 
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

DTN News - IRAQ DEFENSE NEWS: Iraq Sending 4,000 Volunteers To Help In Ramadi

DTN News - IRAQ DEFENSE NEWS: Iraq Sending 4,000 Volunteers To Help In Ramadi
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources airforcetimes.com 
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 12, 2014(BAGHDAD) — Iraq is airlifting some 4,000 volunteers to an embattled city west of Baghdad to help bolster government forces locked in a running battle with Sunni militants there, authorities said Saturday.

Around 2,500 of the volunteers arrived in Ramadi, located 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of the capital, on Friday and are to be joined by the remaining 1,500 on Saturday, said Gen. Rasheed Flayeh, the commander of operations in Anbar province. The men are being ferried out to Ramadi from Baghdad by helicopter, he added.

The vast majority of volunteers are Shiites who have answered a call from the country's top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to defend Iraq from the militants who have overrun of much of the country's north and west over the past month. The Sunni militant blitz is led by the Islamic State extremist group, which has unilaterally declared the establishment of an Islamic state ruled by Shariah law in the territory it controls straddling the Iraq-Syria border.

The government's reliance on Shiite militias — who have deployed in sizeable numbers to several cities across the country — to help counter the threat from Sunni militants has ramped up sectarian tensions, and helped fuel fears that Iraq could return to the wholesale sectarian bloodletting that engulfed the country in 2006 and 2007.

There are already worrying signs of such violence.

Human Rights Watch said Friday that Iraqi security forces and government-affiliated militias appear to have killed at least 255 prisoners in six cities and villages since June 9. It said five of the mass killings took place when security forces were fleeing as militants advanced, and that the vast the prisoners killed were Sunni.

Most members of the security forces and militias are Shiite. The six incidents appear to be aimed at avenging the deaths of Shiites captured and killed by the Islamic State group, Human Rights Watch said.

There is also evidence the militants have carried out mass killings. The Islamic State group posted graphic photos online last month showing the militants killing dozens of police and soldiers. The Iraqi military confirmed the photographs and said around 170 soldiers were killed. Human Rights Watch put the number between 160 and 190.

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar, an overwhelmingly Sunni province and one of the most active battle fronts in Iraq. The Islamic State group and other Sunni militant groups seized control of the Anbar city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in January. The government has since reasserted its control of Ramadi, but Fallujah remains in insurgent hands.

The militant onslaught over the past month has touched off Iraq's worst crisis since the last U.S. troops left in 2011 and sapped public — and international — confidence in Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iraqi leader's opponents, and even many of his former allies, accuse him of trying to monopolize power and alienating the Sunni community, and are pushing him to step aside and not seek a third consecutive term. Despite the pressure, al-Maliki has vowed not to withdraw his candidacy for the prime minister's post, and points to his State of Law bloc's capturing the most seats in April elections to claim he has a mandate.

Iraq's new parliament is scheduled on Sunday to hold its second session since the elections amid hopes that lawmakers can quickly decide on a new prime minister, president and speaker of parliament — the first steps toward forming a new government. It failed to make any progress in its first session, and postponed its second session until Sunday.

On Saturday, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, warned that failure to quickly elect new leadership "risks plunging the country into chaos."

"It will only serve the interests of those who seek to divide the people of Iraq and destroy their chances for peace and prosperity," he said. "Iraq needs a team that can bring people together. Now is not the time for mutual accusations, now is the time for moving forward and compromising in the interest of the Iraqi people."

He urged lawmakers to attend Sunday's session and succeed in choosing a new speaker of parliament.

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources airforcetimes.com 
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