th century and used threats and incentives to encourage conversion to Islam. After three centuries of this Moslems were the majority. Ever since Egyptian Moslems have sought, often with violence, to convert the remaining Egyptian Christians. Some converted but increasingly over the last century Copts have simply fled the country. Those who left had bitter, and ancient, memories of Moslem persecution. That apparently led to making the "The Innocence of Moslems" (allegedly financed by Copts in Egypt). In response the Egyptian government has issued arrest warrants for seven Copts (including the man believed behind the film) and an American clergyman noted for his anti-Moslem attitudes. All eight are accused of having something to do with the film. This is a largely symbolic gesture, as all those being sought by the police are outside the country. Copts living outside Egypt frequently say unkind things about Egypt and Islam, but these comments are usually ignored inside Egypt. Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani government official has offered $100,000 of his own money for whoever kills the Egyptian-American man responsible for the film.
An ugly aspect of Egyptian politics has recently triggered violent demonstrations in Israel and throughout the world. The cause was a low-budget film ("The Innocence of Moslems") made by an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian. Some 1,500 years ago most Egyptians were Christians, nearly all of them belonging to the local Coptic sects. Then the Moslems invaded in the 7
The film was unable to get distribution (it screened once in a rented theater to a small audience) and was headed straight to DVD distribution (the fate of most low-budget films) when previews of the film (now called "The Real Life of Muhammad ") were put on YouTube several months ago. That attracted no attention until early September when someone put a version on YouTube that had been dubbed into Arabic (the original was made in English). That eventually got some attention in the Moslem world and Islamic clergy began preaching against the film and encouraging Moslems to hit the streets and protest this insult to Islam. Over fifty have died in these demonstrations so far, and hundreds have been injured. In Egypt the Copts are keeping a low profile, as they do whenever Moslems hit the streets to protest real or imagined insults to Islam. Protestors in Egypt have directed most of their complaints against Westerners. For years now some Moslem countries have called on the UN to declare it illegal for any country to say or publish anything that could be considered critical or disrespectful of the founder of Islam. The UN has, so far, ignored this proposal. Governments in Moslem majority nations know that situations like this are often exploited by Islamic radicals to mobilize support for violent solutions to the many economic, social, educational, and political problems that afflict the Islamic world. It is politically unacceptable for Moslem politicians to point this out, although most will vigorously suppress the demonstrations before they morph into a revolution.
In Gaza Hamas has been reluctant to shut down Islamic terror groups that break the ceasefire and continue firing rockets and mortars into Israel. But Hamas has been rounding up and vigorously interrogating Islamic terrorists suspected of participating in attacks inside Egypt. This is part of an effort to get the Egyptians to stop destroying smuggling tunnels and regard Hamas as a friend. The Egyptian anti-tunnel operations reduce the ability of Hamas to smuggle in weapons and collect taxes from tunnel operators. These tunnel taxes are a major source of income for Hamas. In addition Hamas is pressuring some Islamic terror groups to stop their rocket attacks on Israel, especially if these groups are also involved with attacks in Egypt. There are over a thousand armed men in these Islamic radical groups and the Hamas pressure is angering some of these Islamic radicals into talking about organizing an armed resistance to Hamas. This would be messy, and suicidal, as Hamas has over 10,000 armed followers in Gaza. Not all of these guys are willing to fight fellow Islamic radicals but enough are to assure the defeat of the rebels.
Egypt has destroyed 31 of 255 smuggling tunnels and blocked (but not filled in) another 90 tunnels. All of the tunnels have not been shut down because influential Egyptians own all or part interest in many tunnels. The local police are not happy with the tunnel closings either because they made a lot in bribes to ignore the blatant tunnel activity. The tunnel operators believe that eventually the Egyptian government will tire of this effort and leave them alone. In the meantime tunnel operators, and Hamas, are losing money.
Iranian officials continue to boast of their ability to deal with any Israeli attack and eventually destroy Israel. The Iranians insist they will not attack first, even after they have the nuclear weapon they insist they are not developing. There is much chatter in Israel about attacking Iran (which would be of enormous benefit to the unpopular religious dictatorship in Iran, since all Iranians would unit to defend the country) but not much enthusiasm for it.
September 21, 2012: Islamic terrorists, who had crossed the Sinai (Egyptian) border into Israel, clashed with Israeli troops guarding workers building the new security fence. Three terrorists and an Israeli soldier were killed. The next day the Israelis returned the bodies to Egypt and Egyptian police called in local tribal elders to try and identify the dead men.
September 20, 2012: Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired two mortar shells at an Israeli patrol outside the security fence in northern Gaza. The two shells exploded on the Gaza side of the fence and there were no injuries. An Israeli air strike in Gaza killed two Islamic terrorists Israel said were planning an attack on Israel. One of the dead men was the brother of a senior Hamas leader.
In Sinai, Egyptian troops were put on alert (more of them on patrol and guard duty) because it was believed that Islamic terror groups were planning more attacks on army and police bases.
In northern Israel the military held an unscheduled drill, which saw over 10,000 army and air force troops mobilized for a hypothetical emergency on the Syrian border. Such an unscheduled drill has not been held in that area for over a decade. Such drills are rarely held because they are expensive and disruptive (what with all those military vehicles on the roads).
September 19, 2012: Israeli troops detected and killed two known Islamic terrorists trying to cross into Israel from Gaza.
In the last two days over 70 Hamas members have been arrested in the West Bank. This is part of Fatah reaction to rumors that Hamas is about to gain backing from Egypt and use that to declare itself the sole leader of the Palestinians. Last year Fatah and Hamas agreed to join together in a united Palestinian government, but that deal has not worked out well. Israel feels that Fatah may be planning to try and revive the terror campaign against Israel. This terrorist effort has been going on since 2000, when the Palestinian response to an Israeli peace offer (that would be accepted today) was to declare war on Israel. That terrorist effort failed after a few years as Israel sealed itself off from the Palestinian territories and went after the terrorist leaders and technicians. Palestinian terrorists still try and attack Israel but regularly fail. Fatah and Hamas have arranged ceasefires with Israel, even though many renegade Islamic terror groups still operate. But if Fatah and/or Hamas officially revived the terror campaign there would be a lot more violence.
Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets into southern Israel.
September 18, 2012: A Hamas court convicted two Hamas policemen of kidnapping and killing a pro-Palestinian Italian peace activist last year. The two were sentenced to life in prison. The kidnappers had originally demanded that several Islamic terrorists be released by Hamas in return for the Italian. But Hamas ordered an intense search for the Italian, who was promptly killed by his captors. Hamas raids led to several of the kidnappers being killed or wounded. The two men recently sentenced were not the ringleaders but were part of the kidnapping operation. The two were also dismissed from the police force after their conviction.
September 16, 2012: An Iranian official admitted that members of the Quds Force have been operating in Syria. Quds is
Iran's international terrorism support organization. The Quds Force supplies weapons to the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban as well as Islamic radicals in Somalia, Iraq, and elsewhere.
September 15, 2012: Islamic terrorists attacked the Egyptian military headquarters in northern Sinai. This was in retaliation for the recent arrest of ten Islamic radical group leaders. The compound attacked was in the town of Sheikh Zuwaid, on the Mediterranean coast. The attack consisted of mortar shells, RPG rockets, and machine-gun fire from nearby buildings. Three Egyptian soldiers were wounded and the Islamic terrorist fled when troops responded, with the help of armored vehicles and helicopters. There were similar attacks elsewhere in Sinai, leaving one soldier dead and four wounded. The Islamic terror groups are opposing a growing number of Egyptian raids on villages and neighborhoods where the radicals are based.
September 14, 2012: Over fifty Islamic radicals attacked a peacekeeper base on the Egyptian border. They got into the base and set some fires, stole some items, and raised the al Qaeda flag before being forced out by the Colombian and American peacekeepers. Four soldiers and an undetermined number of attackers were wounded.
September 12, 2012: Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets into southern Israel. A renegade Islamic terrorist group took responsibility for the three recent firings. Hamas has ordered all Islamic terror groups in Gaza to stop firing the rockets.
September 11, 2012: Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired a long range 122mm rocket into southern Israel (landing outside Ashkelon, a city of about 120,000 on the coast 16 kilometers north of Gaza).