A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Faults Underlying Exercise Vigilant Guard

Story by: (Author NameStaff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta – 138th Public Affairs Detachment

Dated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009

This map illustrates the earthquake fault lines in Western New York. An earthquake in the region is a likely event, says University of Buffalo Professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.

TONAWANDA, NY — An earthquake in western New York, the scenario that Exercise Vigilant Guard is built around, is not that far-fetched, according to University of Buffalo geology professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.

When asked about earthquakes in the area, Jacobi pulls out a computer-generated state map, cross-hatched with diagonal lines representing geological faults.

The faults show that past earthquakes in the state were not random, and could occur again on the same fault systems, he said.

“In western New York, 6.5 magnitude earthquakes are possible,” he said.

This possibility underlies Exercise Vigilant Guard, a joint training opportunity for National Guard and emergency response organizations to build relationships with local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

The exercise was based on an earthquake scenario, and a rubble pile at the Spaulding Fibre site here was used to simulate a collapsed building. The scenario was chosen as a result of extensive consultations with the earthquake experts at the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), said Brig. Gen. Mike Swezey, commander of 53rd Troop Command, who visited the site on Monday.

Earthquakes of up to 7 magnitude have occurred in the Northeastern part of the continent, and this scenario was calibrated on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake which occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in 1988, said Jacobi and Professor Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director.

“A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in this area is not an unrealistic scenario,” said Filiatrault.

Closer to home, a 1.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 2.5 miles from the Spaulding Fibre site within the last decade, Jacobi said. He and other earthquake experts impaneled by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada in 1997 found that there’s a 40 percent chance of 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurring along the Clareden-Linden fault system, which lies about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, Jacobi added.

Jacobi and Filiatrault said the soft soil of western New York, especially in part of downtown Buffalo, would amplify tremors, causing more damage.

“It’s like jello in a bowl,” said Jacobi.

The area’s old infrastructure is vulnerable because it was built without reinforcing steel, said Filiatrault. Damage to industrial areas could release hazardous materials, he added.

“You’ll have significant damage,” Filiatrault said.

Exercise Vigilant Guard involved an earthquake’s aftermath, including infrastructure damage, injuries, deaths, displaced citizens and hazardous material incidents. All this week, more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been training at several sites in western New York to respond these types of incidents.

Jacobi called Exercise Vigilant Guard “important and illuminating.”

“I’m proud of the National Guard for organizing and carrying out such an excellent exercise,” he said.

Training concluded Thursday.

IDF strikes Gaza outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

IDF strikes Gaza in response to rocket fired into Israel

By ANNA AHRONHEIM

The IDF struck several targets in Gaza Saturday night after a rocket was shot at Israel several hours before, triggering sirens in surrounding Israel communities.

The IDF fighter jets struck in several locations, including terrorist targets in a military compound in the northern Gaza Strip and two vessels belonging to Hamas, the IDF spokesperson confirmed.

„The IDF views with great severity any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and will continue to act vigorously against these terrorist acts,“ the IDF added, blaming Hamas for „everything that happens in and out of the Gaza Strip.“

The strikes came in response to a tumultuous weekend.

A projectile landed in open territory into the Eshkol Regional Council on Saturday night shortly after a red alert incoming rocket siren was activated. 

The rocket fire came hours after Israeli aircraft attacked several Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday night, hours after a projectile was fired toward southern Israel, the IDF said.

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The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said that IDF fighter planes and aircraft attacked a number of terrorist targets in the military compound of the Hamas terrorist organization in the southern Gaza Strip, as well as underground infrastructures in the northern Gaza Strip.

The army said jets struck a Hamas military compound in southern Gaza and underground infrastructure in the north. According to reports, the targets included a naval facility near Sudaniya, a naval facility in Khan Yunis, and two other sites in Zeytoun and Tuffah in Gaza City.

There were no reports of casualties.

The strike was “carried out in response to the launching of a rocket into Israel earlier this evening, as well as the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip, including [the launching of] balloons and attempts to damage security infrastructures in recent days,” the military said in a statement.

“The IDF views with great severity any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and will continue to act vigorously against these terrorist acts,” the statement continued adding that Hamas “bears responsibility for everything that is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip.”

The rocket launch and retaliatory strike came after a day of intense clashes between IDF forces and some roughly 8,000 Palestinian protesters, marking the 50th week of the „March of Return“ protests.

The protests began on March 30, 2018, and have seen hundreds of thousands of Gazans violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel, demanding an end to the 12-year-long grinding blockade of the coastal enclave.  

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that one Palestinian, 23-year-old Tamer Khaled Mustafa Arfat was killed and 48 others were injured by IDF fire, including two women and 15 youths. Another four paramedics and two journalists were also injured.

During the protests, two Palestinians infiltrated into Israel from the northern Gaza Strip leading the military to close several local roads and deploy troops to communities who were put on alert. The two men were later arrested by troops and were found to be armed with a knife and grenade, the military said.

On Friday, three clusters of explosive balloons carrying large objects were discovered in open fields within the council’s area. One cluster carried a scarecrow while another carried a toy drone.

In the month leading up to the anniversary, there has been a marked increase of Hamas-led violence along the border, during the day and at night, with explosive balloons and improvised explosive devices hurled at troops or placed on the fence.

During violent riots on Wednesday night, an incoming rocket siren was activated in communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council bordering the Gaza Strip, after rioters attempted to throw explosive devices at troops stationed along the border. 

There were no injuries or damage.

Around an hour later, additional incoming rocket sirens were activated after a mortar was fired toward communities in the Eshkol Regional Council.

In response, Israeli warplanes carried out intensive airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip, which according to Palestinian media destroyed a Hamas naval commando base and damaged several nearby homes. There were no injuries reported.

Iraq and Iran Join Horns (Daniel 8:8)

Iran’s president to visit Iraq for first time

Facing pressure at home over US pullout from nuclear deal, Rouhani to try to warm up ties with fellow Shiite neighbor

By AP

10 Mar 2019, 12:54 pm

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will make his first official visit to Iraq this week as he faces mounting pressure from hardliners at home in the wake of the unraveling of the nuclear deal under the Trump administration.

Hassan Rouhani’s trip — billed as “historic and noble” by his foreign minister — is meant to solidify ties between Shiite power Iran and Iraq’s Shiite led-government, a strong Tehran ally. It is also Iran’s response to President Donald Trump’s snap December trip to Iraq and the American president’s comments that US forces should stay in Iraq to keep an eye on neighboring Iran, with which Iraq shares a 1,400-kilometer-long (870 miles) border.

Rouhani’s visit to Iraq will provide an opportunity for reaching “serious understandings” between the two neighbors, Iran’s top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif told the official IRNA news agency from Baghdad, where he was preparing for Rouhani’s three-day visit that starts on Monday.

Tehran sees the US military presence at its doorstep in Iraq has a threat — one that could also undermine Iran’s influence over Baghdad.

Zarif alluded to that on Sunday, saying that any country which tries to interfere with the good Iran-Iraq relations would “be deprived of opportunities for itself.”

Iran also sees Iraq as a possible route to bypass US sanctions that Trump re-imposed last year after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Last year, Iran’s exports to Iraq amounted to nearly $9 billion. Tehran hopes to increase the roughly $13 billion volume in trade between the two neighboring countries to $20 billion. Also, some 5 million religious tourists bring in nearly $5 billion a year as Iraqis and Iranians visit Shiite holy sites in the two countries.

Under former dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq waged an eight-year war in the 1980s against Iran, a conflict that left nearly 1 million killed on both sides.

Islamic Jihad from Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Islamic Jihad is the real threat from Gaza

On Tuesday morning, a delegation of Egyptian intelligence officers arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, headed by the chief of the „Palestine Department,“ General Omar Halfi. The group of Israeli officers waiting for them drove them directly to the Defense Ministry’s Tel Aviv headquarters for talks with the upper echelons of the defense establishment, in an attempt to find a way to reduce the growing tensions in the Gaza Strip, ahead of an explosion of violence.

The Egyptians came up with a list of Israeli commitments to improve living conditions in Gaza: water, electricity, expanding fishing areas, increasing the amount of goods coming from Israel, and so on. But the following day, when the Egyptians went to Gaza with the Israeli proposals in hand, it became clear that they were insufficient.

And so Qatar’s envoy to the region, Mohammed al-Emadi, found himself summoned to the region on Wednesday because Hamas demanded an increase in Gaza’s monthly Qatari stipend from $15 million to $20 million. It also emerged that the planned work that the United Nations was supposed to organize in the Gaza Strip had yet to begin.

And so the Egyptians went to Gaza on Wednesday with a partial package. Last week, they tried to do their bit to ease tensions by releasing eight Hamas prisoners, but contrary to expectations, Hamas did not use this release to hold mass celebrations that would highlight the achievements of the organization’s leadership. What Hamas wants is water and power, and it wants them now. It is demanding the immediate activation of Israel’s Electric Corporation’s plan to supply electricity to Gaza.

The impact of the last round of Egyptian mediation efforts will be seen in the weekend protests at the Israel-Gaza border fence: If the violence escalates, Gaza will not accept the Israeli-Egyptian proposal to calm the situation. If the tensions remain at their current levels, there is still room for compromise. At the moment, both sides are one step away from the abyss. One small trigger, and we will find ourselves in a real conflict.

This fragile situation also has another major factor that could up-end the entire table: It appears that for now Israel and Hamas in Gaza have a common enemy: Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Islamic Jihad was responsible for most of the rocket, anti-tank missiles and sniper attacks carried out in recent months against Israel. Its leaders, who are hiding in the Dahiya neighborhood of Beirut under the leadership of deputy secretary-general Ziad al-Nahla, have decided to renew military activity from the Gaza Strip. The organization’s representatives in Gaza also stopped coordinating their military activities with Hamas, as part of a joint war room set up by all the terrorist organizations in the Strip.

Protests on the Gaza border

And so Hamas today finds itself facing off against an intransigent organization that acts in contravention to its agenda. Islamic Jihad is making sure to carry out its military provocations on the days when Hamas is conducting some sort of dialogue with Israel or with Egypt regarding arrangements in the Strip – and when they attack, Israel retaliates with attacks on Hamas installations.

One can make the fair assumption that if there are any signs of any constructive progress between Israel and Hamas towards the end of the week, Islamic Jihad will try to sabotage it. It is enough for one mercenary sniper to hit one Israeli for Gaza to burn. But when Israel does not deal with the Islamic Jihad threat, it encourages increased anarchy in Gaza, which will ultimately lead to a ground invasion by the IDF.

Hamas, for its part, is waging an ineffective battle against the renegade organization. Several days ago, for example, Hamas’s internal security apparatus arrested Hashem Salem, an Islamic Jihad member who converted from Sunni to Shiite Islam, and established a pro-Iranian organization in the Gaza Strip. That’s how it starts: Today it’s a small charity, funded by Iran, which supports widows and orphans, but if we do not pay attention, tomorrow that charity will be yet another Iranian military organization in Gaza.

Hamas understands the danger inherent in the pro-Iranian organizations, but in Israel, Islamic Jihad is only regarded as a secondary enemy. While Hamas is a political movement, Islamic Jihad is a military one. It does not recognize the PLO as a representative of the Palestinian people, and it sees itself as a fighting elite unit with the aim of liberating Palestine, and now has more rockets in the Gaza Strip than Hamas. And this is what will set the Israel-Gaza border aflame.