China’s Next Nuclear Weapon (Daniel 8:8)

SCIENCE

Operation Z machine: China’s next big weapon in the nuclear ‘arms race’ could create clean fuel – or deadly bombs

• The Chinese military is building a test facility to simulate thermonuclear explosions on a much greater scale than comparable US centres

• Information from the experiments could give scientists a much clearer picture of how weapons perform under extreme conditions

Stephen Chen

UPDATED : Thursday, 13 Dec 2018, 2:03PM

Deep in the heart of southwest China’s mountainous Sichuan province, the military is building a machine to simulate thermonuclear explosions on an unprecedented scale.

It’s been described as a Chinese version of America’s “Z machine” – formally known as the Z Pulsed Power Facility – a giant wheel-like device developed by the United States to see how particles react under extreme radiation and magnetic pressure.

Z machines have been used in the development of nuclear weapons, from conventional warheads to the pure fusion bomb – a hydrogen bomb that can in theory be made in any size, cost a fraction of today’s nuclear stockpile and burn “cleanly” without producing radioactive fallout.

And for decades, the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has led the way in the field.

But now Chinese researchers are trying to build a machine that will produce much more electricity to create much more extreme environments for testing weapons, allowing scientists to delve deeper into the nuclear unknown.

More Children Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Palestinian toddler dies from wounds in Gaza as premature Israeli baby killed after West Bank shooting | The Independent

1 day ago

Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after being injured by Israeli gunfire during a protest at the border, health officials have said.

On the same day 70 miles away a baby, who was delivered prematurely to an Israeli woman wounded in a Palestinian drive-by shooting in the West Bank, also died.

Israeli pregnant mother Shira Ish-Ran, her husband and five others were injured in an attack at a bus stop outside the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra in the West Bank on Sunday.

Doctors said she was shot in the abdomen and that her son was born in critical condition. The Palestinian gunman apparently fled the scene.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Wednesday evening that the baby, who was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, had died in hospital.

“My heart, our hearts, are with Shira and Avihai at the death of a four-day-old baby who does not even have a name,” Mr Netanyahu told foreign media and diplomats in a speech. “The security forces are in pursuit of the murderer.”

Meanwhile in Gaza, Palestinian health officials reported that Ahmed Abu Abed, 4, had succumbed to his injuries apparently sustained by Israeli fire. He was buried in Khan Younis, at the southern end of the strip on Wednesday afternoon.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said he “was hit by shrapnel from Israeli gunfire” during protests near to the border fence with Israel on Friday.

Reuters footage from the protest showed the boy being carried by a medic into a field hospital not far from the border after being injured.

“There was one piece of bullet shrapnel in the eye that settled at the bottom of the brain, that was the most serious of all, and that what most likely killed him,” said Mohammad Abu Hilal, director of emergency department at Khan Younis hospital.

The boy’s father, Yasser Abu Abed, who suffered a leg injury, said they were among a hundred other protesters nearly 300 metres from the fence when Israeli forces opened fire. “We did not expect anything bad would happen as things were calm,” he said.

Israel’s military said it did “everything possible to avoid harming children” and accused Hamas, the militant group that runs the strip, of “cynically” using Gaza’s residents as human shields.

“[It] places them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life,” the statement added.

Hamas denies the allegations and together with rights groups has accused Israel of using excessive force against protesters

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since March according to health ministry in Gaza.

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Palestinians have been marching regularly on the border since March, protesting against an 11-year-old Israeli siege of Gaza and for the right to return to the ancestral land they fled or were forced from during the 1948 conflict that surrounded the creation of Israel.

After Mr Netanyahu spoke about the West Bank incident, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said troops shot and wounded a suspected militant who tried to evade arrest near the Palestinian city of Ramallah. It said he was in custody, but did not immediately confirm or deny Israeli media reports that he was sought in connection with the Ofra attack.

Iran Defies Babylon the Great

Iran confirms missile test in defiance of U.S.

A senior Iranian military commander has confirmed that Tehran recently carried out a ballistic missile test, to the anger of the United States, the Fars news agency said on Tuesday.

The Revolutionary Guards official’s comment came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion earlier this month that Iran had test-fired a missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and reaching the Middle East and Europe.

“We will continue our missile tests and this recent action was an important test,” Guards aerospace division head Amirali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

“The reaction of the Americans shows that this test was very important for them and that’s why they were shouting,” he added, without specifying what type of missile had been tested.

The U.N. Security Council met last week to discuss the test, which the United States, Britain and France said flouted U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s military program.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

Iran has ruled out negotiations with Washington over its military capabilities, particularly the missile program run by the Guards. It says the program is purely defensive and denies missiles are capable of being tipped with nuclear warheads.

Hajizadeh said Iran holds up to 50 missile tests a year.

“The issue of missiles has never been subject to negotiations and nothing has been approved or ratified about its prohibition for the Islamic Republic of Iran in (U.N.) resolution 2231,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

“Our defense doctrine is basically founded upon deterrence.”

Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which enshrined the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Some states argue the language does not make it obligatory.

Last month, Hajizadeh said U.S. bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf were within range of Iranian missiles.

The head of the Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said on Tuesday the United States was becoming weaker.

“American power is declining,” Jafari said, according to Fars. “The enemies don’t dare bring up the issue of overthrowing the Islamic Republic and they will take this wish to the grave.”

In October, the Revolutionary Guards fired missiles at Islamic State militants in Syria after the Islamist group said it was responsible for an attack at a military parade in Iran that killed 25 people, nearly half of them Guards members.

More Children Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

The sister of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed is comforted as she mourns during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 12, 2018.

Gaza boy, 4, dies from Israeli fire: Palestinian medics

Nidal al-Mughrabi

REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA

Relatives of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 12, 2018.

REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA

GAZA (Reuters) – Hundreds of Gazans on Wednesday attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after being hit by Israeli shrapnel at a border protest last week, according to Palestinian medical officials.

Wrapped in a Palestinian flag, the body of Ahmed Abu Abed was carried on people’s shoulders as mourners threw flowers into the procession in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.

Reuters footage from the protest last Friday showed the boy being carried by a medic into a field hospital not far from the border after being injured.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said he “was hit by shrapnel from Israeli gunfire”.

“There was one piece of bullet shrapnel in the eye that settled at the bottom of the brain, that was the most serious of all, and that what most likely killed him,” Mohammad Abu Hilal, director of emergency department at Khan Younis hospital, told Reuters.

Gaza’s health ministry, run by the Islamist militant group Hamas, said more than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since March at border protests demanding an end to an Israeli-led blockade of the coastal strip.

Israel’s military said it did “everything possible to avoid harming children,” and accused Hamas of endangering the lives of civilians by orchestrating the protests.

“The Hamas terrorist organization cynically uses Gaza residents, especially women and children, as human shields and places them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life,” the military statement said.

Hamas denies the allegation and Palestinians accuse Israel of using excessive force against protesters.

The boy’s father, Yasser Abu Abed, who suffered a leg injury, said they were among a hundred other protesters nearly 300 metres (1,000 feet) from the fence when Israeli forces opened fire. “We did not expect anything bad would happen as things were calm,” he said.

(Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Russian Doomsday Nuclear Plan (Revelation 16)

Russia’s “Dead Hand” Nuclear Doomsday Weapon is Back

Russia has a knack for developing weapons that—at least on paper—are terrifying: nuclear-powered cruise missiles, robot subs with 100-megaton warheads .

Perhaps the most terrifying was a Cold War doomsday system that would automatically launch missiles—without the need for a human to push the button—during a nuclear attack.

But the system, known as “Perimeter” or “Dead Hand,” may be back and deadlier than ever.

This comes after the Trump administration announced that the United States is withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated the once-massive American and Russian stockpiles of short- and medium-range missiles. Donald Trump alleges that Russia has violated the treaty by developing and deploying new, prohibited cruise missiles.

This has left Moscow furious and fearful that America will once again, as it did during the Cold War, deploy nuclear missiles in Europe. Because of geographic fate, Russia needs ICBMs launched from Russian soil, or launched from submarines, to strike the continental United States. But shorter-range U.S. missiles based in, say, Germany or Poland could reach the Russian heartland.

Viktor Yesin, who commanded Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces in the 1990s, spoke of Perimeter/Dead Hand during an interview last month in the Russian newspaper Zvezda [Google English translation here]. Yesin said that if the United States starts deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will consider adopting a doctrine of a preemptive nuclear strike. But he also added this:

Zvezda: “Will we have time to answer if the flight time is reduced to two to three minutes when deploying medium-range missiles near our borders? In this version, all hope is only on Perimeter. And for a retaliatory strike. Or was Perimeter also disassembled for parts?

Yesin: “The Perimeter system is functioning, it has even been improved. But when it works, we will have little left – we can only launch those missiles that will survive after the first attack of the aggressor.”

It is not clear what Yesin meant when he said the system has been “improved,” or even exactly what he meant by “functioning.” Perimeter works by launching specially modified SS-17 ICBMs, which transmit a launch signal to regular nuclear-tipped ICBMs in their silos.

David Hoffman, author of “The Dead Hand,” the definitive book on Perimeter, describes Perimeter in this way:

“Higher authority” would flip the switch if they feared they were under nuclear attack. This was to give the “permission sanction.” Duty officers would rush to their deep underground bunkers, the hardened concrete globes, the shariki. If the permission sanction were given ahead of time, if there were seismic evidence of nuclear strikes hitting the ground, and if all communications were lost, then the duty officers in the bunker could launch the command rockets. If so ordered, the command rockets would zoom across the country, broadcasting the signal “launch” to the intercontinental ballistic missiles. The big missiles would then fly and carry out their retaliatory mission.

There have been cryptic clues over the years that Perimeter still exists. Which illustrates one of the curiosities of this system, which is that the Soviet Union kept its existence secret from the American enemy whom it was supposed to deter.

What is unmistakable is that Perimeter is a fear-based solution. Fear of a U.S. first-strike that would decapitate the Russian leadership before it could give the order to retaliate. Fear that a Russian leader might lose his nerve and not give the order.

And if Russia is now discussing Perimeter publicly, that’s reason for the rest of us to worry.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Creative Commons. 

Babylon the Great Asks for Iran to Stop Ballistic Missiles

FILE PHOTO: People walk near an Iranian-made missile during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran Feb

U.S. wants U.N. to ban nuclear ballistic missile work by Iran

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 1:12 p.m. CST

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States will push the U.N. Security Council to toughen its stance to prevent Iran from working on ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and carrying out test launches, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

Pompeo also told the Security Council an arms embargo on Iran should not be lifted in 2020 and called on the council to establish “inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.”

“Iran is harboring al Qaeda, supporting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, arming terrorists in Lebanon, facilitating illicit trade in Somali charcoal benefiting al-Shabaab, and training and equipping Shia militias in Iraq,” Pompeo said during the meeting on the implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Russia and China – which are council veto powers along with the United States, France and Britain – are unlikely to support the measures proposed by Pompeo. In February Russia vetoed an attempt by the West to have the Security Council call out Tehran in a resolution on Yemen.

Without naming countries, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused some council members of using Wednesday’s meeting “to discuss the so-called regional behavior of Iran, which they depict as though it were the only source of all the woes in the Middle East.”

“What they do not voice is any kind of a substantive proposal on this topic and sometimes we’re left with the impression that the only goal is to further escalate anti-Iran hysteria and to demonize Iran,” Nebenzia told the council.

A 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Some states argue that the language does not make it obligatory.

The United States wants the council to toughen that measure, Pompeo said, to reflect language in a 2010 resolution that left no room for interpretation by banning Iran from “activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”

“This Security Council has a responsibility to protect citizens of the Middle East, Americans traveling through the Middle East, Europeans who are now at risk from Iranian missiles,” Pompeo told reporters after the meeting.

The United States, Britain and France have accused Tehran of flouting the current U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s missile program by carrying out ballistic missile launches. Iran says the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Tehran’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Eshagh al-Habib accused Washington of an “addiction to sanctions and warmongering,” saying Iran was in compliance with its commitments under a 2015 international nuclear deal, which the Trump administration withdrew from in May.

“What we heard today was another series of lies, fabrications, disinformation and deceptive statements by the U.S. It is not unprecedented,” al-Habib told the council.

Most U.N. sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions.

The U.N. sanctions and restrictions on Iran are contained in the 2015 resolution, which also enshrines the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. European powers have been scrambling to salvage the deal.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)

Even Kushner Recognizes the Battle Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)


 

President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner stated during his interview with Sean Hannity on Monday night that the living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza are not acceptable.

“We are focused on the broader region, which is figuring out how to hopefully bring a deal together between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That conflict has gone on for way too long. The president has been very focused on trying to bring all of the different parties together,” Kushner began.

“We are hopeful in the next couple of months we will put out our plan which, again, not every side is [going to] love, but there is enough in it and enough reasons why people should take it and move forward. This plan will keep the Israeli people safe, give them a good future, but also give a real opportunity and hope for the Palestinian people so that they can live much better lives,” he continued. “I’ve been saying a lot that there … you should not be hijacking your children’s future because of your grandparents’ conflict.”

Last week, a U.S.-sponsored resolution to condemn the Gaza-based terror organization Hamas failed to receive the necessary votes.

“This is a conflict that has been going on for way too long. And the way the people are living in Gaza and West Bank right now is not acceptable,” Kushner added. “There is a lot that we could be doing to improve the quality of life, but it comes with resolving some of these core issues. And it is not just the Israelis that want it, it’s not just the Palestinian people who want it, it is all of the people I speak to throughout the entire Middle East who would like to see the issue resolved so they can start focusing on a brighter future.”

Why Iran WILL Go Nuclear (Daniel 8:4)

Why Iran May Go Nuclear

Abhishek Chapanerkar12.10.18

World News /10 Dec 2018

The Iranian nuclear saga and its repercussions are once again taking center stage. Is there anything left that President Trump might do to the Iranian people after his complete withdrawal from the Iran deal, renewed sanctions, and hawkish foreign policy towards Iran?

Of course, it goes without saying that if the financial gains that were promised to Iran in the aftermath of the nuclear deal are no longer there why would Iran wait to see any tangible results to come to its doorstep?

Rather, it is obvious Iran may go nuclear. At least the logic says so.

The U.S. and Iranian nuclear cooperation during the Shah’s reign didn’t materialize as the advent of 1979’s Islamic Revolution was rapidly approaching. However, historical archives show that the Shah clearly envisioned a nuclear Iran, as did his successors although the initial pace was slow.

Now, as there is no U.S. involvement to preserve the Iran deal, why would Iran have to abide by the terms? American absence imperils the regime which only a nuclear Iran can possibly change. Iran’s nuclear quest is more urgent than it was earlier.

Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran’s nuclear aspirations for its energy security are more viable unlike other non-NPT members such as Israel, Pakistan and North Korea whose nuclear arsenals were developed for military use against adversaries in the region.

It was clear from the beginning that no nuclear deal would totally satisfy any parties involved in the deal. For President Obama achieving a comprehensive accord became impossible given the exigencies of the international episodes. During his tenure, Israel and Saudi Arabia were already wary of his foreign policy; the threat of the Islamic State was already on the rise, and the Israel-Palestine crisis had escalated. Nevertheless, the Obama administration saved the expedient deal in the hope that his diplomatic overtures would lead to re-engagement with Iran.

As the deal was never comprehensive, it was predictable that one of the members would withdraw from the deal. If it was not President Trump, Tehran itself could have walked out of the agreement.

Prolonged regional conflicts and debilitating effects of the past and ongoing chaos in the region have already cost Iran. Whether it was Iraq’s invasion or the post-September 11th events, during the rise of the Islamic State Iran was also vulnerable to terrorism.

As a consequence, no matter what the White House hawks argue against, Iran has an increasing role in the region, that should be quelled by an offensive military. No nation would like to see its national security compromised.

Iran’s isolation in the region will continue if a pragmatic nuclear option is not explored.

First, for both conservatives and reformists forming an anti-U.S. nexus with Russia and China is next to impossible. The pressure of economic sanctions that the Rouhani government is hoping to release with the help of France-Britain-Germany is likely to result in unfruitful outcomes. Although nothing has changed so far in regards to Moscow’s and Beijing’s opportunistic foreign policy in the region, economic relations with Iran remain important.

Second, compared to the Israeli national security goals, Iranian needs relate to its economy and security rather than its existence. In other words, Iran’s confrontation with Israel is military in nature. By keeping an ambiguous nuclear strategy, Israel still gained intangible benefits out of its nuclear deterrence although it has no strategic-depth to strike nuclear warheads on its immediate neighbors. By contrast, Tehran’s tumultuous relationship with Riyadh is both ideological and is motivated by gaining regional hegemony in the region.

Third, at the expense of America’s purchase of oil in return for money and weapons, Saudi Arabia poses a direct threat to Iran’s national security. Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) heinous act in the Khashoggi murder case is an open secret demonstrating tacit support under the guise of American leadership. His recent inauguration of a nuclear research reactor and rhetorical remarks on the Iranian nuclear threat should be taken seriously.

From the Iranian perspective, therefore, a nuclear Saudi Arabia is of much more concern than Israel.

Finally, since the exposure of Tehran’s clandestine atomic pursuit in 2002, Israel-Sunni-Arab states have formed a superior alliance forming an anti-Iran nexus against the nuclear program. For regional stability, a nuclear Iran means a counter to Saudi arrogance. Also, Saudi Arabia’s malignant role in Yemen and Syria, its ideology and alignment with Israel are clearly indicative of the fact that to install an everlasting peace in the region is not unfeasible.

Even a weak comprehensive deal couldn’t guarantee any reconciliation among Iran and the Sunni-Arab States.

So, Tehran has now learned that Iran’s nuclear restraint means strengthening America’s stranglehold in the region. Strong nuclear deterrence alone would resolve its isolation on the international stage. As a consequence, Iran’s nuclear program will now have a clear military dimension. Uranium enrichment is one way for Iran to attain latent nuclear capability and could lead to their developing nuclear weapons in the near future.

As a result, the U.S. will watch the rise of nuclear Iran.

Palestinians Trampled Under Foot Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Scores of amputations in Gaza as Israeli troops aim at legs

Gaza’s Health Ministry has carried out 94 amputations since protests began in March, 82 of those involving lower limbs.

Raed Abu Khader, right, holds a wet cloth on the forehead of his 12-year-old son Mohammed in Gaza City; Mohammed was shot in the leg at one of the demonstrations in Gaza by the perimeter fence with Israel [Associated Press]

Israeli forces deployed along the fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip have fired live rounds at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters ever since demonstrations demanding the right to return began in March.

And for eight months, Israeli snipers have targeted one part of the body more than any other – the legs.

The Israeli army says it is responding to weekly assaults on its frontier by Palestinians armed with stones, grenades and firebombs. It says it opens fire only as a last resort and considers firing at the lower limbs an act of restraint.

Still, 175 Palestinians have been shot dead, according to a count by the Associated Press news agency. And the number of wounded has reached colossal proportions.

Of the 10,511 protesters treated at hospitals and field clinics in Gaza so far, at least 6,392, or roughly 60 percent, have been struck in the lower limbs, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. At least 5,884 of those casualties were hit by live ammunition; others have been hit by rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters.

Mahmoud Abu Assi, who was shot in the leg during a demonstration, has his bandage changed in a clinic run by MSF in Gaza City [Associated Press]

The upsurge in violence has left a visible mark on Gaza that will likely remain for decades to come. It is now common to see young men walking through dilapidated streets on crutches. Most have legs bandaged or fitted with a metal frame called a fixator, which uses pins or screws that are inserted into fractured bones to help stabilize them.

The wounded can often be seen gathering at a treatment clinic run by the Paris-based medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Gaza City, where Associated Press photographer Felipe Dana took portraits of some of them.

Some of those he photographed acknowledged throwing stones towards Israeli troops during the demonstrations. One said he had hurled a firebomb. But others said they were unarmed bystanders; one paramedic said he was helping rescue the wounded, while another man said he was waving a Palestinian flag and another said he was selling coffee and tea.

Patients with leg injuries they attained during demonstrations, gather outside a clinic run by MSF  in Gaza City in September 2018 [Associated Press]

International human rights groups have said the military’s open-fire rules are unlawful because they allow the use of potentially lethal force in situations where soldiers’ lives are not in immediate danger.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, rejected international criticism that Israel’s response has been excessive. Instead, he said that firing at people’s legs was a sign of restraint.

Hamas is responsible for orchestrating violent riots where thousands of Palestinians assault our borders with the goal of breaching our defensive lines and attacking Israeli forces and civilian communities,” he said.

“Israeli soldiers use live fire only as a last resort, after written and verbal warnings, as well as extensive use of tear gas and other non-lethal means have been exhausted. It is our duty to defend our civilians and sovereignty, and we do it with the minimal use of force possible,” he said.

Raed Abu Khader, right, carries his 12-year-old son Mohammed as they return from the hospital in Gaza City [Associated Press]

MSF said this month that the huge number of patients was overwhelming Gaza’s healthcare system, which has already been severely weakened by a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt that has fueled economic stagnation and rampant unemployment, and devastated water and electricity supplies.

The aid group said the majority of the 3,117 patients it has treated have been shot in the legs, and many will need follow-up surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

“These are complex and serious injuries that do not quickly heal,” the group said. “Their severity and the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza’s crippled health system means that infection is a high risk, especially for patients with open fractures.”

“The consequences of these wounds … will be lifelong disability for many,” the aid group said. “And if infections are not tackled, then the results could be amputation or even death.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry says it has carried out 94 amputations since the protests began, 82 of them involving lower limbs.

Russia Builds Up Forces in Crimea

Two weeks after Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels in the contested Kerch Strait, satellite images obtained exclusively by Fox News on Sunday show that additional forces may be headed to the region.

In the images taken on Saturday, three Russian Ilyushin -76 cargo planes were spotted in the Dzhankoi airbase in Crimea.

The images, captured by Imagesat International, appear to show that Russia is continuing to step up and consolidate its military forces in the Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

According to social media reports in Russia, Four IL-76 planes departed on December 6 from Anapa airport in Novorossiysk and landed in Dzhankoi.

© FoxNews.com 24 Ukrainian sailors held by Russia near Crimea have reportedly been extensively questioned and will appear before a Russian court; Trey Yingst reports.

One of those airplanes returned Saturday to Anapa, while the three remain on base.

Ilushin-76 cargo planes are used by the Russian Army to deliver outsized or heavy cargo unable to be carried on the ground. The cargo planes are also used for mobilizing large numbers of troops.

The base of the elite unit of the Russia Airborne troops, the 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division is located in Novorossiysk, not far from Anapa.

The division’s troop participated in the last round of violence between Ukraine and Russia in August 2014, in addition to the fighting in Syria.

The IL-76 were spotted in the same airbase where the fourth S-400 surface-to-air missile battery was deployed, Fox News has previously reported.

The mobile S-400 missile has a range of up to almost 250 miles and can climb to an altitude of almost 19 miles. It’s intended to bring down a variety of aerial threats, from aircraft to cruise and ballistic missiles.

The apparent troop buildup comes as Ukraine’s defense ministry warned Friday that it will soon send naval ships through the Kerch Strait.

Ukraine has responded to the actions by Russia by introducing martial law for 30 days, a measure Kiev did not take even after Crimea’s annexation and amid large-scale fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in 2014-2015.

As part of martial law, Ukraine has beefed up its forces on the border with Russia and called up reservists for training. Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak told reporters on Friday that his country intends to send naval ships through the Kerch Strait soon, saying that “otherwise Russia will fully occupy the Sea of Azov.”