Jordan masses ‘thousands’ of troops on Iraqi border to counter IS

Hackers calling themselves "CyberCaliphate" threatened US President Barack Obama and his family when they took control of Newsweek magazine's Twitter account on Tuesday.

By REUTERS
February 10, 2015 21:21
2 minute read.
A Royal Jordanian Air Force plane takes off from an air base to strike the Islamic State

A Royal Jordanian Air Force plane takes off from an air base to strike the Islamic State. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Jordan assembled thousands of troops on its eastern border as it steps up its operations against Islamic State, two Jordanian government officials to NBC News on Tuesday.

The deployment is meant to prevent Islamic State from penetrating into Jordan and to demonstrate Amman’s resolve, the officials said.

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Another Jordanian source close to the government told ABC News that the troops are probably going to remain in defensive positions and would not enter Iraq without Baghdad’s approval.

Gen. (ret.) John R. Allen, the US special envoy for building a coalition against Islamic State, told Jordan’s Petra news agency on Sunday that an offensive against Islamic State would begin soon and would include a major ground operation led by Iraqi forces.

In Iraq, some members of the Yazidi minority are turning on their Arab neighbors, staging deadly reprisals against Sunni villagers they believe collaborated in atrocities inflicted by Islamic State on their community.

Yazidis returning to the Sinjar area in northern Iraq are uncovering one mass grave after another, evidence of Islamic State’s rule from last August until its fighters were driven back there late last year.

More than a dozen Sunni Arab residents told Reuters that armed groups of Yazidis raided four of their villages in Sinjar two weeks ago, killing at least 21 people. A further 17 are missing.



Also on Tuesday, United Arab Emirates F-16 jets based in Jordan attacked Islamic State targets and returned safely, UAE state news agency WAM said.

The UAE had suspended participation in coalition air strikes for several weeks over pilot safety concerns, after a Jordanian pilot was captured and killed by the terrorist group in Syria.

And Hackers calling themselves “CyberCaliphate” threatened US President Barack Obama and his family when they took control of Newsweek magazine’s Twitter account and sent the words “Je suIS IS,” a reference to Islamic State and the deadly attack at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

The hacker group, which took responsibility for hacking Pentagon social media accounts last month, tweeted “#Cyber- Caliphate Bloody Valentine’s Day #MichelleObama! We’re watching you, you girls and your husband!” The Twitter account showed a head wrapped in a black-andwhite scarf next to a banner proclaiming “CyberCaliphate.”

Newsweek removed the “CyberCaliphate” banner and tweets and regained control of the account within 14 minutes, the magazine said.

The hackers also posted this message: “While the US and its satellites are killing our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, we are destroying your national cybersecurity system from inside.”

The group took responsibility for the intrusion last month into the Twitter and YouTube accounts for the US military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East.

The cyberattack on Tuesday occurred the same day that Obama’s counterterrorism coordinator, Lisa Monaco, announced the formation of a government agency to monitor and analyze cybersecurity threats.

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