An Iranian-American businessman was arrested while visiting his family in Tehran earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday, which makes him the fourth American known to be detained by Iran, in addition to a fifth who is unaccounted for. The executive, Siamak Namazi, promoted closer business ties and relations between Iran and the United States. He is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison. According to the Journal, in recent weeks the Iranian regime has detained Iranian businessmen with ties to foreign companies, who have been “warned against wading into economic monopolies controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.” The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the vanguard and defenders of the Iranian revolution, is estimated to have an annual turnover of $10-$12 billion, which is approximately one-sixth of the Iranian economy. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released a statement in which he said, “[T]he flawed nuclear deal is emboldening Iran to threateningly test ballistic missiles that can strike Israel and beyond, to kill more Syrian people in defense of the barbaric Assad regime, and now reportedly to have the IRGC's intelligence arm arrest yet another American citizen for charges yet to be made clear.” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) issued a press release condemning the arrest: “Reports that Iran has arrested another American are troubling. Iran has a long history of imprisoning Americans, including my constituent, Amir Hekmati, who continues to be held despite his innocence. Iran has repeatedly said it seeks to rejoin the global community, yet I simply cannot fathom how this is possible if it continues to hold American political prisoners.
The other three Americans known to be detained by Iran are Washington Post bureau chief Jason Rezaian, detained since July 2014; Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, held since September 2012; and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, who was detained in August 2011. Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent and CIA contractor, went missing in Iran in 2007 and the Iranian regime claims to not know anything about his status. One of the first acts of revolutionary Iran was the taking of more than 50 hostages at the U.S. embassy in November 1979 – they were held for 444 days. Rezaian has been held longer than those hostages. In 1984, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah kidnapped William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, and tortured him for 15 months before murdering him.
An American citizen was stabbed and injured in Jerusalem by a Palestinian assailant on Friday afternoon, while a second individual was wounded by stray gunfire from security forces who were trying to subdue the attacker, Haaretz reported on Friday.
The 23-year-old attacker, an East Jerusalem resident, stabbed the man, 22, in his upper body near the Light Rail station at Ammunition Hill. He then tried to stab another bystander but was shot down by light rail security guards, a border policeman, and a civilian at the scene.
An errant bullet also wounded a 20-year-old Israeli, who was evacuated in moderate condition to a Jerusalem hospital with a bullet wound below the waist.
The stabbing victim told paramedics that he had seen the attacker approaching and had unsuccessfully tried to escape.
Earlier on Friday, two Palestinians attempted to stab a group of Border Police officers near the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank. Both assailants were shot; one was killed, the other was critically wounded.
On Thursday, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded by a Palestinian assailant during a stabbing attack in Hebron. That evening, a 40-year-old woman was stabbed in the southern city of Eilat by an Arab teenager while a 60-year-old woman, who was traveling with her infant grandson towards Rishon LeZion, was injured after her vehicle was stoned.
On Wednesday, another 40-year-old woman was stabbed and moderately wounded in the West Bank, only half an hour after a Palestinian unsuccessfully attempted to stab soldiers in Hebron.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of October 29, the IDF reported that there have been 51 stabbings, 4 shootings, and 5 car ramming attacks in Israel this month. The Magen David Adom emergency medial service reported that, as of October 25, 11 people have been killed while 26 were injured, 13 seriously.
A variety of Israeli security experts and Palestinian activists have attributed this latest wave of terror to Palestinian incitement, particularly over the Temple Mount complex, which houses the al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinian leaders claim that Israel is trying to change the status quo at the site, which includes forbidding all non-Muslim religious activity and restricting non-Muslim visiting hours. Israeli officials have repeatedly denied the charges and affirmed that they remain committed to upholding the status quo.
The charge that Jews are trying to encroach on the al-Aqsa mosque predates the founding of Israel. In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs earlier this month, David Makovsky, distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, explained:
Sadly, the charge that Israel is out to destroy the mosque is not new. This claim was made in 1929, resulting in riots in Hebron that killed 63 people. More recently, fatal violence surrounding the Temple Mount occurred in 1991 (20 killed), 1996 (87 killed), 2000 (153 killed within the first month of violence), and 2014 (9 killed).
The committee later unanimously voted to condemn Palestinian incitement.