In a double-whammy of mounting geopolitical tension, Channel News Asia reports that North Korea has started fueling a rocket in preparation for a launch date set for April 12 or 13. The supposed 'satellite launch' is being considered a missile test by the West and in the meantime snubbing Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama for his 'confrontational mindset'. In retaliation Pyonyang will not be receiving food aid (according to a Pentagon official). Meanwhile, Israel National News highlights that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have taken the unprecedented step of canceling the long-customary leave for Passover and will instead remain on full alert. Careful to point out that this action did not stem from any planned military action (though soldiers dismissed that as obfuscation), IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said Wednesday he gave the order saying he "does not accept" the notion of an army-wide vacation during Passover. A growing cadre of senior security officials and former IDF chiefs have called for a major Gaza incursion to uproot the terror infrastructure there. Gantz himself has described such an operation as "increasingly inevitable."
TOKYO: North Korea has begun fuelling a rocket for a launch that the West considers a missile test, a Japanese newspaper reported Thursday, citing a source "close to the government" in Pyongyang.
"The launch is coming closer. The possibility is high that the launch date will be set for April 12 or 13," the source said according to the Tokyo Shimbun in a report from Seoul.
The report came after North Korea insisted Tuesday it would go ahead with what it says is a satellite launch, snubbing a call from US President Barack Obama to drop the plan and accusing him of a "confrontational mindset".
The United States has suspended plans to send food aid to North Korea, saying it has broken a promise to halt missile launches and cannot be trusted to give the help to those who need it, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.
The West and North Korea's Asian neighbours have urged Pyongyang to give up on the rocket launch, which is seen as the pretext for testing ballistic missile technology.
The IDF on Tuesday broke with Israeli tradition and ordered all units to cancel the long-customary Passover leaves and remain on full alert over the holiday.
Senior military officials insisted the decision did not stem from any planned military operations set to occur on - or immediately after - the holiday.
IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said Wednesday he gave the order saying he "does not accept" the notion of an army-wide vacation during Passover.
Soldiers... did not believe the timing of the decision was arbitrary and dismissed Gantz's explanation as obfuscation.
... a spike in hostilities with Gaza's terror gangs, who fired at least 200 rockets into Israel over a period of four days.
Israeli airstrikes on rocket launching cells firing from densely populated civilian killed 26 Gazans, of whom at least 21 were terrorists.
Critics say that Israel's airstrikes-for-rockets strategic posture vis-a-vis Gaza has only served to perpetuate the now simmering security situation in Israel's south.
A growing cadre of senior security officials and former IDF chiefs have called for a major Gaza incursion to uproot the terror infrastructure there.
Gantz himself has described such an operation as "increasingly inevitable."