Chinese hackers obtained info on Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system – report

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod July 9, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

In addition to taking information on the Iron Dome, the attackers were also able to nab plans regarding other projects – including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ballistic rockets, and “detailed schematics and specifications” for the Arrow III missile interceptor.

According to independent journalist Brian Krebs, the intrusion occurred between 2011 and 2012 and was carried out by China’s infamous “Comment Crew” – a group of cyber warriors linked to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

In May, the United States charged five members of this group with cyber espionage against American computer networks. The hackers reportedly infiltrated US systems in order to “steal information that would provide an economic advantage” for Chinese companies, including “Chinese state-owned enterprises.”

Although it’s unclear exactly how much data the hackers were able to obtain, Maryland-based intelligence firm Cyber Engineering Services (Cyber ESI) identified more than 700 documents that were stolen. The real number is believed to be much higher.

Speaking to Business Insider, University of California researcher Jon Lindsay said the intrusion could signal that the Chinese are interested in learning more about missile defense – which is considered notoriously difficult to become proficient in – but it could also be an extension of Beijing’s typical cyber espionage practices.

“The Chinese style of espionage is more like a vacuum cleaner than a closely-directed telescope,” Lindsay said. “They go after a lot of different kinds of targets — the leaders in any particular industry.”

As the news outlet speculated, Chinese interest in the Iron Dome could have been triggered by the missile shield’s success during Israel’s battle with Hamas in 2012. Krebs noted that Israel claims the Iron Dome has intercepted one-fifth of the 2,000-plus rockets fired their way in the most recent outbreak of violence.

Regarding the hack, one of the Israeli defense firms involved declined to say whether any of their partners in the US were alerted to the security breach, which is notable considering that Congress has delivered hundreds of millions of dollars to Tel Aviv in Iron Dome funding.

“At the time, the issue was treated as required by the applicable rules and procedures,” Eliana Fishler, a spokesperson for the defense firm Israel Aerospace Industries, said to Krebs. “The information was reported to the appropriate authorities. IAI undertook corrective actions in order to prevent such incidents in the future.”

Meanwhile, CyberESI CEO Joseph Drissel explained that much of the stolen information was restricted by the US State Department.

“Most of the technology in the Arrow 3 wasn’t designed by Israel, but by Boeing and other U.S. defense contractors,” he told Krebs. “We transferred this technology to them, and they coughed it all up. In the process, they essentially gave up a bunch of stuff that’s probably being used in our systems as well.”

Of course, the US has accused Beijing of this type of espionage before, even outside of the five Chinese officials charged in May. As RT reported in June, American cyber security company CrowdStrike said that one unit within the PLA has been linked to seven years of hacking against the US aerospace industry. This information was shared with US intelligence agencies as well as the Justice Department.

For its part, China has consistently denied allegations of hacking, often claiming that it is subject to numerous cyber attacks from the United States.

FISA court judges buying Verizon stock as they approve NSA surveillance

Traders work at the post where Verizon is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the National Security Agency and other members of the country’s intelligence community must request approval from a top-secret court (the FISA court) to be able to legally place an individual under electronic surveillance. They must show that there is probable cause that the targets “are or may be” aligned with a terrorist organization with the purpose of carrying out acts of terrorism against the United States. The authorizations to conduct surveillance must be renewed by FISA every 90 days.

Many of those requests involve Americans who use Verizon.

In January, Verizon Communications became the first American company of its kind to publish information about the number of requests for user data it received last year from federal investigators and law enforcement agencies.

Verizon’s so-called transparency report revealed that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the United States requested customer information no fewer than 320,000 times during the last calendar year.

In June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report listing how many information requests and other surveillance-related activities were performed by the government in 2013. the court granted 1,768 FISA orders, as well as 131 Pen Register or Trap and Trace orders, affecting over 90,000 targets ‒ meaning individuals, businesses, or foreign powers.

According to Vice News, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the data, several of the judges who approve the surveillance authorizations have owned Verizon stock in the last year.

“On May 28 last year, Judge James Zagel, a FISA Court member since 2008, purchased stock in Verizon,” Vice’s Lee Fang wrote. “In June of this year, Zagel signed off on a government request to the FISA Court to renew the ongoing metadata collection program.”

Another judge, Susan Wright, purchased Verizon stock valued at $15,000 or less on October 22, 2013, while Judge Dennis Saylor has owned Verizon stock, and last year collected a dividend of less than $1,000.

Vice noted that government ethics disclosures only reveal investment amounts within a range, not a specific value.

Ethics laws require federal judges to recuse themselves from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” including having “a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

The US Code also says, “A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.”

But FISA Court judges who own Verizon stock and don’t disqualify themselves from these requests are not breaking the law.

“FISA proceedings are ex parte, meaning Verizon isn’t even a party for the NSA requests,” Fang wrote. “However, telecom companies certainly have a stake in how they comply with government orders, and some ethicists say judges would be well served if they simply steer clear of these types of investments.”

But just because it’s not against the law doesn’t mean that judges should be buying stock in companies whose values might be affected by their rulings, critics argue.

“State privileges being abused to make money? In Washington DC? It is almost like a lack of transparency creates opportunities for corruption,” DSWright at Firedoglake wrote. “If any group of people should be trying with all their power to stay above reproach it should be those clandestinely deciding the fate of Americans’ privacy.”

FISA Court judges owning stakes in telecommunications companies isn’t a new phenomenon. Gawker reported in September that all of the 11 members of the secretive court ‒ as well as the three additional members of the FISA Court of Review ‒ had some sort of conflict of interest in their annual financial disclosures.

Most current FISC judges do not directly own stock in telecommunications companies, and those that do tend to own stock in large companies like AT&T and Verizon, whose massive customer bases make for both fairly solid investments and obvious targets of governmental surveillance,” Gawker’s J.K. Trotter wrote. “But smaller companies popped up in some disclosures, too.”

Gawker’s report covered stock purchased before the telecom giant was named in the document leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. That could make the subsequent buying of Verizon stock more insidious because it is no longer an “obvious target” of government surveillance; rather it is the only named collaborator so far.

Hotel California: L.A. Officials To Send Homeless To Internment Camps: Will Be Implanted With RFID Chips

An anonymous source claiming to work inside of the Los Angeles Department of Health Services recently dropped a bombshell that could set a dangerous new precedent in how the government deals with those they find to be a burden or threat to a stable society.

In a report penned by Paul Joseph Watson, the whistleblower says that Los Angeles County is preparing to round up and forcibly house homeless citizens in detention facilities referred to internally by department employees as “FEMA Camps,” though the source says that they have been instructed to refer to the detention areas as “low cost housing” facilities.

According to the source, law enforcement teams will soon be rounding up homeless individuals on the streets, checking them into the facilities, and detaining them indefinitely for “their own health and safety.” What may be even more alarming, however, is that the government is reportedly planning on embedding these individuals with RFID chips presumably to track their whereabouts.

The program is focused around removing or relocating homeless people from the streets of downtown L.A., starting with Skid Row.

“We will approach them on the street asking if they need or want help usually offering food to get their direct attention, if they come into the office it makes our jobs twice as efficient,” said the supervisor.

“In most cases the decision is already made for them unless they become combative or belligerent in which case we send them in for a 72 hour psych evaluation and then transfer them while under sedation or heavy medication to the “facility.”

The supervisor stressed that the program would be “humane,” that it would help clean up the streets, and that the citizens being processed into the housing units would receive medical treatment, an RFID chip, room and board, but that “they cannot leave.”

The supervisor elaborated that the facility was not a prison, but that its population would be kept there “for their own health and safety.”

The whistleblower points to a page on the Department of Health Services official website which details how “roving teams” will help “provide short-term housing with health oversight to homeless DHS patients who are recovering from an acute illness or injury or have conditions that would be exacerbated by living on the street or in shelters.”

Full Report at Infowars

Many Americans will no doubt support these facilities because it’ll “clean up” their neighborhoods, making them safer and eliminating an eyesore. They won’t even blink about people being forcibly rounded up, drugged, detained and tracked like animals, so long as it happens out of view of their Utopia.

The government will, no doubt, hail the successes of such a program and will likely look to expand it to other cities and perhaps even to larger segments of the population.

One hypothetical scenario that could be imagined is that as more and more dangerous individuals are added to domestic terror watchlists, the government will look to intern suspected  terrorists and their associates in such facilities, for their own health and safety of course.

The White House recently approved a substantial expansion of terrorist watchlists, which already boasts a threat list that includes hundreds of thousands of Americans. Under the recently declassified guidelines, being added to a watchlist requires no “concrete facts” or “irrefutable evidence.” The guidelines go so far as to grant broad powers to White House administration officials to unilaterally add not only individuals, but entire “categories of people” to the lists.

One possible future envisions a scenario where specific “categories” of people are identified as dangerous to the public and, like the homeless, are rounded up for internment.

The dangers of such facilities and the means by which they will be populated if this is the actual plan in Los Angeles are a blaring warning sign that should be heeded by all Americans.

To paraphrase the poem by Martin Niemöller about the cowardice of Germans in the face of mass roundups – when they came for the homelesss, I did not speak out because I was not homeless...

 homeless

Hotel California: L.A. Officials To Send Homeless To Internment Camps: Will Be Implanted With RFID Chips

An anonymous source claiming to work inside of the Los Angeles Department of Health Services recently dropped a bombshell that could set a dangerous new precedent in how the government deals with those they find to be a burden or threat to a stable society.

In a report penned by Paul Joseph Watson, the whistleblower says that Los Angeles County is preparing to round up and forcibly house homeless citizens in detention facilities referred to internally by department employees as “FEMA Camps,” though the source says that they have been instructed to refer to the detention areas as “low cost housing” facilities.

According to the source, law enforcement teams will soon be rounding up homeless individuals on the streets, checking them into the facilities, and detaining them indefinitely for “their own health and safety.” What may be even more alarming, however, is that the government is reportedly planning on embedding these individuals with RFID chips presumably to track their whereabouts.

The program is focused around removing or relocating homeless people from the streets of downtown L.A., starting with Skid Row.

“We will approach them on the street asking if they need or want help usually offering food to get their direct attention, if they come into the office it makes our jobs twice as efficient,” said the supervisor.

“In most cases the decision is already made for them unless they become combative or belligerent in which case we send them in for a 72 hour psych evaluation and then transfer them while under sedation or heavy medication to the “facility.”

The supervisor stressed that the program would be “humane,” that it would help clean up the streets, and that the citizens being processed into the housing units would receive medical treatment, an RFID chip, room and board, but that “they cannot leave.”

The supervisor elaborated that the facility was not a prison, but that its population would be kept there “for their own health and safety.”

The whistleblower points to a page on the Department of Health Services official website which details how “roving teams” will help “provide short-term housing with health oversight to homeless DHS patients who are recovering from an acute illness or injury or have conditions that would be exacerbated by living on the street or in shelters.”

Full Report at Infowars

Many Americans will no doubt support these facilities because it’ll “clean up” their neighborhoods, making them safer and eliminating an eyesore. They won’t even blink about people being forcibly rounded up, drugged, detained and tracked like animals, so long as it happens out of view of their Utopia.

The government will, no doubt, hail the successes of such a program and will likely look to expand it to other cities and perhaps even to larger segments of the population.

One hypothetical scenario that could be imagined is that as more and more dangerous individuals are added to domestic terror watchlists, the government will look to intern suspected  terrorists and their associates in such facilities, for their own health and safety of course.

The White House recently approved a substantial expansion of terrorist watchlists, which already boasts a threat list that includes hundreds of thousands of Americans. Under the recently declassified guidelines, being added to a watchlist requires no “concrete facts” or “irrefutable evidence.” The guidelines go so far as to grant broad powers to White House administration officials to unilaterally add not only individuals, but entire “categories of people” to the lists.

One possible future envisions a scenario where specific “categories” of people are identified as dangerous to the public and, like the homeless, are rounded up for internment.

The dangers of such facilities and the means by which they will be populated if this is the actual plan in Los Angeles are a blaring warning sign that should be heeded by all Americans.

To paraphrase the poem by Martin Niemöller about the cowardice of Germans in the face of mass roundups – when they came for the homelesss, I did not speak out because I was not homeless...

 homeless

​Israel intensifies Gaza shelling, warns of ‘protracted campaign’

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky of Gaza City on early on July 29, 2014. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

WATCH LIVE: Israeli strikes on Gaza continue

At least 26 people were killed and 241 others injured in Gaza after Israel resumed shelling on Monday night, bringing the day’s death toll to 44 people, Ma’an news agency reported.

READ MORE: 8 children killed as missiles hit Gaza playground, hospital

In a televised address to the nation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that the country has to be prepared for a “prolonged” campaign.

“We will continue to act with force and discretion until our mission is accomplished,” Netanyahu said, stating that Israeli troops will not leave Gaza until they have destroyed Hamas’ tunnel network.

Meanwhile, Israel reportedly told at least 400,000 Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes via text and phone. The IDF confirmed sending out such warnings before the shelling was renewed.

“The situation is somewhat extraordinary,” journalist Harry Fear told RT on the phone from the Gaza strip. He said that he and his colleagues received warning phone calls from the Israeli army warning them to seek shelter, as they were planning to intensify the strikes.

According to Fear, the Israeli warning said that “tonight would be a very dangerous night” and that it would be “unsafe” for journalists to remain in the area of “West Gaza City.”

#Gaza night sky tonight pic.twitter.com/oXVRv9A2nf

— Kate Benyon-Tinker (@katebt3000) July 28, 2014

“What we did see in Gaza City for the last couple of hours is certainly the intensification of fire both ways. We of course heard rockets being fired not from any specific location…and of course the strikes of this area as well,” Fear told RT.

Because many journalists did leave the area, “there will be less coverage of the ongoing bombardment,” he added. Based on his assessment on the ground, Fear said that “there’s no chance of a ceasefire” in the short-term, as both sides continue to battle each other, and “because both sides want their positions fulfilled.”

Commenting on a previously reported Al-Shati refugee camp strike, Fear said he believes a “drone” is responsible for attacking the civilian site.

“This refugee camp is literally one of the most densely-populated places in the world. At around 5:15 local time a drone missile struck a man and decapitated him. The missile decapitated him and severely wounded one other man and also killed at least eight children,” Fear said, adding that he was at the scene “within moments.”

Fear said that after talking to witnesses on the ground, he remains certain that the camp is a “civilian area” with no militants hiding there, and that “this is a crime in a context of a very bloody operation.”

A total of 1,088 Palestinians – including 251 children – have been killed and 6,470 others injured in the 21-day Israeli military campaign, according to a Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman.

#UNSG concerned by leaflets reportedly being dropped in northern Gaza Strip warning residents to leave their homes http://t.co/D95yKq3plO

— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) July 29, 2014

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Israel’s tactic of warning civilians before the military assault will have a “further devastating humanitarian impact on the beleaguered civilians of those areas of the Gaza strip, who have already undergone immense suffering in recent days.”

Meanwhile, Ban warned that the UN ground presence in Gaza has limited resources “to cope with, or provide assistance to, an enormous extra influx of desperate people.”

The secretary-general also urged Israel to maintain “proportionality in any kind of military response” to Hamas rockets.

Ukraine TV cuts live interview after HRW rep refuses to admit ‘Russian aggression’

Local residents in a house damaged during a rocket and mortar attack on Horlivka, Donetsk region. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Hromadske TV journalist Danilo Janevsky abruptly cut off a live interview with Tatiana Lokshina, a representative of Human Rights Watch (HRW) after she refused to provide what she called a “political assessment” on the situation in eastern Ukraine.

HRW is tasked with the objective reporting of human rights violations as set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These impartial reports do not produce a political verdict; rather, they are used as the basis for drawing international attention to abuses.

The interview – which began on a predetermined note to blame Moscow for the internal armed struggle in Ukraine – ended with the sudden, uncommon practice of cutting the guest off live on-air. It happened just as Lokshina was about to provide an impartial assessment of the abuses in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.

“How does [the HRW] estimate rocket, heavy artillery and air attacks on the territory of the bordering sovereign state? Does it constitute a war crime, from your point of view? Yes or no?” Janevsky asked his program’s guest.

Lokshina tried to explain that Human Rights Watch does not comment on matters of political responsibility.

Just as she began to say “If you want to hear what we have found…,” the conversation was abruptly cut off by Janevsky. “Thank you very much, our conversation is over,” he said.

That was Janevsky’s last attempt to force the HRW representative to lay the blame on Russia during the course of the interview – but the journalist relied on a clearly anti-Russian rhetoric from the very beginning.

“How are Human Rights Watch and you personally estimating the atrocities of the Russian military thugs and their accomplices among the local population, who have been torturing, kidnapping and killing people for months and bombing international airlines?,” was the host’s first question. He then drew his own conclusion that “there are no war crimes that they haven’t already committed.”

The Russian HRW spokesperson reminded viewers that the situation in Ukraine has been qualified as an “internal armed conflict,” both by HRW and the International Committee of the Red Cross – which of course was fervently rejected by the interviewer, who tried to get the conversation back on track by mentioning “Russia’s aggression against Ukrainian people.”

“What does [internal conflict] effectively mean? It means that right now during the conflict, there are international humanitarian laws, the rules of war, which should be observed. These rules ban certain actions. And they are banning them for all sides in the conflict,” Lokshina tried to continue.

Following the awkward interview, which has drawn much criticism in social media, Janevsky wrote on his Facebook page that he considers it “unacceptable” for guests such as Lokshina to “deny the reality of eastern Ukraine, humiliate our soldiers who bleed in the Donbas, deterring the Russian aggression.”


The post, written in Ukrainian, has already received more than 2,400 ‘likes,’ with most comments approving Janevsky’s harsh line of questioning of Lokshina. Some users accused her of being on a Russian government payroll for her refusal to provide a political assessment of the bloody conflict.

A small minority of comments said that Lokshina was just doing her job. That assessment seems to hold ground, as HRW did designate Ukraine’s conflict to be “an internal, or non-international, armed conflict under international humanitarian law (the laws of war).”

In its recent report on Ukraine, HRW confirmed that the Ukrainian army is using indiscriminate Grad missiles to attack densely populated areas in Donetsk – which violates international law – while blaming the local militias. HRW did not report any evidence that militias were responsible for any Grad attacks on civilian-populated areas, but warned that they should avoid operating in those areas.

US Marines perfecting autonomous evacuation and supply vehicle

Photo credit: TORC Robotics

Dubbed the “Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate” (GUSS), the vehicle was recently used in training exercises during the ongoing, multi-national Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC). Evaluated alongside Marines at Oahu Island’s Kahuku Training Grounds, it reportedly proved itself to be extremely handy in situations involving evacuation.

According to Fox News, the GUSS was designed and built by three different parties: TORC Robotics, Virginia Tech University, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. The truck has been in the works for the past five years. The military said its platform-agnostic operating system could potentially be used in many kinds of vehicles going forward.

Here’s how Fox’s Gary Gastelu described the GUSS, which is equipped with advanced scanning systems, cameras, and mapping technology:

“In normal operation, the GUSS locks on to a beacon carried by a Marine and drives alongside a unit at a walking pace. It can haul up to 1,600 pounds of equipment like a four-wheel mule, including water, which reduces each Marine’s burden by 40 pounds or more.”

“An operator can program in a target location and send the GUSS to it, unmanned, at speeds up to 8 mph, to ship supplies to troops in need or to take the wounded away from the front lines for medical assistance. But it’s unlikely that it would ever be left entirely unsecured when carrying equipment or injured troops.”

The GUSS can even improvise as it makes its way to its destination, rerouting itself and backtracking in the event of hitting a dead end. If the tech itself fails to get the job done, the truck can use its communications systems to reach out to a remote operator who would then take over. If the GUSS needs to move fast, a Marine can also drive it as one would a normal vehicle.

Although the vehicle still has a few more years of testing ahead of it, the team behind it believes it could be combat ready before 2020.

The GUSS wasn’t the only autonomous invention at RIMPAC this year, however. As RT reported previously, the military also tested out Boston Dynamics’ hulking, four-legged robot called the “Legged Squad Support System.” The robot can carry up to 400 pounds of supplies, and can travel over 20 miles in order to deliver its gear.

Meanwhile, the Army is also testing its own self-driving vehicle, the “Autonomous Mobility Applique System” (AMAS), which is designed to navigate dense urban areas. The military believes advanced robots and other machines could help offset any losses if combat teams shrink in the coming years.

Gun manufacturer Beretta moves to Tennessee, blames Maryland’s gun laws

Beretta M9 during firing with cartridge casing being ejected (Photo from Wikipedia.org)

Beretta USA employs around 400 workers in its Accokeek, Md. factory, where it makes military, police, and civilian pistols. The company manufactures the service handgun for the US military, known as the M9 pistol. It also makes a broad range of firearms, including semi-automatic pistols, shotguns, hunting rifles, assault rifles, and submachine guns.

The world’s oldest arms manufacturer, founded by the Beretta family in Italy in 1526, cited recently enacted firearms laws in the Old Line State, as well as the potential for more restrictions, in its decision to leave the home of its factory since 1977.

Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Maryland banned 45 types of assault weapons and enacted fingerprint, photo ID, and training requirements. But Tennessee is moving in the other direction when it comes to gun control laws. This summer, a law went into effect allowing residents without carry permits to keep loaded guns in their cars, the Washington Post reported.

“While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the state,” Beretta USA general manager Jeff Cooper said in a statement.

In a February op-ed in the Washington Times, CEO Ugo Gussalli Beretta explained the reasonings for opening a factory in Tennessee. At the time it was supposed to be an expansion – but now it will be a relocation.

“Unfortunately, as we were planning that expansion, Maryland’s governor and legislature voted in favor of new regulations that unfairly attack products we make and that our customers want,” he wrote. “These regulations also demean our law-abiding customers, who must now be fingerprinted like criminals before they can be allowed to purchase one of our products.”

“We have seen these types of legislative proposals in Maryland before, and they never seem to reduce crime. Maybe this is because the proponents of such legislation blame the product instead of human misconduct,” he added.

“But in any event, because of these new restrictions and the pattern of harassment aimed at lawful firearm owners we have seen in Maryland over the decades, we decided to expand our facilities in a state that shows more respect for citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights.”

“It’s political and economic,” Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst with CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn., who closely follows the firearms industry, told The Tennessean.

Labor is cheaper in Tennessee than in Maryland, where the median household income is $71,122. The average income in Tennessee is $42,764, while the US average is $51,371. Also, states in the south also often offer big tax incentives for companies to create jobs there.

“These companies are saying, ‘Why not go to a state that’s not only friendly to our type of manufacturing, but also has a better tax rate and lower labor costs, with available skilled labor?’ New York and Connecticut, like California, have priced themselves out of the manufacturing business,” Ruttenbur said.

There’s also a large flow of retiring soldiers in Tennessee looking for work, whom “manufacturers see as a great potential workforce,” Bill Hagerty, the state’s commissioner of economic and community development, told The Tennessean.

“Labor is a lot cheaper in the South, the restrictions are less, and there is more openness. And why not go to the South where you can manufacture all the firearms you want? Right now, South Carolina and Tennessee seem to be the most attractive,” Ruttenbur said.

In Tennessee, Beretta will create 300 new jobs in its $45 million manufacturing and research-and-development facility, the company announced on its blog. The factory will be located in Gallatin, about half an hour northeast of Nashville. The M9 will continue to be produced in Maryland “until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been filled,” the Washington Post reported.

“I think this growth wave — whatever caused the movement in this direction — is happening,” Hagerty said. “These companies have to grow so they can thrive and compete. Logistics, efficiencies, supply-chain management all matter. We have been focused on the business fundamentals. It’s down to the basics, whether they can locate here profitably. That’s what drives their decisions.”

Other gun manufacturers that are moving to the south from states with strict gun control include: New York-based Remington Arms is expanding in Huntsville, Alabama; Connecticut’s O.F. Mossberg & Sons and Colt Manufacturing are both expanding in Texas; and others have moved to North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota, The Tennessean reported.

Beretta will retain its administrative offices in Maryland, according to the Post.

​8 children killed as missiles hit Gaza playground, hospital

Palestinians carry the body of a boy who was killed in an explosion, during his funeral at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City July 28, 2014. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip LIVE UPDATES

Monday was marred by renewed violence in war-torn Gaza, where the Israeli operation against Hamas has been ongoing for three weeks. The violence came as Muslims around the globe celebrated one of their religion’s biggest holidays – Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

A massive explosion rocked a public garden in northern Gaza, killing eight children and two adults and injuring 46 others, according to Palestinian medics. A health official at nearby Shifa Hospital said the children were playing on a swing when the strike hit the park in the beachfront Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, AP reported.

“The children were playing and were happy, enjoying Eid, and they got hit. Some lost their heads, others their legs and hands,” eyewitness Nidal Aljerbi said.

The refugee camp park was attacked just minutes after Shifa Hospital’s outpatient clinic was hit by another strike, causing more casualties.

The World Health Organization said in a statement that it was “appalled by the continuing trend for health-care facilities, staff and vehicles to come under direct fire in Gaza” since the escalation of violence on July 8.”

“The Organization calls on all parties and individuals to respect and protect the integrity of health systems, and assure the safety of patients, health workers and health-care facilities,” it said.

Local residents have blamed the Israeli military for the airstrikes. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), however, denied involvement, saying that “Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists.”

Gaza terrorists fired rockets today, hoping to kill Israelis. Instead, they hit a hospital & a refugee camp in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/dXNhtCHTQc

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 28, 2014

With at least 44 Palestinians killed and 12 earlier victims’ bodies recovered from the rubble on Monday, the overall death toll of the Israeli military offensive has increased to at least 1,088, Ma’an news agency reported. Meanwhile, the Israeli death toll has exceeded 50, with five more IDF troops killed in combat and Hamas cross-border mortar fire.

In addition, four IDF soldiers were killed along the Gaza border today as a result of mortar fire. Their families have been notified.

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 28, 2014

Also on Monday, gunfire broke out after Palestinian fighters slipped into Israel via a tunnel near Nahal Oz, a kibbutz collective village east of Gaza City. There have been conflicting reports on the incident. While the IDF said it thwarted the attack and “killed one of the terrorists,” Hamas claimed it had killed 10 Israeli soldiers and returned home safely.

Following the infiltration, the Israeli army advised Palestinians to flee their homes in areas around Gaza City, which is normally done in preparation for strikes.

“Phone calls were made and text messages were sent out to the civilian population of Shuja’iyya, Zeitoun and eastern Jabalia, calling them to evacuate themselves immediately towards central Gaza city,” the IDF said.

In a televised address to the nation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country has to be prepared for a “prolonged” campaign.

“We will continue to act with force and discretion until our mission is accomplished,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israeli troops will not leave Gaza until they have destroyed Hamas’ tunnel network.