Passport

Update: Bieber doesn't meet Bibi

The Holy Land is contracting Bieber fever this week as the Canadian pubescent pop star makes a much-anticipated visit to Israel. He arrived in Israel on Monday, and is set to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ahead of a performance in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Haaretz reports that Israeli tweens mobbed Bieber upon his arrival. "We are following him everywhere," a 14-year-old named Adi told the newspaper. "I will go with him to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea." But another Israeli is enthusiastically awaiting the Bibi-Bieber summit: Netanyahu himself, who hopes to use Bieber's visit to raise Western awareness of missile fire from the Hamas-administrated Gaza strip. Netanyahu's advisers invited a group of children from towns near the border of Gaza to attend the Bieber-Bibi summit.

Bieber has been tweeting his trip, explaining why he's so excited to be in Israel, as well as venting his frustration with the paparazzi:

i want to see this country and all the places ive dreamed of and whether its the paps or being pulled into politics its been frustrating

You would think paparazzi would have some respect in holy places. All I wanted was the chance to walk where jesus did here in isreal.

Bieber's international travel generated Internet buzz last July when pranksters from the notorious online message board 4chan rigged a contest where fans could vote for an international destination for a Bieber tour. North Korea beat out Israel as the contest's winner. When a Bieber spokesperson cried foul, different pranksters made the most-searched term on Google Trends "Justin Bieber Hates Korea."

Update: Netanyahu cancelled the meeting with Bieber after Bieber refused to meet with the children living in communities near Gaza.

Getty Images

Passport

Corrected: Russian FSB '100 percent' sure foreign Islamists behind bombing

 RFE reports

Vladimir Lutsenko, a colonel with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), is certain -- "100 percent" -- that the Minsk bombing was the work of international Islamist terrorism targeting peaceful civilians.

"When they murder innocent women and children on the streets of a peaceful city, everyone is terrified and everyone is hurt," Lutsenko says. "They blow up mosques in Iraq and Pakistan. They blow up apartment blocks in Moscow. They blow up skyscrapers in America."

Lutsenko adds that speculation that the explosion was organized either by the Belarusian authorities or by the country's weak and fragmented political opposition is "stupid."

"They said the same thing about Moscow -- that the FSB is blowing up Russia, that Putin blew up the homes of civilians in order to come to power," Lutsenko says. "We've heard this nonsense before and I won't be surprised if we hear it now, too."

Obviously, unlike Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, or the United States, Belarus is not high on the global jihadist hit list. The country has no history of Islamist terrorism -- though there have been two bombings by unkown parties in the last five years. Barring some compelling evidence of foreign involvement, a domestic culprit seems a lot more likely. 

Authorities say they've taken several people into custody. Whoever's responsible for the blast, expect Lukashnko to take the opportunity to bolster domestic security and crack down further on the country's already-marginal opposition movement. 

Correction: This post originally attributed Lutsenko's comment to the Belarusian KGB, not Russia's FSB. Apologies for the error. 

ONT/AFP/Getty Images