JERUSALEM – A new phase in the covert war between Israel and Iran’s proxy Hizbullah militia is taking place within the borders of the Jewish state, as Hizbullah has recruited scores of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs for missions ranging from arson to suicide bombings.
Israel Police and Fire Department officials acknowledged to the Israel Hayom newspaper that a series of serious forest fires at the entrance to Jerusalem and the Carmel/metro Haifa region during the past few weeks had been set by small teams of arsonists intent on destroying the country’s nature reserves and stretching the resources of Israel’s firefighting capabilities.
“I’m convinced that several of the fires that have broken out in our area are the result of nationalistic motives,” said the commander of the Haifa Fire Department.
Last week, Israel Police and Shin Bet agents exposed a burgeoning Israeli Arab terror network operating in Nazareth and Ghajar (a village along the Israel-Lebanon border) responsible for smuggling both drugs and sophisticated bomb devices from Lebanon into Israel at the behest of Hizbullah agents.
“These aren’t the small devices we’ve seen in the past to blow up buses,” said an Israel Police official. “These bombs have enough power to actually bring down a whole building.”
While law enforcement authorities were successful in discovering the terrorist smuggling ring, they’ve been unsuccessful in finding out where and to whom the bombs were to be delivered.
Police intelligence sources believe a number of Hizbullah “sleeper” suicide bombers will launch attacks on Israel’s civilian population in the event of an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear sites or Hizbullah missile bases.
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has boasted that his forces would capture an Israeli village as part of an overall plan to “liberate the Galilee.” Israeli security officials believe Hizbullah may be able to invade and temporarily hold a community along the Lebanese-Israeli border with the assistance of enemy agents operating inside Israel’s borders.
JERUSALEM – Israel’s global intelligence apparatus is being stretched thin as Iranian- controlled Hizbullah terror squads and pro-Assad Syrian chemical warfare teams are threatening to attack more Israeli citizens abroad and within Israel itself.
While high-ranking Israeli security officials have denied British media reports that the Mossad had sent a counterterrorism team to London to prevent an attack on Israel’s Olympic athletes, the Israeli media claimed that the Olympic squad is being guarded by elite British police, Mossad operatives and their Shin Bet colleagues.
In the wake of last week’s suicide attack by Hizbullah against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, Mossad, CIA and MI5 agents have been combing European cities for two additional members of the Hizbullah terror team who escaped to another European locale. Israeli military correspondents report that the hit squad in Bulgaria could be part of a larger team, which might be en route to the Olympic Games to perpetrate another Munich-style massacre.
In related developments, Israeli and American investigators are trying to match the Bulgarian suicide bomber’s DNA to their criminal databases, and Bulgarian authorities are reporting that a mysterious Russian-speaking woman had also assisted the Hizbullah terrorists in Burgas.
Last Sunday Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen said that Iran and Hizbullah have tried to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomats, businessmen and tourists in over 20 countries during the past two years. The Mossad and Shin Bet also said that Hizbullah terrorists were temporarily thwarted from launching an attack on Israeli citizens in Bulgaria earlier this year.
Meanwhile, leading members of the rebel Free Syrian Army told Western news agencies that pro-government military forces had moved a significant portion of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal to a select number of air force bases, where medium- and long-range missiles could launch attacks on Israel or “foreign invaders.” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has already informed Obama administration officials that Israel will possibly launch preemptive attacks against Syria’s chemical and ballistic missile installations if Israeli military intelligence detects an attempt by Assad to pass on unconventional weapons to Hizbullah or if he tries to draw Israel into a full-scale regional war.
JERUSALEM – Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to draw up plans for a possible series of preemptive strikes against various Scud missile installations and suspected WMD (weapons of mass destruction) sites across Syria, as the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship appears to be entering a dangerous phase.
According to Israel’s Channel 10 senior defense correspondent Alon Ben-David, the IDF has stepped up its aerial surveillance of key military bases across Syria, as various anti-government rebel militias have begun to overrun government facilities, including a major air force and missile base.
Both Israeli and American intelligence sources said that some of the rebel groups, associated with the al Qaeda terrorist network, entered Syria from neighboring Iraq. In a Channel 10 interview earlier this week, Barak confirmed that Israel is closely monitoring events on the ground in Syria and could be forced to take action if a variety of advanced conventional and unconventional weapons fall into the wrong hands.
Ben-David said that the IDF is preparing to deal with two possible scenarios: Should defecting or retreating Syrian government forces be detected transferring either advanced Scud missiles or chemical weapons to Hizbullah, which has been working alongside Assad’s forces, the IDF would attack specific targets to prevent the transfers. The IDF would also act against al Qaeda terror cells if they closed in on either a chemical weapons facility or missile base that could contain Scuds capable of reaching Israeli territory.
According to Yediot Aharonot, the UN and American intelligence communities have expressed concerns to the recognized leaders of the anti-Assad rebel coalition about the presence of al Qaeda in Syria. The White House and CIA have allegedly told Barak that it would be almost impossible for elite ground and air forces to find and destroy all of Assad’s WMD facilities, as they are spread out across dozens of locations throughout Syria.
Israeli media also reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Barak and Gantz, the IDF chief of staff, are trying to figure out ways to attack the aforementioned potential military and WMD targets without triggering a war with Syria and Hizbullah. The Israeli government and IDF have openly speculated that a cornered Assad and a desperate Iranian government (currently under severe economic sanctions) might be inclined to spark a war with Israel in order to temporarily prop up Assad or prevent a domino effect. Under the latter scenario the Sunni anti-Assad rebels would attack Iran’s Hizbullah-allied Shiite forces in retaliation for their direct involvement in the massacre of innocent Syrian civilians.
While Israeli and American intelligence officials are unable to predict how long Assad’s forces will be able to hold out against the widening rebellion, the better-trained Syrian army and Hizbullah militia are likely capable of fomenting a protracted civil war against the country’s Sunni majority – with or without Assad.
The deteriorating situation prompted Israel’s Homefront Command earlier this week to begin preparing for the mass evacuation of Israeli citizens from major population centers in Northern and Central Israel. In the event of a massive missile attack against cities like Haifa, Netanya and Tel Aviv, the Homefront Command would be expected to evacuate citizens to hotels, public buildings and tent cities in Eilat and the Jordan Valley for at least a week.
The Homefront Command, in order to prevent an immense disruption of vital services, is also working with the commercial sector on ways to properly protect key facilities such as electric power stations, oil and gas refineries, water companies and major food manufacturers.
JERUSALEM – In a meeting with a visiting U.S. delegation fresh off nuclear talks in Baghdad, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak and National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror expressed their government’s growing concerns over America’s diplomatic negotiations with Iran.
The Israeli officials told their guests, led by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, of the growing difference between Jerusalem and Washington over the pace and essence of the talks. Sherman maintained that President Obama was determined to maintain pressure on the Iranians in order to thwart their efforts to build an atomic device.
According to Israeli media reports, Barak and Amidror presented updated intelligence reports at the meeting. They allegedly show that Iran has already enriched enough uranium to build several atomic bombs, has begun preliminary work on developing weapons-grade plutonium, and is seeking to spark a war between Israel and Syria with the assistance of Hizbullah, Iran’s proxy.
One high-ranking Israeli official told Haaretz, “The Iranians have given up nothing at this juncture. [They are trying] to gain more time to continue their nuclear program.”
Barak, in discussing the stalled Iranian negotiations with a bipartisan group of visiting U.S. senators, said, “The recent round of talks in Baghdad proves once again that Iran is only interested in dragging its feet while attempting to deceive the world.” Regarding the chaos in Syria, Barak said, “The pictures of the children’s mutilated bodies are both shocking and disturbing. We call upon the nations of the world to unite and act immediately to stop the ongoing massacre of innocents.”
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force deputy commander, General Ismail Qa’ani, admitted earlier this week that Iran is directly involved in propping up Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime. Syrian rebels attempting to topple Assad have repeatedly told UN officials and international media outlets that both Quds and Hizbullah forces have actively participated in the recent attacks against civilians in Homs and Houla.
Some battles between pro- and anti-Assad forces have recently spilled over into different parts of Lebanon, including Tripoli and Beirut.
On Sunday Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah also threatened Israel. “Lacking rivers and mountains as borders, Israel has to make do with fences, but this will not be of any help. We have missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel,” he told supporters via a video link from Bint Jbeil, site of numerous battles between Israeli and Hizbullah forces during the Second Lebanon War.
The Obama administration has reportedly briefed Prime Minister Netanyahu about a proposed U.S. plan to have Russian President Vladimir Putin forge a peaceful regime change in Syria – an arrangement Assad has shown no intention of accepting. Putin, scheduled to soon meet with Netanyahu, has provided diplomatic and military backing to the Assad regime. However, after last weekend’s massacres in the Syrian cities of Houla and Homs, the Russian government openly criticized Assad.
Israel Hayom’s senior commentator Dan Margalit rebuked America’s diplomatic efforts in the region. “In Istanbul and Baghdad they [American diplomats and others] spoke about pushing Iran to downgrade enriching uranium from 20 percent grade to 5 percent, until it was surprisingly revealed that Iran was actually enriching uranium at 27 percent,” Margalit wrote.
“Iran isn’t worried that America sees it as a country that consistently fails to tell the truth; North Korea already preceded them. So with these statistics in hand, Syria’s Bashar Assad shouldn’t be too worried about American efforts to effect regime change.”
Israeli military officials have warned the White House and Kremlin that if the Assad regime is violently overthrown, Israeli forces could be forced to launch a pre-emptive strike at elite Syrian chemical weapons warfare and missile units. It is believed that in a parting shot, Assad – with Iranian compliance – might order the transfer of large caches of unconventional munitions to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
According to the IDF and the authoritative Jane’s Defence Weekly, Syria allegedly possesses one of the world’s deadliest arsenals of VX nerve gas, which can be mounted on advanced Scud missiles and capable of hitting major Israeli cities across the country.
(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR THE FULL JEWISH PRESS INTERVIEW)))
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, received an award Tuesday night for her role in fighting terrorism through international courts and defending the civil rights of Israeli terror victims.
Darshan-Leitner accepted the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism’s Lion of Zion Award at Jerusalem’s City of David, along with Dr. Yitzhak Glick, Chairman of the Efrat Emergency Medical Center, and Zvi Slonim, a founder of Gush Emunim and the Ariel University Center of Samaria.
Nitzana Darshan-Leitner accepting the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism
Shurat HaDin, established in 2003, says its goal is “to bankrupt terror groups and grind their criminal activities to a halt – one lawsuit at a time.” The legal powerhouse works with western intelligence agencies and volunteer attorneys around the world who file legal actions on behalf of victims of terror.
But they just don’t file – they win. To date, Shurat HaDin has succeeded in winning more than $1 billion in judgments, freezing more than $600 million in terrorist assets, and collecting $120 million in payments to victims and their families.
Darshan-Leitner, who has been leading the struggle against Palestinian and Islamic terrorist organizations in the courtroom since 1997, represents hundreds of terror victims in lawsuits and actions not just against terror organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PLO, and Hizbullah, but against governments such as the Iran, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, and the quasi-government Palestinian Authority.
On May 14, the US district court for Washington, DC handed down a decision in the amount of $332 million against the government of Syria for its role in an April 2006 Passover-time suicide bombing which killed 11 civilians near the Old Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv, including Floridian student Daniel Wultz, who succumbed to wounds after a 27-day battle for his life. Darshan-Leitner helped his family file suit in US civil court against the Syrian Arab Republic and other parties alleging that Damascus had allowed the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which carried out the attack, to be headquartered in Syria, as well as providing them with material support. The Wultz family was represented by Darshan-Leitner, as well as NY attorney Robert Tolchin.
On May 14, 2012, the 6th anniversary of Daniel’s death, the district court awarded the Wultzes $332 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the Syrian defendants, finding that the defendants acted intentionally in a nature and to an extent “among the most heinous the Court can fathom,” and that they did so without “any semblance of remorse”.
The judgment represented the first time the Syrian government had ever been found liable in US court for supporting Islamic terror organizations targeting civilians in Israel.
Most recently, she has taken on some of the world’s largest banks, who have knowingly done business with organizations associated with Islamic terror, including UBS, The Arab Bank, Bank of China, and LCB.
A lawsuit has been filed in New York against the Bank of China for providing financial services to the PIJ prior to the 2006 bombing which killed Daniel Wultz.
According to Darshan-Leitner, who spoke with the Jewish Press’ Yishai Fleisher, thanks to the efforts of Shurat HaDin, banks have, for the most part, been scared away from dealing with terror organizations and terrorists, for fear of being sued in civil court. This has become significant for Islamic jihadists, who rely on the ability to transfer large amounts of funds in order to maintain their terror networks.
“Terror organizations need a lot of money to operate,” Darshan-Leitner told Fleisher. “We may think they need it for the bullets or for the gun or for the missile, that’s wrong – they need it to support the population, they need to provide the population with free food, free education, free medical services, in order to gain their loyalty, in order to continue firing missiles towards Israel from their backyards.”
“Terror organizations have a military, they have soldiers – not wearing uniforms – but they are soldiers that get paid month after month after month until they are called to carry out terror attacks inside Israel. And to maintain this army, the Hamas or Hizbullah need a lot of money,” Darshan-Leitner said. “So by obstructing them from getting so much money, you are obstructing them from carrying out terror attacks. I regularly meet with intelligence agents in Israel, and they all tell me the same thing – if you stop the money, you can stop the terrorism. If you stop the flow of the money, you can stop the flow of the terrorism.”
In a televised speech in suburbs south of Beirut on Friday, Hizbullah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah boasted that his sophisticated terror network is capable of hitting any target “in Tel Aviv and occupied Palestine”.
Nasrallah spoke at an event commemorating the completion of reconstruction and rebuilding of destruction incurred during the Second Lebanon War. The Second Lebanon War began on July 12, 2006, when Hizbullah fired rockets into northern Israel at the same time as it attacked two Israeli military jeeps, killing 3 IDF soldiers.
According to a report in the Tehran Times, Nasrallah told attendees that “the era in which we are afraid and they are not is over,” and that his group is “capable of striking very specific targets not only in Tel Aviv but everywhere in occupied Palestine.”
He bragged that while Israel attempted to “crush the resistance” during the month-long Second Lebanon War, “the war has failed to achieve its goal”. And in the future, he said, “for every building destroyed in Dahiya [an area in the suburbs of southern Beirut], a building will be destroyed in Tel Aviv”.
As of 2010, the Israeli government estimated that Hizbullah had an arsenal of more than 15,000 long-range rockets on its border with Lebanon.
JERUSALEM – Next week’s scheduled White House meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was expected to focus on a possible preemptive Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear installations.
The Iran issue may be moved somewhat down the agenda, however, as flailing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is being pressured by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to move both his WMD cache and long-range Scud missiles to well-protected Hizbullah bases inside Lebanon.
According to intelligence sources, the Pentagon expressed concern to the Obama administration on Monday after Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn, who is aligned with the Hizbullah-dominated government, met with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss increased military aid to the Lebanese army in order to “confront the West and Israel.”
Israel’s mass circulation Yediot Aharonot reported that the Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah are in a race against time to secure major parts of the Syrian army’s unconventional weapons arsenal before they fall into the hands of anti-Assad rebel militias, who have threatened to “settle scores” with Hizbullah for assisting in the massacre of Syrian civilians and rebel soldiers.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who met with high-ranking members of the Pentagon this week, told American military commanders that the Israeli air force would attack convoys carrying suspicious weapons across the Syrian border into Lebanon. In addition, IDF ground forces reportedly are preparing to reoccupy large swaths of Southern Lebanon in order to thwart any Iranian order to Hizbullah missile units to launch attacks on Israeli cities.
Last week an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander warned that his forces would launch preemptive strikes if the regime felt threatened by impending American or Israeli attacks. The Syrian military possesses some of the world’s most lethal chemical weapons, including the VX nerve agent, which can be mounted onto Scud missiles.
On March 14, Israel will conduct a massive anti-missile drill in the Tel Aviv metro region. Codenamed “Hit in the Heart,” the drill will focus on the aftermath of a theoretical missile attack on a major shopping mall in Tel Aviv by either Hamas or Hizbullah, both of which are equipped with Iranian-produced medium range Fajr-5 missiles that can reach Tel Aviv.
According to some news reports, the IDF would need at least ten Iron Dome anti-missile units to defend major Israeli cities against even a limited number of short- and medium-range rockets.