A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending August 25, 2011

August 19, 2001 Briefs
• Israeli airborne missiles killed 4 Palestinian terrorists in Gaza Friday night – two riding a motorcycle one of whom was missile chief – and two at Bureij camp Friday.
• It was Israeli sixth and seventh air raid in retaliation for Thursday's Eilat road attack and ongoing Palestinian missile barrage. Palestinians in Gaza fired up to 30 missiles and rockets against Israeli locations in past 24 hours.
• Iron Dome intercepted a missile aimed at Ashkelon.
• PM Netanyahu visiting troops injured in Thursday's Eilat road terrorist attack promises Israel's punishment of perpetrators has just begun.
• Two married couples were killed in Thursday's attack near Eilat when Palestinian gunmen attacked their car: Flora and Moshe Gez and Shula and Dov Karlinsky. Their wives were sisters.
• Wednesday, Assad assured UN Secretary that army and police had halted attacks on pro-democracy protesters.
• Suicide blast in Pakistan mosque kills at least 40, injures 85.

Continuous Palestinian missile blitz after Israel bombs 12 terrorist targets in Gaza

19 Aug. After the Israeli Air Force struck 12 Hamas and other terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday, Aug. 18, a hail of Palestinians Friday hit the towns of Ashdod, Beersheba, Ashkelon and the smaller Sdot Negev, Shar Hanegev and Eshkol villages in a continuous blitz. Ten worshippers were injured – two seriously – when one of the six Grads aimed at Ashdod hit a synagogue. Police detonated a second in a controlled explosion.
Eight Israelis were killed, 33 injured in a Palestinian multiple terror attack near Eilat Thursday.

August 20, 2011 Briefs
• In Beersheba, two Palestinian Grads kill a civilian, injure nine – four seriously.
• Palestinian Grad missile attack closes Kiryat Gath-Ashkelon highway to traffic.
• Four Israeli air strikes hit Gaza missile teams and weapons stores Saturday as 4 Qassams explode in Eshkol district and Shear Hanegev. After that, Egypt called on Israel to halt "punitive strikes on Gaza".
• Lebanon blocks UN Security Council condemnation of coordinated Palestinian terrorist attacks which left 8 Israelis dead on Eilat highway Thursday.
• Turkey carries out air strikes in northern Iraq for second day in pursuit of Kurdish rebels. Its warplanes hit 28 rebel locations, and artillery shelled 96 targets.
• Iran sentences two American hikers to 8 years for espionage.

Israel strives to avert Egyptian ambassador's recall. US in mediation bid

20 Aug. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak held intensive consultations Saturday, Aug. 20, on the sudden sharp downturn in relations with Egypt and ways to prevent its government going through with a decision to recall its ambassador from Israel, as announced earlier. Washington advised Jerusalem to issue an immediate apology to Cairo over Egyptian military deaths during Thursday's terrorist attack by Palestinians coming from Sinai to enable the US to intercede with Cairo.
Barak thereupon issued a statement of regret.
He said he had ordered the IDF to investigate the incident and then conduct a joint probe with the Egyptian military. Israel attaches the highest importance to its peace accord with Egypt and underlines its value to Middle East stability, Barak said.
In Cairo meanwhile the Israeli embassy was besieged for the second day by angry protesters demanding the ambassador's expulsion, while the Egyptian media carried hostile reports on Israel. Cairo announced that due to the strained ties, it was suspending talks with Israel on the resumption of gas supplies at revised prices.
Egged on by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's ruling generals have taken the first step on the road to revoking the historic Camp David peace accords.

August 21, 2011 Briefs
• Qaddafi on state TV: Tripoli is now like Baghdad, calls on Libyans to save city.
• Assad dismissed US and European demands to step down as meaningless.
• Jerusalem on alert for specific terrorist threat Sunday afternoon. Police are stopping vehicles for checks.
• First Israel air strike in 24 hours hits two-man missile team in N. Gaza.
• Eight Palestinian missiles from Gaza land in Egyptian Sinai.
• Homeland Front Minister Vilnai orders National Emergency Command activated as three-day Gazan missile offensive escalates. more than 100 fired from Thursday.
• Nine Grads hit Beersheba up until noon Sunday, two hitting a military installation, one empty school sports facility.
• Eight missiles fired at Ashkelon, 3 intercepted by Dome.
• Saturday night in Beersheba, two Palestinian Grads missile killed Yossi Ben-Shoshan, 38, from Ofakim, injured nine – four seriously. Hamas claimed this attack and four-missile volley Saturday night which hit an Ofakim home and injured two Israeli children.

The Qaddafi regime falls in Tripoli

21 Aug. Muammar Qaddafi's regime fell in Tripoli just before midnight Sunday, Aug. 22. The rebels advanced in three columns into the heart of the capital after being dropped by NATO ships and helicopters on the Tripoli coast. Except for pockets, government forces did not resist the rebel advance, which stopped short of the Qaddafi compound of Bab al-Aziziyah. The big mystery is where are the six loyal government divisions and why did none of their 15,000 trained soldiers defend the Libyan capital?
And how did the ragtag, squabbling Libyan rebels who were unable to build a coherent army in six months suddenly turn up in Tripoli Sunday looking like an organized military force and using weapons for which they were not known to have received proper training? Did they secretly harbor a non-Libyan hard core of professional soldiers?
debkafile's military and counter-terror sources suggest a hidden meaning in Qaddafi's comment that Tripoli is now like Baghdad. Is he preparing to collect his family, escape Tripoli and launch a long and bloody guerrilla war like the one Saddam Hussein's followers waged after the US invasion of 2003 which opened the door of Iraq to al Qaeda?

Netanyahu accepts ceasefire to placate Egypt, leaves Jihad Islami for later

21 Aug. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ruled Sunday, Aug. 21, that his first priority is to grant Egypt's military rulers kudos for brokering a ceasefire in the Gaza missile war – and deal later with the Palestinian Jihad Islami which fired most of the 100 missiles exploding in Israel from Gaza in the last four days.
The prime minister acted under the harsh impression of Cairo's decision a day earlier to recall the Egyptian ambassador from Israel to protest the deaths of Egyptian policemen during Thursday's Palestinian terror attack on the Eilat road.
Washington stepped in speedily to defuse that crisis. The price? Israeli agreed to meeting Egypt's military rulers' demands to allow Egyptian troops to be deployed on the Egyptian-Israeli Sinai border for the first time in three decades.
debkafile's analysts criticize this decision as one of the prime minister's most unfortunate strategic mistakes since he took office nearly three years ago. Cairo will come back for more concessions under Muslim Brotherhood pressure; Jihad and its masters, Tehran and Hizballah, stay free to restart missile fire any time.

Tehran pulls the strings of Gaza missile war, proxy Jihad Islami leads

21 Aug. The role of Iran and Hizballah in manipulating the ongoing Palestinian war on Israel from Gaza is manifest, debkafile's military sources report. They planned, orchestrated and funded the coordinated attacks on the Eilat Highway Thursday, Aug. 18 and its sequel: volleys of 90 missiles launched day and night from Gaza against a million Israeli civilians. The Netanyahu government is hesitating to send the IDF into Gaza to stop the missile war because the same aggressor may open another front leading to a regional war.
Yossi Ben-Shoshan, 38, from Ofakim, was killed by one of the dozen Grad missiles hitting Beersheba and his home town Saturday night. More than a dozen people were injured, at least one critically.
The prime mover in the missile blitz is Tehran's Palestinian arm, the Jihad Islami to which Iran transferred 10,000 missiles under Egyptian, Israeli and US noses, well in advance of the violence launched three days ago. Most of them are heavy Grads have brought Beersheba, capital of the Negev and Israel's 7th largest town (pop. 200,000) into their 30-kilometer range for a sustained, massive missile offensive.
America and Israel are paying in full the price for their quiescence in the face of Iranian, Hizballah and extremist Palestinian belligerence and active preparations for war.

August 22, 2011 Briefs
• Palestinian attacks from Gaza resume Monday night with three missiles against Ashkelon coast, more against Eshkol district. In hopes of Gaza truce, Israel lowered the high emergency level in the South and Gaza vicinity Monday after 150 missiles fired against Israel in four days. Earlier Sunday Israel opened Gaza crossings for essential supplies. Gaza ceasefire accepted by Hamas Sunday night is violated within hours by Palestinian missile fire on Ashkelon, Sderot. One hit a building in the Eshkol district.
• Assad Monday orders "Parties Affairs Committee" set up to handle tasks pertaining to new multi-party law.

Qaddafi fights back

22 Aug. Heavy fighting raged Monday, Aug. 22, around Muammar Qaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli less than a day after Libyan rebels captured most of the capital unopposed and Muammar Qaddafi's regime in the capital was written off. His son Khamis led tanks to positions at the compound and Tripoli port, signaling that the forces loyal to the Libyan ruler and his family were ready to fight for their survival. debkafile: A second Qaddafi son Mu'tasim Billah al-Qaddafi is about to lead a special forces unit into battle.

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi appears in Tripoli: I was never detained. We are winning

23 Aug. In an extraordinary turnabout in the Tripoli standoff between West-backed Libyan rebels and Muammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam turned up with cheering crowds at the Rixos hotel early Tuesday, Aug. 23, and told foreign reporters he was never captured. "We are winning," he said.
His detention was not only reported by the rebels but "confirmed" embarrassingly by the International Criminal Court's prosecutors.
"The rebels fell into a trap," said Saif, asserting his father was in Tripoli running the fight against the rebels who have suffered heavy losses. "We control the capital," he said. "The people are with us."

August 23, 2011 Briefs
• Iran unveils new anti-ship "Qader" cruise missile with 200-km range covering US Persian Gulf bases. Ahmadinejad also inaugurated new "Valfair" torpedo system fired from submarines.
• US ambassador Robert Ford pays surprise visit to south Syrian protest center of Daraa.
• Trial took place of alleged killer of Iranian nuclear scientist Masou Ali Mohammadi in Jan. 2010 • Ali Jamali Fashi accused of blowing up a parked motorcycle bomb by remote control acting for Mossad.
• Israel formally complains to the UN about Security Council failure to condemn terrorist attack killing 8 Israelis as well as continuous missile fire in the south.
• Ahmet Davutoglu visits Benghazi pledges Turkish support for Libyan rebels.

British, French, Jordanian, Qatari special forces storm Qaddafi's compound

23 Aug. debkafile's sources report that British, French, Jordanian and Qatari Special Operations forces Tuesday, Aug. 23, spearheaded the rebel "killer strike" on Muammar Qaddafi's regime and Tripoli fortress at Bab al-Aziziaya, Tripoli. This was the first time Western and Arab ground troops had fought on the same battlefield in any of the Arab revolts of the last nine months, and the first time Arab soldiers took part in a NATO operation.
debkafile's military sources report that the Qaddafi regime has fallen in Tripoli, but there is quite a way to go before the war is over.

Qaddafi flees Tripoli with family. Guerrilla and/or tribal warfare feared

23 Aug. Muammar Qaddafi, family and elite are reported by debkafile's military sources to have abandoned their Bab al Aziziya fortress early Tuesday, Aug. 23, using Saif al-Islam's surreal appearance before foreign reporters earlier in the day to cover their escape. They are believed to have exited the compound through one of the underground tunnels of the compound's military complex. But regional intelligence experts are frankly baffled by the enigma of the overnight disappearance without a trace of Qaddafi and his army divisions.
Qaddafi may have equipped a place of asylum at Sebha with military and residential facilities form which to launch a guerilla war against whomsoever takes power in Tripoli and against NATO targets in Libya and Europe, as punishment for his downfall.
He is promised the support of his 100,000 strong Gaddadfa tribe based in Sirte and tribes in the south on the fringes of the Sahara.

August 24, 2011 Briefs
• Overnight, Israeli air strike killed Palestinian Jihadi Islami executive who brought Grad missiles to Gaza.
• In a local broadcast, Qaddafi said he left his compound as a "tactical move" and would fight on against NATO and traitors. He pledged martyrdom or victory.
• Medvedev urges Qaddafi and rebels to hold talks. He said Qaddafi still has some influence and military capabilities despite rebel successes.
• Qaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim: We are capable of fighting not just for days or weeks but for years.
• Ex-IAEA inspector Oli Heinonen warns enough low-grade uranium left at Tajoura research center on Tripoli outskirts for making a dirty bomb.

IDF: Egyptian frontier on peak alert, no longer a border of peace

24 Aug. Israel-Egyptian frontier units went on peak alert Wednesday night, Aug. 24, following specific intelligence that Palestinian Jihad Islami was preparing to launch another cross-border terrorist attack from Sinai.
Earlier Wednesday, Gen. Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff announced that Israel's Defense Forces were no longer treating the Egyptian frontier as a border of peace because of new threats – a radical change of outlook after three decades since a peace treaty was concluded. The new situation was exemplified by the terrorist attacks Palestinian gunmen launched from Egyptian Sinai on Aug. 8 killing eight Israeli civilians and injuring forty.
The IDF is forced to elevate the army's Edom Division's mission, said the general, from border defense to a more proactive offensive role, the warding off of cross-border attacks for which it will receive infusions of extra combat manpower, intelligence systems and weapons – tank units, armored infantry, airborne radar and early warning electronic capabilities will be strung along the 200-kilometer length of the Egyptian border.
The Aug. 18 attack on the Eilat highway revealed that Palestinian terrorists were playing hide and seek between the Gaza Strip and Egyptian Sinai, putting a heavy strain on Israeli-Egyptian relations. The row over the killing of three Egyptian policemen during the IDF firefight with terrorists has not yet subsided.

August 25, 2011 Briefs
• In a broadcast Thursday night, Qaddafi tells "women and children to purify Tripoli" and Libyans to fight and destroy the rebels. It is not clear when the speech aired by the loyalist Al Orouba station was made or recorded.
• Nine missiles from Gaza explode in Ashkelon, Eshkol District and Shear Hanegev late Thursday. Another Palestinian missile team was hit by Israel ground fire.
• Senior Libyan rebel leaderJalil welcomes any negotiation with groups in Qaddafi-held areas to avoid more killing. Fighting continues Thursday across many parts of Tripoli and other Libyan cities.
• Fifteen Grad missiles fired from Gaza Wednesday night explode in Ashkelon, Ofakim, Eshkol district Wednesday night.
• South Israel is back on missile alert. All public and summer holiday events cancelled at last minute.

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