A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending Dec. 30, 2010
December 24, 2010 Briefs
• Palestinian missile from Gaza explodes in Hof Ashkelon Friday night on open ground.
• Hamas's A-Zahar earlier from Gaza: We are not seeking escalation. debkafile: A-Zahar is sidelined in Hamas decision-making hierarchy.
• Israeli car comes under fire on Highway 55 west of Karnei Shomron Friday. No one hurt.
• Indian police intensify terror alert for four men reported heading to strike Mumbai during holiday. They are believed members of Pakistani Lashkar e-Taibe responsible for 2008 siege.
• Mortar and sniper fire continued from Gaza Strip Thursday night.
• Three Italian nuns killed, two others injured in road accident south of Sea of Galilee. They were driving to Bethlehem for Christmas when their car swerved into a lamppost.
• Bethlehem had its first tourist boom after a decade of terrorist violence.
December 25, 2010 Briefs
• Rotterdam detains 12 Somali citizens suspected of plotting terror attacks in Holland. Six are residents, 5 have no address, 1 entered from Denmark.
• Iran restrains opposition leaders from leaving country.
• Qatar to hold joint war exercise with Iran.
• At least 40 killed by suicide bombing against aid recipients in NW Pakistan Khar.
• Two Al Qaeda terrorists, one dressed as a woman, shot up Saudi checkpoint.
Cairo hits back at Moscow-Jerusalem-S. Sudan ties by accusing Israel of spying
25 Dec. A secret meeting in Tel Aviv last Thursday, Dec. 16 between the high-ranking Russian emissary Mikhail Margelov and representatives of the South Sudanese semi-autonomous government so infuriated Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he ordered his intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman to hit back by accusing Israel of recruiting Egyptian agents to spy on Lebanon and Syria.
Cairo fears upheavals following Jan. 9 referenda in oil-rich South Sudan and Abyei will prejudice its control of Nile waters.
According to debkafile's intelligence sources, Cairo has only just begun settling the score with Jerusalem for bringing Russia into its quiet support for oil-rich South Sudan, whose President Silva Kiir Mayardit plans to lead his Christian-dominated province to independence. The Egyptians suspect the recent delivery of Russian arms to South Sudan, mainly combat helicopters, is part of a joint Russian-Israeli armament program. This month, Cairo was dismayed to discover Israel had developed connections and influence in East African countries powerful enough to override the Mubarak government's dominant role on the Palestinian issue.
December 26, 2010 Briefs
• Lieberman: The Turks' demand for an Israeli apology over flotilla is chutzpah. Nine people died on a Turkish "peace ship" loaded with terrorists for Gaza. Ankara should be apologizing to Israel for supporting its enemies IHH, Hamas and Hizballah terrorists.
• On peace prospects, FM Lieberman said Israel cannot sign peace with a Palestinian regime which is not legitimate, legal or stable. Even if they get Tel Aviv, the Palestinians won't give Israel peace. An interim accord is the only feasible option.
• Saturday, Abbas announced no Israeli presence would be permitted in a Palestinian state.
• Israeli firefight early Sunday with large Palestinian group planting explosives on Gaza border fence north of Sufa crossing. The Palestinians were driven back with two casualties by Israeli ground and air forces.
London tries to trap new Mossad chief into admitting Dubai murder
26 Dec. Even before taking office as head of the Mossad secret service, Tamir Pardo faced a British ruse to inveigle him into admitting Israel's hand in the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai a year ago by apologizing for the use of British passports in the killing. This apology would be delivered when he visits London next month, according to the London Telegraph of Saturday, Dec. 25.
debkafile's intelligence sources: London is testing the mettle of the new Mossad chief to see how he reacts to the challenge. They do not believe Pardo means to say Sorry! for the actions of his predecessor, Meir Dagan.
The Telegraph claimed Pardo served as deputy director for three years. debkafile's sources: In fact, he has just returned from three years in private business and took no part in any decisions relating to the Dubai killing, if indeed the Mossad was involved. They believe that by maneuvering Pardo into an apology, the foreign office will "tame" Mossad at last and put behind it the humiliation suffered by William Hague two months ago when the top Israeli officials he summoned for a private briefing were ordered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to turn up.
December 27, 2010 Briefs
• Netanyahu: If no progress on core issues, interim accord with Palestinians must be considered.
• Russian oil tycoon who once opposed Putin found guilty of embezzlement. Mikhail Khodorkovsky faces 6 more years in prison after eight years hard labor in Siberia.
• London court remains 9 men in custody charged with conspiring to blow up Stock Exchange, US embassy.
• Greek embassy bomb disabled in Rome.
• Bank of Israel Governor leaves interest rate unchanged at 2 percent for third month.
• At least 17 killed in suicide attack in Ramadi, W. Iraq.
• Cairo keeps up stream of anti-Israel charges. Mossad accused of using frogmen to cut Egypt's Internet cable near Italy in 2009.
• Ex-CIA director Hayden calls homegrown Islamist terror a witches' brew.
• Lebanese intelligence claims two more Israeli spying devices found on Chouf mountains. Three suspects arrested.
• European authorities hunt 12 al Qaeda terrorists heading out of the Palestinian Ain Hilwa camp in Lebanon for strikes.
Palestinians: Obama no longer backs Palestinian state within 1967 borders
27 Dec. Palestinian leaders in Ramallah are sunk in gloom over what they perceive as US President Barak Obama repudiation of his promises to them and a spreading push in Europe, the Arab countries and Moscow for them to bite the bullet and reconcile themselves to partial or interim accords as the only option available.
They accuse Obama of failing to endorse the Bush administration's promise of a Palestinian state very close to the 1967 borders, and reneging on a pledge that every last Israeli soldier will quit the state, leaving only a US or US-NATO force to secure its borders. IDF elements have become necessary, say the Americans, in view of the new risks from Iran.
This change brought forth an unequivocal statement from Mahmoud Abbas on Dec. 25: "There will be no Israeli presence in the Palestinian state."
December 28, 2010 Briefs
• In second incident in two days, Israeli forces kill a Palestinian terrorist planting explosives on the Gaza border fence. He was intercepted Tuesday at same spot as were two Jihad Islami bombers Sunday. Israeli ground force backed by helicopter conducted both operations.
• Haifa-Tel Aviv railway running again after more than 100 passengers injured in a fire near Shfayim. Most suffered cuts, scrapes, smoke inhalation while escaping burning cars.
• They complained of lack of hammers to smash windows, melting metal doors hampered their escape.
• Iranian man hanged early Tuesday at Evian prison convicted of spying for Israeli Mossad. IRNA named him as Ali Akbar Siadati and claimed he received $60,000 for classified information.
Al Qaeda sends Palestinian terrorists from Lebanon to strike Europe
28 Dec. The 12 Al Qaeda terrorists, whose projected arrival has put European security authorities on high New Year alert, set out from Ain Hilweh, Lebanon, and belong to three al Qaeda-linked Palestinian groups, the Syrian Jund al-Sham, the Lebanese Army of Islam (which also operates in the Gaza Strip) and Fatah al-Islam, debkafile's counter-terror sources disclose. Its members are all richly experienced in urban terror in Middle East arenas. Lebanon is Al Qaeda's latest departure point for terrorists.
On Dec. 25, Ghandi Sahmarani, the leader of the Syrian Palestinian Jund Al Sham's Lebanese branch, was found dead in a back alley of the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain Hilweh in South Lebanon. Journalists were invited to view his body at the Sidon hospital morgue. However, according to debkafile's sources, Sahmarani is still alive. The body exhibited was that of a man who resembled him. The real Sahmarani is thought to command the next terrorist operations in Europe and the Middle East.
December 29-30, 2010 Briefs
• Denmark foils imminent terror attack on paper which ran the Muhammad cartoons. Five plotters arrested by Denmark and Sweden.
• Ya'alon: Iran will have nuclear weapons in 3 years, delayed by "technical glitches".
• US military build-up in Pacific over Korea tensions.
• Saudis deny joint initiative with Syria for defusing Lebanese crisis – only proposals left on paper. debkafile: Lebanese rivals using non-existent initiative to dodge decision-making on Hariri tribunal.
• Israel has 7,695,000 citizens at 2010 end, Statistics Bureau reports. 5,802,000 (75.4%) Jews; 1,573,000 (20.4%) Arabs; 320,000 – "other". Birth rate level at 1.9% for last decade; 19,000 Jews immigrated in 2010.
• US opposes Palestinian application to UN Security Council for recognition of state. Final status issue – only through direct negotiations, said State Department spokesman.
• US does not accept legitimacy of continued settlement activity.
• Knesset confirms two-year state budget by 63-33 vote. Expenditure for 2011 $97 billion, for 2012 est. $100 billion.
• Economy expanded 4.5 percent in 2010, outpacing OECD average of 2.7 percent.
• Home Front simulates missile attack in West Galilee exercise Thursday.
• Obama confirms Robert Ford as first US ambassador to Damascus after six years. The senate now in recess opposed appointment.
• Tel Aviv court convicts ex-president Moshe Katzav on two rape, one sexual abuse charges and obstruction of justice. He will appeal the conviction.