Rival Iranian spy agencies shoot it out in Tehran
27 Aug. On Aug. 23, just two days after Iran inaugurated its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr, debkafile's exclusive Iranian sources report a shootout in the streets of Tehran flared between rival intelligence factions of the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) – as mutual suspicions boiled over.
IRGC nuclear directors suspect politicians of betraying nuclear secrets to the West, while the MOIS sees disloyalty to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Ahmadinejad clique.
The incident was blacked out by the regime.
debkafile's intelligence sources reveal that the shoot-out between them erupted after an Intelligence Ministry team broke into a luxury apartment belonging to an IRGC officer in one of the high-rise buildings of northern Tehran's exclusive Shaid Babaee – known as Mini-City – opposite IRGC staff offices. It is there that most of the Guards senior officers and officials live. In many of the apartments they discovered wiretaps, bugs and electronic surveillance cameras. On their way out of the building with their findings, the MOIS were attacked by Revolutionary Guards spooks in civvies. After a shoot-out with casualties, they retreated and handed over their booty.
August 28, 2010 Briefs
• Egyptian forces find a cache of 196 anti-air missiles and 10 anti-tank explosives near Sinai-Gaza border.
• Dozens of Taliban attacking to Afghan NATO bases, beaten back with at least 10 dead • The bases were Salerno in Khost and nearby Camp Chapman.
• Iraqi PM Maliki declares national emergency against rising terror outbreaks. He warned al Qaeda and Baathist insurgents plotting more outrages.
• Gunmen attack Pakistani army intelligence HQ in Peshawar.
• A US State Department analyst Stephen Kim charged with leaking top-secret report to news reporter last year. He is known expert on US-Korean relations.
• France demands a European role in Israel-Palestinian talks in Washington.
• LA police seek clues in shooting of three young Jews of Iranian descent found dead in West Hollywood apartment.
• US and Israel object to French sale of 100 helicopter missiles to Lebanese army.
US sell Israel massive military fuel stocks worth $2 bn
28 Aug. On Aug. 6, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed Congress of the sale to Israel of 60 million gallons of unleaded gasoline, 284 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel and 100 million gallons of diesel fuel worth an estimated $2bn, saying: "Israel will have no difficulty absorbing this additional fuel into its armed forces." debkafile notes the date: Ten days after a Japanese supertanker tanker carrying 200,000 tons of oil was attacked heading out of the Strait of Hormuz.
Although American experts examined the vessel, they never attributed the damage to sabotage. While Washington did its best to sweep the incident under the rug, Saudi intelligence were worried enough about the threat inching dangerously close to the Gulf's oil exporting lifeline to launch an independent investigation of the incident. They discovered it was staged by a Saudi terrorist who operates out of Iran under the orders of the Revolutionary Guards. To Riyadh, the episode looked like a blunt warning from Tehran to Washington and its allies about the consequences – not just of a direct strike against Iran's nuclear facilities – but the possibility of sanctions upsetting the equilibrium of the Islamic regime.
29 August. 2010 Briefs
• Iran inaugurates production of new 130-mm artillery shells – Vahidi says range of 42 km is longest in Iran's artillery shell arsenal.
• Jordanian king and Egypt's Mubarak fly to Washington to join Israel-Palestinian talks opening Thursday.
• Israel's offshore Leviathan gas field may contain oil further below. Drilling starts in October at field which may contain 16 trillion cubic feet of gas.
• Five campaigners for women candidates in next month's Afghan election shot dead in Herat.
Iran develops primitive flying bombs for Israeli cities, nearby US targets
29 Aug. The Karrar bomber drone unveiled by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Aug. 22 is summed up by debkafile's military sources as a primitive copy of an obsolete unmanned US cruise missile from the 1950s that was derived from the V1 "buzz bomb" which the Germans fired against London at the end of World War II. Even so, mass-produced with extended range, large swarms of these flying bombs could cause death and destruction if released over densely populated Israeli areas and US military targets.
They would be fired from automatic anti-air artillery or dropped from Iran's outdated F-4 Phantom warplanes. Neither the Israeli Arrow nor the US Patriot missile interceptors are designed for unsophisticated flying bombs.
August 30, 2010 Briefs
• Seven US soldiers killed over the weekend in Afghanistan. Four died in roadside bombings Saturday and Sunday in the South, three fell in battles in the East.
• Israeli defense minister Barak to visit Moscow Sunday, Sept. 5.
• US condemns Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's wish for Abbas to "vanish from our world".
• Abbas repeats talks will collapse if Israel resumes Jewish settlement construction.
• Israel: 10-month moratorium ending Sept. 26 was one-time gesture of good will. Netanyahu cancels last consultation with inner cabinet of seven on strategy for talks with Palestinians.
• Lebanese PM Hariri holds talks with Syria's Assad early Monday.
Mysterious death of Russian military intelligence high-up in Syria
30 Aug. Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military's overseas intelligence arm, was found dead in circumstances described in a terse official Russian eulogy as a tragic swimming accident. No further details were provided such as where he died. Although he apparently drowned off the shore of Syrian Latakia, our sources report, his body was recovered from Turkish waters ten days after he went missing. It was too decomposed for identification. He was finally identified by the cross around its neck.
debkafile's Middle East intelligence sources say it is inconceivable that the deputy head of GRU would have gone swimming without bodyguards, especially at a Russian foreign base. They believe he was the victim of foul play. As head of the North Caucasus branch of Russian military intelligence until late 2006, he would have led clandestine operations against al Qaeda and Chechen insurgents. Al Qaeda cells from the Caucasian are among the many terrorist groups hosted by Syria.
August 31, 2001 Briefs
• Jewish American Lance Wolf, 60 beaten to death by two Palestinian teens in downtown Jerusalem. Aged 15 and 13 and drunk, they complained he refused to give them cigarettes.
• Police under fire for deteriorating security at Jerusalem night spots.
• Tehran to publish list of Israeli and Israel-related firms next week for Muslim world boycott.
• Within a year, Iran will make its own fuel for Tehran research reactor.
• Iran needs two more weeks to fully load fuel on Russian built nuclear reactor – Salehi.
• Barak secretly confers with Palestinian leader Abbas in Amman after talks with Jordan's King Abdullah Sunday. He briefed prime minister on two meetings.
• Netanyahu promised security guarantees will be uppermost in any accord with the Palestinians.
Hamas gunmen murdered four Israelis near Hebron
31 Aug. Hamas gunmen killed four Israeli civilians, one of them a pregnant woman and all residents of Bet Haggai. They were attacked in their car at the Beni Naim junction near Kiryat Arba Tuesday night, Aug. 31. They were identified as Yitzhak (47) and Tali (45) Ames, parents of six children, Cochava Even Haim (37) and Avishai Schindler (24). After spraying their vehicle with automatic fire, the terrorists then shot their victims at point-blank range.
debkafile's counter-terror sources report: The IDF and security authorities failed to anticipate this attack on a West Bank highway although Hamas had threatened to unleash terror against Israel to sabotage the Israel-Palestinian talks about to start in Washington this week. Hamas took responsibility for the murderous ambush and warned that worse was to come.
West Bank Jewish leaders announced the resumption of building Wednesday Sept. 1 before the construction freeze expires on Sept. 26. They said that every Israeli attempt to attain peace in fifteen years had been met with brutal bloodshed.
September 1, 2010 Briefs
• Qaddafi in Italy: EU should pay Libya $6.3bn a year to stop illegal African immigration and avoid "a black Europe".
• White House extends US condolences to families of four victims murdered by Hamas. Clinton condemns "savage brutality" that has no place in any country under any circumstances.
• Palestinian delegation condemns murder but refrains from further comment. Netanyahu orders tough punishment for killers irrespective of diplomacy. He decides to go ahead with the talks.
US Intel: Tehran pushes Hizballah hard to attack Israel
1 Sept. Western intelligence sources report that on August 30, Hizballah put its forces on a state of war alert and issued a partial call-up of reservists, apparently in preparation for a major attack on Israel in response to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington or during the Jewish New Year festival starting on Sept. 8.
Iranian pressure for war has intensified in the wake of the Palestinian Hamas's drive-by murder of four Israeli civilians on a road near Hebron gave Tuesday night Aug. 31.
A heavy influx of armed Hizballah units is heading to southern Lebanon in the last few days. Among them are special units trained for deep-strike incursions into northern Israel in response to Israeli counter-attacks.
Iranian officials seek a united Lebanese Shiite front against Israel, including Amal Hizballah's rival, as a gesture of welcome for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is due to visit Beirut – debkafile reveals – Sept. 10-12 when Israel is celebrating Rosh Hashana.
September 2, 2001 Briefs
• Mitchell: Israeli Palestinian leaders next meet on Sept. 14 and 15 and every two weeks thereafter. Netanyahu and Abbas held first face-to-face Thursday. Mitchell said talks were positive.
• Hamas vows to keep up level of terrorist attacks on Israelis after claiming second drive-by shooting in 24 hours.
• Hamas vehicle for first drive-by shooting of four Israelis found near Hebron.
• Direct Israel-Palestinian talks formally inaugurated by Clinton Thursday.
• Obama hosted Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian leaders.
• All four condemned first attack which left four Israelis dead.
• Netanyahu: We won't let terror bar the road to peace.
• Obama said senseless slaughter near Hebron would not derail talks.
• West Bank communities symbolically end construction freeze.
• Tractors moved in after funerals of four Israelis murdered by Hamas.
• Barak asks IDF Ombudsman Brig. (Res.) Yitzhak Brik to probe forged document affair. He wants to clear the air to prevent this sort of scandal recurring.
Hamas switches methods of attack to frequent small strikes by unknown imported terrorists
2 Sept. Another Hamas drive-by shooting injured Moshe and Shira Morani from Maaleh Efraim at the Rimonim junction near Ramallah Wednesday night, Sept. 1. It was exactly the same as the attack which left four Israelis dead near Hebron Tuesday night – except that the couple saved their lives by fleeing their vehicle to a nearby wadi to escape a second round of point-blank fire.
debkafile's counter-terror sources report that, although the method of attack did not vary, the two incidents were the work of different Hamas teams. Several are believed to be loose on the West Bank with instructions to keep up their attacks for as long as the Washington talks between Israeli and the Palestinians continue. Some of these death squads are expected to try and cross the Green Line and make for targets in Israel's heartland.
The IDF and Israel's security services have no leads to the perpetrators. They estimate that they were imported by Hamas from Jordan, Syria or Lebanon and have no local ties, nor are they listed by local security services. Hamas is exploiting Israel's removal of a great many West Bank roadblocks and checkpoints, which the Netanyahu government is unlikely to re-install as long as his talks with the Palestinian continue.