A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Aug. 20, 2015
August 14, 2015 briefs
- Palestinian firebombs ignite fire at Israeli gas station
A Palestinian car drove into the Sonol gas station on West Bank Rte 60 near Elei Friday night and hurled firebombs before driving off. The damage was heavy but there were no casualties.
- Russian missile corvette replaces Egyptian ship sunk by ISIS
debkafile Exclusive: The Egyptian Navy took delivery Sunday of a Russian Lightning missile Corvette R-32 (NATO coded: Moskit P-27) to replace the ship sunk by an Islamic State Kornet anti-tank missile on July 16 off the Sinai coast of Rafah. The new vessel is already in service with the Egyptian Navy. It is armed with high-speed SS-N-22 rockets capable of Mach 2.2 at low altitude and Mach 3 at high altitude.
- Germany confirms possible ISIS chemical attack on Kurds
The German military confirms a possible chemical weapons attack on Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers fighting the Islamic State group (ISIS) in northern Iraq. A group of Western experts has taken samples following claims of shell rounds loaded possibly with mustard gas or chlorine.
August 15, 2015 briefs
- Second Palestinian stabbing attack Saturday
An Israeli border police officer was slashed in the neck Saturday by a Palestinian near the Tapuach junction on the West Bank. The attacker was shot dead. His victim is not in serious condition. In an earlier attack, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier in the arm at the Ofer checkpoint on Route 443. Soldiers manning the checkpoint shot and injured him.
- Hizballah lost 1,000 dead, 10,000 injured in Syrian war – report
Hizballah has lost an estimated upward of 1,000 dead and 10,000 wounded in its three-year old intervention in the Syrian war. Friday night, the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said the Israeli armed forces lack the right strategy for winning another war against his group.
- Hawkish Danny Danon name Israel’s US ambassador
Binyamin Netanyahu has named Science and Space Minister Danny Danon as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations, making way for a new cabinet member and replacements as head of Likud’s Central Party and other key functions held by the designated UN envoy. Danon was fired as Deputy Defense Minister during the 2014 Gaza operation for criticising government strategy to too lax. His appointment has aroused ire in American Jewish circles. Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesman Mark Regev is expected to be named next Israeli ambassador to London.
Israel’s first ever arms deal with an Arab country – drones for Jordan to fight ISIS
15 Aug. In its first arms sale to an Arab country, first revealed here by debkafile, Israel has sold 12 advanced unmanned aerial vehicles of the Heron TP and Skylark types to Jordan to beef up its cross-border counter-terrorism campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Like other joint US-Israeli-Jordanian operations ongoing against the Islamic State, the Herons and Skylarks are almost certainly being operated by officers at the US Central Command Forward-Jordan war room north of Amman.
This week, Israeli Air Force KC-707 fuel tankers were sighted over the Atlantic refueling a group of five Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s flying alongside Israeli aircraft. Both air force groups were heading west to take part in the Red Flag air-to-air training exercise in Nevada from Aug. 17 to 28.
August 16, 2015 briefs
- ISIS strikes Iraqi forces outside Falluja
ISIS suicide bombers Sunday drove three explosives-packed military vehicles at Iraqi troops Sunday outside the town of Falluja west of Baghdad. debkafile: The Iraqi troops had held back from advancing on the ISIS-held town and were attacked themselves instead.
- Kuwait uncovers a large Iranian-Hizballah terror cell
Kuwait arrests three suspected members of an Iranian Revolutionary Guards-Hizballah terrorist cell, uncovering a large cache of arms, ammunitions and explosives hidden underground at a farm. debkafile: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif last week visited Kuwait to assure its government that Tehran was giving up its terrorist subversion against Gulf regimes.
- Israeli cabinet approves gas deal with US-Israel consortium
By a majority of 17:1, the Israeli cabinet Sunday finally approved a much debated deal with the US-Israeli consortium – Noble Energy and Delek Group – for developing the huge Leviathan natural gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. It still requires Knesset endorsement. The consortium will keep ownership of the largest offshore field, Leviathan, and sell off other assets, including stakes in another large deposit called Tamar. Leviathan – one of the world's largest offshore discoveries of the past decade – is due to begin producing in 2018 or 2019 and supply gas to Egypt and Jordan in addition to Israel.
Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Israel intelligence desk is executed as Israeli spy
16 Aug. Highly credible Iranian exile sources in Europe have revealed to debkafile that the Director of the Israeli Desk of the Revolutionary Guards clandestine service was executed by a firing squad in late June or early July after he was accused of spying for Israel. Aged 46, Seyyed Ahmed Dabiri was his codename. His real name is not known. The sources report that a Guards martial court found him guilty of tipping Israel off on top military secrets, including the movements of Iranian military commanders in Syria, Iranian arms shipments to Syria and arms convoys bound for Hizballah in Lebanon.
August 17, 2015 briefs
- Iraq’s ex-PM Maliki may face trial for losing Mosul to ISIS
Iraq's parliament on Monday referred to the judiciary a report calling for the trial of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and dozens of other top officials in connection with the fall of Mosul to Islamic State last year.
- Khamenei: We’ll block Iran to US influence and firms
Iran's nuclear deal with world powers will not open the Islamic Republic to political or economic influence from the United States, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday. This anti-US bpycott was first revealed by DEBKA Weekly 627 on July 30.
- Another Palestinian stabbing attack on an Israeli soldier
A Palestinian who tried to knife an Israeli Border Guardsman near the Tapuah junction Monday was shot and critically wounded. He went up to the troops feigning illness. When they stepped forward to help him, he pulled out a knife. The policeman was slightly hurt. This was the second such attack at the same place in 48 hours and the fourth in three days.
Iran to arm West Bank Palestinians for new Eastern Front to “efface” Israel
17 Aug. Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani this week set up a new Eastern Command of the Revolutionary Guards to fight Israel, debkafile reports exclusively. Its first task is to hand out weapons, including missiles, to West Bank Palestinians to replicate the armed fronts facing Israel from South Lebanon (Hizballah) and the Gaza Strip (Hamas and Islamic Jihad). Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is preparing to pay his first visit to Tehran. In a book he published this month, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refers to Israel in these terms: “nabudi” – meaning annihilation; imha – meaning disappearing or fading out; and “zaval” meaning effacement, for the sins of capturing Islam’s third most sacred city and being the foremost ally of “Big Satan” – America.
August 18, 2015 briefs
- In first Palestinian drive-by rock attack, five teens were injured
The five people injured in the first Palestinian drive-by rock attack in Jerusalem Tuesday night were four Israeli teens and one Palestinian. They had just boarded a bus after a session on cardiology at an Israeli-Palestinian youth club in the A-Tur district for youngsters interested in science. The rocks had been sharpened to a fine edge before they were lobbed at their bus from a speeding Palestinian vehicle. The victims were not seriously hurt apart from shock.
- Turkey arrests four ISIS operatives with drone
In an anti-terror operation in the southeastern Syrian border town of Gaziantep, Turkish police Tuesday arrested four ISIS suspects, three of them foreigners. Their car, apparently heading for Syria, contained a drone plus apparatus, two night sights for long-barreled weapons, 352 ammunition clips for Kalashnikovs, two rifle scopes, 50 45mm bullets, 18 camouflage smocks and three bandoliers.
- Nazi swastika daubed on fence of London Jewish school
A Nazi swastika was found Monday scrawled on the fence outside a Jewish Beis Chinuch Lebonos Girls School in Hackney, in the latest incident of anti-Semitic graffiti in London. With it were the words “yid s**t”. Michael Scher, from the local neighborhood watch group, the Stamford Hill Shomrim, said it was the second time the school had been targeted in little over a month.
Six Russian MiG-31 interceptor aircraft land in Damascus to rescue Assad regime
18 Aug. Six Russian MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor aircraft from Moscow landed Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the Mezze Airbase in Damascus international airport, debkafile discloses. They were followed shortly after by giant An-124 Condor transports carrying 1,000 Kornet-9M133 third-generation anti-tank guided missiles. This airlift to Damascus betokened Moscow’s continued support for the Syrian ruler against peace plans currently afloat which all entail his removal. It was also intended to block any US-Turkish plans for a no-fly zone over Syria or other direct intervention in the conflict. The Russians sent exactly six MiG interceptors to match the six F-16 fighters the US deployed at the Turkish Incerlik air base on Aug. 9.
August 19, 2015 briefs
- Eight soldiers killed in PKK attack in southeastern Turkey
Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in PKK bomb attack in the southeastern province of Siirt. PKK militants remotely detonated a bomb placed on the road linking Sirvan and Pervari districts as a military patrolling convoy passed. Several soldiers were also reported to be wounded.
- Russian arms lift to Syria continues after MiG landings
debkafile’s military sources report that the Russian arms lift to Damascus continued Wednesday with a delivery by An-124 transports of heavy Russian M-46 MM1954 130 towed field guns with range of up to 27 km.
- US launches biggest NATO drill in Europe since Cold War
Nearly 5,000 soldiers from 11 NATO allies are taking part in four weeks of "simultaneous multinational airborne operations" across Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania that began in Saturday.
- ISIS beheads 82-year old Palmyra antiquities director
The Islamic State which seized the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra in May Tuesday beheaded its director of antiquities Khaled Assad, 82. They left his body hanging on an ancient column in the city square.
August 20, 2015 briefs
- Second Iron Dome battery posted at Beersheba
Two Iron Dome batteries were posted Thursday opposite Gaza in Ashdod and Beersheba after repeated Jihad Islami rocket threats.
- Bombing attack at S. Jerusalem checkpoint injures Israeli soldier
The Israel soldier was injured Wednesday night when an explosive device hit the Tunnel checkpoint at Jerusalem’s southern exit near Beit Jala. The terrorist made off. North of Jerusalem, a father and a two-year old baby were injured earlier when their car was struck by rocks near the Atarot junction on the Rte 443 highway. Inside the capital, the light rail train was damaged by three Palestinian rock attacks. No one was hurt.
- Cairo explosion: At least 6 policemen injured
A car bomb exploded near the national security agency building in Shubra Al-Khaima, Cairo early on Thursday morning, injuring six Egyptian police officers. The assailant fled the scene on a motorcycle, it said.