A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending July 16, 2015
US sends mobile sensors, electronic fences to block further ISIS Mid East expansion
10 July. American experts are overseeing a lightning operation for providing Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel with either mobile sensor towers or electronic fences in a desperate bid to seal their borders off against the fast-moving ISIS. Its reign of terror is spreading out from Iraq and Syria and creeping into southern Jordan, the Israeli Negev and Egyptian Sinai, then on to Libya and over to Tunisia and Algeria, covering a distance of 4,000 km.
July 11, 2015 Briefs
- ISIS claims Italian consulate bombing in Cairo
"Islamic State soldiers were able to detonate a parked car bomb carrying 450 kg of explosive material against the Italian consulate in central Cairo," ISIS reported Saturday. "We recommend that Muslims stay clear of these security dens because they are legitimate targets for the mujahideen's strikes." The huge explosion killed one person and injured four, causing heavy damage to the consulate building and shaking the street.
- Lebanese army: Israeli drone crashes in sea off Tripoli
The Lebanese army said in a statement Saturday that a surveillance plane “belonging to the Israeli enemy” went down that morning into the sea off the northern town of Tripoli, in the second such incident in three weeks. The spokesman did not elaborate and there was no comment from Israel. .
July 12, 2015 Briefs
- NYT: Hotel venue of Iranian nuclear talks hosted Hitler in 1938
The Imperial Hotel of Vienna, the venue of the current nuclear negotiations between the six world powers and Iran, hosted Adolf Hitler in 1938, after the Nazi annexation of Austria.
- N. Israel siren incorrectly dismissed as “technical glitch”
The alert sirens heard in more than one area of northern Israel Sunday were dismissed by the army spokesman as a ”false alarm” that was caused by a technical malfunction of the siren system. debkafile: This depiction is inaccurate. Sirens going off in two separate adjoining geographical areas can’t be caused by a technical malfunction or be dismissed as a false alarm. They were either triggered by some projectile coming in from Syria or Lebanon – or, as in this case, by a flying object during a large-scale IDF war game.
July 13, 2015 Briefs
- Netanyahu: More than ever committed to stop a nuclear-armed Iran
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his parliamentary faction Monday that he had never promised to prevent a nuclear deal with Iran, only Iran’s attainment of a nuclear weapon. That commitment is stronger than ever, he said. The prime minister was responding to opposition spokesmen who accused him of a failed campaign to prevent the “bad deal.” Were it not for that campaign, he said – especially on tough sanctions – the deal would have been a lot worse.
- Sanctions against Iran start unraveling
Iran’s Day Bank has been re-admitted to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), Brussels announced. Discontinuing the access of Iran’s 30 banks to SWIFT in 2012 was one of the harshest sanctions imposed on the Iranian economy. Access was restored even before the nuclear deal was finalized in Vienna.
- Iraqi troops, Shiite militias launch operation to recapture Anbar
The Iraqi military command announced Monday operations launched to recapture the country’s largest province of Anbar from Islamic State ISIS control, nearly two months after its capital Ramadi fell to the Islamists. The force, composed of the Shiite Hashid Shaabi militia, Iraqi special forces, police and local Sunni Muslim tribal fighters. debkafile: None of the past offensives against ISIS announced by the Iraqi high command has ever reached a resolution.
Hillary Clinton is the X-factor for the Iranian nuclear deal’s congressional survival. Israel girds up for next Washington battle
13 July. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu played back President Bill Clinton’s words upon signing the nuclear deal with North Korea 21 years ago: "North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program,” Clinton announced then. “The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.” This clip was intended to highlight the leverage held by his wife, Hillary Clinton, as the key to determining whether the deal goes through the US Congress.
Iran, for its part, has drafted legislation empowering the Majlis to annul the deal if US compliance is deemed unsatisfactory.
July 14, 2015 Briefs
- Rocket alerts in Israeli districts around Gaza
Red rocket alerts were sounded Tuesday night at all the Israeli locations abutting on the Gaza Strip. No details available yet.
- Obama calls Netanyahu, King Salman to explain deal
US President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman and European allies to explain the Iran nuclear accord, the White House announced Tuesday. Netanyahu and the King Salman are the leading opponents of any deal with Iran.
- Netanyahu: Iran gained a short path to nuclear weapons
In his first comment on the comprehensive nuclear deal concluded Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called it “a bad mistake of historic proportions.” Iran has gained a “short path to nuclear weapons,” many former restrictions have been eased, and Tehran has won a “jackpot of hundreds of millions of dollars” while allowed to pursue aggression and terror in the world. Netanyahu said. Iran’s support for terrorism will increase, along with its threat to destroy Israel.
- Obama hails deal “as averting a ME nuclear race”
In a statement from the White House on the new nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama said that it had stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. debkafile: The region is already well into a nuclear race as a result of Obama’s lax policy towards Iran. Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, Obama listed the deal’s most important achievements: Without it, he said, Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile was sufficient to build 8-10 nuclear bombs. Under the deal, Tehran has agreed to give up 98 percent of this stockpile.
July 15, 2015 Briefs
- Saudi-backed Yemen forces recapture Aden port in surprise attack
Yemeni forces recaptured Aden's international airport and some city districts from Houthi militia fighters on Tuesday, in a sudden advance after months of stalemate, the exiled government said. Houthi-run Maseera television reported that the rebels had chosen to quit the city after "cleansing it of al Qaeda and Islamic State" in an apparent admission of the militia's retreat.
- Iran, world powers can now fight ISIS together – Zarif
Following the conclusion of a nuclear accord between the six powers and Iran Tuesday, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Zavad Zarif said that Iran and the P5+1 can now fight ISIS together. That joint plan could lead to a broader cooperation which may include the fields of trade and finance he said. Tuesday night, there were street celebrations in Tehran on the conclusion of the accord in Vienna.
- An international ring of Arab-Israeli hackers uncovered
The Israeli police’s cyber department has uncovered an international ring of Israeli Arab hackers operating in eighteen countries, where arrests have been made.The American FBI was part of the investigation. The Rishon Letzion court Wednesday issued arrest warrants and gag orders on the suspects’ identities. Two are brothers in their twenties who lived in Holon. They are charged with acquiring assets by criminal means, blocking computer operations and deleting incriminating data. A third suspect from Umm al-Fahm is accused of obtaining funds by fraudulent means and passing them to terrorist groups to fund their operations.
- French foreign minister to go to Tehran for trade talks
Less than 24 hours after a nuclear accord was announced between six world powers and Iran, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Wednesday accepted an invitation to visit Iran. He denied that the historic nuclear deal was struck with an eye to business opportunities opening up with Iran.
- Palestinians apprehended for murder of Israeli hiker Danny Ganon
In a joint operation, the IDF Duvdevan unit, the Binyamin Brigade and police caught up with the suspected murderers of Danny Ganon, who was killed and a second Israeli seriously wounded on June 19 while hiking near the Dolev junction on the West Bank. Captured with the suspect, Mahmoud Abu Shahin, 30, from Kalandia, north of Jerusalem, were four Palestinians from Ramallah, who confessed to complicity in the crime. All five have spent years in Israeli jails for terrorist attacks and were found in possession of firearms and surveillance instruments. They also admitted to carrying out additional attacks.
Nuclear deal pushes Israel aside in Washington, raises Iran to leading US partner and ally
15 July. The Netanyahu government like Saudi Arabia and Egypt can only beat their heads futilely against the iron wall Barack Obama built for Iran with the nuclear accord the six powers signed in Vienna Tuesday, July 14. Israel has the most to lose. It has been downgraded from its favored status in Washington and replaced by Iran. By his big geopolitical step, the US President has shifted the ground in the region, not only dumping Israel but the Arab world as a whole and, incidentally, the Palestinians as well.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bitterly accused the “leading international powers of gambling our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism” – roundly condemning all six world powers who signed the nuclear deal with Iran in Vienna Tuesday, July 14.
July 16, 2015 Briefs
- ISIS missile torches and sink an Egyptian naval ship off Rafah
In a grave development in Egypt’s fight against terror in Sinai, ISIS missiles Thursday sank an Egyptian Navy cruise and transport vessel off the Sinai shore of Rafah after setting in on fire. The vessel, able to carry 70 men and crew as well as freight, was used to transport police officers, soldiers and military supplies to the Egyptian forces fighting terrorists in northern Sinai. debkafile: The fact that Egypt was moving in men and supplies by sea attests to the extensive ISIS control of northern Sinai and its highways. The Egyptian army denied casualties, but witnesses saw a big explosion and no survivors in the water.
- Two Palestinians detained for murdering elderly Israeli farmer
Two Palestinians who beat the farmer David Bar-Capra (70) to death outside his home in Moshav Pedaya last month were apprehended in a joint police-Shin Bet operation. This was disclosed Thursday. The suspects are Palestinian cousins, Majd Ali Aatzi and Alaa Harbi Aatzi aged 21 from Beit Laqiya. Both have a long record as terrorists. They entered Israel illegally from the West Bank and worked for the late Bar-Capra.
- UK Foreign Secretary travels to Israel, prepares to reopen Tehran embassy
Before heading for Tel Aviv, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced that he UK embassy, closed in 2011 after being ransacked by a Tehran mob, would reopen by the end of the year. He reproved Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his angry comments on the deal, accusing Israel of not wanting any deal with Iran but rather a permanent state of stand-off.
- Rocket from Gaza explodes south of Ashkelon
Another rocket exploded Wednesday night on open ground south of the Israeli town of Ashkelon. No casualties or damage are reported. Israel reacted with an air strike against two Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Iran keeps dark loss of top general in Syria. Syrian Army starts closing in on ISIS-held Palmyra
16 July. Abdel Karim Rubash, Deputy Commander of the elite Al Qods Brigades, was the third Iranian general killed in Syria this year and the most senior to die on the Syrian battlefield in four years. His death, kept dark by Tehran, Damascus and Hizballah, is disclosed here by debkafile. Gen. Rubash initiated Hizballah’s introduction to the Syrian war effort. He also organized the Iranian arms convoys to Hizballah via Damascus, some of which Israel bombed from the air. When he died, a combined Syrian-Shiite militia force he had set up had begun advancing on ISIS-held Palmyra.