A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending July 25, 2013

July 20, 2013 Briefs

  • Netanyahu: Renewed talks with Palestinians vital Israeli interest
    In his first comment on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement of resumed talks with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Saturday night that the process will attain two goals: It will prevent a bi-national state rising between the sea and the Jordan and the formation of another terror-state sponsored by Iran within the borders of Israel. “I see the renewed process at this time to be a vital and strategic interest of the State of Israel,” he said.
  • Jordan’s Abdullah first Arab visitor to post-coup Cairo
    King Abdullah II of Jordan arrived in Cairo Saturday on the first visit by an Arab leader since the ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi almost three weeks ago. Abdullah was greeted at the Cairo airport by Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi. debkafile: Saudi King Abdullah approved the Jordanian king’s visit as a vote of support for the Egyptian military’s overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood, which in Jordan too leads the opposition to the throne.
  • Salafist rocket kills three women in El Arish
    Three women were killed in El Arish, northern Sinai early Saturday by a rocket fired by armed Salafists which struck their home instead of a nearby military store. Several people were also injured.

July 21, 2013 Briefs

  • Rocket fired from Gaza explodes on open ground
    The rocket targeted the Eshkol region Sunday night.
  • First Al Qaeda snipers used in Sinai kill 3 Egyptian police
    An Egyptian security official reported that coordinated attacks Sunday killed three police officers guarding an office building, a TV station and a police station in El Arish in northern Sinai. This was the first known use by Al Qaeda of snipers to assassinate Egyptian security officers.
  • Netanyahu pledges plebiscite on Palestinian peace deal
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged that any final accord negotiated with the Palestinians will brought to popular referendum. He said the first stage of the talks with the Palestinians will be conducted behind closed doors “to enhance the chances of results.” They won’t be easy, he said. Both sides will have to make substantial concessions to span differences. Netanyahu promised that any deal will take account of Israel’s security needs and national interests.
    Several senior members of the prime minister’s Likud and some of his government coalition partners have voiced objections to the creation of a Palestinian state and concessions on prisoners, land and settlements. The left-wing opposition promises full backing for negotiations with the Palestinians.
  • Palestinian official: No decision yet on talks
    Close Abbas aide Yasser Abd Rabbo said Sunday in Ramallah that the Palestinian leadership has not yet decided whether to go back to negotiations with Israel. It would depend on clarifications on certain issues, some of them on substance, offered at the meeting ahead of Israel and Palestinian teams in Washington.
  • In Baghdad, nine car bombs kill 65 in coordinated attacks
    A coordinated wave of nine car bombs tore through bustling commercial streets Saturday night in Shiite areas of Baghdad, killing at least 65 people and injuring 191, inside and outside the capital.

Al Qaeda’s Sinai commander was Bin Laden’s former physician

21 July. For more than two and a half years, Dr. Ramzi Mowafi, once Osama bin Laden’s personal physician, has led Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula,the most dangerous terrorist group in Sinai, in attacks on Egyptian military targets and rocket strikes against Israel. A charismatic figure and able operational commander, Mowafi has gathered a following of 7,000 to 9,000 armed men. Incoming intelligence showing Dr. Mowafi to be organizing a large group of Sinai terrorists for a major cross-border attack in Israel has kept IDF border units on high alert for the past two weeks.
Its deadliest operation was the multiple strike of Aug. 5, 2012, which left 16 Egyptian commandoes dead at their base in Rafah close to the Gazan and Israeli borders and was followed by an attempt to crash the Egyptian-Israeli border terminal at Kerem Shalom. Egyptian security does not rule out the possibility that the Egyptian terrorist chief has armed his followers with chemical weapons imported from Libya or manufactured in local laboratories.

July 22, 2013 Briefs

  • Former PM aide Moshe Lion to run for mayor of Jerusalem
    Former director general of the prime minister’s office Moshe Lion announced Monday he would run against incumbent Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat who hopes for a second term in the October local council elections..
  • At least 75 Syrian rebels killed in 24 hours in Damascus
    Syrian activists say government troops have killed at least 75 rebels over 24 hours in battles for control of the capital, Damascus including 49 killed in an ambush in Damascus' northeastern suburb of Adra early Sunday.
  • Hizballah’s “armed wing” added to EU terror list
    European foreign ministers unanimously agreed to blacklist Hizbollah's armed wing due to concern over its suspected terrorist operations in Europe. The blacklisting triggers the freezing of any assets the armed wing may hold in the 28-nation bloc. Until now, the EU had resisted pressure from Washington and Israel to take the step. The measure was approved by the EU only after distinguishing between Hizballah’s armed and political wings, which as they too know perfectly well is a completely artificial distinction. But it permits the Europeans to continue financial and diplomatic ties with the terrorist organization.
  • Six killed in 10 terrorist attacks in Sinai
    Six Egyptians were killed and 11 others wounded in 10 attacks overnight Monday by terrorists in the Sinai towns of Rafah and El-Arish near Egypt's borders with Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Mostly targeted were police stations and army checkpoints.

Six Muslim Brotherhood high-ups lead uprising from Gaza

22 June. Six Muslim Brotherhood officials have escaped from Egypt to Hamas territory and set up a military command at the Gaza Beach Hotel for running their movement’s uprising against the military in close collusion with their hosts, the Palestinian Hamas, and the Al Qaeda-linked Salafist Bedouin of Sinai.
The group is headed by Mahmud Izzat Ibrahim, a Supreme Guide deputy known as the MB’s ‘iron man.”
Its ousted Islamist leaders hope their revolt will quickly spread out from Sinai to Egypt proper and topple the provisional rulers in Cairo. The Egyptian army may be planning to raid the hotel and bring the MB escapees to trial in Cairo.

July 23, 2013 Briefs

  • Defense Minister Ya’alon inspects boosted Eilat defenses
    “We have indeed strengthened our deployment along the [Egyptian] border,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on a visit Monday to Israel’s southernmost town, Eilat, to inspect military readiness to repel terrorist attacks from Sinai, and the Iron Dome anti-missile battery installed there his last week.

July 24, 2013 Briefs

  • Ultra-orthodox candidates elected Israel’s two new chief rabbis
    David Lau was voted Wednesday Ashkenkazi Chief Rabbi and Yitzhak Yosef, the son of the Shas party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is the new Sephardi Chief Rabbi. Both defeated their Religious Zionist Party rivals Rabbis Stav and Eliyahu after heated campaigns and both are sons of former chief rabbis themselves.
  • Obama stops F-16 warplanes deliveries to Egypt
    President Barack Obama decided Wednesday to hold back four F-16 fighter planes from the Egyptian Air Force. debkafile: Obama was expressing his displeasure with Egyptian Defense Minister Gen/ Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s refusal to accommodate Washington’s demands to release the deposed president Mohamed and bring the Muslim Brotherhood into the new interim government. The general instead escalated his duel with the Brotherhood, calling on the Egyptian people to rally in support of the military’s confrontation with “terrorism and violence.”
  • Putin to visit Tehran August 12
    The Russian daily Kommersant reports that President Vladimir Putin will pay his first visit to Tehran since 2007 on August 12 to discuss restarting the P5+1 nuclear talks on Iran’s nuclear program.
  • Bomb blast in Mansoura after 9 killed in Cairo clashes
    A bomb thrown by a passing car at a police station in Mansoura north of Cairo early Wednesday killed one person and wounded 17 others in first outright terrorist attack since the coup. Nine people were killed Tuesday in clashes in the capital between opponents and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

IDF faces oncoming Al Qaeda tide on three Israeli borders

24 July. That the Netanyahu government took a wrong turn in its policy of non-intervention in the Syrian conflict was manifested in the warning coming from the IDF’s military intelligence (AMAN) chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi Tuesday night, July 23, when he said that Syria had become a global battleground for al Qaeda. Kochavi warned that the thousands of al Qaeda pouring into Syria from around the world are fighting to create an Islamic state there, and this peril is closing in on Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Gen. Kochavi issued his warning shortly after meetings in Washington with senior US military and intelligence officers in which he emphasized the first signs of a tie-in between al Qaeda in Syria and al Qaedi in Sinai. Gen. Kochavi was not led to expect a sympathetic hearing in Washington for Israel’s concerns. He found Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, phrasing an open letter to senators to rebuff their criticism of President Barack Obama’s decision to stay out of the Syrian conflict:
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and its chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz are struggling with imperatives to cut down on military outlay at the very moment when they need extra funding too keep the Al Qaeda menace away from Israel’s door.

July 25, 2013 Briefs

  • Training jumps in heavy cloud leave 23 Israeli paratroops slightly injured
    In a paratroop brigade exercise carried out before dawn Thursday near Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev in heavy cloud, one-third of the 1,100 participants didn’t get to jump. Eighteen who did were slightly hurt and carried on with the exercise and five were taken to hospital. debkafile: These figures are par for this type of a nocturnal paratroop drill. The brigade commander, Col. Eliezer Toledano, reported that it was part of the exercise to drop military equipment, carts, tiny drones, heavy machine guns and ordnance from the air to the ground.
  • Habad rabbi critically injured by gunman in Dagestan
    Rabbi Ovadia Isikoff, Jewish community leader of Russia’s southernmost city Derbent in Dagestan, was shot in the chest by a gunman outside his home. Doctors are fighting for his life.
    The gunman is hunted by local police. debkafile: Al Qaeda, the prevalent terrorist group in Dagestan, is suspected of the attack.
  • Back to anti-Israel stance, Turkey spurns compensation offer
    Amid a resurgence of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rhetoric, Ankara is refusing to accept Israel’s compensation offer for the families of the nine protesters who died in a clash with Israel troops aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara when the ship tried to bust the Gaza blockade in 2010.

Egyptian army cracks down on armed protest, terrorism

25 July. Braving Washington’s warning of civil strife, Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is not backing away from his resolve to quickly crack down, even by military force, on armed protesters using live bullets on city streets and generating chaos, Salafist terror in Sinai coupled with a Muslim Brotherhood uprising, and the Palestinian Hamas’s collaboration with MB violence. debkafile: The general’s call for mass rallies Friday in support of the military and against the Muslim Brotherhood carries a high risk of tipping Egypt into civil war.
In the past week, tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protesters continued to fill the streets of Egypt’s main cities. Some groups are closing off entire city blocks, declaring them independently-ruled entities. These enclaves have been fortified with sandbag barriers and sentries posted to check the documents of people going in and out.

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