A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending June 11, 2015

June 5, 2015 Briefs

  • Washington piles on efforts to mute opposition to nuclear deal
    As the June 30 deadline approaches, the Obama administration is going to extreme lengths to dampen opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, especially in the US Congress, determined to meet this deadline. Middle East emissaries, including from Israel, were in Washington this week to try and get the signing delayed before outstanding issues are resolved. Tehran still rejects inspections of military sites suspected of testing nuclear blasts. And, according to the Pentagon, Iran had not only topped up its uranium stockpile during negotiations, but was pressing ahead with research and development in fields consistent with military uses and on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
  • Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries deployed across S. Israel
    The IDF unusually announced Friday night that Iron Dome rocket interceptors had been deployed to defend the towns of southern Israel within range of the Gaza Strip, after two rockets fired on June 3 exploded at the Sedot Yam local council. Saturday.

Exclusive: Tehran expected to invoke defense pact with Damascus for large-scale troop deployment to Syria

5 Jun. Reliable sources in Tehran expect the government to invoke the 2006 Iranian-Syrian mutual defense pact “in the coming hours” for an urgent airlift of substantial numbers of Iranian troops to Syria to save Bashar Assad’s regime and his army from collapse. Syrian army divisions are breaking up under the ISIS assault on the northern Kurdish town of Hasakeh, and the onslaught ny the Syrian opposition Army of Conquest on the southern town of Deraa. Troops are fleeing the front lines of both embattled cities.

June 6, 2015 Briefs

  • Red rocket alerts in Ashkelon and Lachish areas
    First reports of a rocket exploding Saturday night in the Hof Ashkelon area causing no damage or casualties. Explosions were also heard in the Lachish district and other locations within range of the Gaza Strip. After two rocket attacks last week, the IDF installed Iron Dome anti-missile interceptors at key points in southern Israel Thursday and Friday.

Two major Mid East escalations: Hizballah helps Yemeni rebels fire Scuds at Saudi air base. ISIS ultimatum to Syrian rebels

6 Jun. Yemeni Houthi Scud missiles were shot down by two Patriot missiles when they were fired at the biggest Saudi air base at Khamis al-Mushait – the first such missiles the Yemeni rebels had fired into the oil kingdom and the first interception by a Saudi air defense system. debkafile: The Patriots were manned by American teams – the first direct US intervention on the Saudi side of the Yemen conflict – to defend the air base from which Saudi warplanes take off for strikes in Yemen. Our military sources also reveal that Hizballah officers instructed the rebels in the firing of Scuds into Saudi Arabia.

June 7, 2015 Briefs

  • Turkey’s ruling party loses majority
    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-oriented Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lost its parliamentary majority and will need to form a coalition. Erdogan has lost his bid for a two-third majority to introduce a new constitution endowing the president with US-style executive powers. This was his greatest ambition.
  • More Iron Dome batteries moved up to Rehovot, airport
    The IDF Sunday widened the distribution of Iron Dome anti-missile batteries against Gaza rockets to encompass not only southern Israel, but also the central towns of Rehovot, Ness Ziona and Ramle southeast of Tel Aviv, as well as Ben-Gurion international airport. This follows three rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip in the last two weeks.

Another rocket attack challenges Israel’s military planners to tackle ISIS and Hizballah inroads in Gaza

7 Jun. The IDF’s automatic air strikes Saturday night, June 6, against Hamas training camps evacuated in advance – following the third long-range Grad rocket attack from the Gaza Strip – indicated that Israel had run out of answers for the new escalation less than a year after last summer’s war. The tiny Gaza Strip is changing into the only patch of land in the Middle East where Sunni ISIS and Shiite Hizballah terrorist infiltrators operate simultaneously, though separately, against the same declared foes: Hamas and Israel. These groups tend innately to change sides and escalate their violence each time. The new situation cries out for both Israel and Egypt to step in without delay, as Hamas loses ground to the still more radical and violent organizations which are seizing control of the rocket offensive against Israel.

June 8, 2015 Briefs

  • Jerusalem-born Americans can’t have “Israel” in passports – US court
    The US Supreme court ruled by a majority against the parents of 12-year Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky born in Jerusalem, following their long battle to change his American passport to include Israel as his country of birth. A majority heeded the State Department’s warning that the change would “provoke uproar through the Arab and Muslim world.” Had the Zivotofsky’s won their battle, 50,000 US citizens born in Jerusalem could have used the precedent and admitted to being born in Israel. The court's liberal members — including its only three Jews — sided with the administration. Justice Elena Kagan intimated that the court would have ruled the same way if Palestinians born in Jerusalem wanted to add “Palestine.” But Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito dissented, citing the law passed by Congress which allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their place of birth on their passports. Justice Scalia chided the State Department for wanting to "make nice with the Palestinians."
  • Netanyahu: Palestinians keep on running away from talks
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of running away from negotiations – “first with Barak and Olmert and then with me, when they were set up by Kerry.” [Mahmoud] Abbas then ran to Hamas and after that demanded that the UN impose a world boycott on Israel for refusing to negotiate!” The PM was speaking to visiting Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek in Jerusalem Monday

ISIS purloined rockets from Hamas production lines to attack Israel. Netanyahu marks out wide sterile zone

8 Jun. Islamic State operatives in the Gaza Strip have been helping themselves to Hamas rockets in recent weeks after furtively penetrating the teams operating the group’s production and assembly lines, debkafile reveals The jihadis passed the stolen rockets to their squads for launching against Israel. These attacks will intensify the deeper the Islamists’ penetrate Hamas plants and gain access to ever more advanced, long-range missiles. Israeli, Egyptian and Hamas attempts to stop the rocket attacks hit the wrong address. A wide Israeli sterile zone around Gaza has been marked out.

June 9, 2015 Briefs

  • ISIS threatens to “liberate” Baghdad
    In a new video released Tuesday, the Islamic State claims to have developed a strategy for “liberating” the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
  • ISIS seizes Sirte power plant in western Libya
    Forces loyal to the self-declared government in Tripoli Tuesday relinquished to ISIS the power plant west of the Libyan city of Sirte (Sidra), which supplies electricity to the central and western parts of the country. Three soldiers were killed in the attack. Earlier this year, the Islamists exploited the chaos in Libya to overrun most of Muammar Qaddafi’s home town, massacre Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians, and seize oil fields in the West. Libya's internationally recognized government has been working out of the eastern town of Benghazi with the support of Egypt and other Arab allies.
  • Dempsey warmly praises US-Israel defense ties on his final visit
    Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey thanked the IDF for the honorary badge of appreciation he was awarded Tuesday by Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott and said he was accepting it on behalf of the entire US armed forces. "This medal I accepted in the name of hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women, who feel the partnership, the friendship and the commitment which exists between the United States and Israel," he said. On his fifth and last visit to Israel before he retires in October, Dempsey said: “I could not imagine a world in which we did not have a relationship like this” and he voiced his certainty that his successor would continue it and “even strengthen it further.”
    In praising Dempsey’s record of cooperation with Israel, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon pointed out that in Syria alone there are 30 terrorist organizations that will have to be dealt with when the time comes.

June 10, 2015 Briefs

  • Former US intel chief calls Iran nuclear deal “wishful thinking”
    In written testimony to the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said: "It is clear that the nuclear deal is not a permanent fix but merely a placeholder.” The 10-year timeframe on parts of the deal "only make sense" if the US thinks a "wider reconciliation" with Iran is possible. But, in Gen Flynn’s view, this is "wishful thinking." He added that "regime change" is the best way to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. Iran has "every intention" of building a nuclear weapon, and their desire to destroy Israel is "very real."
  • A memorial to Greek Jewish children Holocaust victims vandalized
    Vandals desecrated a memorial to the 13,000 Greek Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust in central Athens with a swastika and a Nazi SS emblem, the latest instance of many others.. A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe’s highest rate of anti-Semitic attitudes – common to 69 percent of Greeks, and nearly twice the rate of the next most anti-Semitic country, France.
  • Suicide bombers attack tourists at Luxor
    Three suicide bombing attacks were staged at the famous Karnak temple at Luxor Wednesday when the site was crowded with tourists. The Egyptian police spokesman said that a suicide car bomber was killed in one of the attacks and the other two were prevented. No casualties were reported.
  • Rockets fired at Sinai airport serving UN peacekeepers
    The Islamic States’ Sinai Province claimed the rocket fire directed Tuesday at the Sinai airport used by UN peacekeepers. No casualties were reported.
  • Israel Border Police shoot dead Hamas bomber in Jenin
    Hamas activist Mourens Al-Deen Ezz, 23, was shot dead Wednesday morning when he tossed a fire bomb at a special Border Police unit which was arresting terrorist suspects in the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank. No police officers were hurt in the ensuing clashes. Mourens earlier wrote on his Facebook page that he planned to die that day as a “martyr.”

Thousands of US paratroops head for Iraq. Tehran braces for onset of ISIS terror attacks on cities

10 Jun. The United States this week began transferring to Iraq and Gulf bases elite units of the US 82nd Airborne Division. debkafile: The first batch of 500 officers and men will be deployed in Baghdad and the Kurdish republic’s capital of Irbil, followed by another 500 in July and 250 in December. Operating out of Anbar, elite US troops will step up raids on ISIS commanders, bases and moving columns, modeled on the successful DELTA operation of May 16. Tehran is on terror alert following intelligence of ISIS bombers heading to attack Iranian cities.

June 11, 2015 Briefs

  • First American killed fighting ISIS in Syria
    Keith Broomfield, 36, from Westminster, Mass. was confirmed by the State Department as having been killed in Syria. Kurdish sources reported that he American who had volunteered to join Kurdish fighters died in battle with ISIS in the Kobani district. It was not clear when this happened. News of Broomfield’s death came as President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of 450 additional military personnel to back Iraqi forces battling ISIS and help them recover Ramadi.
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