A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending June 25, 2015

June 19, 2015 Briefs

  • Russia-Saudi bilateral accords include nuclear power stations
    President Vladimir Putin and visiting Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed six cooperation agreements in St. Petersburg Thursday, one covering nuclear energy and providing for future construction of nuclear power stations in the kingdom. debkafile: Key agreements inked in were not made public. One covered a massive Saudi purchase of Russian weapons.
  • Terrorist shoots one Israeli dead, wounds a second near Dolev
    Two 25-year old Israeli hikers were shot at close range near Dolev on the West Bank north of Ramallah. One sustained critical injuries and later died. The other man was moderately injured and taken to hospital. The gunman approached their car and, while chatting with them, pulled a firearm and shot them at close range.

June 20, 2015 Briefs

  • Syrian rebel coalition in big offensive to capture Aleppo
    The northern rebel Army of Conquest has launched a broad offensive to knock over Syrian military positions guarding the northern town of Aleppo. The Islamist Nusra Front is part of this group. debkafile: Syrian forces are evacuating the giant military Al-Safira base outside Aleppo, where the Assad government stored the chemical weapons stocks withheld from international agencies.
  • Hamas was responsible for murder of Israeli hiker
    The late Danny Ganon, 25, from Lod, was identified as the victim of a shooting attack last Friday outside the scenic West Bank spring near Dolev. Early Saturday, the Hamas group called Marwan Qawasmeh and Oamar Abu Eisha claimed the attack. This group kidnapped and murdered three Israel teen boys at Gush Etzion exactly a year ago. An intensive search continues for the gunman.

Syrian Druze gain non-belligerence commitment from rebels under joint US-Jordanian guarantee

20 Jun.
Jabal Druze and southern Syrian Druze leaders have reached a mutual non-belligerence understanding with the Syrian rebel militias fighting in the region, including Al Qaeda’s arm, the Nusra Front. This is reported exclusively by debkafile. The US and the King of Jordan have guaranteed the deal that was concluded. Friday June 10. On the spot, Jordan opened a corridor for military assistance and supplies to Druze mountain villages. The southern Druze promised not to allow the 8 Druze militias loyal to Bashar Assad to operate from their territory.

June 21, 2015 Briefs

  • Rash of bottle bombs against Israelis in Jerusalem
    Three incidents of Palestinians bottle bombs in Jerusalem Sunday night: Several were lobbed against a bus in the northern Jerusalem district of Hizme, slightly injuring the driver and sending some passengers into shock. Others damaged a police cruiser outside Issawiyeh near Mt Scopus. Another targeted a police cruiser on the Mount of Olives.
  • Israel cancels Palestinian travel permits and other Ramadan perks
    Israel cancelled permits to enter the country for residents of the Palestinian Sair Village on Mt. Hebron, home of the terrorist who knifed an Israeli border police officer in Jerusalem earlier in the day. Also 500 exit visas were cancelled for Palestinians to leave the country through Ben Gurion airport.
  • Egypt appoints first ambassador to Israel in three years
    President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a republican decree Sunday appointing diplomat Hazem Khairat Egyptian ambassador to Tel Aviv. debkafile: The new appointment is another mark of the cordial relations which President Sisi and PM Netanyahu have maintained for some time, often at the clandestine level.
  • Terrorist stabbing critically injures Israeli police officer
    An Israeli Border Police officer was stabbed and critically injured near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem Sunday. Before he collapsed, he shot the terrorist, who too was removed to hospital.
  • French FM in Jerusalem and Ramallah to push peace talks
    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Sunday to push his UN Security Council motion initiative for setting the borders of a future Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries and a year’s timeline for negotiations. debkafile: The Obama administration has encouraged Fabius to promote the French resolution, but has not promised to endorse it in the Security Council, using instead a threat to withhold the US veto as leverage against Netanyahu.

US rebuffs Israel’s last-ditch bid for nuclear constraints in Iran accord

21 Jun. Israel’s National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen was invited to join two top US officials for dinner in Washington on June 15 to try and amend the disastrous nuclear accord taking shape between the six world powers and Iran, before it was too late. This meeting, arranged by CIA Director John Brennan, is revealed here by debkafile for the first time. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and senior nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman let Cohen present Israel’s case and then turned him down flat.

June 22, 2015 Briefs

  • UN report shares blame for Gaza war breaches between Israel and Palestinians
    The report from the UN Human Rights Council released Monday held both Israel and the Palestinians responsible for “serious violations” of international law and possible war crimes in last summer’s Gaza conflict. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the report for failing to differentiate between Israel’s defensive operation and the actions of “terrorist’ organizations, while opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog said he did not need a UN report to prove that the Israel Defense Forces was the most moral army in the world.
  • Golan Druze lynch two injured Syrian rebels carried in IDF ambulances to hospital
    In the first attack from the Druze Galilee village of Hurfesh, a mob pelted rocks at the ambulance carrying two Syrian rebels from the Golan border to hospital. In the second, in the Druze Golan village of Majd El Shamis, a mob attacked two injured Syrian rebel troops in an ambulance. One died later in hospital.

June 23, 2015 Briefs

  • Khamenei: US wants to destroy our nuclear industry
    Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei leveled this accusation Tuesday night: “America is after destroying our nuclear industry altogether. Our negotiators’ aim is to safeguard Iran’s integrity… and our nuclear achievements during the talks.” White House sources responded by commenting that the chances of a nuclear deal being finalized before June 30 are dwindling.
  • A rocket from Gaza exploded in Hof Hashkelon
    A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip Tuesday night exploded on open ground in Hof Ashkelo causing no damage. It was the first in the past two weeks.
  • Two Australian jihadis believed killed in Mosul
    Two Australian Islamic State followers Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar were reported killed Monday in an air strike on the ISIS-held Iraqi city of Mosul. Australian warrants for their arrest were issued after the pair were photographed last year holding the severed heads of Syrian soldiers.
  • Syrian Kurds claim capture of key northern base from ISIS
    A Kurdish forces (YPG) spokesman Tuesday reported that they had gained complete control of the Liwa (Brigade 93) base, deep inside Islamic State territory on the outskirts of Ain Issa. This town is 50 km north of ISIS’s Syrian capital of Raqqa. This gain came a week of Kurdish forces seized the Tel Abyad border crossing backed by US air strikes.
  • Netanyahu appeals to Druze leaders to restore calm
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu early Tuesday denounced as “extremely grave” Druze mob attacks Monday on two IDF ambulances transporting injured Syrian rebel fighters to hospital. He warned that no one would be allowed to take the law into his own hands or interfere with the IDF’s duties. The perpetrators would be brought to justice, he said, and called on Druze leaders to act expeditiously to calm tempers.
  • US air strike kills jihadi linked to murder of US ambassador in Benghazi
    A US air strike on the ISIS-ruled Iraqi town of Mosul has killed Ali Awni al-Harzi, an Islamic State operative and suspected accessory in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. “His death degrades ISIL’s ability to integrate North African jihadists into the Syrian and Iraqi fight, and removes a jihadist with long ties to international terrorism,” the Pentagon spokesman said.

Israeli and Syrian Druze join forces – complicating Israel’s military position vis-à-vis southern Syria

23 Jun. The fallout from the Syrian civil war has already spilled over into Israel. For nearly five years, Israel carefully kept its hands out of the conflict raging on its northern border, but in recent months, Israel joined the US, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to hook up with rebels fighting close to its borders. Because they incoude the Nusra Front, the Druze want Israel to withdraw from its support. This would open up northern Israel to Syrian war turbulence.

June 24, 2015 Briefs

  • Police arrests Druze lynch suspects in Galilee and Golan
    Police arrest 10 suspects in the attacks on two IDF ambulances carrying injured Syrian rebel fighters from the Golan border to hospital. Jordan has quietly informed Druze leaders in Syria and Lebanon that cannot admit any more refugees from Syria.

June 25, 2015 Briefs

  • Israeli air force jets scramble against a Hamas drone from Gaza
    Israeli air force jets scrambled Thursday to down a Hamas unmanned aerial vehicle of some kind that entered Israeli air space from the Gaza Strip. The UAV was shot down over the border fence on the Israeli side.
  • ISIS recovers from Syrian Kurdish assaults, fights to recapture Kobani
    The Islamic State Thursday stalled the Syrian Kurdish YPG’s advance 50 km short of the ISIS capital of Raqqa and launched two counter-offensives to reverse a series of Kurdish successes: debkafile: A large Islamist force disguised in Kurdish uniforms stormed Kobani on the Turkish border and regained parts of the town lost to the Kurds last October. A second force attacked Syrian and Kurdish forces defending the second largest Kurdish Syrian town of Hasaka.
  • Five former Obama advisers on Iran warn nuclear deal falls short
    Five former senior Iran advisers to President Obama have written an open letter expressing concern that the nuclear accord pending “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.” The letter was published Thursday as Secretary of State John Kerry headed for Vienna to attend the last week of negotiations for a final nuclear accord with Iran.
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