A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending June 26, 2014

June 13, 2014 Briefs

  • Iran confirms Revolutionary Guards units deployed in Iraq
    To stem rapid Al Qaeda advances, Tehran has deployed to Iraq at least three battalions of the Qods Brigades along with their chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, as first reported by debkafile Thursday.
  • Kurds seize Kirkuk
    The Kurdish autonomous region in the north took advantage of the Iraqi army’s flight to take over Kirkuk and its oil fields.
  • Israeli Border police under fire near Ramallah
    After shots were fired at a Border Police checkpoint in Betunya near Ramallah Friday morning, eight M-16 bullet casings were found on the spot. No one was hurt.

June 14, 2014 Briefs

  • Ya’alon: We assume the three boys are alive and must be rescued
    Defense Minster Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday: “Our working premise is that the missing boys feared kidnapped are alive and, until we know otherwise, we will bend every effort to rescue them.” During 2013, Israel foiled 30 attempted kidnappings by Palestinian terrorists and 14 since the beginning of this year. “This one,” he said,”must have passed under our radar.”
  • Ukrainian army plane shot down with 49 aboard
    No survivors among 49 aboard the Ukrainian military Ilyushin-76 military transport plane shot down Friday night while coming into the land in the restive eastern city of Luhansk.

Missing Israeli boys identified along with possible progress in search. Hebron group claims kidnapping

14 June. The names and pictures of the three Israeli boys feared kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists outside Hebron Thursday night, June 12, were released Saturday while the massive search for them was in full momentum. They are Naftali Frenkel, 16, from Nof Ayalon; Gil-Ad Sha’ar, 16, from Talmon; and Eyal Yifrach, 19, from Elad.
No organization has claimed the abduction.
The charred Hyundai Elantra found in the Mt. Hebron village of Dura has been identified as the kidnap car.

June 15, 2014 Briefs

  • Shooting on the Bethlehem-Jerusalem road
    A Border Police checkpoint on the Tunnel Highway linking Jerusalem and Bethlehem came under fire from a passing vehicle Sunday night. No one was hurt. The vehicle sped off and is being hunted by security forces.
  • More than 20,000 pray at the Western Wall for kidnapped boys
    For the second night running, tens of thousands have gathered at the Western Wall to pray for the safety of the three boys missing since last Thursday night. Prayers were also held in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv at the annual Book Week market.

Netanyahu fingers at Hamas for kidnapping

15 June. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the first time laid the blame on Hamas for the kidnapping of three Israeli boys last Thursday and threatened “grave consequences.” The investigation has narrowed down to three local Palestinian clans, Al Jamal, Abu Zaina and Abu Aysha and its ringleaders identified as Salah Arur, from a secret base in Istanbul, Abdul Rahman Raymanat, Mazen Fuka’a and Ibrahim Hamad, who is serving time in a high-security Israeli jail. The man pulling the strings in Hebron and most likely of the operation itself is Yusari al-Jamal.

June 16, 2014 Briefs

  • Palestinian injured by IDF fire while attacking Israeli settlement
    Three Palestinians tried to break into the Kochav Yaakov settlement Monday night by igniting the security fence. An IDF opened fire in the intruders and injured one.
  • Abbas calls Netanyahu as kidnapped teens remain missing
    Mahmoud Abbas called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from Ramallah Monday, their first conversation since the kidnap crisis erupted last week. Abbas earlier condemned the kidnappings but also the Israeli actions which followed.

Benghazi raid leader is in US custody

17 June. Ahmed Abu Khattala, commander of the Libyan Ansar al-Sharia, who led the 2012 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, has been captured in a secret US Special Operations forces raid in the same Libyan town. The Islamist terrorist, who was the prime mover in the attack which killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff, is now in US custody outside Libya.

June 18, 2014 Briefs

  • Four rockets fired from Gaza into Israel
    A building was damaged in Shear Hanegev when four rockets were fired Wednesday night at the region and the town of Sderot. No one was hurt.
  • Iraq formally asks the US for air strikes against ISIS
    Iraq has formally requested that the United States launch air strikes against jihadist militants who have seized several key cities.
  • Cameron: ISIS planning to attack UK
    British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday cautioned that an “extreme Islamist regime in the middle of Iraq” would “plan to attack us” and home-grown Islamists are joining Al Qaeda influenced groups such as ISIS, fighting in Syria and Iraq and Somalia.
  • IDF detains another 64 Palestinians
    Most of the 64 detainees arrested early Wednesday in the West Bank by the IDF were Hamas activists – 51 of whom were former prisoners freed in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit in 2011. The Hamas TV station in Hebron was shut down overnight.
  • Abbas from Saudi Arabia: Let the Israeli teenagers go!
    Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas demanded Wednesday that the abductors of the three Israeli boys, whoever they are, let them go at once. He accused the kidnappers of seeking to “ruin the Palestinian Authority” and vowed they would be held accountable. He was speaking to foreign ministers at a Jeddah gathering of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation. Abbas stressed that IDF cooperation with the Palestinian security agencies is “sacred.” There will be no third intifadada, the Palestinian leader pledged. As for Hamas, “we have another score to settle with them.”

Ten IDF brigades grind Hamas down, but no trace of kidnapped boys after six days

18 June. Ten IDF brigades plus special operations units have been mobilized to scour the Hebron district, where the three boys disappeared on June 12, and its population of 300,000 is under curfew. Israel was telling the Palestinians that kidnapping Israelis will never again yield the release of their impirsoned terrorists, only intensify Israel’s determination to crush Hamas’ political, terror, military and financial infrastructures.

June 19, 2014 Briefs

  • Iron Dome intercepts one of two rockets launched against Ashkelon
    Two rockets were fired against Ashkelon from the Gaza Strip Thursday night. One was intercepted by an Iron Dome battery, after a rocket attack earlier at Shear Hanegev. There were no casualties.

Israeli cyber intelligence draws a blank on teens

19 June Israel's major intelligence agencies have diverted their most sophisticated financial and technological resources to the top-priority task of sweeping the media for a trace of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, now missing for six days. Their failure to pick up any signs of life points away from the direct involvement of a major terrorist organization, and tends more toward an ad-hoc cell with as few as three or four members. Unlike a large organization, a small cell could operate for long periods off the communication grid.

Obama’s “up to 300 military advisers” won’t stop ISIS-Sunni entrenchment in Iraq

19 June. President Obama announced Thursday, June 19, after meeting his national security team, that the US would send up to 300 military advisers to Baghdad and establish joint operations centers in Baghdad and the North. He said that the US would be willing to join inclusive regimes in Syria and Iraq in setting up counterterrorism platforms for regional partners to fight terrorists. debkafile: The level of US military assistance offered by Obama will not deter the ISIS and its Sunni allies from further advances in Iraq.

June 20, 2014 Briefs

  • First cargo of disputed oil from Iraqi Kurdistan delivered to Israel
    The Liberia-flagged SCF Altai tanker docked at Ashkelon port early Friday and began unloading the first consignment of oil shipped from the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) through a new pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and bypassing the Iraqi national pipeline. This trade is bitterly disputed by Baghdad, which has threatened legal action against buyers. Israel has not confirmed whether it is buying the oil or storing it for transfer to another destination.
  • Ukraine implements unilateral ceasefire in East
    A unilateral ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, announced by President Petro Poroshenko, went into effect Friday.
  • IDF 8-day sweep for teens causes first 2 Palestinians deaths
    In a TV interview Saturday night, Finance Minister Yair Lapid praised the courage of Mahmoud Abbas for saying in front of the Arab League that the kidnapping was a bad thing. He also commended Palestinian Authority security forces’ cooperation with the IDF in the broad search for the teenagers.

June 21, 2014 Briefs

  • Saudi King Abdullah visits Egyptian president
    King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia landed in Cairo Friday and invited newly-elected Egyptian President Abdul-Fatttah El-Sisi to join him on the royal plane for talks and congratulations. debkafile: This was an unusual gesture of support and signified the two governments’ unity of purpose against US Middle East policy.

Netanyahu to Obama: IDF on the Jordan is sole security guarantee against ISIS for Israel, Hashemite kingdom and Palestinians

21 June. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu posted notes Friday, June 20, to President Barack Obama, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, debkafile reveals exclusively. They dealt with the rapid advances made by Al Qaeda-related Sunni Islamist fighters westward towards the Iraqi-Syrian-Jordanian border. Discussing the potential threat to the security of Israel, the Palestinians and Kingdom of Jordan just next door, Netanyahu stressed that the only force in region capable of protecting them from ISIS was the IDF and the Israeli fortifications ranged along the Jordan River border.

June 22, 2014 Briefs

  • ISIS takes fourth town in two days, opens link to Jordan
    All four towns – Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba – captured by Al Qaeda-linked Islamists in the last two days are situated on the strategic highway from the Syrian border to Baghdad. Government troops laid down their arms and fled. debkafile: Rutba also commands the last stretch of highway from Baghdad to neighboring Jordan. In two days, therefore, ISIS is close to controlling Iraq’s borders with Jordan as well as Syria.
  • A Palestinian infiltrator from Gaza caught with a grenade
    A Palestinian infiltrator from the Gaza Strip, armed with a grenade, was captured near a village in the Shalom district early Sunday. He was handed to the security service for questioning. Overnight, Israel carried out four air strikes against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip following a twin rocket attack.

Israeli air force strikes nine Syrian targets after Syrian rocket kills Golan boy

22 June. Israel carried out nine strikes against Syrian military targets after midnight Monday, June 23, in retaliation for a Kornet rocket attack which killed a 14-year old Israeli boy, Muhammad Krakarka from the Galilee village of Arraba. Two others were injured including his father, a defense ministry contractor who was working on the Golan border fence near Tel Hazeka. Israel struck back with air strikes and Spike NLOS anti-tank missiles (Tamuz), against Syrian firing positions from its 90th Brigade command center in Quneitra and three battalions.
debkafile: This was also an opportunity to help Syrian rebels break their standoff with Syria forces in the battle for Quneitra.

June 23, 2014 Briefs

  • Worldwide protest over jail sentences for al Jazeera reporters
    An Egyptian judge Monday sentenced three Al Jazeera TV correspondents to seven years in prison on charges of “collaborating with terrorists” to fabricate news in Egypt and harming national security.
    The three, who all deny the charge, are Australian Peter Greste, Al Jazeera's Kenya-based correspondent, Baher Mohamed and Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English. Mohamed received an additional three years in jail on a separate charge involving possession of ammunition. The case has stirred protests in the West and outrage over the prison sentences.
  • Kerry arrives unannounced in Baghdad
    Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad from Cairo Monday morning to meet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iraqi Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders and urge them to bridge their sectarian differences and form a new, inclusive government. He arrived after ISIS seized the main border crossing to Jordan.

Jordanian jets hit first Al Qaeda-Iraq incursion

23 June. Jordanian air strikes hit ISIS armored contingents Monday night, June 23, as they crossed into the kingdom through the Turaibil border crossing, which they seized Saturday. debkafile reports: The Islamist State of Iraq and Levant’s capture of Rutba – also Saturday – signposted Saudi Arabia as another target. The US and Israel are operating advanced intelligence-gathering measures – military satellites, drones and reconnaissance planes – to keep track of the Islamist fighters’ rapid advance.

June 24, 2014 Briefs

  • Five rockets fired from Gaza
    Two were caught in mid-air over built-up areas of Hof Ashkelon. One more exploded at Sdot Negev damaging a building. More than 30 rockets were fired from Gaza in the 12 days of the IDF hunt for the three abducted Israeli boys. There were no casualties.
  • Ukraine helicopter shot down killing 9 aboard
    Kiev accused pro-Russian rebels in the east of shooting down a Mi-8 military transport helicopter after take-off Tuesday outside Slaviansk, killing all nine people aboard.
  • IDF scales down search for teens after 12 days
    The massive military hunt for the three abducted teenagers abducted outside Hebron on June 12 was scaled down after twelve days with no results. The defense minister stressed, “It will take time to reach the boys and their abductors. But we’ll get there.” During the day, the curfew in the Hebron region was partially lifted.
  • Iranian troops deployed on borders with Iraq
    Iran ranged troops on its border with Iraq Tuesday as the Iraqi-al Qaeda ISIS moved into provinces close to their common border. Jordan buttressed its border with Iraq Sunday night.
  • Putin renounces right to send troops to Ukraine
    The West has welcomed President Vladimir Putin’s request to Russia’s upper house Tuesday to revoke his right to order military intervention in Ukraine in defense of Russian-speakers. It was seen as a sign that Moscow was ready to help achieve a settlement of the East Ukraine dispute. Russian shares soared to a five-month high on the news.
  • Mothers of three kidnapped Israeli boys appeal for world help
    In a brief impassioned speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Tuesday, June 24, Rachel Fraenkel said: “It is wrong to take children and use them as instruments of war. Every child has the right to return home safely.” Twelve days after their sons, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaeir, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were kidnapped outside Hebron, their mothers arrived in Geneva to appeal for international help for their recovery.
  • Kerry in Irbil for talks with Kurdish leaders
    US Secretary of State arrived in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region Tuesday for talks with its president Massoud Barzani, as ISIS finally took control of the big northern oil refinery in Baiji. Barzani has joined calls for Nouri al-Maliki to quit as Iraqi prime minister, blaming his wrong policies for the crisis. Kerry’s main mission is to drum up wide support for his replacement.
  • Russian separatists surprise by accepting Kiev’s ceasefire
    “In answer to the cease-fire by Kiev, we commit to a cease-fire from our side,” said Aleksandr Borodai, the prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic Monday night after a meeting with Kiev leaders, the Russian ambassador and the OSCE chairman.

June 25, 2014 Briefs

  • Three Iranian border guards killed in attack from Iraq
    Two troops and their commander were killed by unspecified “terrorists” Tuesday night while patrolling the border in western Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border. Iran has boosted border security since ISIS seized large stretches of Iraq including areas close to their border.
  • Israel air force demolishes buried rocket launchers in Gaza
    After the launching of five rockets against Israel from Gaza Tuesday – two of them intercepted by Iron Dome – the Israeli Air Force retaliated with a series of strikes that demolished buried rocket launchers and a foundry for manufacturing arms and hit a naval police post in the west.

Gaza rockets aim at Kurdish oil route via Israel. More security for Ashkelon and Eilat depots

25 June. The recent increase in Grad rocket fire on Ashkelon and nearby coastal areas is actually intended to hit the town’s oil port and the Trans-Israel oil pipeline linking it to Eilat, military sources tell Debkafile. Islamic Jihad and Salafists in Gaza, working with Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai, aim to sabotage the new independent Kurdish oil route and ensure that Iran and ISIS retain control of regional oil. With the first oil shipments coming through the Israeli pipes, Israel will become a major conduit for Kurdish oil and one of the players in the Iraqi war.
Oil industry insiders believe that Irbil pays Turkey and Israel a dollar each for every barrel that passes through their territory.

June 26, 2014 Briefs

  • Iraqi Shiite leader Sadr vows to defeat ISIS
    The radical Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr vowed Wednesday “to shake the ground” under Sunni Islamists overrunning parts of the country and ruled out US intervention in Iraq.

Iran, Saudis send arms to Iraq as US advisers arrive

26 June. When the first of the 300 military advisers President Barack Obama promised the Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad Wednesday, June 25, Iranian and Saudi Arabian arms shipments were already in full flow to opposing sides in embattled Iraq, debkafile reports. Six countries are now involved in the Iraqi battle arena. Iranian command centers in Damascus and Baghdad are running Syrian and Iraqi military operations against ISIS in sync. A first result: The Syrian air force bombed the Iraqi H-2 airbase to prevent more Saudi air landings with arms for Sunni fighters.

King Abdullah calls up Saudi armed forces

26 June. Thursday, June 26, the day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” The Saudi military has been mobilized and placed on high preparedness, after royal reconnaissance flights discovered Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border to seize the Ar Ar crossing. debkafile: Egyptian commandos are about to fly out to bolster Saudi border defenses.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email