A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending October 11, 2012
October 5, 2012 Briefs
Jerusalem police storm Temple Mt to stop Muslim rioters stoning Jewish worshippers below
After Friday prayers in the mosques of Temple Mount, hundreds of Muslims began hurling rocks at Jewish worshippers beneath the mount who were visiting and praying at the Kotel (Western Wall) for the Succot festival.
Iranian defector presents CIA with priceless film of secret nuclear sites
5 Oct. In one of the CIA’s most dramatic scoops in many years and an epic disaster for Iran, debkafile’s most exclusive Iranian and intelligence sources disclose that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s personal cameraman, Hassan Gol Khanban, who defected from his UN entourage in New York on Oct. 1, brought with him an intelligence treasure trove of up-to-date photographs and videos of Iran’s top leaders visiting is most sensitive and secret nuclear and missile sites. The cameraman, in his 40s, is staying at an undisclosed address.
October 6, 2012 Briefs
Ten suspects rounded up in anti-terror operation in French cities
Ten members of a radical Salafi “almost cell” were arrested, some of them armed, in an operation linked to the investigation of a small bomb attack on a kosher grocery in the Paris district of Sarcennes on Sept. 19. In Strasbourg, the man suspected of carrying out the attack was shot after he confronted the police and injured three officers. Other operations took place in Paris, Nice and Cannes. A list of Jewish targets was found in the police raids. According to the Service for the Protection of the Jewish Community, there were 310 violent or threatening anti-Semitic actions in 2012, compared with 226 last year, an increase of more than 37 percent.
Five terrorist suspects extradited from UK to US
Abu Hamza al-Masri, the north London preacher, and four other radical Muslims were flown out of Britain for terrorist trials in the US. After time in a British jail, Abu Hamza faces 11 charges in the US relating to hostage-taking, conspiracy to establish a militant training camp and calling for holy war in Afghanistan.
Israel wages cyber battle over unidentified satellite-guided UAV
6 Oct. Israeli intelligence and air force waged a cyber battle Saturday, Oct. 6 with mystery parties, most likely Hizballah or Iran, who sent a satellite-guided unmanned helicopter into Israeli air space through the Mediterranean.
debkafile: The unmanned plane reached Israel at the start of a military mobilization exercise conducted by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and coordinated with Iran and Hizballah.
October 7, 2012 Briefs
Two Islamist terrorists critically injured by Israeli air strike
The two members of radical Islamist groups in Gaza were hit while riding on a motorbike in the southern town of Rafah. They were identified as responsible for past terrorist attacks against Israelis and plotting cross-border incursions from Sinai for further terrorist operations against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
France's Hollande promises Jewish leaders more security
After French police dismantled a radical Islamist network that targeted Jews and made 11 arrests, Francois Hollande invited seven Jewish leaders to the presidential palace and promised them greater security and no compromise in fighting racism and anti-Semitism. A new bill affording anti-terror authorities greater powers is to be introduced. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told TF1 television on Saturday that a terrorist threat existed in France, and he did not rule out more arrests related to the Sarcelles investigation.
October 8, 2012 Briefs
Mitt Romney: No daylight between the US and Israel
In his first comprehensive foreign policy speech, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said: “The relationship between US President Obama and prime minister of Israel, our closest ally in the region has suffered great strains. This is a dangerous situation… that has emboldened our mutual adversaries especially Iran.” In a statement in Virginia focusing mainly on the Middle East, he pledged to reaffirm historic ties with Israel and commitment to its security. “The world must never see daylight between our two nations.” Romney pledget to “put Iran on notice that the US and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability… and work with Israeli to increase our military assistance and coordination.” Gov. Romney also promised to abandon the Obama maxim of “leading from behind.” If America does not lead, others will,” he stressed.
Influential Iranian official: Israel would lose 10,000 if Iran attacked
Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s powerful Expediency Council, is quote by Press TV as saying Sunday: "If the Israelis attack, Iran's deterrent power would deal a mortal blow to them and the Israeli death toll would not be less than 10,000. Therefore, they would be stopped soon.”
Syrian Kurds trained in Iraqi Kurdistan
The Iraqi Kurdish Republic President Masoud Barzani says there are between 10,000 and 15,000 Syrian Kurd refugees in his semi-autonomous KRG, some being trained to in self-defense and preservation of their region from succumbing to the Syrian civil war.
Patriots posted near Haifa and other parts of N. Israel
8 Oct. Two days after an Iranian pilotless helicopter breached Israeli air space, Israel Monday, Oct. 8, rushed into position Patriot missile interceptor batteries in different parts of northern Israel, including Haifa lest Iran or Hizballah plan a follow-up. debkafile: The IDF has drawn initial lessons from their air defense radar’s failure to detect the hostile UAV when it flew down Israel’s coastline on Oct. 6.
This weakness permitted the Iranian UAV to fly undetected south along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline over Israel’s gas and oil rigs and close to its Haifa Bay industrial center, power stations and Navy bases in Haifa and Ashdod, as well as turning inland over the Dimoa nuclear reactor and sensitive IDF facilities before it was brought down.
Initial examination showed the drone was made of a certain type of fiberglass which absorbs radar beams. Iran is thought to have reverse-engineered stealth and radar-repellent elements of the secret US RQ-170 drone it captured on Dec. 13, 2001.
Israel pounds Gaza after massive Palestinian barrage
8 Oct. Israeli warplanes, self-propelled artillery and tanks attacked Hamas and Jihad Islami positions and command posts in the Gaza Strip early Monday, Oct. 8, shortly after Palestinians loosed a barrage of 55 missiles and mortar shells on the Eshkol district. No casualties were caused only heavy damage to property. Israel responded forcibly after the two dominant Gazan organizations lined up with al Qaeda affiliates. They also shared responsibility for the barrage and threatened to broaden their assaults. Jihad says the next blow will come from Lebanon.
October 9, 2012 Briefs
Palestinians fire Grad missiles at Netivot, Qassams at Sderot
The two Grads launched from Gaza Tuesday night exploded on ground outside the town of Netivot. So too did the two Qassams fired at Sderot.
North Korea warns the US is within its missile range
Pyongyang said Tuesday that the North is bolstering its military preparedness and warned its missiles are capable of striking South Korea, Japan, Guam and the US mainland.
Suicide car blast reported at Syrian Air Force Intelligence complex
The jihadist “al-Nusra Front” claimed suicide bombers had blown themselves up outside the Syrian Air Force Intelligence complex in Damascus’ Harasta suburb Monday night.
Erdogan: Assad’s day is over. Every Syrian attack will meet immediate response
Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan in a war speech to parliament Tuesday pledged an instantaneous Turkish response to every singe Syrian attack. “The rules of the game have changed,” he declared. “Assad’s day is over. He now walks on crutches.”
Hollande: I’ve not heard of any slowdown in Iran’s nuclear program
French President Francois Holland denied any knowledge of a nuclear slowdown by Iran after discussing this threat Iran with UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon. Ban praised the French measures against anti-Semitism.
US-Israeli October attack on Iran – or lone Israeli strike?
9 Oct. debkafile: President Obama has received intelligence warning that Iran will attain nuclear breakthrough much sooner than predicted – only seven weeks off in late November. A Congressional Research Dept. report has concluded Israel has sufficient air force and refueling capacities to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, including Fordo, alone. These two findings led David Rothkopf, who is close to US Democratic Party leaders, to test the ground with a report Monday, Oct. 8, in Foreign Policy, that the United States and Israel are considering a joint "surgical strike" against Iran's nuclear facilities as an “October surprise.”
Netanyahu to campaign on stopping nuclear Iran ticket
9 Oct. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a snap general election for January, 2013. His decision to run on the stop-nuclear-Iran ticket opens the door for President Barack Obama, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah to put their oar in to shape the results. Obama may seek a breakthrough with Iran to impress the American voter and put a spoke in Netanyahu’s wheel; the Iranian and Hizballah leaders may fabricate a grave security crisis to test Netanyahu with a major predicament in mid-campaign. They are all playing for high stakes.
October 10, 2012 Briefs
IMF: Iran can lower inflation, return to growth next year
The IMF predicts that despite Western sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran can return to growth including a small trade surplus next year.
Panetta: US troops are on Jordan-Syrian border
Speaking to a NATO defense ministers conference in Brussels, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and also to help Jordan deal with refugees pouring over the border from Syria. US troops sent to the Jordan-Syria border are helping build a headquarters in Jordan.
Mitt Romney: We have Israel’s back
"Let's recognize that we have a long way to go before military action may be necessary. And hopefully it's never necessary,” said Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a CNN interview, but he stressed there should be boundaries that the Iranians “may not cross” in support of Binyamin Netanyahu’s red lines. “Hopefully extremely tight sanctions as well as diplomatic action” can prevent Iran from crossing that line. Asked about an Israeli strike on Iran, Romney said, “We have Israel’s back both at the UN but also militarily,” adding that if he’s president “the actions of Israel would not come as a surprise to me.”
Two terrorism suspects linked to Syria detained at London’s Heathrow
A man and a woman in their twenties were detained Wednesday on arrival at Heathrow airport from Cairo on suspicion of “the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.” They are part of an investigation into travel to Syria in support of an alleged terrorist network.
Three more Qassams from Gaza after Israeli air strike against terrorist targets
Palestinians from Gaza fired three Qassam missiles at Sderot and Eshkol district early Wednesday. Overnight the Israeli air force hit terrorist targets in Gaza in reprisal for the Grad-Qassam attack Tuesday. No Israelis were hurt in the exchange.
Turkish jets force Syrian plane to land, Syrian airspace declared “unsafe”
10 Oct. Turkish air force jets forced a Syrian 35-passenger Airbus A320 bound from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara Wednesday night, Oct. 10. Ankara also announced Syrian air space was no longer safe for civilian flights – a signal that Ankara will stop civilian air traffic over Syria. Turkey has not indicated whether military aircraft or Iranian civilian planes frequenting Syrian skies are included in the ban, but if they are, Turkey may be heading for a clash with Iran in the skies over Syria.
For two days, Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Ozel Necdet, has been touring his forces along the Syrian border to inspect their readiness. debkafile reports that 25 F16 fighter jets had been transferred to the Diyarbakir air base near the Syrian border.
October 11, 2012 Briefs
Remains found of Israeli Druze soldier missing for seven years
Workmen in a wood on Mt. Carmel near the home in Isafiya of the missing soldier, Majdi Halabi, came across his remains just minutes away from his village.
Nasrallah says drone was made in Iran, sent over Israel by Hizballah
In a televised speech, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said Thursday night that the drone, named “Ayyoub,” was Iranian made and had flown over sensitive Israeli locations, including the suspect Israeli nuclear site of Dimona site in the Negev desert. He said his movement would sent more UAVs over Israel at a time of its choosing.
Israel air force attacks Hamas military facility
The Israeli air strike early Thursday of a Hamas training facility in the northern part of the Gaza Strip came in response to the firing the night before of a Grad missile against the town of Netivot and a Qassam rocket against Sderot.
Putin cancels Turkey visit
The Russian president had scheduled a visit to Turkey for next Sunday. He cancelled it after Turkish fighters forced a Syrian civilian plane en route from Moscow to land in Ankara Wednesday night. Moscow has demanded clarifications from Ankara, reporting that 17 Russians were aboard the Syrian aircraft bound for Damascus. The Syrian government has accused Turkey of “air piracy.”
Turkish army on high state of readiness
11 Oct. War tensions over Syria shot up again early Thursday, Oct. 11, when the Turkish army was placed on high readiness. An authoritative US source told debkafile that Turkey had – by forcing a Syrian civilian flight en route from Moscow land in Ankara and banning flights over Syria – begun creating a no-fly zone over Syria. For the past five days, Turkish artillery barrages have begun clearing a 10-km buffer zone inside Syria. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta cited the threat of chemical warfare three times in one day. US sources don’t expect Assad or Iran to take Turkish actions lying down.