A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Sept. 27, 2007

A major suicide attack thwarted in Tel Aviv Saturday, Yom Kippur


22 Sept. A Palestinian from the West Bank town of Nablus, employed in a Tel Aviv restaurant, led Israeli security forces to the hiding place of a bomb belt in Tel Aviv. The suicide bomber and his Hamas controller were captured Thursday in the Beit Ein Ilma camp in Nablus after a week long Israeli operation in the camp in which an Israeli soldier was killed. The force later turned up a large Hamas explosives workshop and blew it up.


Iran shows off new long-range 1,800-km missile together with fierce slogans and defiant rhetoric at a big military parade outside Tehran


22 Sept. The official announcer said the weapon put US bases in the Middle East and Israel within reach, as a large slogan was displayed from supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “The Iranian nation is ready to bring any oppressive power to its knees.”

debkafile‘s military sources report that Tehran unveiled at the Sept. 22 parade its new Ghadr-1, described by Western experts as having a “baby bottle-style” nose for extra aerodynamic efficiency and an improved version of Iran's existing longer-range Shahab-3. They believe it can carry a more advanced payload.

The huge trucks carrying the missiles were marked with vicious slogans calling for “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” “Israeli should be eliminated,” “No Muslim may recognize Israel” and “Israel must be wiped off the map.”

Western military attaches boycotted the rally for the second year running.


Iran‘s vaunted first home-produced fighter jet is a hybrid of Soviet and Chinese technologies and vintage American components


22 Sept. debkafile‘s military sources report that the new aircraft, dubbed Saegheh (Lightning), unveiled before foreign correspondents Sept. 20 and proudly presented as the equal of the American F-18 Hornet, comes nowhere near this description.

The Iranians have put together elements cannibalized from the US F-14 of the 1970s which revolutionary Iran inherited from the shah, and components of the Russian Sukhoi pepped up with ageing electronic equipment purchased recently from Byelorussia.

They were paraded to boost morale at home, like other purported new weapons, none of which have been tried in real combat conditions.


Technical problems hold up simultaneous launch of Indian and Israeli spacecraft India’s polar rocket this week


22 Sept. India’s Cartosat-2A and Israel’s first military radar satellite PolarisTecSat) were to have lifted off together on Sept. 20 from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle into an app. 600 km polar orbit from an island in the Bay of Bengal.

The launch was postponed at the last minute, debkafile‘s military sources report, after the Indian team voiced uncertainties about the rocket’s ability to carry the two spacecraft into orbit. Israel’s defense leaders were disappointed. The data-gathering features of Polaris 1 are especially pertinent for a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and would complement the information gathered by the spy satellite Ofeq 7 put in space three months ago.

However, the chairman of India’s Space Research Organization, G. Madhavan Nair said: “We will go for simultaneous launch if it is technically feasible. There are some questions to be discussed. We are in discussion with them (Israel space agency)… But the target is for it to take place before the end of the year, said the Indian official.


An undercover Israeli Border Guard unit detains a Fatah terrorist on list of 180 amnestied by Israel two months ago


23 Sept. Fares Mansour, Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades activist, was detained in Kalil village outside Nablus, for violating the terms of his reprieve and reverting to terrorist activity. Found in his hideout were eight explosive devices, a rifle and a pistol.


Israel to free 90 jailed Palestinians


23 Sept. This was decided Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Israeli government meeting in Jerusalem. The decision was opposed by six ministers, including Shaul Mofaz, former holder of the defense portfolio, who argued that it was wrong because the freed Palestinian terrorists would go back to their old ways. debkafile adds: Some of the terrorists rounded up in the Nablus Beit El Ilma camp last week had been set free in recent weeks as a concession to boost Abbas’ popularity on the West Bank.


In matters of national security, we have learned not to be misled by false calm – Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak


23 Sept. At a state ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Barak said the battle against terror goes on, “but we will prevail.” The fighters of the present generation are the equals of their fathers.

The IDF’s deterrent strength and its will to win are the best guarantee for peace, said Barak at the state ceremonies at the Mt Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem, in memory of the 2,691 Israeli soldiers who fell in the October 1973 War.


Putin Turns His Face to Tehran, His Back to Bush and Sarkozy


23 Sept. Iran’s suspect nuclear program is further polarizing the big powers.

The French president Nicolas Sarkozy stands shoulder to shoulder with President George W. Bush. Vladimir Putin pulled in the opposite direction when he decided to be the first Russian president to visit Tehran on Oct. 16.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Reza Aghazadeh, said a document would be signed setting the timeline for Russia to complete the long-delayed Bushehr nuclear plant and deliver the fuel to activate it.

According to debkafile‘s sources in Moscow and Washington, the Russian president had four goals in sight when he decided to settle his dispute with the Islamic Republic and join the rulers of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan at the Caspian Sea Summit in Tehran:

1. He will be on hand to underscore Moscow’s concern and conviction that the last two or three months of 2007 will take the controversy over the Iranian nuclear program to crisis point and could determine whether or not America resorts to the military option.

2. The Russian and Iranian presidents will publicly sign a new nuclear accord to demonstrate that Putin is not averse to supplying a Muslim nation with a nuclear reactor, technology and fuel, in contrast to Washington, which is weighing military action to thwart it.

3. The Russians view the new American-French alliance as a portent of anl American-European fence to block off Moscow’s influence in Europe. He links this potential with Washington’s plan to set up missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

4. Sitting together at the Caspian Sea Summit, Putin and Ahmadinejad will be telling the USD and nations of Central Asia that the future and security of Caspian and Central Asian natural resources and oil do not depend entirely on their relations Washington, or even the US military bases going up on their soil. Russia will be holding out an offer of joint-strategic sponsorship with Iran.


Attorney general orders criminal probe into Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s purchase of Jerusalem house in 2004


24 Sept. The AG, Menachem Mazuz has found grounds for suspicions that a friend bribed Olmert, then minister of industry, labor and commerce, by selling him a luxury apartment at a discount of half a million dollars below its market value in return for favors on illegal building permits. The prime minister’s office rejected calls from both sides of the Knesset to suspend himself over what it called an “unnecessary investigation.”

The prime minister is already under criminal inquiry for favoring two other friends in a tender for the privatization of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi. Both cases were exposed by the State Controller Judge Micha Lindenstrauss.


Uproar in America over Columbia University’s platform for Ahmadinejad Monday, followed by his UN General Assembly address Tuesday


24 Sept. debkafile reports: The outcry is exactly what the Iranian president aims to provoke by his public relations stunt in issuing peaceable-sounding statements in America in sharp contrast to the rhetoric sounded in Tehran and its violent actions in the region. He told the CBS Iran Sunday night that Iran does not need a nuclear bomb.

At home, he calls the Holocaust a myth and says Israel should be wiped off the map.

Prominent Israeli political scientist Prof. Shlomo Avineri was shocked by the platform given by a respectable American university to a holocaust denier. He has proposed meting out to the repressive Islamic regime the same worldwide contempt as the campaign which toppled the Soviet Union.


Israel’s major Bank Hapoalim severs ties with Palestinian banks in Gaza


25 Sept. This step is in line with the government’s declaration last week of Hamas-ruled Gaza as hostile territory. A senior Palestinian banking source says if more Israeli banking institutions follow this lead, Gaza’s banks will shut down.


Hizballah hijacks case of German-Israeli Daniel Sharon for propaganda


25 Sept. The pro-Iranian Lebanese Shiite group has seized on Sharon’s accidental detention in the course of a suspected murder probe in Beirut, to depict him as belonging to a 250-strong Israeli spy ring equipped by the German BND with German passports. The 32-year old Sharon is said to have been on a mission to prepare the US-Israeli attack on Iran.

No source in Israel or Germany confirms this tale.

The Lebanese government thereupon cancelled German embassy and Red Cross visits.

According to debkafile‘s intelligence sources, Hizballah is connecting the alleged Israeli air attack on Syria of Sept 6 to claims of US-Israeli preparations to attack Iran and trying to present the Israeli-born German Daniel Sharon as proof of those preparations.


Ahmadinejad shuts down BAZTAB Web site owned by rival shortly before exercising freedom of speech at Columbia University


26 Sept. Our Tehran sources disclose the Iranian president made sure before he aired his racial superiority doctrine to Columbia University students in New York to shut the mouth of BAZTAB, a popular Iranian Website administered by former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsein Rezai and serving as ex-president Hashem Rafsanjani’s platform.

debkafile adds: Rafsanjani, a close adviser to supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ahmadinejad’s leading rival, is the only senior member of the Islamic regime willing to seriously consider halting Iran’s nuclear program to avoid a military confrontation with the United States and put an end to sanctions. BAZTAB was the sole, solitary publication in Iran which dared to criticize and even lampoon the posturing Iranian president.

Unfortunately, no intelligence service provided American and Israeli diplomats with this information, and it was therefore not available for shooting down his claim that Iran is a free country along with his other lies.

US and Israel delegates left the UN general assembly chamber when the Iranian president Ahmadinejad rose to speak. Keren Goldwasser, wife of one of the two Israeli reservists whose abduction by Hizballah triggered the 2006 Lebanon War, was the only one to stand up to Ahmadinejad. She gate-crashed his press conference in New York and challenged him from close up with a question: “Why don’t you let the Red Cross visit the captives?” He declined to answer and security men bundled her out.


Eleven armed Palestinians killed in three Israeli air and ground operations in Gaza. One was Israel’s first strike at al Qaeda’s Palestinian Army of Islam


27 Sept. As Palestinian missiles and shells rained down on Israel, debkafile‘s military sources report the Israeli air force operation struck the al Qaeda-Palestine cell headquartered in Gaza’s Zeitun district Wednesday, Sept. 26. One of the dead was Hateb Moqdasi, who took part in the kidnap of the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit in June 2006 and the abduction of BBC reporter Alan Johnston this year. debkafile reports this was the first direct Israeli military attack on an al Qaeda target in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources report an Israeli tank column with armored bulldozers has advanced into Beit Hanoun, 3 km inside northern Gaza, at the end of a day in which Palestinians in Gaza fired 10 Qassam missiles and 21 mortar shells at Israeli civilian targets around their border. Although a house in Kibbutz Gevim took a direct hit, there were no casualties.

The Israel force is reported pulling back after eliminating a missile team of four and killing two Hamas operatives.

Defense minister Ehud Barak said earlier Wednesday that Israel is nearing a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip. “For various reasons, it was postponed in recent weeks,” he said. “But it won’t be easy.


Two Qassam missiles destroyed in controlled explosion after their discovery pointing from Bethlehem at South Jerusalem


27 Sept. Palestinian security officers found the missiles and launchers between the West Bank Al Aida refugee camp and Beit Jala which abuts on the Jerusalem district of Gilo and handed them to the IDF. The 22 mm 1.5 meters-long missiles were marked “Allah is great.” Israeli forces quickly carried out controlled explosions.

More weapons may be awaiting discovery readied by Hamas and other radical Palestinian terrorist groups for firing at the Jerusalem and other major Israeli towns.

debkafile‘s military sources regard the presence of Palestinian missiles within firing range of the Israeli capital as attesting to a decision by Hamas’ operations planners to push for a trial of strength with Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority on the West Bank too, after driving them out of Gaza three months ago.

Indeed, Wednesday morning, Hamas publicly threatened a military coup against Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Salim Fayyad.

The Palestinian Islamists are ired by the Abbas’ forces’ arrest on Sept. 24 of a group of Hamas undercover activists building new Hamas terrorist networks on the West Bank. The Gaza leaders decided it was time for “a showdown and trial of strength with the decadent remnants of the Oslo Accords.”

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