A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Sept. 3. 27, 2015

August 29, 2015 briefs

  • First Turkish air strikes against ISIS in Syria
    Turkish jets carried out their first air strikes as part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Syria.
  • Obama tries to win American Jewish leaders on Iran deal
    President Barack Obama Obama told US Jewish leaders Friday that “the core commitment we [and Israel] have to each other is sacrosanct and it is non-partisan. It always has been and it always will be.”
    In a webcast to Jewish leaders for selling the nuclear accord with Iran ahead of the vote in Congress, he fielded questions by promising o continue to push back forcefully against terrorist activity or other destabilizing acts in the region.

August 30, 2015 briefs

  • Another 45 days for acting police commissioner to stand in
    Public Security Minister Gilead Erdan Sunday applied for Assistant Chief Bentzi Sau to continue to stand in as acting police commissioner for another 45 days, to give the Justice Ministry time to check out issues that have come up regarding Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch’s background.
  • Iran refuses a visa to conductor Daniel Barenbaum
    Tehran has refused a visa for the renowned conductor Daniel Barenbaum to lead the Berlin orchestra Staatskapelle in a series of concerts in Iran – because he holds an Israeli passport. The Iranian Ministry of Culture said Sunday that the German orchestra is welcome to perform in the Islamic Republic, only without its conductor.
  • Italian Eni claims mega gas discovery off Egyptian coast
    Italian energy group Eni said on Sunday it had discovered potentially one of the world's largest natural-gas fields off the Egyptian coast, predicting that the find could help meet Egypt's gas needs for decades to come. "The Zohr field could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas at a depth of 1,450 metres (4,757 feet)," Eni said in a statement.
  • Arab sources: First Russian officers in Syria
    Russian army officers have arrived in Damascus and Jablah in the Latakia district, where they are building a new military base on the Mediterranean coast, Arab sources reported. They also claimed that Moscow had begun to supply Damascus for the first time with satellite imagery.
  • Palestinian shooting attack hurts Israeli motorist
    An Israeli motorist suffered minor gunshot injuries Sunday when a Palestinian fired a hail of bullets from his moving car near Shavei Shomron and drove off at speed The Israeli car was pocked with bullet holes. Security forces are hunting for the gunman.
  • Cheney: Obama’s falsehoods will bring nuclear war
    Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney, former senior official at State in the Bush administration, devote a chapter in their book due shortly for publication to the nuclear accord signed last month with Iran. “Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false,” they write in an almost unprecedented attack on Barack Obama. He claims that the accord will prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, but in fact, say the Cheneys,“This agreement will actually facilitate and legitimize an Iranian nuclear arsenal” and almost definitely lead to the “first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
  • Palestinian car crashes into group of Israeli soldiers
    A soldier was slightly hurt when a Palestinian car crashed into a group of Israeli servicemen at a crossroads south of Hebron after midnight Saturday. The terrorist escaped under the soldiers’ gunfire.

Egypt sends Assad secret arms aid, including missiles, with Russian funding

30 Aug. Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi has begun supplying Bashar Assad’s army with weapons, including missiles, after concluding a secret deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin under which Moscow is to pick up the tab, debkafile reveals. The first batch of short-range Egyptian-made surface missiles was delivered to the Syrian forces battling rebels to recover the strategic town of Zabadani. Ukrainian freighters are making the deliveries. The El-Sisi-Putin deal marks a certain parting of the ways between Moscow and Tehran on Syrian policy and signposts their deepening strategic relations.

August 31, 2015 briefs

  • Netanyahu called off Knesset vote on gas after secret talks with Turkey
    debkafile reveals exclusively the real reason for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to call off the Knesset vote on the deal with the US-Israeli consortium for exploiting the Leviathan natural gas field. The news of the Italian energy company Eni’s discovery of a mega-natural gas field off the Egyptian shore had reached Jerusalem two weeks ago, together with the Italian experts’ estimate that the Egyptian field would not be ready to go online before 2025. Cairo would therefore still be a customer for natural gas from Leviathan which is scheduled to begin production in 2018 or 2019. Furthermore, a new potential partner has offered to invest in Leviathan: Ankara. debkafile reveals that a special Turkish emissary paid a secret visit to Jerusalem and held talks Sunday and Monday on Ankara’s share in the Israeli gas field.
  • debkafile: Coordinated ISIS executions in Sinai and Libya
    debkafile reports exclusively that in the last 48 hours, the Islamic State has staged multiple executions by beheading Egyptian and Libyan officers in the Sinai town of El Arish and the Libyan town of Derna. The atrocities in the two places, hubs of ISIS smuggling routes for arms and fighters, were closely coordinated. Egyptian and Libyan security authorities have imposed a blackout on the executions whose number is unknown.
  • ISIS in surprise raid seizes parts of Damascus, shells TV station
    In a surprise attack Monday, the Islamic State overran the Qadam district of southern Damascus, bringing its forces closer to the center of the Syrian capital than any other anti-Assad group before,.
  • Two US Special Ops airmen killed in Afghanistan last week
    The “NATO servicemen” killed in southern Afghanistan last Wednesday were identified by the Pentagon Monday as two special tactics airmen, experts in close air support. Two gunmen in Afghan National Defense Forces uniform shot up their vehicle at a checkpoint in Camp Antonik, now a forward operating base. NATO troops returned the fire and killed the shooters.

ISIS declares war on the US dollar with the “gold dinar”

31 Aug. The Islamic State on Sunday, Aug. 30, went to war on the US Dollar with a 54-minute video tape, produced to the professional standards of New York Madison Avenue.This was the first time a terrorist organization had declared financial war on America. Shown is a mint in Mosul producing gold “dinars,” silver “dirhams” and copper “fulhus.” The ISIS reach for world domination by the gold dinar was first greeted as a stunt. debkafile notes that while seizing land, the Islamists also pirates natural resources and aspires to control the world’s economic levers as well. Its capacity for financial destabilization and havoc should not be discounted.

Sept. 1, 2015 briefs

  • Hidden arms cache found in Palestinian vehicle
    A search of a Palestinian vehicle from Nablus hat was stopped at the Tapuach checkpoint on the West Bank Tuesday found concealed in the boot an M-16 rifle, ammunition and other military articles.
  • More steps towards restoring Turkish-Israeli ties
    A visiting delegation of Turkish journalists has met with Israeli officials and is touring the country. Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold told the group Tuesday that the two countries may be expected to restore their historically close relations before long.

Rockets from Gaza follow IDF-Palestinian clash in West Bank town of Jenin

1 Sep. Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip followed a major clash at the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin Sunday night, when a large Israeli force arrived to arrest Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist suspects. The circumstances of that episode are not entirely clear, especially the demolition of an Islamic Jihad terrorist’s home. Israel played it down, whereas the Palestinians hailed it as “the biggest battle of the third initifada.” An Israeli soldier was injured, possibly by friendly fire and around 8 Palestinians, when a mob assaulted the soldiers with flying rocks, bottles, and some gunfire. After a sharp escalation in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks, the Israel raid was carried out in force to pre-empt violence on the day of the opening of the Israeli school year.

Russia gearing up to be first world power to insert ground forces into Syria

1 Sep. All of Russia’s steps to lay the groundwork for its ground forces to intervene in the Syrian civil war are being coordinated with the US and Iran. As their coordination tightens, so are the preparations for the first direct big-power military intervention in the Syrian war picking up speed. They have been accelerated by the ISIS advance this week closer to central Damascus than any anti-Assad group had ever achieved. Moscow is not ready to allow Bashar Assad’s rule to be endangered. Russian action contrasts with the near-paralysis of the US Central Command-Forward-Jordan (CCFJ), over a dispute over the refusal of the rebel groups it backs to stop cooperating with the Al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front.

Sept. 2, 2015 briefs

  • Egyptian minister Zohr gas field no bar to imports from Israel
    Egyptian Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail told Reuters Wednesday that the discovery of the Zohr natural gas field off Egypt will not undermine private-sector negotiations about buying gas from Israel. His statement caused a major upturn in energy stocks after sharp drops Tuesday.
  • Suicide bombing shakes Assad stronghold town of Latakia
    A car driven by a suicide bomber blew up Wednesday in the center of the western Syrian port town of Latakia, an important Assad stronghold, killing at least seven people and injuring more than 50.
  • Shabaab raid kills some 45 African Union, Somali troops
    t least 45 African Union and Somali national army forces died in an al Shabaab raid on their base in southern Somalia Tuesday, and more 100 troops are missing.
  • Terror-plagued Rte 443 to get more lighting, security cameras
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday declared zero tolerance for one of the two main highways to Jerusalem, Rte 443, to be plagued by daily Palestinian rock, firebomb and other attacks. Security was also to be upgraded in Jerusalem. He ordered lighting and security cameras installed the full length of the highway. Two extra Border Guards men and hundreds of police officers would be deployed on the highway and at flashpoint areas in the capital.
  • Palestinian shot trying to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikkim
    A Palestinian was caught Wednesday morning when he tried to steal into Kibbutz Zikkim just north of the Gaza border. He was spotted, shot in the foot and detained, later found to be unarmed.
  • Pentagon to probe over-optimistic assessment of war on ISIS
    Internal concerns have been raised in the Pentagon that the US General Command overseeing the war on ISIS were overstating progress – describing the US-led bombing campaign as being on the right track and ISIS as having lost thousands of fighters and control of some territory in Iraq and Syria. US spy agencies, however, regard it as a stalemate.
  • Another horror tape released by ISIS
    The ISIS videotape released on social networks Tuesday shows four Iraqi Shiites hanging upside down and burning to death, after they admitted they belonged to Shiite militias.
  • Khamenei orders air defense forces to upgrade preparedness
    Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has instructed Air Force defense forces to constantly upgrade their preparedness for repelling “all types of threats,”
  • ISIS fire from Syria kills a Turkish soldier, another missing
    A Turkish soldier died and another was feared taken hostage following cross-border fire Tuesday from territory held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in neighboring Syria.

Multiple military-missile-intelligence shield for Israel’s gas fields

2 Sep. The Israeli Navy Wednesday, Sept. 2, staged a defensive exercise, which centered on the elite Shayetet 13 unit practicing the silent, smooth ejection of terrorists who had “captured the Yam Tethys Mediterranean gas field, off Ashkelon. The star of the show was the upgraded Barak-8 multipurpose seaborne defense missile, reported capable of tackling the Russian Yakhont. But the key to defense, say debkafile’s military experts, is intelligence – strategic and tactical – for early warning of enemy plans of attack and recording its actions in real time – whether for sabotage or missile or drone strike. One such threat comes from the Yakhont, another the Iranian Ababil drone, as new rockets Tehran is supplying to Hizballah and Hamas.

Sept. 3, 2015 briefs

  • Firebomb thrown at Israeli vehicle on Rte 443 to Jerusalem
    Palestinians hurled a firebomb at a vehicle on Rte 443 to Jerusalem near the Dor gas station, Wednesday night. No one was hurt.
  • Israeli air strike against Hamas target in Gaza
    Gunfire from northern Gaza hit a home and the sports center of the Netiv Ha’Asare Moshav Wednesday night. Although children were present in both places, none were injured, except for shock. The army spokesman earlier called the shooting “errant.” the IDF nonetheless launched an air strike against “the source of the fire,” a Hamas position in northern Gaza Strip.
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