A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Weeks Ending Sept. 24, 2015
September 11, 2015
- New Year poll: 82pc of Israelis see existential threat to country
According to a New Year poll, 82 pc of Israelis feel their country still faces a threat to its existence, mainly from Iran’s nuclear program. A small majority of 52 pc favors a two-state solution of the Palestinian issue, 35 pc would vote for Binyamin Netanyahu today, compared with 15 pc for opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog.
First Iranian troops in Syria join Russian marines
11 Sep. Iran this week sent its first ground troops to Syria, around 1,000 marines and elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) troops. They moved into the small military air facility of Ghorin south of Latakia, and hooked up with the just-landed Russian marines who were settling in nearby at Jablah.
September 12, 2015
- Five Russian ships equipped with guided missiles arrive off Syria
Russia called on Friday for military-to-military cooperation with the United States to avert "unintended incidents" during its navy exercises off the coast of Syria. A squadron of five Russian ships equipped with guided missiles is taking part in the exercises which continue up until Oct. 7, and include “the testing of artillery and short-range air defense systems.”
September 13, 2015
- British PM Cameron vows to stamp out anti-Semitic attacks
In his New Year greetings, UK Prime Minister David Cameron lauded the Anglo-Jewish community’s “immeasurable contribution to all areas of British life.“ He condemned the “horrific and abhorrent anti-Semitic attacks over the past year” and vowed “to do everything I can to stamp out such hatred now and in the future.”
- Far-left Corbyn’s election as UK Labor leader roils party
Britain’s opposition Labor elects as its new leader far-left Jeremy Corbyn, who calls Hizballah and Hamas “his friends” and associates with Holocaust deniers.
September 14, 2015
- US sources: Russia deploys tanks at Latakia airfield
Russia has posted at least seven heavy T-90 tanks and an artillery unit around the Syrian airbase near Latakia, which is home to incoming Russian forces, say US sources. debkafile earlier named the airbase as Jablah and reported landings by giant Antonov-24 transport planes (Condors) loaded with military supplies.
- Egyptian forces inadvertently kill tourists during hot pursuit of terrorists
An Egyptian military operation in pursuit of terrorists went badly awry Sunday when an Apache helicopter mistakenly fired on a convoy of four vehicles carrying Mexican tourists and their local guides in Egypt’s Western Desert of Egypt. At least 12 people were killed and 10 others injured.
- Young Jew injured by Palestinian mob in Jerusalem
A Jewish youth was attacked and injured by a Palestinian mob outside the Gate of the Chains in the Old City of Jerusalem early Monday. Police clashed with the attackers and arrested five.
Surging Palestinian terror in Jerusalem: An Israeli killed, pipe bombs for Temple Mt.
14 Sep. Jewish New Year’s Eve saw a sharp upsurge of Palestinian violence in Jerusalem, culminating in the death Sunday night, Sept. 13, of an Israeli motorist when his car was struck by flying rocks.
That morning, a large Israeli police and security force, acting on a tip, raided an Old City apartment and discovered eight large pipe bombs ready to be smuggled to Temple Mt. Had they been used against the crowds of Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, they would have caused mass casualties. When Palestinian youths began rioting on Temple Mt, police units chased them into Al Aqsa Mosque, under a hail of rocks, cement blocks and firecrackers held ready inside mosque for attacks. Among them were pipe bombs. The governments of Egypt and Jordan both condemned Israel for the event.
Palestinians launch new confrontation tactic of “localized” terror against Israel
14 Sep. Legally approved measures are not working against the new spiral of Palestinian violence. Its most prominent features are the collaboration for ad hoc operations between two or more Palestinian rival groups, and their localized nature for shared objectives which are 1) To sabotage Jewish festivals and bar Jewish access to the site although it is sacred to three faiths; 2) to ratchet up confrontations with Israeli security services; 3) to emphasize Muslim domination of Temple Mount; and 4) to challenge Jordan’s King Abdullah on his claim to the role of custodian of Al Aqsa. debkafile’s sources see early symptoms of a full-blown intifada, influenced by the unrest besetting some Arab lands.
September 16, 2015
- Obama and Netanyahu set for White House talks on Nov. 9
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will hold talks in Washington on Nov. 9. This was announced hours after the Kremlin confirmed a meeting between Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sept. 21. It is highly unusual for Washington and Moscow to announce on the same day visits by the Israeli prime minister.
September 17, 2015
- Iron Dome battery posted at Ashdod
The Iron Dome battery was moved over to the southern town of Ashdod Thursday morning in case the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fires rockets from the Gaza Strip in solidarity with an activist who started a new hunger strike after his re-arrest Wednesday.
- US forces on ground in Syria – assisting Kurdish rebels
US CENTCOM chief Gen. Lloyd Austin reportedly revealed Wednesday that US Special Operations Forces are “engaged” with Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) rebel forces fighting in Syria. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that they were there to “advise and assist” and “not engaged in any combat operations.”
September 18, 2015
- Three Palestinians injured in more Jerusalem disturbances
Palestinian rioters continued to clash with Israeli security forces in and around Jerusalem overnight Friday.
- Rocket alert in Ashkelon
The town of Ashkelon was alerted Friday night to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. An Iron Dome battery intercepted two incoming missiles. Earlier, two rockets exploded in Sderot, damaging a home and vehicles.
- Syrian rebels launched Grad missiles at Russian forces
The newly-arrived Russian forces came under Grad missile fire Friday in their new base at Jablah n the Latakia Province. Syrian rebels attacked the Russian troops after learning of their presence.
- Palestinian firebomb attack injures 3 Israeli police in Jerusalem
The three border police officers were injured in a Palestinian firebomb attack Friday afternoon while patrolling in the southern Jerusalem district of Armon Hanatziv near the Palestinian neighborhood of Jebel Mukaber.
- Justice Minister accuses Palestinians of anti-Semitic lies
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked accused the Palestinian Authority and Hamas of spewing “aggressive, anti-Semitic lies” about Israeli police efforts to keep the peace on Temple Mount, as the false cause of the latest round of Palestinian violence in Jerusalem.
- UN Sec Council statement upholds sole Muslim right to Temple Mt
Days of Palestinian attacks by rock, firebomb and other projectiles in Jerusalem and Temple Mount, were capped Thursday night by a United Nations Security Council call for Muslims to “be allowed to worship in peace, free from violence, threats and provocations.” The statement, which was endorsed by the US, made no mention of the mountain compound as the site of the Jewish Temples, sacred to Jewish and Christians – any more than it referred to the Palestinian attacks on non-Muslim visitors and the Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall below.
September 19, 2015
- Rockets from Gaza second night in a row
Locations around the Gaza Strip and Western Negev, including Kibbutz Saad and Mefulsim, were alerted Saturday night to rockets incoming from the Gaza Strip – for the second night running. Israeli air strikes in Gaza followed.
Did Palestinians use live fire used against the Israeli Border Police?
19 Sep. The delay in appointing Israel’s next police commissioner is undoubtedly being exploited by Palestinian terrorist groups to join hands and continuously push up the spiral of violence, focusing for now on Jerusalem. The police chief is responsible for counterterrorism strategy. This is now being bounced between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilead Erdan. The Palestinian gunshots which injured 4 police officers in Jerusalem Friday night may not be the last.
September 20, 2015
- Iron Dome battery installed at Sderot
The army has posted an Iron Dome battery at Sderot, two days after the southern Israeli town was targeted by rockets from the Gaza Strip. Friday, another battery posted a day earlier at Ashdod intercepted two rockets aimed at Ashkelon.
- Hamas pleads with Cairo to stop flooding its smuggling tunnels
The Palestinian extremist Hamas has ask Egypt to stop flooding the area of its smuggling tunnels at the Gaza-Sinai border.
- Israel to import 20,000 Chinese building workers
The cabinet Sunday approved the proposal put forward by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to import 20,000 building workers from China to reduce construction costs and speed the supply of affordable housing.
- Netanyahu: Explosives at a holy site is a norm we will not tolerate
In a strong statement to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he was “obligated to preserving the status quo on Temple Mount, but we are not the ones changing it. The explosive materials secreted into Al Aqsa Mosque – that is a change in the status quo.” He pointed the finger at Hamas, the Islamic Movement in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey as the parties inciting violence on Temple Mount.
Israel security forces may use live fire for Palestinian rocks, firebombs, and “popular terror”
20 Sep. Israeli security forces now authorized to use Ruger rifles in life-threatening situations generated by Palestinian terrorist attacks with stones, fire bombs or mob riots. This weapon fires light 0.22 (5.59mm) bullets packed with a small amount of explosive which can cause injury within a 100m radius. The new rules of engagement are effective in all parts of Israel, not just Jerusalem, in view of extremist Islamist unrest in Israeli Arab districts.
September 21, 2015
- Russia ramps up military buildup to 28 combat aircraft
Russia’s continuous military buildup in Syria reached a total of 28 combat aircraft plus 16 helicopters on the ground and drones, US national security sources reported. The Russians masked the arrival of the military aircraft by flying them in behind the giant Antonov-124 transport aircraft.
- Palestinian stoning of Israeli vehicles continues
Israeli security forces remained on high alert on Monday amid a continuing wave of Palestinian stone-throwing and Molotov cocktail attacks in the Jerusalem area, with some injuries and substantial damage to vehicles.
- Israeli soldier injured in Palestinian riot outside Joseph’s Tomb
A Palestinian mob rioted overnight Monday when a large group of 2,000 Jewish worshippers paid a Yom Kippur Eve visit to Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus. They arrived in convoy under the escort of a large IDF force. The moment the prayer service began, Palestinian rocks, fire bombs and firecrackers began flying in an attempt to break through the protective circle. A soldier was hit in the face and taken to hospital.
- A Grad rocket explodes at Hof Ashkelon
The Grad rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip before dawn Monday and exploded on empty ground without causing casualties.
Netanyahu summit with Putin under cloud of Russian S-300 anti-air missiles for Syria
22 Sep. On Saturday, Sept. 19, just two days before the Ntyanyahu-Putin summit, Russian troops at the Russian base outside the coastal Syrian city of Latakia were seen preparing to deploy advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles at the Russian base near Latakia. Against which air power are they being deployed? The Islamic State has no air force and no other air force threatens the Russian forces. Furthermore, while first reports said several hundred Russian marines were being sent to Syria, an intake of 2,000 is on the way. The arrival of four advanced multi-role Sukhoi 30SM (Flanker) tactical jets in Latakia on Sept. 18 has also raised eyebrows.
September 22, 2015
- Palestinian woman shot trying to stab an Israeli soldier
A Palestinian woman of 19 tried to knife a soldier of the Givati Brigade at Hebron checkpoint early Tuesday. She was shot and critically injured. The soldier was not hurt.
Why Israel prefers a hot line to a military coordination center with Russia
22 Sep. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s disclosed after his talks with President Vladimir Putin that “a mechanism to prevent misunderstandings and clashes” would be set up. debkafile reports that, because neither army wants to level with the other in advance of its operations, the two sides agreed on a hot line for a heads-up without explanations to be managed by the two deputy chiefs of staff, rather than a full-dress coordination mechanism. In any case, Israel is coordinated militarily with the US and Russia with Iran.
September 23, 2015
- Egyptian president pardons 100 prisoners, including three from Al Jazeera
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Wednesday pardoned 100 prisoners, including three Al Jazeera television journalists on Wednesday, a day before he left for the UN General Assembly.
- Al Jazeera TV to cut a thousand jobs worldwide
The Qatari emir, who owns Al Jazeera television, has decided to cut an estimated 800-1,000 jobs – almost one quarter of the station’s total workforce – directly after the Eid festival at the end of the week. According to debkafile’s sources, the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is lowering the network’s religious-political profile which has put a strain on Qatar’s relations in Riyadh and Cairo.
September 24, 2015
- Iran is eager to confront Israel for its destruction
Iran’s army chief Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi says his country is eager for Israel to take (military) action against his country so that its destruction can be achieved “sooner than the 25 years cited by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of military parades in Tehran.
Russian marines join Hizballah in first Syrian combat engagement – an ominous slap for the US, Israel
24 Sep. The launching Thursday, Sept. 24, of joint offensive operations by Russian marines and Hizballah special forces on the ISIS-held Kweiris air base – revealed here by debkafile – runs counter to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assurances to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just three days earlier that Russian marines in Syria would not fight with Hizballah. This new development places the Syrian war on an unprecedented and dangerous path for the United States and Israel.