Argentina nabs Iranian-Hizballah cell, aborts attack
Argentina has captured a three-man Iranian-Hizballah cell and is hunting for the rest of the network, according to exclusive debkafile sources. Its counter-terror police were a step ahead of attacks plotted against several of the 10 Habad centers in the country, part of a worldwide joint terrorist offensive against Israeli and Jewish targets. Two strikes were thwarted earlier this month in Thailand and Azerbaijan.
The three-man cell was captured in the Argentine resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche, 1,680 kilometers from Buenos Aires, a favorite starting-point for Israeli backpackers touring Patagonia and the Andes. The town is situated on the banks of Lake Naheil Huapi, a major tourist attraction of the Rio Negro district which is famous for its beauty.
Argentina's anti-terrorist Federal Special Operations Group, known as T4, waylaid the three terrorists on tips from US and Israeli intelligence. In their possession were incriminating documents and maps.
Habad hospitality centers and Jewish institutions in the country were then shut down and given extra security guards, as was the Israeli embassy in the capital.
In 1992, the embassy was attacked by Iranian terrorists killing 29 people and injuring 242. debkafile's intelligence and counter-terror sources reveal that one of the things the investigation seeks to discover this time is whether the captured Iranian-Hizballah cell was given a safe house, guidance and aid by family members of World War II Nazi criminals who won sanctuary in Argentina.. At the time of the Israeli embassy bombing twenty years ago, the Iranian and Hizballah terrorists were suspected of working hand in glove with local pro-Nazi elements. Argentina, Germany and Israel never confirmed this.
However, San Carlos de Bariloche is known as a post-1945 Nazi haven. Two books by British writers published in 2011 even claimed that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun had managed to escape from Berlin and reach safety in this region. This rumor was always denied.
The terror alert Buenos Aires declared this week was also communicated to Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Mexico, in case additional Iranian-Hizballah teams were heading for Israeli and Jewish targets there too.
The plot Argentina foiled after Thailand and Azerbaijan indicates that Iranian intelligence and Hizballah's special security arm are in the midst of a worldwide terror offensive against Israel and Jews. Habad centers were picked out because their doors are always open to travelers, easily identifiable and accessible. They are often packed with large numbers of Jewish and Israeli visitors. The attackers are therefore assured of a big splash in the international media – if they pull off an attack.
In November 2008, Lashkar e-Taiba, the Pakistani arm of al Qaeda, seized Habad House in Mumbai and murdered eight Israelis and American Jews before blowing the building up. The rabbi's small child was the only survivor, rescued from the captured building by his Indian nanny.
In Bangkok, a member of the Iranian-Hizballah terrorist team, on his way with at least two confederates to blow up the Habad center after holding its occupants hostage and killing them, was captured two weeks ago, thwarting the attack. Then, on Jan. 19, Azerbaijani authorities nailed an Iranian intelligence-Hizballah cell in Baku in time to save the local Habad community center in the city.
Joint Iranian-Hizballah terrorist tentacles have already reached into three continents for an all-out drive to reach their prey – so far without success, owing to the cooperation among counter-terror agencies which remain on sustained high alert.