At least eight officers were killed in a mysterious twin-car bomb explosion Friday, Jan. 25 at Syrian regional intelligence headquarters in Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Some of the fatalities were Syrian, but Western intelligence sources disclosed to debkafile that most were high-ranking Iranian Al Qods Brigades and Hizballah officers. The blasts sent tensions shooting up on the Israeli and Jordanian borders with Syria. Israeli, Jordanian and US Special Forces posted in the kingdom went on high alert. Heavy Syrian reinforcements were seen streaming toward the two borders.
Syrian regime sources said the explosive devices were attached to the intelligence command building’s outer walls. But the Western sources report that two large bomb cars were lying in wait on both sides of the road leading to the Syrian HQ and were detonated as the two-car convoy of Iranian and Hizballah officers drove by. There were no survivors.
Those sources also refute reports that the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusrah fighting with the Syrian rebels claimed responsibility for the attack. This was a rare occasion when no Syrian opposition group issued any statement at all, they said. The speed with which Syrian army helicopters flew in to remove the casualties indicated their high rank.
In the view of a Jordanian military source, this attack by an unknown hand has delayed Bashar Assad’s advanced preparations for an all-out armored offensive to finally crush the revolt against his regime. His first targets were to have been the rebel-held villages along the Israeli and Jordanian borders.
The Syrian ruler was working to a plan of operations his generals had drawn up with Iranian Al Qods Brigades strategists.
Saturday, Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that Iran would consider any attack on Syria an attack on itself: "Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance [against Israel]… For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies."
Meanwhile in Iran itself, the Fordo underground uranium enrichment plant was again reported targeted for sabotage, according to an unconfirmed report published by Reza Kahlil, who is described as a former Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer who worked under cover as a double agent for the CIA until he escaped to the United States.
Kahlil reported that at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 21, the day before Israel’s general elections, a large explosion occurred 100 meters deep inside the underground plant, trapping 240 nuclear staff in the third centrifuge chamber. Among them, he said, were Iranian and Ukrainian technicians.
There was no information about casualties or the extent of damage to the 2,700 centrifuges which have been turning out 20-percent enriched uranium.
Khalil cited his source as Hamidreza Zakeri, a former Iranian Intelligence Ministry agent, who said the regime believes the blast was sabotage and the explosives could have reached the area disguised by the CIA as equipment imported for the site or defective machinery.
None of the information about an explosion at Fordo has been verified either by US officials or regime sources in Tehran.
Thursday, Jan. 24, Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi ceremonially promoted Col. G., commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal, to the rank of major general in recognition of his unit’s “outstanding covert operations.”