A flurry of false Hizballah claims amid rising military tension this week was designed to cover up a direct Israeli hit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards HQ in South Syria, debkafile military and intelligence sources disclose.
Whereas Hizballah reported on July 5 that Israeli helicopters had attacked Syrian army positions near the Golan town of Quneitra, in fact, one of the two Israeli "Tamuz" IDF rockets fired on July 4, in response to stray cross-border Syrian army mortar shells, struck the Syrian Ministry of Finance building near Quneitra, which housed Iranian Guards and Hizballah regional headquarters. An unknown number of Iranian officers were killed as a result.
On July 6, Hizballah sources reported a high level of tension at its east Lebanese outposts in Hasbaya, al-Qarqoub and Mount Hermon, indicating possible preparations to retaliate for the Iranian casualties.
The mortar shells that occasionally stray into Israel are aimed by the Syrian forces in Quneitra at Syrian rebel engineering units, which are digging an anti-tank trench on the town’s southern edge to prevent Syrian tanks from mounting an all-out assault against them (See attached map).
These skirmishes are put in the shade by the dangerous gains by Islamist terrorists in southern Syria.
Both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front have overrun the entire Syrian strip bordering on Israel and Jordan – a distance of 106km from Daraa up to the Druze villages of Mount Hermon.
The Islamists have seized control of this strategic borderland by taking advantage of the fighting between Syrian army and Syrian rebel forces in southern Syria.
Israel and Jordan were also remiss. The IDF and the Jordanian Army were so busy trying to prevent the Syrian army, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah from encroaching on their northern defense lines in northern Jordan and the Golan that they failed to notice the Islamic terrorists creeping up on their borders.
The terrorist presence which Israel finds most alarming is that of the “Khaled Bin Al-Walid Army” – a militia linked to both ISIS and al-Qaeda, which now controls a 36km band bordering on central and southern Golan from south Quneitra to the Jordan-Israel-Syria tri-border area – opposite Hamat Gader and Shaar HaGolan (See map).
The Khaled Bin Al-Walid Army was spawned by a union between the Islamist Liwa Shouada Yarmouk and Mouthana Islamic Movement militias. Its commander is Abu Abdullah al-Madani, a Palestinian from Damascus, who is one of al-Qaeda's veteran fighters. Close to Osama Bin-Laden, he fought with hhimagainst the Americans when they invaded Afghanistan 15 years ago. Ten years ago, he moved to Iraq, still fighting Americans, now alongside the al-Qaeda commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
When al-Qaeda was defeated in Iraq, al-Madani moved to Syria.
debkafile counter terror sources report that this veteran of Islamist terrorism, who is believed to be in touch wit Bin Laden’s successor Ayman al Zawahri, is active in three areas:
1. He is purchasing and stockpiling chemical weapons – a high priced commodity frequently traded among various Syrian rebel organizations.
2. Abu Abdullah al-Madani is recruiting from his militia suicide units for which he is personally training for operations inside Israel. debkafile sources say that his plan is being taken very seriously by Israel security chiefs.
3. He is maintaining operational ties with Al Nusra commanders in the border region, possibly seeking access to the Israeli border through their turf for his chemical weapons and suicide units.