Saturday 28 July 2012

Israel, U.K. worried about “anniversary” Olympic attack by Iranian agents

Forty years ago, during the Munich Summer Olympic Games, terrorists belonging to the Palestinian Black September organization entered the Olympic Village, kidnapped members of the Israeli Olympic team, then killed eleven of them and injured twenty more during a botched German rescue operation.

Fighter Jets ready against Terror at London Olympic
In the immediate aftermath of the killing, Gold Meir, then Israel’s prime minister, instructed the Mossad to launch a campaign – code-named Operation Wrath of God and carried out by the Mossad’s Bayonet unit, which specializes in covert operations – to take out all those involved in the killing of the Israeli athletes.

It took nearly seven years, but the Mossad killed them all: each and every one of those members of Black September who survived the initial Munich attack (a few did, were sentenced to jail terms, but were soon released after the German government exchanged them for German citizens kidnapped and held for ransom by Black September), and those who planned and ordered the attack.

The last one to be killed was Ali Hassan Salameh, nicknamed the Red Prince, who was the wealthy and flamboyant scion of an upper-class Palestinian family (his father commanded Palestinian forces during the 1948-49 Israel’s war of independence – the Palestinians call it “naqba,” or “catastrophe” – and was killed during fighting around Jerusalem). The son, before assuming leadership of Black September, was commander of Force 17, Yasser Arafat’s personal security squad. He was killed by a powerful car bomb on a Beirut street on 22 January 1979.

There were innocent bystanders who got caught in the determined, ruthless Operation Bayonet: In an embarrassment to the Mossad, in what became known as the Lillehammer affair, six Israeli operatives were arrested in July 1973 in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer for the murder of Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Moroccan waiter. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Ali Hassan Salameh, and the Mossad agents, who were convinced he was Salameh, shot him while he was walking back home with his pregnant wife. There were diplomatic protestations from Norway and other Scandinavian and Baltic states, whose false passports the Mossad agents were using during the operation, as well as major operational disruptions of Mossad covert activities in northern Europe, but things soon were smoothed over.

Israel never officially took responsibility for the operation, but it quietly paid $283,000 to the widow of Bouchiki, and $118,000 to his son from a previous marriage.

Iran has built a vast network of terrorist sleeper cells in Europe and on other continents, which it intends to activate, for example, in a campaign of retaliation in the event of a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The cells are manned by members of the Iranian Quds Force, an elite international operations unit within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and by Hezbollah operatives. A member of such a cell in Sofia, Bulgaria, last Wednesday detonated a powerful bomb next to a bus carrying Israeli tourists to the sea resort town of Burgas, killing six and injuring thirty-five.

Israel is worried that Iran would activate some of its cells in the United Kingdom for a 40-year “anniversary attack” on Israeli athletes or spectators in the London Summer Olympics, which opens this weekend.

Israeli, U.S., and European intelligence services have noted a recent sharp, and unusual, increase in the rate at which Iran has been activating cells from its global network: since May 2011, Israeli intelligence, in cooperation with intelligence services of other countries, has been successful in thwarting at least twenty terrorist attempts by Iranian or Hezbollah operatives in several countries – the last two in Cyprus and South Africa.

The Bulgaria attack was a rare success for Iran in its covert war against Israel.

The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that following the Bulgaria attack, Israel has upped its level of security around its Olympic delegation. The report also said Israel had dispatched to Europe a team of agents from its Mossad foreign intelligence services — the paper says that the operatives Israel has sent to Europe are members of the Mossad’s Bayonet unit — to track down militants planning such an assault attack in conjunction with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and the Quds Force, the special operations unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

AFP quotes Amos Gilad, head of policy at Israel’s Defense Ministry, who dismissed the Sunday Times report as fiction. “Intelligence doesn’t work like that, you don’t suddenly send dozens of agents to chase phantoms,” he told Israel’s army radio. “There has to be precise information and a rigorous collection of information,” he said, describing it as “ant’s work.”

We have to keep cool headed and balanced. There are attempts by Hezbollah and Iran in all sorts of countries, but.. we must try and keep a sense of proportion, despite the difficulty of the situation.”
Israel Olympic team has thirty-eight members.

Source: Homeland Security News Wire


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