Ali Shirazi, representative of Ayatollah Khamenei to Iran's Qods Force, claims Israel could not win "war of attrition" against Islamic Republic, says Israel is desperate, "close to annihilation."
Photo: REUTERS/Fars News
Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Shirazi, the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the Islamic Republic’s Qods Force, said this week that Iran needed just “24 hours and an excuse” to destroy Israel.In his first public interview in a year, reported in the Persian-language Jahan News, which is close to the regime, Shirazi said if Israel attacked Iran, the Islamic Republic would be able to turn the conflict into a war of attrition that would lead to Israel’s destruction.
“If such a war does happen, it would not be a long war, and it would benefit the entire Islamic umma . We have expertise in fighting wars of attrition and Israel cannot fight a war of attrition,” Shirazi said, referring to Iran’s eight-year war of attrition against Iraq.Khamenei appointed Shirazi a year ago as his representative to the Qods Force, the highly secretive extraterritorial wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which reports directly to Khamenei.The Qods Force, whose exact size is unknown, is responsible for IRGC operations outside Iran, including in Syria.In August, the US Department of the Treasury identified the Qods Force as “a conduit for Iran’s material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate,” and in 2011 designated Qods Force commander Maj.-Gen. Ghassem Suleimani as a terrorist for his personal support of the Syrian regime.In his interview, Shirazi said that Israel was “close to annihilation” and wanted to attack Iran as an act of desperation.“Are our enemies intelligent, wise or foolish? They are foolish. It’s also possible that they will do this foolish thing . Why do we sometimes say this is the strongest probability? Because today the Israelis are telling us that ‘we are not the Israel of yesterday, we are getting weaker day by day and the Islamic Republic is getting stronger day by day,’” he added.“Well, when Israel finds itself in danger of extinction, it flails around, and so it’s easy for it to do foolish things and will start a war just to sting Iran.”Shirazi’s remarks echo those of other senior Iranian military leaders, who have repeatedly threatened to respond to any attack by the US and its allies on its nuclear facilities by engaging in a war of attrition.Iran has also repeatedly paraded what it claims are advances in military technologies, including in ballistic missile technologies, which could be used in such a war.Significantly, in his interview, Shirazi also denied reports that Suleimani had been killed in the July 18 bombing in Damascus, which killed several of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s top aides.“There was too much talk in the media, which even said that Suleimani was involved in the conflict and in the bombing in Syria, and some even said that he was killed,” Shirazi said. “But Suleimani wasn’t in Syria; on that day, he was in Iran.”Although Suleimani has not appeared in public since the bombing, the Iranian state media later published what it claimed to be a photograph of the Qods Force leader attending a July 24 address by Khamenei.And while a spokesman for the IRGC also dismissed reports of Suleimani’s death, around 10 day ago the Iranian Students’ News Agency published what it alleged was a 1989 interview with the Qods Force commander that included extremely detailed biographical information – an unusual move, especially given that little is known about Suleimani.Ali Alfoneh, an expert on the IRGC from the American Enterprise Institute, questioned why the Islamic Republic would allow its media to release such private information now.“Is Suleimani really dead and is this article an attempt to beatify a martyr? It may take some time before we will know the answer, but one thing is for sure: If Suleimani indeed was killed in Damascus, the regime would not admit it.“The regime is therefore likely to stage Suleimani’s assassination by an obscure terrorist organization inside of Iran.Helping the Assad regime to kill women and children in Syria is hardly a legacy the state propaganda machine wishes for its martyr,” Alfoneh wrote.
Kenyan army’s outstanding victory over Al Qaeda’s Somali Shabaab. Israeli advisers helped
DEBKAfileExclusive ReportOctober 1, 2012, 8:40 AM (GMT+02:00)
The epic battle for Kismayo
The Kenyan army has captured Somalia’s Indian Ocean port of Kismayo, driving Al Qaeda’s Somali franchise Al Shabaab out of its last strategic stronghold, the key to controlling southern Somalia. The small Kenyan army, navy and air force fought to victory Saturday, Sept. 29, after a year-long ground, sea and air offensive.
Fearing the Shabaab was feigning defeat and lurking in the town’s alleys to strike back, Kenyan warships backed by the French Navy shelled suspected terrorist hideouts in Kismayo Sunday.
Kismayo was Nairobi’s prime goal when exactly a year ago, the Kenyan army launched its drive into Somalia following the failure of UN-backed intervention for ridding Somalia of the Islamist terrorists long plaguing the country.
With a population of 200,000, Kismayo, which lies 328 miles southwest of Mogadishu near the mouth of the Jubba River, is the commercial capital of the autonomous Jubalanand region of Somalia which abuts on Kenya.
Very few Western military experts rated the Kenyan army of only 60,000 soldiers capable of routing the hard-bitten 25,000 Shabaab militants and capturing a sizeable region of Somalia – a feat which famously defeated US elite forces in 1993 in Mogadishu and forced the Ethiopian army to retreat with heavy losses in 2006.
But, although Washington and Paris denied any role in the East African conflict, US did contribute to the Kenyan effort with drones gathering intelligence for the Kenyan army and guiding the aim of its artillery, while French battle and supply ships operating out of Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa dropped supplies, ammo and fresh Kenyan reinforcements on the Somali coast.
Even more tight-lipped were Jerusalem and Nairobi about Israel’s substantial contribution to the Kenyan war effort to push al Qaeda’s affiliate far from its borders.According to debkafile’s exclusive counterterrorism sources, Israeli military assistance to Kenya came in three forms: 1. Israeli military officers advised in the planning of Kenyan field operations. They recommended systematic special ops raids behind Shabaab lines to generate disarray in enemy ranks instead of rapid advances to seize large tracts of territory.2. Israel supplied Nairobi with the weapons appropriate for these tactics, including drones and field intelligence equipment.
3. Israeli intelligence, police and special ops specialists in counter-terrorism counseled Kenyan internal security authorities on security in the big towns.
From Day 1 of Kenya’s operation in Somalia, the Al Qaeda Somali militia threatened to stage mega attacks on Nairobi and Mombasa, the Kenyan army’s chief port for delivering war supplies. This threat was staved off with the help of Israeli counter terror experts who assisted the authorities in the two towns. The jihadists were reduced to comparatively small-scale attacks with minimal casualties, such as lobbing grenades and shooting up road traffic.
In the latest such attack, one Kenyan child was killed and three seriously hurt by a grenade lobbed into the St Polycarp church’s Sunday school in Nairobi Sunday, Sept. 30.
Israeli-Kenyan friendship goes back a long way, but this was the first time Israel’s military, intelligence, counterterrorism and police officers were to fill a direct role in any concerted offensive against al Qaeda outside its borders.
Kenya’s military feat has put the al Qaeda franchise on the run, forcing its terrorists to choose between putting distance between themselves and southern Somalia or being picked off by Kenyan forces hunting them down.East Africa can start looking forward to a better future. Nairobi has pledged substantial investment in the development of Kismayo and its port facilities, while also forging ahead with plans to build a big modern port at its own Indian Ocean town of Lamu.
With the removal of the al Qaeda menace from its borders, Kenya sees the rise of three important East African sea outlets at Mombasa, Lamu and Kismayo. All three will also provide the US, France and Israel with strategic military, naval and air bases, in position to block Iran’s scramble for expansion into the Indian Ocean and along the shores of East Africa.
Hizbullah Threatens to 'Conquer the Galilee'
A new Hizbullah video highlights the terrorist organization's latest campaign - “liberating the Galilee.”
By David Lev
First Publish: 10/1/2012, 10:35 PM
A new Hizbullah video highlights the terrorist organization's latest campaign - “liberating the Galilee.” On the agenda is Hizbullah's conquering of key sites and cities like tourist centers, refineries, and the Haifa port.
The video was posted on a Hizbullah site Monday, the same day that Israeli Arab politicians led a protest commemorating the deaths of 12 Arabs in 2000, as they rioted and attempted to spread the intifada to northern Israel. The video shows the chief “Zionist settlements” - meaning Jewish towns and cities - in northern Israel, such as Afikim, Ma'alot, and Nahariya. The video also mentions “the principal Palestinian cities in northern Palestine,” including Tzefat, Akko, Tiberias, Haifa, and Nazareth.
Last year, Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah threatened that his organization would try to conquer the Galilee. Nasrallah emerged from hiding for several hours to attend a ceremony in Beirut, where he warned “[Defense Minister Ehud[ Barak, Ashkenazi, and Benny Gantz, that now you must get used to the idea. If you impose a war on Lebanon, our fighters will conquer the Galilee.”
Chief of Staff: War will Knock Lebanon Back by Decades
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz hopes Iranian leaders will scrap nuclear program of their own accord. As for Gaza, he predicts IDF "will visit it."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/6/2012, 9:19 PM
Lt. Gen. Gantz in action.
Israel news photo: Flash 90
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz voiced hope in an interview published Thursday that Iranian leaders will decide to scrap their nuclear arms program of their own accord. He also said that the next war with Lebanon will knock the country back "by decades.""We are more prepared than in the past, we are better than we were in the past, and we will do whatever the political echelon decides after this dialog is over," he said. "A nuclear Iran is not a question of ability, but rather one of decision. This is a global problem. Ultimately, the one who will decide to relinquish the nuclear program is Iran," the Chief of the Staff said in an interview to Halochem magazine, which is published by the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization."Iran is a great nation with tens of millions of residents, universities, economic and scientific capabilities; we can't take that away from them. I think that is a very rich culture that must decide, ultimately, that this is not the way," he added. "I think that ultimately, it will make the decision. The Iranian leadership will decide that the price of sticking with its program is more than it is willing to pay."Lt. Gen. Gantz also discussed the northern border and called the situation in Syria "acute," stating that "the central government is fading, losing power… It is difficult to paint a picture of how the Syria of the future will look. We are closely tracking developments and are prepared for any possible aggression from that direction."Additionally, Gantz addressed the possibility of chemical weapons falling into the hands of the Hizbullah terror organization. "The danger of a loss of control is great, but I would stay level-headed regarding this matter," he said, also warning of the risk of getting pulled into a complex conflict.The Chief of Staff warned Hizbullah against trying to attack Israeli targets. "Today, the IDF is massively more prepared than in the past to carry out a large-scale, multi-dimensional offensive against Hizbullah," he said. "I would not recommend that it try our power. That would hurt it to the point that it would understand with whom it is playing with and with what it is gambling."He added, "If I needed to choose to be an Israeli citizen or a resident of Lebanon, I would quickly choose to be an Israeli citizen, who will receive not only justice in war but also good protection. Lebanon would be knocked back by decades after the next war; I really would not try us."Regarding recent developments in Egypt, the Chief of Staff explained, "That is a state with which we have a peace agreement, and most of the activity that the Egyptians carry out in Sinai, they do with consent. I would not rush to eulogize our peace agreement or to give up on it. It is a strategic asset to both countries."With regard to the Hamas terror organization's control of Gaza, Lt. Gen. Gantz did not rule out the possibility of an offensive to stop the persistent rocket attacks on southern Israel. "I think there will be another offensive campaign in Gaza," he said. "The State of Israel decided to disengage from Gaza and not to stay there, but that does not mean that we don't need to go back to visit – if and when there is a need."
Number 2 US Military Chief in ‘Secret’ Talks with Barak
The vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff met Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak amid rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/6/2012, 6:39 PM
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Israel News photo: Flash 90
The vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James Winnefeld, met Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday, one week after U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey was quoted alas saying that if Israel wants to attack Iran, "I don't want to be complicit” in it. The U.S. Defense Department and the Israeli Defense Ministry admitted that Barak and Winnefeld met on Thursday and even provided pictures – but no details, AFP reported."The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in Israel as part of a previously scheduled counterpart visit with Israeli Deputy Chief of the General Staff Major-General Yair Naveh," Winnefeld's office said in a statement out of Washington."While there, Admiral Winnefeld will participate in a series of discussions on mil-to-mil (military-to-military) cooperation and mutual defense issues impacting both Israel and the United States," it said.The meeting had been secret until Army Radio exposed it earlier on Thursday, reporting that Winnefeld was in the country at the invitation of his counterpart, Naveh.It was not immediately clear when Winnefeld arrived, but he was expected to leave later on Thursday.Army Radio said the visit had been kept under wraps because of political sensitivities between Israel and Washington over how to handle Tehran's nuclear program, which both governments suspect is designed to build atomic weapons.Next week, Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, currently the commander of the U.S. Third Air Force, reportedly will visit Israel in advance of a scaled-down joint military drill between the two armies next month.The United States has cut approximately two-thirds the number of American troops who were supposed to participate, but officials maintain that the reduction has nothing to do with disagreements over how to respond to Iran's disputed nuclear program.Israeli leaders have been flooding the media the past months with proclamations that the “window of opportunity” to strike Iran is rapidly closing, while a large number of military, political and public figures have adopted the Obama administration view against a strike before next year, at the earliest.
Turkish officers take command of Syrian rebel brigades. N. Israel on alert
DEBKAfileExclusive ReportSeptember 6, 2012, 10:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
Syrian rebels under Turkish command
Turkish army officers have assumed direct command of the first two Syrian rebel brigades fighting Bashar Assad’s government forces, according to debkafile’s exclusive sources. This step has sent military tensions rocketing on Israel’s northern borders with Syria and Lebanon in case of a backlash.
The rebel North Liberators Brigade in the Idlib region of northern Syria and the Tawhid Brigade fighting in the Al-Bab area northeast of Aleppo are now taking their operational orders from Turkish officers, who exercise their authority from headquarters outside Syria in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. Nonetheless, Turkey is considered to have stepped directly into the Syrian conflict marking the onset of foreign intervention.
Western and Arab military circles in the Middle East expect Turkey to extend its command to additional rebel units – not all of them part of the Free Syrian Army.
This first step has already caused waves.1. The consequences of Turkish military action in Syria were urgently aired with CIA Director David Petraeus when he arrived in Ankara Monday, Sept. 3, debkafile’s intelligence sources reveal. After hearing how and when Ankara proposed to expand its role in the Syrian conflict, Petraeus discussed with Turkish military and intelligence chiefs the likely Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah responses.
He then flew to Israel to continue the discussion there.2. By then, US, Turkish and Israeli intelligence watchers were reporting unusual military movements in Syria and on Hizballah turf in southern Lebanon – suspected of being preparations for a blowback from the Turkish intervention in Syria.
3. The IDF countered by placing its units guarding the Syrian and Lebanese borders on a state of alert. Wednesday, Sept. 5, an Iron Dome battery was installed in Gush Dan to head off a potential Hizballah missile barrage on central Israel and its hub, Tel Aviv.4. Later that day, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan commented: "The regime in Syria has now become a terrorist state."Only a few of Erdogan's listeners understood he was laying international legal grounding for expanding Turkish military intervention in Syria.debkafile's military sources report that Thursday, Sept. 6, military temperatures remained high-to-feverish along Syria's borders with Turkey and Israel, and along Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel.
US congressman confirms sharp exchange between PM, US envoy
Republican Mike Rogers says Netanyahu expressed "elevated concerns" over Iranian threat to US ambassador Shapiro, adds Israelis "at wits' end," feeling window for impacting Iranian program closing.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro did engage in a sharp, undiplomatic exchange last Friday over the Israeli leader's frustration with the Obama Administration's Iran policy, the US congressman in that meeting said Thursday.Republican Congressman Mike Rogers from Michigan, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, told a Michigan radio station that the "sharp exchange" was "unusual to say the least."
According to transcribed segments of the interview that appeared on Jeffrey Goldberg's blog, Rogers – when asked whether it was inaccurate to say the exchange was a shouting match – replied that "there were elevated concerns on behalf of the Israelis."Pressed whether he had ever experienced anything like that before, he said, "We've had sharp exchanges with other heads of state and in intelligence services and other things, but nothing at that level that I've seen in all my time where people were clearly that agitated, clearly that worked up about a particular issue where there was a very sharp exchange."Yedioth Ahronoth published on its front page last Friday a report of the exchange, saying that "sparks flew" during the meeting. Two days later Shapiro went on Channel 2 and denied the story, characterizing it as a "silly" report that "did not reflect what actually occurred in the meeting."Rogers said that it was "very, very clear" from the meeting that the Israelis "had lost their patience with the administration. There was no doubt.""Right now the Israelis don't believe that the US administration is serious when they say that all options are on the table, and more importantly neither do the Iranians. That's why the program is progressing," he said. Rogers said that he walked out of the meeting feeling that Israel was a "wits' end," and feeling that the window for impacting the Iranian program was starting to close.The Michigan Republican said that what was apparent was "a lot of frustration with the lack of clarity and the uncertainty" about the US administration's position on the Iranian issue."And that's what I think I saw across the Middle East," he added. "The uncertainty about where the United States' position is on those questions has created lots of problems and anxiety that I think doesn't serve the world well and doesn't serve peace well."
Reservoir, approximately 1/10th of Olympic swimming pool, is first evidence that water was available next to Temple.
Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority
When a floor begins to give way in one the 2,000 year old tunnels underneath the Old City during excavations, archaeologists get excited. Holes in the floor can be dangerous, but they’re also a sign that there are even more layers of history underneath waiting to be discovered.Recently, when part of the floor collapsed in a massive underground drainage ditch deep below the Western Wall, as archaeologists were taking it apart to see how the floor was constructed, they could barely contain themselves. They were so excited to see what was down there that they couldn’t wait for additional lighting, and used their cell phones to see what they had found. Chief Architect Eli Shukron, who has been digging around Jerusalem for 25 years, was his first to stick his head in the hole. He was blown away by the size of the room they uncovered.
Based on previous research and excavations in the area, Shukron was immediately convinced they had stumbled on an enormous underground well from the First Temple Period. The finding is significant because it is the first evidence of stored water next to the Temple. Previously, experts believed that pilgrims and residents used to hike to the Gihon Spring, located in a wadi at the bottom of the City of David park, in order to get water for rituals and daily life around the First Temple. “It gives us an opportunity to understand their day to day life,” said Shukron on Thursday. The reservoir measures 12m x 5m x 4.5m and can hold approximately 250 cubic meters of water. It’s roughly the tenth of the size of an Olympic swimming pool, which holds 2,500 cubic meters of water. Shukron dates the reservoir from the First Temple period because it uses the same type of plaster as other reservoirs in the Gihon Springs area from the same time period. He is fairly certain that the reservoir was a public reservoir because the private wells could only hold a few dozen cubic meters of water. While the reservoir was in use, spring water running downhill from the Temple Mount would have seeped through one side of the reservoir and filled the entire room to capacity. On Thursday, a pool of fresh water was still standing at the bottom in one of the corners, even though it is the end of summer.Dr. Tvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist of the Nature and Parks Authority and an expert on ancient water systems, said the reservoir was similar to ones found in Beit Shemesh and Beer Sheva during the same time period. “Presumably the large water reservoir, which is situated near the Temple Mount, was used for the everyday activities of the Temple Mount itself and also by the pilgrims who went up to the Temple and required water for bathing and drinking,” he said. The excavations were carried out by Israel Antiquities Authority, funded by the Ir David Foundation, and with the support of Nature and Parks Authority.
Even today, the handprints from the laborers who added the plaster are still visible. The reservoir’s discovery was presented on Thursday at the 13th annual conference on the “City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem,” which discuses findings from the past year in the City of David archaeological park.The drainage channels underneath the Western Wall plaza are part of a giant engineering project undertaken in the Second Temple Period. Even the debris filling the water channels contains unique discoveries: shards of pottery dating back 2,000 years, an ornamental golden bell that possibly belonged to a Cohain (high priest), and seals, one of which offered the first written reference to Bethlehem
Gaza terrorists continued their attacks over the Sabbath, hitting southern Israel dozens of times.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/23/2012, 9:13 PM
Rocket vicitm at Barzali Hospital (archives)
Gaza terrorists continued to fire on Israel over the Sabbath. The Iron Dome rocket defense system successfully shot down 5 rockets, but more than 20 hit southern communities.
One rocket hit a factory in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. A worker was moderately wounded.
Another rocket hit a school in Sderot, causing damage to the building. School was not in session, and no injuries were reported.
Israeli warplanes fired on a terrorist as he prepared to launch a rocket. Pilots reported a hit. Sources in Gaza confirmed that the man was killed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and other senior defense officials to discuss the situation. He ordered them to take strong action to restore security to the south.
PM to security chiefs: Act strongly to protect the South
By JPOST.COM STAFF
LAST UPDATED: 06/23/2012 20:32
Netanyahu holds briefing with Barak, Gantz over continued Gaza violence, southern Israel; Hamas: Cease fire to take effect within hours; Kassam injures Sderot man; Palestinians report 2 dead, 30 injured in IAF strikes.
Later Saturday evening, Hamas said that an Egyptian-brokered cease fire between Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip and Israel was expected to take effect Saturday night, Channel 10 reported.IDF officials responded to the report saying "quiet will be answered with quiet and fire will be answered with fire," according to the report.Palestinians have fired over 23 rockets from Gaza into Israel since midnight.The IAF struck a rocket-launching cell in the northern Gaza Strip making final preparations to launch projectiles into Israel Saturday evening, the IDF Spokesman's Office said. Palestinian reports said one person was killed and ten were injured in the strikeEarlier Saturday, the IAF struck another Palestinian terrorist who was preparing to launch a rocket into Israeli territory from northern Gaza, the IDF stated. Medical officials in Gaza said at least 30 people were injured in IAF strikes Saturday.In the earlier strike, the IDF said it recorded a direct hit and thwarted a rocket launch. A video released by the IDF Spokesman's office showed the targeting and attack of a man it said was an operative of the Popular Resistance Committees.The air strike followed a barrage of rockets fired into southern Israel Saturday morning, injuring one man and causing damage to a school and factory in Sderot.The wounded man, approximately 50 years old, suffered moderate-to-severe injuries after being struck by shrapnel in the neck and stomach. He was rushed to Barzilai Medical Center and was fully conscious. Two other residents suffered shock in the Palestinian attack."Israel cannot remain silent in the face of continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip," Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i said earlier Saturday during a visit to the afflicted areas of Sderot and the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council area.Vilna'i also paid a visit to the IDF's Gaza Division for an operational review of recent events. "We hold Hamas fully responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza ," Vilani said during the visit. "Israel is working, and will continue to work with a heavy hand against those terrorists that want to escalate the situation in the region."The minister stressed that, "the state attaches great importance to protecting the cities that lay within a radius of 4.5 to 7 km. of the Gaza Strip."Hamas's armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, released a statement Saturday warning Israel over the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, saying if Israeli airstrikes continue "we are ready to smash [Israel's] arrogance."Israeli attacks, a statement published online by the group said, are a crime which Hamas cannot remain silent about and vowed a "proper" response.Palestinians have fired over twenty rockets from Gaza into southern Israel since midnight on Friday, police said. Fifteen of those landed in the Lachish region, and five in the Negev. One rocket hit and damaged a school in Sderot. No injuries were reported. The Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted five of the rockets. 11 rockets were fired toward the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, Channel 10 reported. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent round of rockets.Earlier, the IDF denied Palestinian reports that an IAF strike on Gaza had killed a four-year-old-boy and wounded seven others on Saturday. Quoting Gazan Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra, Palestinians news agency Ma'an reported that Israeli fire killed the boy in the Abasan neighborhood east of Khan Younis. The IDF denied any connection to the incident and stated that the IAF had not carried out any further strikes between the early morning and Saturday afternoon.
In light of the recent wave of rockets, the IDF instructed residents in the area to stay within 15 seconds of protected spaces. In a conversation with Army Radio, Sderot Mayor David Buskila called on the government to return quiet to the region.The violence all but erases diplomatic progress made in the form of an informal ceasefire brokered by Egypt on June 20, which brought two days of relative quiet to southern Israel.Early Saturday morning, the IAF struck three Palestinian terror bases in the Gaza Strip in response to continued Palestinians rocket firing into Israel. Palestinian media reported that between 17 and 21 people were wounded in the strike - the third of its kind since Friday, which according to the reports have also resulted in the death of at least one terrorist.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report
Iran general: Military strike would be end of Israel
If Israel wants to act illogically, "it is they who will be destroyed," Iran's deputy chief of staff says.
Photo: Baz Ratner / ReutersDUBAI - A high-ranking Iranian general said on Saturday Israeli military action against Iran's nuclear program would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state, Fars news agency reported.Last week's round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Moscow failed to secure a breakthrough, heightening fears Israel might take unilateral military action to curb Iran's nuclear activities.
The two sides agreed to a follow-up meeting of technical experts on July 3, saving the process from outright failure."They cannot do the slightest harm to the (Iranian) revolution and the system," Brigadier-General Mostafa Izadi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, told Fars."If the Zionist regime takes any (military) actions against Iran, it would result in the end of its labors," he added."If they act logically, such threats amount to a psychological war but if they want to act illogically, it is they who will be destroyed."Izadi's comments are an apparent response to Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz's calls for tougher sanctions against Tehran and his indication that military action was still an option.Analysts say Iranian officials use such rhetoric as a way of stoking Western concerns of chaos in the Middle East and the disruption of oil supplies in the event of military action.During negotiations in Moscow the six powers - the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany - demanded Iran scale back its nuclear work and, in particular, stop enriching uranium to levels that could bring it close to making an atom bomb.The demands included the shutting down of the Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility and the shipping of any stockpile out of the country.In return, they offered fuel to keep Iran's medical isotope reactor running, assistance in nuclear safety and an end to a ban on spare parts for Iran's aging civilian aircraft.Iran denies its work has any military purpose and says the powers should offer it relief from sanctions and acknowledge its right to enrich uranium before it meets their demands.
Newly-supplied Russian Pantsyr-1 anti-air missile used to down Turkish warplane
To ambush the Turkish Air Force F-4 Super Phantom Friday, June 22, over Latakia Syria used Russian-made self-propelled medium range anti-air Pantsyr-1 missiles recently supplied by Moscow (not as first reported anti-air Buk-M2 missiles). This weapon can down aircraft flying at altitudes up to 12 kilometers and cruise missiles. The unit responsible for the ambush was the 73rd brigade of the Syrian army’s 26th Air Defense Division.
Since the sophisticated weapons were delivered to the Assad regime in recent weeks, it must be assumed that local missile crews had not finished training in their use and would have had to rely on help from their Russian instructors to fire one.
This would be the first instance in the 15-month Syrian uprising of an advanced Russian-supplied weapon hitting the military target of a NATO member. Hence the comment from Washington by US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland who said: “We’ve seen the reports… We have obviously been in contact with our Turkish ally…. To my knowledge, they haven’t raised this at NATO at this point.”
Ankara has repeatedly threatened to ask NATO to invoke the pact’s article 5 obligating members to come to the aid of a fellow member coming under attack. In this case, however, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s rhetoric was relatively restrained. He vowed to “determinedly take necessary steps” in response “once the incident is fully clarified,” leaving Ankara’s response deliberately vague.
President Abdullah Gul spoke out more strongly: “It is impossible to ignore our fighter jet being shot down by Syria,” he said after Damascus admitted to shooting down the plane, claiming its air defenses acted according to standard procedure before realizing it was a Turkish air force jet. Both are searching for the two missing pilots.
debkafile’s military experts add: This was also the first time in five years any weapons system with Israeli manufacturing input had faced a Russian weapon acquired by Syria.
The first time was September 6, 2007, when Israeli fighter-bombers demolished the Iranian-North Korean-built nuclear reactor in the northern Syrian town of Al-Kibar. Airspace over the reactor was guarded by Russian Pantsyr-S1 anti-air missiles. Israeli bombers got through by disabling the Russian missiles’ radar so that Damascus never realized its reactor was being bombed until it had been smashed and Israeli bombers were home.Five years later, Turkey has lost a Super Phantom which had undergone partial upgrading by the Israeli Aerospace Industry. However, two years ago, Ankara broke off its security and military ties with Jerusalem after a clash at sea between Turkish Mavi Marmara and Israel troops wich intercepted the vessel on its way to break Israel’s Gaza blockade, leaving nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead.
By severing those ties, the Erdogan government left Israel’s improvements unfinished and the Turkish air force’s F-4 short of counter-measures for evading or attacking the latest Russian-made air defense weapons fired by Syria.
According to, debkafile’s military sources waylaying a Turkish military plane over the sea was therefore a simple matter for the new Pantsyr-1.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan admitted Saturday that the jet was shot down over the Mediterranean around 13 kilometers west of the Syrian port of Latakia. He did not explain what a Turkish bomber fighter was doing over Syrian territorial waters, but the suggestion, which Western military sources have confirmed, was that Turkish military jets have lately been carrying out almost daily reconnaissance flights over the Syrian coast. Moscow and Damascus apparently decided it was time to stop the missions which among other things spied on the Russian arms supplies transiting Russian bases at the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia.
More than 120 missiles on southern Israel this week This week's round of terrorist aggression emanating from the Gaza Strip saw more than 120 mortar shells, short-range rockets and medium-range missiles slam into southern Israel.The attacks began late Monday, following a similar missile attack from the Egyptian Sinai. Israeli commentators believe Hamas and other allied terror groups in Gaza have been encouraged by Muslim Brotherhood claims of victory in Egypt's presidential election.Some one million Israelis live within missile range of Gaza, so every attack, especially those against larger towns like Ashkelon and Beersheva, send large numbers of men, women and children scrambling for bomb shelters. The severe negative psychological effect on Israeli children living in the area has been documented, but largely ignored by the media.Miraculously, all those rockets and missiles have resulted in only 11 injuries, all of them coming from a direct strike on a building near Ashkelon where Israeli border policemen were gathered.Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, lamented the weak response to the rocket fire by the international community, which is always quick to issue strident condemnations of Israel when its actions endanger Palestinian lives.The unfortunate reality is that the world, and especially the mainstream media, simply is not interested in the bombardment of Jewish population centers until either a large number of Israelis are hurt or killed, or Israeli reprisals result in large Palestinian casualty figures.