The time when Israeli intel, CIA caught mega-arms boat and changed history

“Everything you say is well and good, but we have no boat!” IDF Lt. Col. Naval Intelligence Counter-terror chief Yaron* exclaimed in frustration to his deputy, IDF Maj. Gal*.

Gal* (full names kept secret to prevent identification) had just updated him on the first intelligence breakthrough in the Karine A Affair, which would eventually change history.
In the affair, the IDF navy and air force units captured a large Palestinian Authority owned freighter in the predawn hours of January 3, 2002. The freighter was loaded with 50 tons of weapons, including long range rockets, from Iran with assistance from Hezbollah.

Had the weapons gotten through to PA President Yasser Arafat, he could have targeted larger cities like Ashkelon and possibly even Ben Gurion Airport with rockets, changing the entire balance of war and peace in the region.

The full riveting intelligence backstory about uncovering the well-concealed plot and finding (just barely) the phantom boat, included work between Israeli intelligence and the CIA. The story is being told now for the first time after its declassification by Israeli intelligence for a Hebrew book, also sponsored by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, about to come out called Drama in the Red Sea by retired IDF Brig. Gen. Amos Gilboa.

The Jerusalem Post recently interviewed Gilboa and received a copy of the book prior to its full release next month.

Israeli naval intelligence officers Yaron and Gal were speaking sometime between October 3-8, 2001 after having worked since August 15, 2001 on trying to put together a puzzle of some sort of major PA-related arms smuggling development.

Gal had just read on his closed-network computer intelligence reports that ship captain Omar Akawi, a lieutenant-colonel in the PA’s Coastal Police, was working in Sudan with Adel Mughrabi, a senior PA figure close to Arafat. Akawi, as well as Riad Abdullah, a top ship operator and a crew of eight Egyptians, were running PA weapons-smuggling operations.

Gal had deduced that Mughrabi’s involvement meant that the PA was involved in the smuggling operation at the highest levels and that others involved had connections to Iran and Hezbollah.

Next, based on Akawi and Abdullah’s involvement and the existence of a crew of at least 10 people, Gal knew that the PA planned to smuggle the weapons by sea using a large commercial ship.

Read More: J Post

Iran deal ‘not much of an agreement’ after missile test, Trump says

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US President Donald Trump said Iran’s test-firing of a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel called into question the landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran Saturday, and accused the Islamic Republic of working with North Korea on its weapons program.

The comments came after Iran said it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile, in defiance of warnings from Washington that it is ready to ditch the nuclear deal over the issue.

“Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump has threatened several times in recent months to scrap and/or amend the agreement, saying that Iran’s missile program could give it the technical know-how for a delivery system for a nuclear warhead when a sunset clause in the deal expires in 2025.

Officials have also reportedly harbored suspicions of links between Tehran and Pyongyang, with Iran using North Korea to skirt inspections on its nuclear program and the countries sharing nuclear and missile know-how, though no cooperation has ever been confirmed. North Korea has openly challenged Trump by testing missiles and nuclear warheads, leading to a standoff between Pyongyang and Washington.

Trump is due to report to Congress on October 15 on whether or not he believes Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. If he decides that it is not, it could open the way for renewed US sanctions and perhaps the collapse of the agreement. Trump said on Wednesday he had made his decision, but was not yet ready to reveal it.

Earlier Saturday night, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called the Iranian test a provocation to the United States and a threat to the whole world.

Read More: Times of Israel

Netanyahu praises work of IDF rescue team in Mexico

Netanyahu praises work of IDF rescue team in Mexico

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday spoke with the head of the Israeli rescue delegation in Mexico, hours after the country was struck by a second earthquake.

In his phone call with David Mizrachi, the head of the IDF mission, Netanyahu wished the soldiers a happy Jewish new year and said they were doing a “mitzvah” — a good deed — by assisting in the rescue efforts after the first earthquake earlier this week, in which over 300 people were killed.

“You are shining Israel’s light in the world, a big light,” he said. “It is important from a humanitarian standpoint and also to show the world the true Israel.”

“You are making the State of Israel very proud,” he said.

In addition to Mizrachi, Netanyahu also spoke with Israel’s Ambassador to Mexico Yoni Peled. The two updated Netanyahu on the efforts of the Israeli rescue team.

The 71-member Israeli delegation from the Home Front Command arrived in Mexico on Thursday, some 48 hours after the 7.1-magnitude quake hit. Two Israeli aid organizations — IsraAID and iAid — also sent delegations to help with the search and rescue efforts.

On Friday, the Israeli rescue workers were greeted with spontaneous applause in the streets of a Mexican town, in a show of gratitude for the team’s efforts to aid in the search for survivors following a devastating earthquake Tuesday.

In a video published by Channel 2, dozens of individuals, some waving Mexican flags, can be seen cheering the Israeli rescue team as the delegation crosses their path in a town hit by the earthquake.

The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday that the 71-member delegation was made up of a small search and rescue team, with a majority being engineers who would help assess the structural integrity of buildings in Mexico City and other affected areas.

Locals rescuers said the Israeli teams came with equipment enabling them to detect cell phone signals in the rubble.

Israel did not set up a field hospital yet, but the army has said this could be added in the future.

Israel is often one of the first countries to send humanitarian delegations to countries hit by natural disasters.

Read more: Times of Israel

 

Iran unveils missile that can reach Israel, carry multiple warheads

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TEHRAN (AFP) — President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Friday that Iran would boost its ballistic missile capabilities despite criticism from the United States and also France.

His comments came as Iran displayed a new missile at a military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

“Whether you like it or not, we are going to strengthen our military capabilities which are necessary for deterrence,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers his speech during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, on September 22, 2017 in Tehran. (AFP/stringer)

“We will strengthen not only our missiles but also our air, land and sea forces… When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission.”

Criticism by the Donald Trump administration of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, including the United States, has focused heavily on Tehran’s continuing missile program.

Tehran says that the missiles are entirely legitimate under the terms of the deal as they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

At the UN on Wednesday, Rouhani said Iran has never sought nuclear weapons, and that its military arsenal, including its missiles “are solely defensive deterrence.”

But Washington says they breach the spirit of the agreement as they have the potential to carry a nuclear warhead and has imposed new sanctions over Tehran’s continuing launches and tests.

There has been some sympathy for the US position from France, whose President Emmanuel Macron said the deal could be expanded to ban missile tests and cut a sunset clause in the nuclear agreement that would see Iran resume some uranium enrichment from 2025.

But even he insisted that the core deal not be dumped.

Read More: Times of Israel