Cooperating against terror
During its long battle against terrorism, Israel has become a leading expert in counter-terrorism.
Smoke in Bulgaria bombing Photo: REUTERS
It was no coincidence that the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria took place on the 18th
anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in
Buenos Aires. The same mullahs responsible for murdering 85 on July 18, 1994,
are most likely the ones behind the bombing that killed seven innocent people –
five of them Israelis. As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted, “all signs
lead to Iran.”
Iran’s spymaster, Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of
the country’s elite overseas units – the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards
– was likely the man behind the Burgas bombing. Over the past year, Iran has
tried repeatedly to carry out a deadly terrorist attack against Israelis
traveling or working abroad, as the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism
Information Center has noted.
In May of last year, there was a failed
attempt to assassinate David Kimchi, the Israeli consul in the heart of
Istanbul. According to Corriere della Sera, three Hezbollah operatives from
Beirut were responsible.
In January, Thai police nabbed Hussein Atris, a
Shi’ite Hezbollah operative from south Lebanon, for planning an attack on a
venue in Bangkok popular with Israelis.
In the same month, Azerbaijan’s
authorities exposed a three-man terrorist cell run by Iran that had planned to
attack the Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan and two Chabad emissaries. An
Iranian “handler” operating in Azerbaijan had reportedly promised $150,000 to
the cell and had equipped them with a sniper rifle with a silencer, three hand
guns with suppressors, and plastic explosives.
Also in January, there was
also an attempt by Iranian and Hezbollah operatives to blow up a busload of
Israeli tourists traveling from Turkey to Bulgaria. But Bulgarian authorities,
apparently with help from Israeli intelligence, managed to foil it.
February 13, a motorcyclist attached an explosive device to the car of our
Defense Ministry representative in New Delhi. Unlike the previous attacks, in
this one someone was wounded: the Defense Ministry representative’s wife. On the
same day, an explosive device was attached to an Israeli Embassy car in Tbilisi,
Georgia. Luckily a Georgian driver who felt the car was dragging something
alerted the police, whose demolition experts neutralized the bomb.
day later, a bomb exploded in a rented apartment in Bangkok near the Israeli
Embassy. The explosion revealed the existence of an Iranian terrorist cell with
at least four operatives. Several were arrested.
After many failed
attempts to take advantage of Israelis’ vulnerability abroad, Iran has managed
to carry out a terrorist attack. Cities like Bangkok, Burgas, New Delhi and
Tblisi lack Israel’s security capabilities. Only through closer international
cooperation can future attacks conceived by the Islamic Republic be
One of the ways to enhance such cooperation is via
international forums, such as the recently established, US-sponsored Global
Unfortunately, in June, when the forum had its
first formal meeting in Istanbul, Israel was conspicuously excluded from the
list of participants, which included Saudi Arabia. Apparently Turkey was opposed
to Israel’s participation, and the US acquiesced or refrained from intervening
on Israel’s behalf. Adding insult to injury, on July 9, while addressing another
meeting of the forum in Madrid, US Undersecretary of State for Democracy and
Global Affairs Maria Otero failed to mention Israel as one of the states that
suffers from terrorism.
The list of attempted terrorist attacks Iran has
staged targeting Israelis traveling abroad, including Wednesday’s murderous
bombing, is ample proof that citizens of the Jewish state are in need of the
sort of international cooperation that US’s newly created forum
And Israel also has much to offer the forum.
long battle against terrorism, Israel has become a leading expert in
Now the US must decide whether or not it will take a
stand against Turkey and other Muslim countries and make Israel a full-fledged
member of its Global Counter-terrorism Forum.