Amos Gilad denies 'Times' report on Olympic threat

"You don't send dozens of agents to hunt down ghosts," Defense Ministry official says of report that Mossad is hunting Caucasian agents of Iran, Hezbollah in Europe; UK officials reportedly play down reports.

Security at London Olympics 370 (R) (photo credit: Luke MacGregor / Reuters)
Security at London Olympics 370 (R)
(photo credit: Luke MacGregor / Reuters)
Defense Ministry Diplomatic and Security Bureau head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad on Sunday denied a report in The Sunday Times morning that the Mossad sent dozens of agents to Europe in order to hunt down Caucasian converts to Islam that were allegedly recruited to launch attacks at the London Olympics.
"Intelligence doesn't work that way," Gilad told Army Radio, saying "you don't send dozens of agents hunt down ghosts."
There are, however, threats and attempts to harm Israelis by Iran and Hezbollah, generally, he said.
The Times report cited "reports from Tel Aviv" that the Mossad was hunting Iranian Quds Force and Hezbollah operatives, naming one of the alleged terrorists as man carrying a US passport under the name David Jefferson. It alleged the man was in possession of an explosive device similar to the one used in a terror attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last week.
Along with Gilad, the Times also quoted British security officials who played down the report, saying Israel was likely dispersing information about the threats in order to spur UK officials to increase their security measures for the Israeli Olympic delegation.
Head of the Israeli Olympic delegation in London Efraim Zinger said Sunday that the Olympic village is secure and that the Israeli athletes are receiving special security attention.
Israel is on a list of countries that have threats against them, he told Army Radio, and therefore the athletes are being protected with increased security.
Israel boosted security at El Al airport counters and around embassies across the globe last Thursday amid concern that Iran and Hezbollah are plotting additional attacks in the near future.
On Thursday, officials from the Mossad and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) convened a meeting to discuss future coordination and to assess the threat level in various countries throughout the world.
Defense officials said that specific attention was being given to airports where security was lax and to Israeli tour buses, like the one that was attacked on last week by a suicide bomber in the Bulgarian resort town of Burgas.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.