Barak: Israel working to prevent terror at Olympics

Defense minister says British services leading intelligence and operational vigilance ahead of the Olympics.

July 22, 2012 17:56
2 minute read.
Security at London Olympics

Security at London Olympics 370 (R). (photo credit: Luke MacGregor / Reuters)


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Israel is working together with British and other foreign intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks on the sidelines of the Olympic Games that will begin later this week in London, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday.

Barak’s comments came after a report in the Sunday Times claimed that the Mossad had dispatched dozens of agents to Europe to hunt down Caucasian converts to Islam who are allegedly planning terror attacks against Israel’s Olympic delegation.

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Barak downplayed the report, however, saying Israel was always vigilant ahead of the Olympics and clearly remembered the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich games 40 years ago.

The Olympic Games, he said, were a “natural target.”

“There is definitely intelligence and operational vigilance ahead of the Olympics,” Barak said during a visit to the IDF’s Tel Hashomer recruitment center. “This is mostly being led by British services, which are working together with intelligence agencies from around the world to minimize the chance that something will happen during the Olympics.”

Barak’s senior aide, Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, said in a radio interview that the report that dozens of Mossad agents had been sent to Europe was not true. “Intelligence doesn’t work that way,” Gilad told Army Radio, saying “you don’t send dozens of agents to hunt down ghosts.”

Gilad did confirm that there have been threats and attempts to harm Israelis throughout the world by Iran and Hezbollah.

Speaking of the terror attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last week, the defense minister said Israel was working together with additional countries to identify and capture the perpetrators.

“It is clear that this was a Hezbollah operation,” he said.

The Times report claimed that the Mossad was hunting for operatives from Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force and said one of them was carrying a US passport under the name of David Jefferson.

US identification papers were also found on the suicide bomber who blew up an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria on Wednesday, killing five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.

On Sunday, the Bulgarian media said police were looking for at least two more suspects who may have helped carry out the bombing last week. The men were at the airport during the attack but have not yet been apprehended.

One of the accomplices is believed to have served as a back-up for the suicide bomber and would have replaced him had the plot gone awry. The second accomplice, the Bulgarian press said, was supposed to shoot the other two if they were arrested by police or became frightened and decided to surrender.

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