Iranian Revolutionary Guard 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, responsible for operations
overseas, is believed to be in the midst of expanding its activities and
operations in Europe and South America, senior defense officials said this
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The bolstering of the Quds Force’s presence in Europe is understood
within Israel and the US as part of an Iranian effort to deter the Western world
from taking stronger action against its continued development of a nuclear
“By establishing this infrastructure, the Iranians are making
clear that their response to an attack against their nuclear facilities will be
worldwide,” one official said.
The Quds Force is believed to already have
extensive infrastructure in Africa and South America, which it uses to launder
money needed to finance its terrorist activities.
The force was
established shortly after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 with the
objective of exporting the revolution to additional countries and of supporting
Iran’s various terror proxies, such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah. It is
believed to be responsible for the bombing in 1994 against the AMIA Jewish
community center in Buenos Aires.
Israel is concerned that the growing
Quds infrastructure could be used to facilitate terror attacks against Israeli
and Jewish targets overseas, particularly in the coming weeks and ahead of the
fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad
Mughniyeh, attributed to the Mossad.
The upcoming anniversary in late
February prompted the defense establishment to renew its security recently over
former chief of staff Lt.-Gen (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi amid concerns that he could
be targeted by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is believed to be actively seeking
revenge for the assassination, and over the years there have been reports of a
number of plots that were thwarted including an attempt to bomb the Israeli
embassy in Azerbaijan.
Israel recently asked Bulgaria, for example, to
increase its security over Israeli tour groups in the capital city of Sofia.
According to Sofia news agency, a Hezbollah plot was recently uncovered by local
security agencies, which warned Israel.