Cooperating against terror

During its long battle against terrorism, Israel has become a leading expert in counter-terrorism.

July 19, 2012 23:43
3 minute read.
Smoke in Bulgaria bombing

Smoke in Bulgaria bombing 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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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.

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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.

On 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.

One 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 prevented.

One of the ways to enhance such cooperation is via international forums, such as the recently established, US-sponsored Global Counter-terrorism Forum.

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 provides.

And Israel also has much to offer the forum.

During its long battle against terrorism, Israel has become a leading expert in counter-terrorism.

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.

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