Envoy Oren retracts tweet tying Iran, Sinai attack

Ambassador to US deletes quote linking Iran to border attack; defense officials blame 'global jihad groups' unconnected to Iran.

Michael Oren 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Michael Oren 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Early Monday morning, Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Oren tweeted the following: “Iranian backed terrorists again struck at our Southern border today killing 15 Egyptian guards and attempting to massacre Israeli civilians Terrorists also shelled Israeli farms and towns along the border.”
By the afternoon though, Oren took the tweet off his Twitter feed. Why? No explanation was given although senior IDF officers said later in the day that Iran did not play a role in the attack and was not a known supporter of the known perpetrators.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak made this clear in his briefing to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee when he said that the attack was carried out by a group somehow affiliated with al-Qaida.
According to intelligence obtained by the IDF, the attackers were global jihad-affiliated operatives – mostly Beduin residents of the Sinai Peninsula.
What connects them, Israeli intelligence believes, is a shared Salafi ideology. The source of funding for the groups operating in the Sinai is is unclear but is understood to not come from Iran or Hezbollah.
By Monday evening, Oren tweeted again, this time accusing “global jihad, a group closely affiliated with al-Qaida.”
So what prompted Oren to immediately tweet that Iran was involved? Also unclear although it might just be the general atmosphere in the Israeli government these days.
Another example of how Iran finds its way into Israel’s other fronts even when it is not connected was provided later in the day by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who toured the scene of the attack and declared: “Israel can only rely on itself… and will continue to do so,” a statement he has made a number of times in recent weeks in reference to his pending decision on a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.