Friday, February 15, 2008

Nasrallah diatribe delares war - IDF on alert - Jews worldwide urged to be on their guard

From DEBKAfile, February 14, 2008, 5:36 PM (GMT+02:00):

...Hassan Nasrallah in a diatribe broadcast at the funeral of the group’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh Thursday, Feb. 18. “I say for the whole world to hear that our war will extend everywhere without restraints. The Lebanon War is not over; there is no ceasefire.”

Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki flew in especially to pay his government’s respects to the dead commander twenty-four hours after a bomb killed the man high on America’s wanted list in Damascus. Thousands of chanting supporters carried the coffin through the streets of Beirut’s southern Shiite stronghold in pouring rain.

Earlier, at the town center, thousands converged on Martyr’s Square to mark three years since the assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri in a demonstration of strength by the pro-Western government. Speakers with one voice blamed Syria and Hizballah for Lebanon’s woes. Some 8,000 Lebanese army and security forces were deployed to keep the rival crowds apart amid the country’s tense political deadlock over the election of a president.

...and from DEBKAfile, February 14, 2008, 4:43 PM (GMT+02:00):

Israel’s army chief orders IDF land, sea and air forces to prepare to defend the country’s northern borders and interests

Defense minister Ehud Barak said the entire national defense system is fully prepared and alert as heavy Israeli reinforcements, including homeland defense units, were rushed Thursday to northern Israel.

Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi gave these orders Thursday, Feb. 14, 24 hours after a bomb killed Hizballah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that he took these unprecedented steps following a stream of incoming intelligence updates reporting that Iran, Syria and Hizballah had decided not to let Mughniyeh’s death pass without an immediate response.

Israeli forces have been placed on the highest level of preparedness against possible Syrian or Hizballah cross-border strikes. Rocket attacks by Hizballah against Israeli civilians are also taken into account, as well as possible Syrian air force incursions into Israel air space.
Jerusalem has denied Hizballah and Iranian allegations of responsibility for the death of the Lebanese master terrorist.

DEBKAfile reported earlier Tehran, Damascus, Hizballah leadership are coordinating efforts to wreak their revenge for Mughniyeh’s death, convinced that Israel’s Mossad planted the small bomb in the master terrorist’s Mitsubishi Pajero in the heart of the Syrian capital. Wednesday night, all Hizballah’s top leaders went to ground. Hassan Nasrallah did not attend the funeral Thursday but broadcast his eulogy by video. He declared if Israel wants war, so be it. "The blood of slain commander will lead to Israel's demise."

Our sources report that the long-sought terrorist was finally dispatched by a small explosive inserted between the driver’s seat and the back seats, which destroyed only one part of the vehicle, leaving the front and rear intact. Mughniyeh was driving alone to a reception marking Islamic Revolution Day at the Iranian embassy in the Romana district.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror experts note that the way the explosion was set up recalled the method used by the hit team which killed the Jihad Islami senior operative Ghaleb Ghali in Damascus in October 2004. Then, too, Syria held Israel responsible.

... and from » Feb 14, 2008 by YAAKOV KATZ AND MARK WEISS:

More than 50 Hizbullah terror cells believed to be spread across the globe could be activated and used to strike at Israeli or Jewish targets in retaliation for Tuesday's assassination of Hizbullah arch-terrorist and operations officer Imad Mughniyeh in Syria, a senior defense official said Thursday.

As Hassan Nasrallah vowed "open war" to avenge Mughniyeh's death, the Israeli Counterterrorism Bureau issued a travel advisory on Thursday that made plain the seriousness with which it is taking the Hizbullah leader's threats. But Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said "Israel is a strong country" and that there was no need to panic.

FBI anti-terror units raised their alerts for fear of attacks on synagogues and other Jewish targets. Sources in the US administration reiterated that there were no specific warnings of a terrorist attack; nonetheless, an FBI source said that the raised alertness of the Anti-Terrorism Unit, which operates in about 100 cities around the US, is not a routine step.

The counterterrorism bureau recommended that citizens abroad avoid staying in areas where there is a large concentration of Israelis. It advised Israelis overseas to strictly avoid visiting Arab and Muslim states where existing travel warnings are in force; to reject any tempting suggestions, unexpected gifts and offers of free travel from suspicious people or unknown elements; to reject proposals for unscheduled meetings, and to travel to meetings accompanied by someone known and trusted.

The bureau also reiterated previous warnings about the risk of Israelis abroad being kidnapped, including businessmen - particularly those involved in deals with Arabs or Muslims. El Al has also beefed up security, and additional safety measures are being employed at Israeli embassies and institutions abroad.....

[Also see our previous posting of August 2007 on this subject]

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