“ISRAEL” by AARON KLEIN

Israel gets warned: Al-Qaida coming!

Indications terror network sending cells to Jewish state using foreign passports

Posted: December 31, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Osama bin Laden

JERUSALEM – Israel in recent months received warnings from foreign intelligence agencies that al-Qaida operatives were seeking to infiltrate the Jewish state to set up cells to carry out large-scale attacks, WND has learned.

The warnings were followed up by the release this weekend of a new audiotape in which al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden made an unusually sharp threat of attacks against Israel.

According to Israeli security officials, Israel several times received general warnings indicating al-Qaida was attempting to fly operatives into the Jewish state’s international airport disguised as tourists carrying foreign passports. The latest warning was received a few months ago and indicated the passports may be from Britain, Australia and the United States.

The security officials said al-Qaida has come to the conclusion Palestinian terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have had great difficulty infiltrating Israel due to the country’s security barrier and antiterror measures and that Palestinians who do successfully infiltrate are not capable of carrying out large-scale attacks inside the country.

The Israeli security officials said the latest warning, which was shared with Palestinian intelligence agencies, indicated al-Qaida has made a strategic decision to attempt to send foreign cells into the Jewish state instead of relying on Palestinian militants.

The warning also listed other countries aside from Israel that al-Qaida may attempt to infiltrate using the same methods, the officials said.

Groups ideologically aligned with al-Qaida are widely suspected to be operating in the Gaza Strip and there have been some reports of similar groups attempting to establish themselves in the West Bank.

But with strict border controls in place at airports and crossings, Israel is largely thought to be difficult for al-Qaida to infiltrate.

Israeli security officials did not indicate there were any thwarted al-Qaida attempts to infiltrate the country. A Palestinian security official familiar with the report also said he was not aware of any recent attempts.

Israel previously acknowledged it arrested suspected al-Qaida infiltrators. In August 2003, Israel’s mission to the U.N. submitted a report stating the country had thwarted several attempts by al-Qaida operatives carrying foreign passports to enter Israel in order to gather intelligence and conduct attacks. The Jewish state also noted in the report it had captured Palestinians recruited by al-Qaida abroad to conduct attacks in Israel.

The latest al-Qaida warning was received here just a few months before bin Laden’s videotape was released this weekend vowing to “expand jihad to Palestine.”

“I would like to assure our people in Palestine that we will expand our jihad there,” said bin Laden. “We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea,” he continued, threatening “blood for blood, destruction for destruction.”

While bin Laden and other Al-Qaida figures many times vowed to attack Israel, the latest comments were a more direct language than bin Laden usually uses.

“We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have,” bin Laden said.

The majority of the terror chieftain’s message dealt with Iraq, including a warning to Iraq’s Sunni Arabs against joining tribal councils fighting Al-Qaida or participating in any unity government.

Israeli officials said they were taking bin Laden’s latest threat seriously. After yesterday’s meeting here of the government’s security cabinet, Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told reporters, “The threat of al-Qaida is real. They’ve struck in Lebanon, Australia, Indonesia, Madrid, New York and London. They can easily target the Middle East and we need to be prepared for that.”

Al-Qaida at Israel’s border

While al-Qaida is not thought to have infiltrated Israel, the global jihad group is suspected of operating in Gaza and previously carried out numerous attacks near the Jewish state’s borders.

Al-Qaida took responsibility for a series of hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan in November 2005 killing 60 and injuring over 115 others. While Jordan, which borders Israel, has had some successes fighting al-Qaida cells, security officials fear the terror group still maintains a significant infrastructure there capable of carrying out attacks.

Egypt has had difficulty eliminating al-Qaida cells, particularly those operating among Bedouin villages in the Sinai desert bordering the Gaza Strip.

Al-Qaida has been widely blamed for several Sinai attacks the past three years including the bomb blasts in April 2006 that killed 24 people and injured over 85 in the Sinai town of Dahab, and deadly bombings in the resort centers of Taba and Ras Shitan in October 2004 as well as in Sharm el-Sheik in July.

Last April, al-Qaida was blamed for two bombings near multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai adjacent to Gaza. Almost simultaneously inside Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees attempted to carry out a large-scale car bombing at the Karni Crossing, the main cargo passageway between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The attack was foiled at the last minute after Palestinian forces became suspicious and opened fire at an approaching vehicle. Some security officials told WND the thwarted Karni attack was planned in conjunction with al-Qaida elements in Gaza.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: