JERUSALEM – Reports that he received prior warning about yesterday’s deadly London terror attacks “have no basis in reality,” former Prime Minister Benjamin Netantyahu told WorldNetDaily this morning.
“Absolutely not. The reports are entirely false,” said Netanyahu, still in London on a trip to address a corporate investment conference yesterday at the Great Eastern hotel near the site of one of the blasts.
Immediately following the attacks, media reports quoted an Associated Press story claiming British intelligence told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before yesterday’s explosions it had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city.
The AP wrote it was told by a senior foreign ministry official that just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy and said warnings of possible attacks had been received. The embassy then allegedly told Netanyahu to stay in his hotel room and not attend the economic conference.
Setting the record straight, Netanyahu said, “When the first bomb went off, we were departing our hotel. While we were on our way out, the security people said there was an explosion near the area I was scheduled to speak. They asked us to go back and stay put in our hotel.”
Netanyahu also told WND he had warned “for several years now there would be a large-scale terror attack in a major European capital. There have been growing indications this would happen.”
Israel yesterday quickly denied the AP story.
“I can tell you unequivocally the reports are false. Israel, including our representatives in London, did not receive any prior notice of pending terror attacks,” Mark Regev, senior spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told WND after the report. “The only alert we received was a call to our British embassy immediately following the first explosion. That call was routine, and was also placed to other foreign embassies in London.”
Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom also denied the story, saying, “There was no early information.”
The AP quickly replaced the original article with another headlined, “Israel ‘not warned’ about London attacks.”
Still, scores of media outlets are reporting the early warning as factual.
Canada’s National Post, relying on the withdrawn AP account, states, “British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before today’s explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city.”
An India Daily article claims, “Israel knew and warned [the] United Kingdom of possible terror plots to disrupt life in London. But British authorities failed to respond accordingly to deter the attacks, according to an unconfirmed rumor circulating in intelligence circles. Israel is keeping quiet for the time being with a lot of pressure on them.”
Internet bloggers also are hatching conspiracy theories based on the now discredited accounts.
An antiwar.com writer argues the Netanyahu terror tip-off is accurate.
“This isn’t the first time that Israeli foreknowledge of a terrorist attack against the West has been raised by a reputable source. One has to wonder: why is it that these reports of Israeli foreknowledge come up with such metronomic regularity? With all that smoke, is there really no fire?” asks blogger Justin Raimondo.
A Stratford Consulting Intelligence Agency account states, “Contrary to original claims that Israel was warned ‘minutes before’ the first attack, unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that the Israeli government actually warned London of the attacks ‘a couple of days’ previous. Israel has apparently given other warnings about possible attacks that turned out to be aborted operations. The British government did not want to disrupt the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, or call off visits by foreign dignitaries to London, hoping this would be another false alarm.”
For some, the reports are eerily reminiscent of claims made immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Scores of Internet bloggers and several media accounts claimed Jews received advanced knowledge of the World Trade Center attacks, prompting hundreds to take off work. The false reports were widely attributed with fueling anti-Semetic theories that the Mossad carried out the 9-11 terror attacks.