Iranian missile test
JERUSALEM – A top general killed in a mysterious bomb blast in Iran this past weekend recently sent his assistants to the Gaza Strip to train militants there to target Israel with missiles, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND.
Israeli officials could not immediately confirm the information.
In a phone call with WND, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, denied the assistants were in Gaza.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hasan Moghaddam, a key figure in Iran’s missile program, was killed together with 16 other Guard members Saturday when a massive explosion went off at a military arms site 25 miles southwest of Tehran.
The Guard said the explosion was a work accident that occurred while military personnel were transporting munitions.
On Sunday, however, Time Magazine quoted a Western intelligence official stating Israel was behind the explosion.
“Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident,” the Western official told Time, insisting that widespread assumptions that Israel’s Mossad was responsible for the blast were correct.
The official claimed Israel had more plans to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, telling Time, “There are more bullets in the magazine.”
The Middle Eastern security officials, meanwhile, told WND that in August Moghaddam sent one of his top assistants to Gaza to train jihad groups there on the use of missiles and rockets.
The officials said the presence of the assistants in Gaza upset Egypt to the extent the Egyptians kept their border with Gaza closed for most of August, including during much of Ramadan, when the border was supposed to be open.
Last week, WND reported on Iran’s missile training in Gaza.
Egyptian security officials said last week Iran has been preparing Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon to retaliate in the event of Israeli strikes against Tehran’s nuclear sites.
The security officials said Tehran was convinced the Jewish state was going to attack its suspected nuclear sites in September, prompting Iran to hold joint military drills with Gazan jihad groups in August, including with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Similar drills were held in August with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
The drills were conducted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard members, the officials said.
The exercises focused largely on coordinated missile onslaughts from both Gaza and Lebanon aimed at blanketing Israel.
According to the Egyptian security officials, any attack against Iran or Syria would result in an immediate Iranian missile campaign against Israel using proxies in Gaza and Lebanon.
The international news media has been replete with reports in recent days speculating Israel is strongly considering striking Iran’s suspected illicit nuclear sites.
The reports came as the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, released a report detailing Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons.
While the media focus has largely been on Iran, there is information indicating an international campaign could target Iran’s ally, Syria.
The regime of Syria’s Bashar Assad has been accused of major human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, in clamping down on a violent insurgency targeting Assad’s rule.
Mass demonstrations were held in recent weeks in Syrian insurgent strongholds calling for the international NATO coalition in Libya to deploy in Syria.
This past weekend, the Arab League suspended Syria and called on its army to stop killing civilians.
The Arab League announced it will impose economic and political sanctions on Syria’s government and has appealed to member states to withdraw their ambassadors.
Arab League diplomats, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that if Syria does not adhere to its demands for immediate reform, the organization will work to unify Syrian opposition groups into a coalition similar to that of Libya’s National Transitional Council.
A next step, the diplomats said, would be to recognize the opposition as the sole representative of the Syrian people in a move that would symbolically isolate the Assad’s regime.
The moves mimic the diplomatic initiatives taken to isolate Muammar Gadhafi’s regime before the NATO campaign in Libya.
Damascus officials claimed to WND that NATO troops are currently training in Turkey for a Turkish-led NATO invasion of Syria.
Any deployment would come under the banner of the same “Responsibility to Protect” global doctrine used to justify the U.S.-NATO airstrikes in Libya.
Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by President Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”
A Turkish-U.S.-NATO strike could have immediate implications for Israel.
The Syrian president warned in a recent interview with a U.K. newspaper that foreign intervention in Syria would cause an “earthquake” across the region and create another Afghanistan, while directly threatening the Jewish state.
Assad reportedly made similar comments in a meeting in early October with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu. He was quoted stating, “If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.”
Assad also reportedly warned that “all these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. and European interests will be targeted simultaneously.”