JERUSALEM – In response to any future Israeli military strike on its nuclear sites, Iran has been training al-Qaida elements in the Egyptian Sinai desert on how to coordinate retaliatory attacks, a senior Egyptian security official told WND.
The al-Qaida attacks are meant to target both Israeli and Egyptian installations, the security official said, as part of an Iranian plot to widen any Israeli-Iranian conflict to involve other countries.
The Egyptian official said there is also information Iran has been working with Islamic Salafist groups in Jordan that are allied with al-Qaida.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards helped to train al-Qaida elements in the Sinai and Gaza Strip to carry out large-scale attacks, including missile attacks, cross-border incursions, suicide bombings and explosions targeting infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines, the official said.
Any Iranian cooperation with al-Qaida would underscore the dangers of Tehran obtaining nuclear weapons. The country has a history of using terrorist proxies, most notably Hezbollah in Lebanon, to carry out its bidding.
Some analysts have raised fears of terrorists obtaining a nuclear device from a nation state and using the weapon for maximum damage. The deployment a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, or EMP attack, for example, could collapse the U.S. national electric grid and other critical infrastructures affecting tens of millions of civilians.
This is not the first time Iran has been accused of working with al-Qaida.
The Obama administration last July accused Iran of entering into a "secret deal" with an al-Qaida offshoot that provides money and recruits for attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Also, the Treasury Department fingered an al-Qaida operative, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, as serving as Osama bin Laden's recent envoy in Iran. Treasury said in July that al-Rahman traveled in and out of the country with the permission of government officials.
Meanwhile, the reports Iran is prepping for a possible Israeli strike are the latest evidence Tehran is readying its proxies.
Earlier this month, WND reported on Iran's missile training in Gaza.
Egyptian security officials said 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 weeks 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.
The Arab League has been strongly considering suspending Syria. 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."