Iranian terrorism

The killing of five Israelis and a Bulgarian driver by a suicide bomber, who appeared to be an American and held a fake US passport, is the first “successful” terrorist action against Israelis in more than five years. PM Netanyahu immediately blamed the incident on Iranian-sponsored terrorists, a reaction that was criticized by some as being premature, before the investigation has been carried out. But, who is the likely culprit, it is of course, Hizbollah, the Shia Lebanese terrorist organization that is totally Iranian-sponsored and controlled.

Look at the recent record, in the past year there have been terrorist attempts against Israelis as well as other western targets in the following six countries, Thailand, Georgia, India, Azerbaijan, Kenya and Cyprus. None of them were successful in killing Israelis, but in all cases the suspects apprehended were connected either to Hizbollah in Lebanon or directly to Iran.

On Monday Feb 13, 2012, in Bangkok, Thailand, a bomb blew up the car of an Israeli official outside the Israeli Embassy, wounding his wife who was driving. The next day an Iranian citizen, Saeid Moradi, was surrounded by police and attempted to throw a bomb, but blew his own legs off. An explosion also occured in a house he was renting in Bangkok where several other terrorists were found dead and injured. A Swedish-Lebanese man, Atris Hussein, was also arrested for storing bomb-making materials. Thai police suspected him of being a member of Hizbollah.

On the same day the bombing of a car of an Israeli staffer in Tblisi, Georgia, was thwarted by local police based on an Israeli tip.

The same day there was an explosion in New Delhi, India in which four people were wounded, including the driver, the wife of an Israeli diplomat. A motorcylist attached a magnetic bomb to the back of her car. She was badly injured by shrapnel. The coincidence of the timing of attacks in three countries on the same day indicates an international terrorist organization, namely Hizbollah, linked to Iran. This was the fourth anniversary of the killing of the Hizbollah military leader Imad Mugniyeh in Damascus.

On Tuesday Feb 21, 2012, in Baku, Azerbaijan, police arrested a number of terrorists linked to a plot to carry out attacks against Israeli targets. The terrorists had maps of several sites as well as guns and explosives. Azeri authorities linked the terrorists to Iran.

On June 26, 2012, in Mombasa, Kenya, two Iranian citizens were arrested by Kenyan police while in possession of explosives, weapons and plans to blow up the Nairobi synagogue and Israeli institutions. After a hearing the two men were released on bail.

On July 14, 2012, in Limassol, Cyprus, authorites detained a Lebanese man travelling on a Saudi passport, who had detailed plans and photos of the locations of Israeli planes and buses carrying Israeli tourists.

And let us not forget the terrible terrorist explosion in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1994 that destroyed the Jewish AMIA building and killed 85 and injured hundreds. This was carried out by Hizbollah operatives, including Imad Mugniyeh, who was named by Argentine officials, but traced to the Iranian Government and Interpol issued an arrest warrant for six Iranian officials, including a Deputy Defense Minister.

Now, is it jumping to conclusions from there to presume that Hizbollah and Iran are behind the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, that finally killed Israeli civilians, tourists simply going on vacation? They were the victims of an Iranian backed campaign to kill Israelis that after six recent unsuccessful attempts was finally successful. Bulgarian sources have now named the suicide bomber in Burgas as Mehdi Gezali, a Swedish-Algerian who was captured by the Americans in Afghanistan, transferred from Guantanamo under Swedish pressure, but then released by them. He was known as a Muslim extremist and had been traveling in Pakistan and elsewhere.

It is likely that Israel will react forcefully against this campaign of terrorism, although they are unlikely to attack Iran at this time, but more likely to attack Hizbollah. However, note that it it estimated that Hizbollah has ca. 10,000 missiles of various ranges targeted against Israel (why?). These missiles have been supplied by Iran through Syria. Currently the Assad regime in Syria is unable to help its Lebanese ally. So it remains to be seen whether Israel will mount a small attack or will try to destroy the missile capabilities of Hizbollah before they can be used.

About the Author
Jack Cohen was born in London and has a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He moved to the US and worked at the National Cancer Inst. and then Georgetown Medical School. In 1996, he Moved to Israel and became Chief Scientist of the Sheba Medical Center. He retired in 2001 and worked as a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University Medical School for 5 years.