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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Israeli commandos ‘nuclear’ raid in Syria

For the last week or so we have been watching reports come out about the Israel air strike against Syria.

Speculation has been nuclear sites being hit or chemical weapon sites being hit, especially after finding out that in late July, dozens of Iranian engineers as well as Syrians were killed in an explosion while trying to mount chemical warheads on scud missiles.

Israel has always been very good at letting information out just as they wish, never more than they are willing to tip their hand and usually any information they do allow to be "leaked" has been verified when all was said and done.

The reports today (Hat Tip to Hot Air) show us that the rumors of a limited ground operation that came ahead of the air strikes in Syria are more than just rumor after all.

ISRAELI commandos from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit – almost certainly dressed in Syrian uniforms – made their way stealthily towards a secret military compound near Dayr az-Zawr in northern Syria. They were looking for proof that Syria and North Korea were collaborating on a nuclear programme.

Israel had been surveying the site for months, according to Washington and Israeli sources. President George W Bush was told during the summer that Israeli intelligence suggested North Korean personnel and nuclear-related material were at the Syrian site.

Israel was determined not to take any chances with its neighbour. Following the example set by its raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak 1981, it drew up plans to bomb the Syrian compound.

But Washington was not satisfied. It demanded clear evidence of nuclear-related activities before giving the operation its blessing. The task of the commandos was to provide it.

Today the site near Dayr az-Zawr lies in ruins after it was pounded by Israeli F15Is on September 6. Before the Israelis issued the order to strike, the commandos had secretly seized samples of nuclear material and taken them back into Israel for examination by scientists, the sources say. A laboratory confirmed that the unspecified material was North Korean in origin. America approved an attack.

News of the secret ground raid is the latest piece of the jigsaw to emerge about the mysterious Israeli airstrike. Israel has imposed a news blackout, but has not disguised its satisfaction with the mission. The incident also reveals the extent of the cooperation between America and Israel over nuclear-related security issues in the Middle East. The attack on what Israeli defence sources now call the “North Korean project” appears to be part of a wider, secret war against the nonconventional weapons ambitions of Syria and North Korea which, along with Iran, appears to have been forging a new “axis of evil”.

The operation was personally directed by Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, who is said to have been largely preoccupied with it since taking up his post on June 18.

We knew back in June that the Arab media was reporting that Syria was preparing for war with Israel, which explains the timing of the Israeli air strike against Syria.

Diplomats in North Korea and China believe a number of North Koreans were killed in the strike, based on reports reaching Asian governments about conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials.

Syrian officials flew to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last week, reinforcing the view that the two nations were coordinating their response. (Source)

Read the rest of this article because it asks the remaining relevant questions, especially about North Korea supposedly becoming amiable in their nuclear activities, which many already understand that no promise or commitment by North Korea will be honored by them.

In other Israeli news we see that an explosives belt designated for holiday attack found in Tel Aviv apartment.

A suicide attack in Tel Aviv was thwarted on Saturday when security forces found an explosives belt in an apartment in the city, designated to be used in an attack over the Yom Kippur holiday.

The belt was found Saturday morning in an apartment near the southern end of Allenby Street by the Shin Bet security service, operating with Yarkon District Police.

The apartment was occupied by Palestinians residing there illegally. It was apparently smuggled in parts from the West Bank City of Nablus.

The residents attempted to resist arrest, and, in the process, one officer was wounded and needed medical attention. They were ultimately arrested and taken in for questioning.

Sappers came to the scene and blew up the belt in a controlled explosion.

The belt was intended to be used in an attack to be carried out by a suicide bomber who was arrested in Nablus late Thursday, after a three-day operation by the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet officers.

The IDF had deployed large forces in the Beit Ilma refugee camp in Nablus, in an effort to capture a cell of militants that included members of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The security services had received intelligence information that the cell was planning to carry out a suicide bombing attack in central Israel during the holidays.

The Shin Bet security service had picked up the trail to the explosives belt when it arrested Nihad Shkirat, the head of the joint Hamas-PFLP cell on Thursday, the army said. Shkirat told investigators he passed the belt to another Palestinian who works in Tel Aviv.

You can see the controlled-detonation of explosive belt here.

In the midst of all of this, lets not forget the IAEA which is in Iran's pocket and the fact that Syria has been named co-chairman of the IAEA.

Two weeks after Israel's alleged bombing raid in Syria, which some foreign reports said targeted North Korean nuclear material, the UN's nuclear watchdog elected Syria as deputy chairman of its General Conference on Monday.

The 51st session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opened in Vienna on Monday and will run through Friday.

The Syria/Israel/North Korea/Iran situation is going to boil over soon and it is not going to be pretty.

We will stand with Israel as they are attacked once again and when it happens, everyone that has lived in denial until this point about how dangerous Iran/Syria actually is, can act surprised,but no one will believe them because what is about to happen is obvious to anyone that is watching and does not have their head stuck in the sand.

More at NYT and ABC.

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