Mossad chief: We prevented a terrorist attack against Israelis in Cyprus

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In a rare appearance, the head of the Mossad revealed details of missions carried out by his country’s secret services to prevent terrorist attacks against Israelis, both inside and outside Israeli territory.

The prevention of an assassination attempt, in Cyprus, against Israeli businessmen, was revealed on Monday by Mossad chief, Dedi Barnea referring to the successes of his Service, in the last period of time.

In a rare appearance on Israeli data, participating in a conference on counter-terrorism methods being held for the last two days at Israel’s Reichman University, Barnea presented evidence of missions carried out by his country’s secret services to prevent terrorist attacks against Israelis, both within the Israeli territory and in foreign countries.

Specifically, Barnea stated that “in the last period of time, we prevented dozens of terrorist attacks abroad. In Cyprus, an assassination attempt against Israeli businessmen was avoided, in Turkey against a local businessman and against a former Israeli diplomat who was in the country, as well as in Colombia and elsewhere.” Especially regarding the terrorist attacks that were being prepared on Turkish soil, Barnea emphasized that “together with the Turks we stopped the terrorists who were literally with their finger on the trigger”.

Referring to international terrorism, Barnea said that “we are in the decade of Jihad (Islamic Holy War). “We are living in the era that saw the fall of al-Qaeda, but also the first signs of its reconstitution. Iran has not been involved in international concerns about international terrorist activity. But Iranian terrorism was ever-present and occupied many Mossad operatives. Terrorism is an integral element of the Iranian threat,” he argued. Then, referring to the Iranian political leadership, he said that “this is a regime based on methods of violence and intimidation, being a typical example of a manifestation of state terrorism, led by the formation of the Revolutionary Guards and in particular Unit 810 of the Al-Quds Force which operates in Syria in cooperation with the Ministry of National Security Intelligence. This is not a limited activity of specific officials, but a more general framework of state terrorism that acts with a specific program and methodically”, he emphasized.

The Mossad Chief spoke at length about the negotiations taking place in Vienna to control Iran’s nuclear program, stressing that any agreement, if reached, would not bind the Mossad. “Negotiations on the nuclear program are in no way a deterrent for us. On the contrary, in fact. There have been attempted terrorist acts against John Bolton (former US National Security Advisor under Donald Trump) and Mike Pompeo (former US Secretary of State) within the territory of the United States and Europe, although in Vienna the negotiations continue,” said Barnea. Referring to the contacts he recently held with top officials in the US, he said that “last week I explained to the Americans what the importance of signing an agreement with Iran will be. The deal will add $90 billion to his treasury in its first year of implementation, and tens of billions of dollars more each year thereafter. No other country will have managed to increase its GDP so quickly. Out of all these sums that Iran will have accumulated in the meantime, how many funds will be invested in terrorism? What funds will be allocated to strengthening the Iranian regional presence in Lebanon, or even to the Al-Quds Force that seeks to control areas of Syria? As I warned our friends in the United States, the deal will strengthen Iran. The deal will achieve short-term benefits, but in the medium and long-term it is an extremely risky deal.”

Barnea then referred to the Israeli efforts being made and threatened Tehran, saying that “Israel will not play the game of pretended indifference played by the rest. We will not close our eyes to a proven reality. We know what the Iranian vision is and we see how it is being realized. Even if the agreement is signed, it will not be an obstacle to Mossad’s action.” At the same time, Barnea also addressed the Israeli political leadership, stating that “the leaders of Israel have always treated the fight against terrorism as a national issue. Recent successes in preventing terrorist acts have been achieved thanks to quality intelligence gathering and exploitation operations. An important characteristic of a successful operation is the preventive attack, in order to prevent other terrorist acts. This principle does not only apply to dealing with terrorism. It also applies to Iran’s nuclear program,” he concluded.

Similar positions were presented at the same Reichman University conference yesterday Sunday by the Head of the Homeland Security Service, Ronen Barr, who argued that there is a connection between the increase in tension observed in the West Bank and the policy followed by Iran and its allies in the region . He even emphasized that, in view of the upcoming early parliamentary elections that will be held on November 1 in the country, the Internal Security Service is working to prevent the election result from being deliberately influenced by internal factors that are instigated by foreign decision-making centers. “Recently we are witnessing a new trend being observed whereby terrorism, fueled by both the Iranian state machine and the Hamas organizational structure, tends to spread illegal weaponry to vulnerable areas inside and outside the West Bank combined with online psychological operations. Hamas does not hesitate to exploit personal problems faced by ordinary Palestinians in order to force them to be recruited into the vicious cycle of terrorist activity. Violence in the West Bank is on the rise, and Israel has become involved in trying to deal with it because the Palestinian Authority does not exercise effective public authority in its territories. For this reason our operatives are forced to carry out arrests and clearance operations almost every night and put their lives at risk in their efforts to protect Israeli citizens from possible armed attacks against them. The price paid by the present situation is not only borne by our own staff. It burdens both the Palestinians and the administrative structures of the Palestinian Authority,” he concluded.

Barr cited figures describing the sharp increase in armed attacks repressed by Israeli security authorities in the West Bank and on Israeli territory. In particular, he stated that while the year 2020 was extremely calm, mainly due to the measures against the pandemic, there were 19 armed Palestinian attacks, in 2021 there were 98, while from January 2022 until the end of August the number of Palestinian armed attacks that took place exceeded 130. Barr made the claim that “this upward trend is due to the reduced effectiveness of the security authorities of the Palestinian Authority”, clarifying that from the beginning of 2022 until today, the Israeli forces prevented 312 attempted Palestinian armed attacks against civilian and military Israeli targets, which would be carried out either with a knife or with improvised or stolen weapons, or by driving cars targeting Israeli civilians or soldiers on foot, or even by suicide attacks.

KYPE

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