Posts Tagged ‘terrorist acts’

Youngest member of female terrorism cell jailed in Britain

August 3, 2018

The youngest member of an all-female terrorism cell in Britain was jailed for life with a minimum term of 13 years on Friday for plotting attacks in London with her sister and mother.

Safaa BoularImage copyright METROPOLITAN POLICE

The youngest woman to be convicted of plotting a terror attack on British soil has been jailed for life, with a minimum term of 13 years.

FILE PHOTO: Safaa Boular, aged 18, who has been found guilty of plotting to carry out terrorist acts, can be seen in this undated Metropolitan Police handout photograph in London, Britain, June 4, 2018. Metropolitan Police/Handout via REUTERS

Safaa Boular, 18, began planning an attack in Britain after being thwarted in her attempts to join an Islamic State (IS) fighter in Syria, police said.

“All three women were filled with hate and toxic ideology and were determined to carry out a terrorist attack,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing.

“Had they been successful, it could well have resulted in people being killed or seriously injured,” he added in a statement.

Undercover officers recorded phone calls between the three in which they talked about the attack as having a “tea party” and followed the mother and sister as they drove around central London in April 2017 in what police believe was a reconnaissance mission of likely targets.

The following day, the pair went to a supermarket in Wandsworth, southwest London, where they bought a pack of three kitchen knives.

Two months ago, the sister, Rizlaine Boular, 22, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years at the Old Bailey while the mother, Mina Dich, 44, received an extended sentence of 11 years and nine months.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by William Schomberg



U.S. Pushes Europe to Abandon Iran Over Terror Plots—but Meets Resistance

August 3, 2018

European officials, some skeptical that Iran is behind the plots, say the nuclear deal benefits the region


Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people sitting

U foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at a ministerial meeting on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna on July 6. PHOTO: SHCHERBAK ALEXANDER/ZUMA PRESS



A slate of investigations into alleged terror plots and killings sponsored by Iran has opened a new front in U.S. efforts to persuade European governments to cut ties with Tehran following President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May.

Washington, Israel and Iranian dissident groups say the alleged recent operations show that Iran has ended years of caution about hunting its enemies in Europe. They are urging European governments to withdraw support for Iran and ban Iranian officials from the region.

But European officials, some skeptical that Iran’s government is behind the plots, are reluctant to adopt a harder line.

In late June, police in three European countries arrested an Iranian diplomat and three others in an alleged plot to bomb an Iranian opposition meeting outside Paris, marking a rare public confrontation between European security services and Iran.

In July, Dutch authorities said they had expelled two Iranian diplomats whom foreign officials say were linked to the assassinations of at least one Iranian dissident, Ahmad Mola Nissi. He was gunned down in November by a masked assassin in The Hague. U.S. officials believe Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security was involved. Dutch authorities are investigating.

“Europe isn’t immune to Iran-backed terrorism,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter last month. “At the same time the regime is trying to convince Europe to stay in the Iran Deal, it’s plotting terrorist attacks in Europe.”

However, European officials have declined to rescind their support for the nuclear deal although they are following the investigations. Some say they could be the work of a faction within the Iranian government, without sanction from its top leaders.

Iran’s leadership “isn’t a pyramid,” said one French security official. “We can imagine an ultranationalist faction carrying out an operation to raise tensions.”

Top Iranian officials continue to travel to Europe, and European governments remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal as long as Tehran complies with its terms.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with a group of foreign ministry officials in Tehran on July 22.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with a group of foreign ministry officials in Tehran on July 22. PHOTO: IRANIAN PRESIDENCY OFFICE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Britain, France and Germany are seeking to help Iran weather the impact of the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on companies doing business with Iran. The first set of measures take effect Monday, leading many large Western companies to halt investments and trade.

European officials stress differences with Tehran on many issues but say the nuclear deal benefits European security. Europeans say dialogue and diplomatic contacts best address Iran’s interference in the Middle East and other points of contention, like Tehran’s missile program. Few European capitals cut ties with Iran after the 1979 revolution.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Western officials blamed Iran for a spate of killings of opposition figures in Europe and supporting terrorist acts in Europe by Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah. U.S. and other Western governments blame Hezbollah for the 2012 killing of five Israelis and a local driver in Bulgaria, but they didn’t tie the attack directly to Iran.

The EU sanctions the military wing of Hezbollah, but has dealings with government officials and others from what the bloc calls the political wing in Lebanon.

How Trump Is Tightening His Squeeze on Iran

With the U.S out of the Iran nuclear agreement, the Trump administration is clamping down on the Iranian regime. The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald F. Seib explains the sources of pressure. Photo: Reuters (Originally Published July 1, 2018)

From the mid-1990s, Iran seemed to be steering clear of using violence in Europe. But last month, French, Belgian and German authorities arrested four people, including an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna, for allegedly planning to bomb a gathering of the National Council of Resistance, an umbrella group of Iranian dissidents, outside Paris on June 30.

Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, was one of several high-profile U.S. critics of Tehran who spoke at the meeting, whose main backer is the opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK.  MeK has waged a decadeslong, sometimes violent campaign against Iran’s Islamist government. An alliance with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and a history of bombings prompted the U.S. government to list MeK as a terror group in 1997, but the listing was lifted in 2012.

The arrests came days before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Europe to rally support for the nuclear deal. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the allegation was a “false flag” setup and Iranian officials have repeatedly denied any involvement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized European authorities for not canceling Mr. Rouhani’s visit. He said he told Europeans to stop “funding the very regime that is sponsoring terrorism against you and against so many others.”

Similarly, Mr. Pompeo has called on Tehran to stop backing terror groups in Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, a government agency, has provided a four-decade timeline of Iran-backed terror incidents in Europe, including the arrest of two Iranian operatives in March on charges of terrorism by Albanian authorities.

A Western diplomat said the arrests were linked to a prior attempted attack by Iran in Albania on MeK.

The U.S. list also cites the conviction of a Pakistani man in Germany last year for spying on a pro-Israeli politician and people close to him under direction from the Quds Force, an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. In 2012, the U.S. alleges, four Iranian operatives entered Turkey intending to attack Israeli targets.

Some of Iran’s opponents have alleged Iran was behind a spate of other killings and disappearances of Iranian dissidents since 2015 in Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey. No hard evidence has emerged of Iran’s involvement.

Write to Laurence Norman at and Matthew Dalton at

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry detains members of a group linked to the Islamic State

June 24, 2017

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Intelligence Ministry is saying that its forces have detained members of a group linked to the Islamic State group it says intended to carry out terrorist acts in holy cities across the country.

The ministry says its forces confiscated three Kalashnikov rifles, night vision goggles, three suicide belts, three phones for remote detonation, a large amount of bullets and other technical tools for making bombs, in a statement issued Saturday.

The report did not elaborate on the number of people detained, or where the arrests took place.

Five attackers linked to IS stormed Iran’s parliament and a shrine to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini this month, killing at least 17 people and wounding more than 50.

British police arrest man Wednesday in London Bridge attack investigation

June 7, 2017


British police arrested a man under counter terrorism laws on Wednesday as part of an investigation into the London Bridge attack.

“Detectives investigating the London Bridge terror attack have carried out a search warrant at an address in east London in the early hours of Wednesday,” police said in as statement.

“A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts,” police said.

At least seven people were killed and dozens wounded on Saturday when three men rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then went on the rampage through the bustling Borough Market area where they slit throats and stabbed people. The three attackers were shot dead at the scene by police.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Alistair Smout)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II Vows To act Decisively Against Anyone Who Threatens the Kingdom’s Security

June 7, 2016


 Jordan’s King Abdullah II

AMMAN (AFP) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed on Tuesday to act decisively against anyone who threatens the kingdom’s security, a day after a lone gunman shot dead five intelligence officers.

“Jordan will act with all firmness and force against anyone seeking to undermine its security,” he said on a visit to the headquarters of the intelligence services, according to a statement from the royal palace.

“National unity is the weapon we will use to thwart all plans that aim to disrupt stability and cohesion,” the king said, adding that the country would not be weakened by “the terrorist acts of traitors”.

Earlier, the authorities imposed a media blackout on information about Monday’s attack that killed the five security officers, the official Petra news agency reported.

It said the sweeping ban covered not only traditional media such as newspapers and broadcasters, but also Internet sites and social media networks.

The blackout came just hours after the government spokesman said a suspect had been arrested following the shooting at the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa, north of Amman.

The five officers had been starting their shift when a gunman struck at their office in the largest of the kingdom’s 10 official Palestinian refugee camps.

“Investigations are under way but early indications are that this was an isolated and individual act,” government spokesman Mohammed Momani said, announcing the arrest but without identifying the suspect, a Jordanian in his 20s.

Presenting his condolences to intelligence chief Faisal al-Shubaki, the king welcomed the swift arrest of a suspect.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the shooting, which came on the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Jordan is a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, and has been the target of jihadist attacks in the past.

China Offers Cash for Information About Terrorism in Minority Uighur Region of Xinjiang — Malaysia says of Uighurs “to brand them as terrorists, I think it’s unfair.”

April 11, 2016

By APRIL 11, 2016, 6:03 A.M. E.D.T.

BEIJING — China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang will offer rewards of up to 5 million yuan ($772,738) for tip offs about terrorist attacks, the government there said on Monday, in the latest stability move by authorities.

Hundreds of people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang in the past few years. The government blames the violence on Islamist militants who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan for minority Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language and hail from Xinjiang.

Exiles and rights groups though say the unrest is more a reaction to repressive government policies than being organized by any cohesive militant group. China strongly denies abusing anyone’s rights in Xinjiang.

The rewards, starting at 200,000 yuan, are for tips about attacks, kidnappings, murders and other terrorist acts, the Xinjiang government’s news portal, Tianshan Net, said.

People can also apply for other perks, such as priority admission to schools and work promotions, it added.

Uighur men in front of a mosque in Xinjiang

Tips will be treated in confidence and steps taken to ensure tipsters and their families do not suffer any form of revenge attacks.

Xinjiang has previously offered varying levels of rewards for such tips, and since 2014, about 10,000 people have offered information to the authorities on terrorist activities, the news site added.

Other provinces and regions in China and government departments also offer rewards for such counter-terrorism tips, including the Internet regulator, which gave out 2 million yuan of rewards last year.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Uighur men pray in a mosque in Urumqi, the capital of western China’s Xinjiang province. Photo by AP


Uighur women pray outside the Chinese Embassy in Turkey


Uighurs not terror suspects but using Malaysia as transit point

HUTAN MELINTANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The two alleged Uighur terror suspects believed to have left Thailand for Malaysia are actually economic refugees, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said Malaysia received information from Interpol, as well as the Homeland Security of China, about the intelligence memo issued by the Phuket Immigration Office of Thailand.

“They (the two Uighurs) are using Thailand and Malaysia as a transit point to get to a third country and to brand them as terrorists, I think it’s unfair.

“Some of their people may have been involved in terrorism, militancy and radicalism but it doesn’t mean that all of them are,” he told reporters after closing the Kembara Kebajikan 1Malaysia programme on Sunday (April 10).

He was responding to a Bernama report that two Turks of Uighur descent, suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in Thailand, had left for Malaysia.

Thai officials were quoted as saying that they had been informed of the men’s recent departure by Phuket Immigration Office.

The names of the two Uighurs were believed to be the same as those in a leaked intelligence memo, which had claimed that two Uighurs and two Russians of Chechen descent were plotting terror attacks in Thailand.

Uighurs, said Mr Ahmad Zahid, were known to be legal immigrants carrying passports in search of a third country to go to.

“We’ve been working very closely with the Chinese government in sending them back to China,” he said.

Asked if this meant that news of the Uighurs entering Malaysia was not a cause for concern, Mr Zahid said the Government would continue to monitor the situation based on the information given by the Interpol as well as the Asean Chiefs of Police.

He also advised Malaysians planning to celebrate the four-day Songkran Festival in Thailand starting on Monday to exercise caution.


Why Thailand Returned the Uyghurs


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently challenged Thailand’s repatriations of Uyghurs to China. This act, under international law could be termed refoulement, the return of a victim to their persecutor. Why would Thailand do this? The answer reflects both a long-term reality and a new political commonality.

Firstly, the long-term trend. Uyghurs are generally Muslim. In Thailand, Islam is a minority faith but one that sits within an explicit political context. Although only around 6 percent of the population identifies as Muslim, an insurgency in southern Thailand has run for 55 years. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was revealing when he said, “do you want us to keep them here for ages until they have children for three generations.” The decision to send the Uyghurs back to China was driven at least in part of Thailand’s fear of its own Islamic population.

The narrative taken by The Atlantic’s Matt Schiavenza focuses on the economic relationship between China and Thailand as an explanation for the decision to return Uyghur refugees to China. On this view, Thailand is essentially without leverage and China gets what it wants essentially through economic compulsion. There is more than a hint of truth to this, and Prayut certainly spoke to it when he said of his decision “we do not want to destroy the relationship between Thailand and China.” This conclusion is compelling, but it is not the whole story. The long-term shared reality of ethnographic tensions between majority populations and minorities on the periphery also played a part.

Uyghurs in China are a major ethnic group in China’s Xinjiang province and they have been oppressed continuously by the government there since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. China claims that space as its own, a claim that is hard for the people who live there to accept since they had little say in it and generally face a large degree of cultural, economic and religious persecution. The insurgency in Southern Thailand fits a similar narrative. Southern Thailand has no clear border with Malaysia and as China’s west blends into a predominantly Muslim Central Asia, so does Thailand to its south. As a result, the two states have a fair degree in common when it comes to describing their respective conflicts, the people who live there, and what they represent. This creates a common understanding of what the prevailing international norms should be.

That is not the only similarity. The present governments of China and Thailand share an understanding of their place within society. Although the Communist Party of China has been in power since 1949, the Thai military sees itself serving a similar nondemocratic “we know best” role within society. Since the fall of the populist Shinawatra family in Thailand and its replacement via a coup led by the former general Prayut, the Thai government now has more in common with its Chinese counterpart than it did before the coup. This coup is likely pushing those states into closer alignment as Thailand seeks support as it faces significant diplomatic pressure to return to democracy. The economy of Thailand is also struggling and China has a lot of money to offer. As a result, it makes sense for both states to move into closer relations while they have their respective governments.

Thailand’s government, for so long as it is in power and nondemocratic, will face an uphill fight aligning itself with international norms that would facilitate easy relations with more normative powers. This is especially the case since the government, while presently in power, is not guaranteed to be there forever. Thailand has been through a number of governments and has developed a reputation for coups. Democratic states thus have every reason to think that time and pressure will take things in a more favorable direction. China, on the other hand, will seek to benefit from this government. It makes sense for Beijing to seek to invest in Thailand, from which it can expect to extract a dividend due to the nature of the government in Bangkok and the pressure the struggling Thai economy will place on it. As a result, it is premature to call the return of Uyghur refugees from Thailand to China an act of compulsion; it is, when seen from the perspective of shared history and present governments, an act of friendship between two states that are moving closer together.

Robert Potter is currently assisting with research at the Kennedy School. Previously he was a visiting scholar at Columbia and a student at Cornell. He took part in a research  program in North Korea and China in 2013.

Is Syria Now A Direct Threat To The U.S.?

February 8, 2014


Syrian Islamists.(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Syrian Islamists.(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

By David Rohde

(Reuters) – Over the last two weeks, Obama administration officials have signaled – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not – that a worst-case scenario is emerging in Syria.

Peace talks are at a virtual standstill. An emboldened President Bashar al-Assad has missed two deadlines to turn over his deadliest chemical weapons. And radical extremists who have fought in Syria are carrying out attacks in Egypt and allegedly aspire to strike the United States as well.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told members of Congress last week that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda aligned group in Syria, “does have aspirations for attacks on the homeland.” American and Egyptian officials expressed alarm this week at signs that Egyptians who fought in Syria have returned home to mount an insurgency.

James Clapper testifying.

James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Critics of Obama administration policy in Syria argue that none of this should come as a surprise. For years, they have predicted that Assad and his Iranian and Russian backers would fight tenaciously; militants would flock to Syria; and the region would be destabilized by refugee flows, rising sectarianism and radicalized fighters returning home.

“A lot of things that the pro-interventionist crowd had argued two years ago have come to pass,” said Shadi Hamid, a Brookings Institution expert who called for military intervention in 2012. “The argument was that radicalism will rise.”

It is impossible to know whether a Libya-like intervention would have ended the conflict in Syria or exacerbated it. But citing recent statements from administration officials, Hamid argued that the current American approach is not working.

In his testimony last week, Clapper said that American intelligence agencies had picked up indications of “training complexes” within Syria “to train people to go back to their countries and conduct terrorist acts, so this is a huge concern.”

The retired Air Force general estimated that more than 7,000 foreigners from 50 countries – “many of them from Europe and the Mideast” – are fighting in Syria. He compared rebel-controlled parts of northern Syria to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, or FATA, where foreign and local militants have sheltered since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

“What’s going on there may be in some respects a new FATA,” Clapper said. “And the attraction of these foreign fighters is very, very worrisome.”

In the past, Clapper has been accused of exaggerating terrorist threats and making misleading statements about the scope of American surveillance activities. But Clapper is not the only senior official expressing concern about the rising militant presence in Syria.

At a private meeting with members of Congress at the Munich Security Conference last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “the al-Qaeda threat is real, it is getting out of hand,” Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham later told reporters. “He openly talked about supporting arming the rebels. He openly talked about forming a coalition against al-Qaeda because it’s a direct threat.”

State Department officials said that Graham and other members of Congress who disclosed the private meeting distorted Kerry’s statements. They denied that Kerry raised arming the rebels or described the current policy as a failure.

Noah Bonsey, a Beirut-based Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group, called Kerry’s reported statements “an acknowledgement of the facts.” On the rebel side of the conflict, al-Qaeda aligned militants have badly damaged the international reputation of the Syrian opposition. On the government side, Assad and his backers in Iran and Russia are increasingly confident.

“Geneva made abundantly clear that the regime is not prepared to compromise on anything at all, no matter how small,” Bonsey said in a telephone interview, referring to the peace talks. “They believe themselves to be winning and they perceive themselves as seeing no real pressure, certainly not from Iran and probably not from Russia.”


Steven A. Cook, a Mideast expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, agreed that Assad and the militants are both growing stronger. But he defended the administration’s decision to not intervene in what he called “someone else’s civil war.” Cook said the best way for Washington to respond to rising militancy in Syria was through regional allies, not direct American action.

“The question is how we go about countering them,” Cook said in an email. “I suspect that we are already doing things with friendly countries – Turkey, Jordan, others – to counter Nusra without a full-blown intervention in Syria.”

Bonsey said he too opposed direct American intervention but pointed out that for the last two years the United States has been trying unsuccessfully to work through regional allies. Despite scores of joint declarations, the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all continue to back different rebel groups, a practice that further atomizes an already fractured Syrian opposition.

“The first step remains working with the opposition’s regional allies,” he said. “Providing carrots and sticks that can encourage a move toward pragmatism which can make them a more effective force.”

Bonsey said this week’s announcement that Obama will visit Saudi Arabia in March could be a step toward a more unified effort. But Hamid said the Obama administration has little credibility after drawing “red lines” for Assad but failing to enforce them.

A central question – the central question – regarding Syria remains in dispute in Washington, experts said. Does Syria now represent a direct national security threat to the United States? Hamid, who called for intervention in the past, said it does.

“They’re saying now that fighters are going to be trained in Syria and come back to the U.S.,” he said. “We can’t pretend that it doesn’t have an impact on American national security interests.”

Cook and Bonsey agree the threat is rising but say the administration must first develop a coherent approach to Syria with its regional allies. Public opinion polls in the United States continue to show sweeping opposition to greater American involvement, including arming more moderate rebels.

Experts say only one scenario could change Washington’s stance: Syria-based militants somehow strike the American homeland. Until that occurs, no level of carnage in Syria, Egypt or the Middle East is likely to change Washington’s political calculus.

(Edited by Sara Ledwith)

Egypt’s Morsi charged with ‘terrorist acts’

December 18, 2013

Morsi supporters protested outside the court where the deposed president faced the initial charges [EPA]
 Al Jazeera

Deposed president Mohamed Morsi will stand trial on charges of “conspiring with foreign groups”.

Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered Morsi and 35 co-accused to stand trial on charges including conspiring with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt and divulging military secrets to a foreign state.

In a statement, the prosecutor said that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had committed acts of violence and terrorism in Egypt and prepared a “terrorist plan” that included an alliance with the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Some defendants, including Essam Haddad, Morsi’s second in command when president, were also accused of betraying state secrets to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The prosecution also alleged Muslim Brotherhood involvement in a surge of attacks on soldiers and police following Morsi’s overthrow, centred mostly in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Prosecutors say the intention of the attacks was to “bring back the deposed president and to bring Egypt back into the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip”.

Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, reporting from Cairo, said the charges were tantamount to a series of very serious treason charges, which carry the death penalty in Egypt.

“I suspect a lot of Morsi’s supporters will see these as outlandish charges designed to try to sideline the opposition once and for all,” he said.

Mohamed Al Damaty, the spokesman of Morsi’s defence team told Al Jazeera that they had not seen the court documents relating to the case.

“We did not receive the court documents to this case,” he said.

“We don’t know further details and there is a gag order on this case by the prosecutor banning media from publishing its details for what they call endangering national security. No date for the trial has been set yet.”

Jailbreak connection 

The trial appears to stem from an investigation into prison breaks during a 2011 uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak, when Morsi and other prisoners escaped, AFP reports.

Prosecutors have alleged the jailbreaks were carried out by Palestinian and Lebanese armed groups, who had members imprisoned under Mubarak.

Al Jazeera sources said that prosecutor copy labelled the trial as the “biggest case in Egypt’s history of conspiring against Egypt.”

According to the text, the Muslim Brotherhood had been involved in smuggling weapons and allowing its members to enter Gaza through tunnels in the Sinai to receive training from factions of Hezbollah and Iranians.

It also said members had received training on communication and dealing with media through communication with the West through Qatar and Turkey.

‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing’: Don’t be fooled – Iran still wants nuclear bomb, says Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

October 2, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister tells UN General Assembly not  to be deceived by President Rouhani’s moderate tone

 Ben Lynfield  in Jerusalem

Tuesday 01 October 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the international community not to be deceived by the moderate tone of the new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, calling him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, as intent as his bellicose predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on developing a nuclear bomb.

In an address to the UN General Assembly that was largely aimed at undoing the gains in international opinion Mr Rouhani made last week with his own UN speech, which was followed by a phone call with US President Barack Obama, Mr Netanyahu called for keeping up and perhaps intensifying sanctions against Iran and likened the Iranian regime and what he believes are its nuclear aspirations to the Nazi regime’s threat to Europe in the 1930s.

He said that Israel would act alone militarily to stop an Iranian bomb if necessary and insisted that Iran not be allowed to keep any enriched uranium in any diplomatic deal.

“When it comes to nuclear weapons the only difference between the two is that Ahmadinejad is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, while Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community,” he said.

The Israeli leader seemed impatient with those anxious to explore if Mr Rouhani’s tenure ushers in a new period of hope, as the Iranian president himself took pains to signal.

“I wish I could believe Rouhani but I don’t because facts are stubborn things. Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.“

He said during Mr Rouhani’s tenure as Iranian national security adviser, Iran had perpetrated terrorist acts including the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

“Are we to believe Rouhani did not know of these attacks. Of course he did,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.

Mr Netanyahu said Mr Rouhani believes he can get sanctions lifted while still advancing towards a bomb by ”smiling a lot, paying lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance“, offering “meaningless concessions” and “ensuring Iran maintains sufficient nuclear material and infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time of its choosing”.

Mr Netanyahu said those doubting his warning had failed to learn the lessons from the appeasement of the Nazi regime in the 1930s.

“The last century taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power its appetite for aggression knows no bounds. The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people have not.“

He said any diplomatic solution would require Iran to cease all uranium enrichment, remove from Iran all stockpiles of enriched uranium, dismantle the infrastructure for nuclear breakout capability and stop all work at a heavy water facility aimed at production of plutonium.

“The international community has Iran on the ropes. If it wants to knock out Iran’s programme peacefully don’t let up the pressure, keep it up.”

Mr Rouhani told the General Assembly last week that “nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defence doctrine and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions“.

Netanyahu has described Rouhani, above, as 'a wolf in sheep’s clothing' (Getty)

Netanyahu has described Rouhani, above, as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ (Getty)

He offered immediate negotiations to remove “reasonable concerns” about Iran’s nuclear programme, saying that in return Iran wanted recognition by the international community of its right to enrich uranium.

In an interview with CNN, he appeared to distance himself from Mr Ahmadinejad’s pattern of Holocaust denial, saying about the Nazis: “Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn,” while adding, however, that it was up to historians to determine the scale of what happened.

Mr Obama said the US is ready to test Mr Rouhani’s overtures but would insist on “the highest level of verification” of Iran curbing its nuclear programme before providing what he termed “sanctions relief”.

Even as Mr Netanyahu called for a “credible military threat” to pressure Iran, Mr Obama made clear the US is open to using military force if diplomacy fails.

In remarks to Iranian television before Mr Netanyahu’s speech, Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif accused Mr Netanyahu of lying to the world about Iran.

“We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered. For 22 years the Zionist regime has been lying by repeating endlessly that Iran will have the bomb in six months. After all these years the world must understand the reality of these lies and not allow them to be repeated.”