Defense officials here in Jerusalem are denying a British report that the Mossad has increased security in London following the recent terrorist attack in Bulgaria that left 5 Israelis dead. Quoting unnamed sources in Tel Aviv, The Sunday Times says Israel has put more undercover intelligence agents on the ground before the Olympic Games open out of fear that Hezbollah and Iran may carry out another attack, this time on Israeli athletes...
Is the suicide bus bombing in Bulgaria a prelude to a much bigger terrorist attack in London...that's the question Israeli officials are now asking... Finding the answer grew more urgent over the weekend when evidence led Israeli officials to conclude a second Hezbollah-affiliated terrorist helped the suicide bus bomber. It's believed he fled Bulgaria with significant amounts of explosives. Could London be his next stop?
According to The Sunday Times, the 2nd terrorist is using a US passport with the name David Jefferson. The British paper says the Mossad is already scouting for him in London... Newly-dispatched undercover agents are reportedly also looking for other suspected Iranian-backed terrorists, intent on foiling any nefarious plans...some have even been sent to survey Iranian embassies in other European capitals. Israeli Defense Ministry Official Maj-Gen. Amos Gilad dismissed the British report, saying intelligence services do not operate by dispatching agents to quote "chase down ghosts." He said there was no concrete threat of an attack during the Olympics.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said only that Israel is working with British and other Western Intelligence agencies to prevent any problems at the games, adding vigiliance is required. Despite the official denials, most counter-terrorism experts believe Israel has indeed kicked up its intelligence and operational security measures in London in the wake of the deadly Bulgaria attack. Israel is fighting what is says is an Iranian campaign of global terror -- officials say they have foiled at least 20 attacks in the last year...from Thailand to Kenya...
As more evidence mounts, the U.S. and other Western powers now also see a pattern of Iranian terror emerging... London's Olympic Park or one of the other 26 venues would be "headline-grabbing" places for Iran to strike at Israel, and by extension the West. History may also help encourage an attack this year. It's been 40 years since Palestinian terrorists carried out what's become known as the 1972 Olympic of the Israeli athletes, masked gunmen killed 2 athletes and kidnapped 9 others, who later died in a botched German rescue mission. Britain is well aware of the security risk. The head of the M-I-5, the domestic security service, says a $1 billion dollars has been invested in securing the Olympic games. Nearly 30,000 police officers, troops and private security guards will be looking for anything suspicious.
Most of the Israeli Olympic delegation -- 38 athletes and their coaches -- are already in London. In a telling sign of the how tight security is, the Israelis will not be housed in the same building complex with most of the other international athletes. The Israelis will be in their own separate, highly guarded complex in the Olympic village with "rings" of security guards and surveillance techonology. Efraim Zinger, the head of the Israeli delegation, says the athletes are indeed receiving special security attention and that they feel safe.
Jordana Miller, JN1, Jerusalem.