Israel’s top government and military went on a high level of preparedness Tuesday, Aug. 18 in expectation of the first terrorist attack to be orchestrated by Iran from Syrian or Lebanese borders. That is what brought Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott on a tour of inspection to the Golan and Northern Command headquarters. Netanyahu said then that Israel is ready for any scenario and would “harm anyone trying to harm us.”
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that these events were sparked by the knowledge reaching Israeli intelligence that Iranian Al Qods and Hizballah officers were building a new terrorist network for mounting large-scale terrorist attacks on Israel from the Syrian border opposite the Golan.
The officers had handed out anti-tank and anti-air rockets to the terrorists, raising Israeli suspicions that one of their plans was to seize an Israeli location or part of one and try and hold out against an Israeli counter-offensive of tanks and assault helicopters.
Our counter-terrorism sources disclose that three radical terrorist movements staff the new network:
One is the hard-line rejectionist Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC).
Another is the Golan-based Syrian Druze group known as Liberators of the Golan. It is headed by the notorious Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze who has set up a Golan terror ring based in the Druze village of Al-Khadar opposite the Israeli border fence.
Also harnessed to Iran’s new Golan terror organization is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) which is made up of radical Christian terrorists. This old timer violent group, which is run by Syrian intelligence, took part in the 1982-3 Hizballah bombing massacres at the US Embassy and Marine headquarters in Beirut.
The first SSNP activists have arrived in the Quneitra district of the Golan.
According to our military sources, it is this Iranian-backed network which Thursday, Aug. 20, fired a salvo of four rockets from the Golan into upper Galilee and the Golan. The impact set off brush fires but caused no casualties. A red alert had sent most people running to shelters.
This was an unusually long-range attack: Previous launches from within Syria, whether deliberate or stray fire from the civil war there, hit the Israeli-held Golan without reaching the Israeli interior. It is now up to Israel to decide how and when to respond to an act of war orchestrated by Tehran, after the prime minister’s warning Tuesday had no deterrent effect.