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Iran offers reward to Islamic Jihad for launching attacks on Israel

October 29, 2005

Tehran ‘bounty' for attack on Israel
Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv,,2089-1849215,00.html
IRAN has promised a reward of $10,000 (£5,600) to Islamic Jihad if the militant group launches rockets from the West Bank towards Tel Aviv, a senior Palestinian intelligence official said last week.

Speaking in his Ramallah office, the official produced a fat wad of $100 notes which he said had been confiscated from a pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad activist.

The money was said to have gone from Iran to Damascus, the Syrian capital, from where Ibrahim Shehadeh, Islamic Jihad's head of overseas operations, transferred it to the West Bank.

According to the intelligence official, the Palestinian Authority has located workshops where "Al-Quds" (Jerusalem) rockets are being made and has given their co-ordinates to the Israelis. "We understand they destroyed some of them," he said.

The Israeli media claimed last week that rocket attacks from the West Bank were widely expected: Ben Gurion airport's eastern runway is just five miles away and the outskirts of Tel Aviv are within 10 miles.

Shaul Mofaz, Israel's defence minister, and the army's chief of staff held an emergency meeting to discuss requests from the mayors of towns bordering the West Bank for sirens to alert inhabitants to incoming rockets.

Israeli intelligence officials said that Iran was threatening the country on three fronts: through long-range missiles based in Lebanon; through terrorist networks around the world; and through the new arsenals of the West Bank.

Islamic Jihad is the only Palestinian group that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Based in Damascus, it has an annual budget of several million dollars — provided by Iran. Ramadan Shalah, its leader, has a PhD in economics from Durham University. The organisation's military arm is the "Al-Quds Brigades".

Since the death of Yasser Arafat last year, Islamic Jihad has taken the lead in attacks against Israel. A suicide bombing that killed five people in the northern town of Hadera last week was revenge for the killing by Israeli special forces of Luay Saadi, the group's leader in the West Bank.

This weekend Israeli forces launched an operation against the organisation in both the West Bank and Gaza — including the destruction of the rocket workshops.


Arab press torn on Ahmadinejad call

The Iranian president's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has received a sympathetic ear in some Arabic papers, which say it was a justified device to focus attention on the Palestinians' plight.

Others however believe the remarks were ill-advised and counter-productive. An Iranian paper accuses Arab governments of turning a blind eye to the "real enemy of Islam".

Commentary in UK-based Al-Hayat

The 'elimination of Israel' stems from the same frame of mind as the Israeli strategic aim of 'eliminating Palestine'... which Israel accomplishes on a daily basis through organised killings... Whatever people think about the Iranian stance, the fact remains that highlighting 'indifference to Zionist crimes' is legitimate and true.

Editorial in Saudi Al-Jazeera

Whenever there is any initiative to condemn the Zionist entity, the big powers of the world move to protect this criminal country whose tanks, planes and aggression claim victims on a daily basis... Last week, Israel launched more than 30 air raids on Gaza alone, where many were martyred. This was not enough for Security Council members to consult on the continued massacres. The council did not however hesitate when Iran called for Israel to be wiped off the world map.

Editorial in Egypt's Al-Jumhuriyah

Is Israel the terrorist or Iran? The fury of Western capitals, and Moscow in particular, against the Iranian president's remarks on Israel indicates that these capitals perceive the world with an Israeli eye... They have allied themselves with a terrorist state that has spread wars and calamities in the Middle East... These capitals want nothing but for the terrorist and deadly Israel to stay, so that the people in the Middle East can go to hell!

Editorial in Egypt's Al-Ahram

It is most likely that the Iranian president was not thinking when he made these statements, or perhaps he was imagining that he was still in his fanatical days of youth and not yet president of Iran. Unfortunately, the situation is now different... If the Iranian president feels concerned about the Palestinian lands, then it is best for him to withdraw from the three islands of the Emirates that Iran has occupied for over ten years. It is best for him to stop interfering in Iraq's internal affairs. It is also best for him to know that the ordinary Arab knows very well that such fanatical statements will only spell disaster.

Commentary in London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat

After the Arabs and Muslims failed to eliminate Israel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to try his luck by announcing his desire to wipe Israel off the map... There are only two ways for the Iranian president to wipe Israel off the map. The first is to mobilise the Iranian army and deploy it against Israel. This requires the agreement of Arab governments... which have signed up to a proposal of peace with Israel creating two states... As for the second alternative, it is to develop a nuclear weapon and use it to hit Israel. This raises another problem. The nuclear weapon is not a smart weapon. It kills everyone.

Editorial in Jordan's Al-Ra'y

No-one knows whether the Iranian president's remarks on Israel on 'wiping Israel off the map' were merely a slip of the tongue or simply deliberate. Whatever the case, Ahmadinejad's remarks have caused an additional problem for Iran... in the light of [Israeli deputy prime minister] Shimon Peres' demand that the UN secretary-general and the Security Council revoke Iran's membership in the world body.

Editorial in Iranian Jomhuri-ye-Eslami

Arab countries are trying to forget the existence of a cancerous tumour in the heart of the World of Islam and are closing their eyes to this real enemy of Muslims... The Islamic Republic of Iran and any other country that enjoys sovereignty should do their best to launch an Islamic anti-Zionist movement against Israel.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.


Who wields the real power in Tehran?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Took over as supreme leader on the death in 1989 of his mentor, Ayatollah Khomeini. Figurehead of Iran's conservative establishment, strongly anti-American

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Populist ex-mayor of Tehran. Religious conservative little known abroad, won presidency as voters reacted against unfulfilled promises of reform

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Ex-president whose comeback bid failed. Retains major influence as head of unelected Expediency Council, which has recently been given more power

Ali Larijani

Head of Supreme National Security Council, which co-ordinates foreign policy. Presidential bid was unsuccessful, despite his being backed by the mainstream conservative coalition

Manouchehr Mottaki

New Foreign Minister, little known before his appointment this summer. Has exhibited tough line on defending Iran's nuclear programme and in opposition to Israel and the US

General Rahin Safavi

Hardline chief of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which has huge influence over Iran's nuclear programme as well as control of its ballistic missile programme and special forces

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