Monday, March 26, 2012
'Iran plotted terror attack on Israeli ship in Suez'
'Al Ahram' reports Iranian agents offered 2 Egyptian men 50m. Egyptian pounds
Iran plotted to carry out a terror attack on an Israeli ship as it passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal, a report in the EgyptianAl-Ahram weekly claimed on Friday.
According to the report, the Egyptian terror operatives received instructions and funds from Iranian handlers ahead of the planned attack.
Egyptian authorities made no official comment on the report by Saturday night.
The suspects allegedly planned to recruit a third member to their cell, and were supposed to receive 50 million Egyptian pounds to carry out the plan.
If confirmed, the plot could strain ties between Iran and Egypt, which is in the midst of a political transformation.
Islamist parties control the lower parliament in Cairo, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s party, which is the largest in parliament, said it may field a candidate for the presidential elections.
Nevertheless, the ruling military council is determined to retain some power.
Some members of the new Egyptian parliament have indicated that they will seek closer ties to Iran. Under former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Cairo viewed Tehran as a hostile, radical force in the region, and ties between the two country were frozen for years.
The report on the alleged ship bomb plot comes after a series of failed attacks on Israeli targets in India, Thailand and Georgia last month, all of which have been linked to Iran.
On Friday, India’s NDTV news site said New Delhi requested that Interpol issue Red Corner warrants against four Iranians, one of whom was arrested by Malaysian police at Kuala Lampa airport.
The New Delhi police chief said earlier this month that a fifth suspect, an Indian-Muslim journalist with ties to Iran, helped carry out reconnaissance ahead of the February attack, which seriously injured Tal Yehoshua Koren, the wife of the Israeli defense attache to India.
Speaking soon after the attacks, senior security analyst Dr. Ely Karmon said that had the terrorists succeeded, they could have provoked a strong Israeli response.
“What amazes me about all of these attempts is the fact that one successful attack, one Israeli embassy blown up, is a casus belli,” a Latin phrase meaning a justification for war, said Karmon, of the Interdisciplinary Center’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism.