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Tuesday, June 14, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli intelligence: Organizers of flotilla coordinating with Iran

TEL AVIV — Israel's intelligence community has determined that Iran was involved in the organization of a Turkish-flagged flotilla to the Gaza Strip.


An Israeli intelligence report said the organizers of the flotilla, identified as the Humanitarian Relief Foundation and expected to sail for the Gaza Strip in late June, were coordinating with Iranian leaders. The report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center asserted that Iran was providing diplomatic and propaganda support and could contribute to the flotilla, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Iran is actively involved in attempts to delegitimize Israel and shows solidarity with the flotillas and convoys campaigns," the state-financed center said. "However, it takes pains to avoid directly and openly taking part in the campaigns."

Also In This Edition

The report said IHH leaders have met and coordinated activities with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On May 30, Iran sent a delegation to a gathering that commemorated the first flotilla that sailed toward the Gaza Strip. The flotilla, led by the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, was intercepted by the Israel Navy and nine people were killed.

IHH, linked to Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, has been identified as a leading anti-Israel movement. The group has blocked the appearance of Israeli artists to Turkey as well as helped sponsor bloody anti-Israeli protests in Jordan.

The Iranian delegation to the IHH commemoration in Istanbul was led by Ayatolla Seyed Ghaemmagham, regarded as a leading state-aligned cleric. The Israeli report said the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah attended and played a major role in the gathering, which included a night march by tens of thousands of people.

"One of the reasons is that the organizations and networks promoting the delegitimization campaigns in Western countries are concerned over the possibility that Iran's direct involvement may put them at odds, politically and PR-wise, with the governments and public opinion of their respective countries," the report said. "On the other hand, the IHH, with its radical Islamic orientation, has no qualms about having contacts with like-minded elements in Iran which, in our understanding, work with the full knowledge and blessing of the Iranian regime."

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