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Spy chief sees Israel in crosshairs of global terrorism

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

TEL AVIV Israel's military intelligence chief said his nation has become main target for local, regional and global Islamic terror networks including Al Qaida, the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hizbullah.

"After Sept. 11, Israel has become the focus of world terrorism," Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash told the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism on Monday.

Zeevi-Farkash said Shi'ite and Sunni Islamic insurgency share the same agenda regarding Israel. He said Hizbullah has built a formidable network of agents in such Western countries as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany and Italy.



The intelligence chief told the conference in the Israeli city of Herzliya that international cooperation is vital for Israel's security, Middle East Newsline reported. He said such cooperation must focus on the exchange of intelligence, a halt to terror financing, delegitimization of terrorism and supporters in the media and halting Islamic fundamentalist indoctrination.

"This is a long war of attrition," Zeevi-Farkash said. Brig. Gen. Danny Arditi, head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the prime minister's office, agreed. Arditi said Israel faces a range of threats from linked insurgency groups, which seek to launch weapons of mass destruction and mega-attacks. He cited the Al Qaida attack on a Tunisian synagogue in April in which 16 people were killed.

"The first is the attack on Djerba in which the target was Jewish, the country was Arab and the victims were Christians," Arditi said. "We are expecting such kinds of terrorism and even bigger."

Other Israeli officials at the conference said suicide missions have been adopted by both Palestinian and international insurgency groups as the chief method of attack. They said the military has assessed that were it not for the current Israeli deployment in West Bank cities and intensive intelligence effort, Palestinian insurgents and their foreign sponsors would have succeeded in achieving 200 Israeli casualties per month.

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