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Monday, August 31, 2009

'Israeli Arab' arrested for plotting to murder IDF Chief of Staff

An 'Israeli Arab' has been arrested and charged with plotting with Hezbullah to murder IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi (pictured) to avenge the death of Hezbullah terrorist Imad Mugniyeh. The 'Israeli Arab,' 23-year old Rawi Sultani of Tira, allegedly was recruited by Hezbullah while attending a summer camp for 'Israeli Arabs' that was sponsored by the Balad party, an Arab party that is represented in the Knesset. The camp took place in 2008 in Morocco. The Balad party sponsors the camp every summer in a different Arab country and it includes Arabs from other countries and not just 'Israeli Arabs.'

Sultani has been under arrest since August 10.
During his stay at the camp, Sultani allegedly met Hizbullah operative Salman Harab, and provided him with information about Ashkenazi, particularly his routine at the Kfar Saba country club where the two occasionally worked out together.

The predominantly Arab town of Tira is just north of Kfar Saba, Ashkenazi's hometown.

Harab, a 26-year-old Lebanese Shi'ite Hizbullah operative, met personally with the group of Israeli Balad activists, introduced himself as a Hizubllah member, and gave them a lecture about the conflict and struggle against Israel, read the charge sheet.
Israel Radio reported that the workouts were more than just occasional. The two were both members of the club and because of that Sultani apparently knew Ashkenazi's routine.
Sultani allegedly remained in touch with Harab after returning to Israel from Morocco, through his phone and via the Internet.

The Shin Bet and Israel Police International Serious Crimes Unit learned of the plot by tracking Sultani's email and Facebook correspondence with Hizbullah.

In December 2008, Sultani allegedly flew to Poland and met a Hizbullah operative known as 'Sami.' At the meeting, he is said to have presented 'Sami' with information he had collected about the IDF chief of staff, as well as on different ideas he had conjured about how to assassinate Ashkenazi.

Sultani also allegedly provided 'Sami' with information about other senior Israeli officials and about IDF bases in Israel.

After returning from Poland, Sultani kept in touch with both 'Sami' and Harab, according to the indictment.
Sultani's father is a lawyer and is acting on the son's behalf. He is claiming that the Shin Bet (General Security Service) has blown this out of proportion and that his son did not know that 'Sami' and Harab (whose picture was released by the Shin Bet - an unusual move) were Hezbullah agents.

This story is apparently not connected to the story a couple of weeks ago where a gun was stolen from Ashkenazi's office in the Kirya (the IDF's equivalent of the Pentagon).

Still, one has to wonder what kind of 'security' surrounds Ashkenazi and other senior IDF officers. Why is he working out at a private club and not at the Kirya? When you're in that kind of position, you have a responsibility to take of yourself and not wait for something to happen. This is the second time in a month that Ashkenazi has failed to fulfill that responsibility.


A later version of the story linked above says that Sultani has been indicted.


At 9:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ashkenazi does not seem cognizant of the fact his carelessness about his personal security sends Israel's enemies a message. He who does not care about his own life has no place being at the helm of the IDF. It is time for him to go!


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