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Israeli Source: 90% Certainty IDF Assassinated Mohammed Deif

u.s. bombs killed mohammed deif and family

Al Dalou home after being bombed by U.S. SKU28 bunker buster bombs (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

If you are an American citizen, tonight’s post may be even more disturbing than all my other distressing posts on this Gaza war.  Yesterday, I posted that the IDF attempted to assassinate Mohammed Deif in Gaza.  Hamas announced that Israel had murdered his 27 year-old pregnant wife and his 7 month-old son along with several other unnamed individuals.  The Israeli media buzzed for hours about whether Deif survived this, Israel’s fifth attempt to kill him (previous failed attempts had cost him both legs and possibly an eye).

Then I detected a growing consensus in the media that Deif likely had survived.  But my Israeli source, who has excellent contacts among Israeli military and intelligence circles tells me there is a 90% likelihood Deif was killed yesterday.  I say all this advisedly, since I know that if the story turns out to be true it will cause perverse rejoicing in the halls of power in Israel.  And this is the sort of rejoicing that will destroy Israel in the long run.  But I’ve learned by experience that my source is often right, no matter whether I want him to be or not.  So I feel it’s important to release this claim and test how it plays out over the coming days.

I read yesterday other claims from Hamas that five U.S.-made 5,000 lb. GBU 28 bunker-buster bombs were used to penetrate the al-Dalou home in which Deif and his family were sheltering.  My source confirms that the story is true.  The depth of the crater left at the scene indicates only a bunker buster could have produced it.

These are the same weapons used in a similar strike by Israel that failed to assassinate Hassan Nasrallah during the 2006 Lebanon war.  The IDF presumably believed the Gaza home had a reinforced safe room or underground bunker in which the victims believed they would be safe.

It’s also important to add that Israel justified the assassination by noting that Palestinian militants had been first to break the ceasefire by shooting three missiles into Israel.  Though none reached their intended targets or caused any damage, this was the pretext Israel needed to launch the assassination plan.  When I read this passage in a Haaretz story by Amir Oren, my ears immediately perked up:

In the past, more than 30 years ago, there were military and diplomatic Israeli officials who were not averse to staging an incident in order to have an excuse to respond to it, with a pre-planned operation

Like much Israeli national security reporting, you have to read reporters carefully to understand what they’re saying (or not saying, but inferring).  I asked the source mentioned above whether Oren could be referring to a provocation that was deliberately engineered by Israel, thus giving it the justification to launch the Deif murder.  His reply was that his own contacts had no comment.  Given that I asked if he could confirm or refute my surmise and he offered that rejoinder, naturally it piqued my curiosity even further.

So did Israel itself either launch rockets that it shot down; or did it arrange for Palestinians to fire such rockets knowing where and when they’d be fired so they could be destroyed?  Before skeptics run to their keyboards, there are many ways Israel could induce Palestinians to fire rockets without them even realizing Israel was the motivating force in the operation.  My strong suspicion is that Israel engaged in fraud in this instance.

Remember that within only a few minutes of the firing of the rockets, Hamas released a statement saying it was not responsible.  The fact that Deif was at home with his family instead of in a fortified tunnel underground, meant he too expected no rockets to be fired nor any Israeli military action.

Remember as well, that Islamic Jihad’s leader has praised his group’s stellar relations with the Egyptian military junta.  It’s not hard to imagine that Egypt might be angry with Hamas’ stance during the ceasefire talks and seek to teach it a lesson.  Thus, after collaborating with Israeli intelligence on the matter, it might induce IJ to launch missiles at Israel.  Also, don’t forget my report regarding the first ceasefire attempt, saying that Israel wrote the entire ceasefire proposal and told the Egyptians to present it as their own.  Hamas was never consulted, though Egypt claimed it had been.  When it comes to scheming and under-handedness, both Israeli agents and Egyptian intelligence officials are more than capable of engineering something as heinous as this.

I don’t offer this as anything more than one possible scenario showing how Israel may’ve “arranged” for a ceasefire violation.  There are scores more that are possible and plausible.

Later in the day, the IDF assassinated three senior Hamas commanders in Rafah.  It is ratcheting up the killing machine.  It’s already destroyed every piece of property and building in Gaza.  Now, as Hamas fighters begin emerging from underground, Israel wants to wreak revenge of them for how well they fought in defending their country in this past war.

I heard snippets of Bibi Netanyahu’s press conference today and he was in stellar and typically megalomaniacal form.  He pounded tables, waved his arms insistently, all for the purpose of persuading the gathered media that “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.”  He’s an expert at this: hijacking whatever terrorist incident is grabbing world headlines (he did it memorably on 9/11) and piggybacking his own obsessions onto it.  So with the world’s attention shifting slightly from Gaza to Iraq; and with the beheading of a U.S. journalist by ISIS searing the world’s TV screens, he forcefully guides world attention back to his own agenda: Hamas.

There is no connection at all between ISIS and Hamas.  None.  Bibi made it all up out of whole cloth.  And he doesn’t care.  He figures if anyone catches him in a lie he’ll be long gone onto the next lie.

Another doozie Bibi unloaded on the reporters was that Israel was approaching a “new diplomatic horizon.”  By which he appeared to mean that with all the Mideast terror going on, Arab and even western states like the UK were opening their eyes to the threats posed by ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.  This offered an opportunity for Israel to change the script from harping on dead Gazan babies to rabid jihadi executioners.  Those are far better optics for Israel on the world stage.  So imagine a Grand Alliance of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iraqi Kurds, and Egypt uniting forces against Iran and the above jihadi groups.  It’s enough to bring tears to the eyes of any red-blooded Likudist!

But of course this scenario is totally delusional.  While the world IS horrified by ISIS atrocities, it isn’t stupid enough to buy the package deal Bibi offers.  Israel’s actions will be judged on their own terms and not in the context of ISIS or other Islamist extremists.

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Stretch August 21, 2014, 3:26 AM

    Here in Oz, our Pm is beating up the Isis threat. He figures that he will be seen as stronger than the Labor opposition when it comes to ‘national security’ and it’s a very handy diversion when he cannot get his budget passed in parliament.

    Not everyone buys the threat like Tony wants them to. On ABC talk back radio today, more than one caller wondered why there was so much attention on one horrific murder compared to the hundreds of murders from the bombs rained down on Gaza.

    The ABC host, Rafael Epstein, showed his prejudices again by asking ‘doesn’t it matter if the motivation is different?’, as if the Israeli military was not engaged in a wholesale slaughter in Gaza.

    • Imran Kahn August 21, 2014, 4:30 AM

      [comment deleted: off-topic--if you want to rail against ISIS, go elsewhere.]

      • Imran Kahn August 21, 2014, 7:36 PM

        Sorry, was responding to Stretch who mentioned ISIS. How come he isn’t moderated and told to go elsewhere?

    • Arie Brand August 21, 2014, 3:00 PM

      Adding to that: Recently Mike Carlton, a columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote a heartfelt piece about the slaughter in Gaza. He was immediately buried under an avalanche of abusive emails in which the term “Nazi slime” occurred among many others. It is hard to believe that such campaigns are not centrally organised. Anyway, Mike lost his temper with a few of those worthies and told them to f..ck off. For that he was suspended by his paper and he then resigned. The paper claims that he was only suspended for this “discourtesy” to his readers – not for his original column. That too is hard to believe.

  • DT August 21, 2014, 4:32 AM

    How they managed to destroy only the Al Dalou house without destroying the other houses in the neighborhood?

  • Oui August 21, 2014, 6:17 AM

    As you may know, I’m quite critical about articles on behavior and analysis of events. Richard, you are spot on, on all accounts. Thank you, great stuff.

    Recently I had a discussion about US presidents as a great politician or showing leadership and courage. Netanyahu is a politician, corrupt, immoral and lacks basic courage to advance the long term interests of his people. The interests of Israel are the same as the well-being of the Palestinians and it’s neighboring states.

    George W. Bush never understood how deadly wrong he was with the illegal intervention in Iraq after 9/11. March 2003 was the birth of the insurgency in Anbar province that never went away. A number of different names were used such as al-Qaida Between Two Rivers or al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI).

    in July 2005, the ghost of Al Zarqawi had spread over Europe, nations on high alert expecting more bomb attacks. Today there are Baathists forces who joined ISIS, ISIL or IS as they are now called. Saddam’s general Izzat Ibrahim al Duri has military command over the Baathists in support ISIS terror in Iraq. Al Duri was #6 in the Pentagon deck of cards as US forces invaded Mesopotamia.

    How ISIS Was Nurtured In Syria and Matured in Iraq

  • Oui August 21, 2014, 7:05 AM

    If Deif had been killed, he would have been buried already, Hamas don’t do it in secrecy, do they?

    According to Al Jazeera (Qatar and close ally of Hamas), airstrikes killed Deif’s wife Widad and his seven-month-old son targeting a house of a relative where they were staying.

    “My daughter knew she would die a martyr when she decided to marry Mohammed Deif. Every moment since then I’ve been expecting to hear that she has died,” Asfura said.

    Angry crowds mourn Hamas chief’s family | The Daily Star

    Widad and Deif had two daughters and a son together. She also had two sons from a first marriage, the family said. It was not clear where the couple’s two girls were at the time of the strike.

    Hundreds of people crowded into the mosque for the funeral prayers, but there was no sign of any officials of the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls Gaza. Shortly after the funeral, a source close to the Islamist militant movement said that Deif was alive and still calling the shots in the ongoing war with Israel in and around Gaza.

    “The head of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades Abu Khaled is still alive and leading the military operation,” the source told AFP, using Deif’s nom-de-guerre. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Israelis would not be safe until Deif “decides so.”

  • Vollin August 21, 2014, 7:16 AM

    Perhaps someday the two leading Mideast butchers — Israel and ISIS — will clash headon. They deserve each other.

    • Imran Kahn August 21, 2014, 8:37 PM

      May the most righteous win.

  • ben August 21, 2014, 8:08 AM

    [comment deleted: I don't find it funny to compare a real person's life of suffering & pain as a result of Israeli assassination attempts to a Monty Python movie.]

  • gary fouse August 21, 2014, 1:29 PM

    [Supporting terrorism of whatever side is a comment rule violation you will be moderated. ]

    • Donald August 21, 2014, 1:54 PM

      And you are aware that there is good reason to doubt that claim–

      Guardian article

      On your Deif comment, would you be disturbed if some Israeli officials were dead? I wish the war criminals of both sides (I don’t know anything about Deif, so this may or may not apply to him) could be charged, tried, and sent to prison.

      • ben August 21, 2014, 2:49 PM

        @donald. You have heard of plausible deniability right? Its called a black operation… the only problem is Saleh al-Arouri opened schrodinger’s box.

        • Arie Brand August 21, 2014, 3:55 PM

          Yes the Israel Firsters are out in full force about that alleged “confession”. Hamas would have organised the abduction of the teenagers after all. But this claim comes allegedly from Salah al-Arouri, who, I understand, has been living outside Israel (and Gaza) for quite a while now – most recently in Turkey.. Is he in Hamas’ inner circle?

          It is worth quoting part of the Guardian article, referred to by Donald, in full:

          Hugh Lovatt, Israel and Palestine coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that while al-Arouri was a significant Hamas figure – serving as the group’s most prominent representative in Turkey – the former militant could have an ulterior motive for making his claim.

          “Given the timing I would be very suspicious about his claim. I still don’t believe Hamas as an organisation and its upper echelons sanctioned the kidnappings – something that Israeli intelligence also believes,” he said.

          Lovatt said that al-Arouri may be trying to claim credit for the actions of others in an attempt to demonstrate his own continued sway in the West Bank and Hamas’s ability to hit Israel after failing to secure significant concessions after six weeks of violence in Gaza.

          “A second, more remote possibility, is that al-Arouri is telling the truth and that he has operated on his own initiative – a development with very worrying repercussions as it would imply a serious power struggle and splintering within Hamas,” he said.

        • Donald August 21, 2014, 5:05 PM

          “You have heard of plausible deniability right? Its called a black operation”

          Possibly,or it could be a rogue element within Hamas, or this guy could just be engaged in empty boasting. There are plenty of amoral people in both Hamas and the Israeli government and the propaganda war never stops, so in murky gray areas like this I never know what to believe .

  • Nimrod August 22, 2014, 2:59 AM

    [comment deleted: blatantly false claims are not permitted according to the comment rules. You're entitled to your prejudices, but not to claiming they're facts.]

  • Oui August 22, 2014, 11:21 AM

    Israel’s first order for Lockheed’s GBU-28 [pdf] bunker buster bombs were placed by PM Ariel Sharon in April 2005.

    Israel has requested the sale of the Lockheed Martin Corp. GBU-28s worth as much as $30 million, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice required by law for government-to-government military sales.

  • Oui August 22, 2014, 11:22 AM

    DSCA: Major arms sale to Israel AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder missiles

    Media/Public Contact: pm-cpa@state.gov
    Transmittal No: 14-31

    WASHINGTON, Jul 14, 2014 –The Government of Israel has requested a possible sale of up to 600 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II All-Up-Round Missiles, 50 CATM-9X-2 Captive Air Training Missiles, 4 Dummy Air Training Missiles, containers, missile support and test equipment, provisioning, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical support services, and other related logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $544 million.

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 12:57 AM

      @ Oui: That was one of the e mail addresses I used when I sent queries to State. Still waiting for that call-back!

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