Israel denies agents in Europe over attack fears

Israel denies agents in Europe over attack fears

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israel yesterday said it was vigilant ahead of the Olympics in London but denied a report in Britain’s Sunday Times that it had sent a team to hunt down militants preparing an attack on its athletes.

“There is definitely vigilance in terms of intelligence and operationally ahead of the Olympic Games,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters. “Naturally it is an attractive event, and even without concrete warnings, we must be ready and alert, first and foremost because such things have already happened,” he said, referring to a deadly attack at the 1972 Munich Games which left 11 Israelis dead. “We remember Munich.”

According to the report, Israel has upped its level of security around its Olympic delegation in the wake of a deadly suicide attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and their local driver.

The report also said Israel had dispatched a team of agents from its Mossad foreign intelligence services to Europe to track down militants planning such an assault attack in conjunction with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and the Quds Force, the special operations unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. But Amos Gilad, head of policy at Barak’s office, dismissed the report as fiction.

“Intelligence doesn’t work like that, you don’t suddenly send dozens of agents to chase phantoms,” he told Israel’s army radio.

“There has to be precise information and a rigorous collection of information,” he said, describing it as “ant’s work.”

“We have to keep cool headed and balanced. There are attempts by Hezbollah and Iran in all sorts of countries, but.. we must try and keep a sense of proportion.”