AFP – July 22, 2012
Israel has bolstered its security presence for the London Olympics amid fears that an Iranian terror squad in Europe may be planning an attack on its athletes, according to a press report Sunday.
Scotland Yard and Britain’s domestic intelligence service MI5 are believed to have raised their assessment of the threat against the Israeli delegation following last week’s suicide attack on an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria, the Sunday Times reported.
The Israeli government has reportedly dispatched agents from its internal security service Shin Bet to protect its team of athletes.
Meanwhile Israel’s foreign security service Mossad is said to have sent a team, codenamed Bayonet, to Europe in search of a group of terror suspects believed to be working with Iran’s Quds force and Hezbollah.
Quds, the special operations unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has recruited several white European Islamic converts, including two from Germany, one from Sweden and two Britons, security experts were cited as saying.
The bus bombing which killed six people in the Black Sea resort of Burgas last Wednesday has sparked fears of a repeat of the 1972 Munich Olympics attack by Palestinian gunmen in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed.
One of the terror suspects being sought by Israeli agents ahead of the London games is a man carrying a US passport in the name of David Jefferson, who is believed to have fled after the Bulgaria attack, the Sunday Times said.
Bulgarian police along with the CIA, FBI and Interpol are struggling to identify the suicide bomber who killed five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver in an attack the US said bore the “hallmarks” of Hezbollah.
Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the bomber was not a Bulgarian citizen and had been in the country “not less than four days.”
Israel has blamed Iran and Tehran’s “terrorist proxy” Hezbollah, saying it fitted a pattern of other recent attacks or attempted attacks on Israelis including in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya and Cyprus.
The Islamic Republic rejected the accusations as “ridiculous.”
Israel’s 38-strong team of athletes arrived at the Olympic village in Stratford, east London, 12 days ago as Britain prepared to launch its biggest ever peacetime security operation.
But the plans, including surface-to-air missiles stationed at six sites, have been dogged by a growing row over a shortage of security guards after a private company said it could not provide enough staff.
The government is deploying an extra 3,500 troops. after G4S said it could not fulfil its contract to supply 10,500 private guards for Olympic venues, and is putting another 1,200 troops on standby.