Iran 2: An “Imminent Threat to British Jews”

October 13, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "Exclusive: A Threat to British Jews" (Newsweek, October 20, 2003 issue, advance copy)
2. "Police: Imminent terror attack on British Jews" (Jerusalem Post, October 13, 2003)
3. "Iran-Britain Embassy" (AP, October 10, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This is one of a series of dispatches I am sending out concerning Iran. This dispatch covers the "exclusive" report announced today by the American magazine Newsweek (which will appear in their forthcoming October 20 issue) stating that Britain's Jewish community is under threat of imminent terrorist attacks directed by hardliners in the Iranian government. (In a later dispatch on Iran, I will send out articles concerning Britain's Aug. 21 arrest of former Iranian ambassador Hade Soleimanpour, who is wanted in connection with the 1994 bombing of Argentina's Jewish center, which resulted in almost 100 deaths.)

I attach three articles with summaries first:

SUMMARIES

1. "Exclusive: A Threat to British Jews" (Newsweek, October 20, 2003 issue, advance copy). "Scotland Yard has warned Britain's Jewish community of the threat of imminent terrorist attacks. British security officers say that while they can't predict specific attacks, urgent measures are needed to protect potential targets such as synagogues and community centers. Some State Department officials are considering issuing an official warning to U.S. travelers to Britain. U.S. officials say that no comparable intelligence has recently surfaced about threats to Jewish targets in America... Security sources tell Newsweek that in recent weeks police questioned a carload of Iranian "tourists" after they were spotted covertly taking video pictures of obscure Jewish-community buildings in London. Sources said that about a year ago, Swiss authorities traced a similar apparent attempt to surveil a Jewish target in Geneva to an Iranian diplomatic mission."

2. "Police: Imminent terror attack on British Jews" (The Jerusalem Post, October 13, 2003). "Scotland Yard has warned Britain's Jewish community that it faces the threat of imminent terrorist attacks, the US-based Newsweek reported."

3. "Iran-Britain Embassy" (The Associated Press, October 4, 2003). "Iranian police have arrested several people linked to last month's shooting near a British Embassy residential compound in the Iranian capital, the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement Friday. The statement, released to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, said "elements" behind the Sept. 14 shooting, which caused no injuries, were taken into custody. The shooting was the third incident in September in which bullets were fired at buildings connected to Britain's diplomatic mission in Tehran."

 



FULL ARTICLES

EXCLUSIVE: A THREAT TO BRITISH JEWS

Exclusive: A Threat to British Jews
By Mark Hosenball
NEWSWEEK
October 20, 2003 issue

Scotland Yard has warned Britain's Jewish community of the threat of imminent terrorist attacks. British security officers say that while they can't predict specific attacks, urgent measures are needed to protect potential targets such as synagogues and community centers. Some State Department officials are considering issuing an official warning to U.S. travelers to Britain. U.S. officials say that no comparable intelligence has recently surfaced about threats to Jewish targets in America.

Some of the terrorism concern in Britain appears to relate to suspicious Iranian activities. Security sources tell NEWSWEEK that in recent weeks police questioned a carload of Iranian "tourists" after they were spotted covertly taking video pictures of obscure Jewish-community buildings in London. Sources said that about a year ago, Swiss authorities traced a similar apparent attempt to surveil a Jewish target in Geneva to an Iranian diplomatic mission.

Some U.S. officials say that recent intelligence indicates backsliding in official Iranian attitudes toward Islamic terrorism and Al Qaeda. Earlier this year Tehran claimed to have arrested significant Qaeda suspects; U.S. officials believed that Qaeda operatives then in Iranian custody were top aides to Osama bin Laden, including his son Saad and Qaeda military chief Saif al-Adil. But recent intelligence suggests these suspects have been released and have returned to hideouts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

POLICE: IMMINENT TERROR ATTACK ON BRITISH JEWS

Police: Imminent terror attack on British Jews
By Douglas Davis
The Jerusalem Post
October 13, 2003

Scotland Yard has warned Britain's Jewish community that it faces the threat of imminent terrorist attacks, the US-based Newsweek reported on Sunday.

The report also said some State Department officials are considering issuing an official travel advisory to US citizens planning to visit Britain.

They say there have been no comparable threats against Jewish targets in America.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said that while the terrorist threat level remains high in Britain, there is currently no intelligence of specific threats.

Newsweek reported that some of the concern about terrorist threats to Britain's Jews appears to relate to suspicious Iranian activities.

It quoted security sources as saying that police had questioned a carload of Iranian "tourists" in recent weeks after they were spotted covertly taking video pictures of obscure Jewish-community buildings in London.

It also quoted sources as saying that about a year ago, Swiss authorities traced a similar surveillance operation involving a Jewish target in Geneva to an Iranian diplomatic mission.

According to Newsweek, some US officials have said that the recent intelligence indicates backsliding in official Iranian attitudes toward Islamic terrorism and al- Qaeda.

It noted that earlier this year Teheran claimed to have arrested significant al-Qaida suspects, whom US officials believed to have been top aides to Osama bin Laden, including his son Saad and the al-Qaida military chief Saif al-Adil.

But recent intelligence, reported the newsweekly, suggests these suspects have been released and have returned to hideouts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

IRAN-BRITAIN EMBASSY

Iran-Britain Embassy
The Associated Press
October 4, 2003

Police have arrested several people linked to last month's shooting near a British Embassy residential compound in the Iranian capital, the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement Friday.

The statement, released to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, said "elements" behind the Sept. 14 shooting, which caused no injuries, were taken into custody.

The statement did not identify the detainees or say how many were arrested. It was also unclear when they were arrested or if they have been charged.

The shooting was the third incident in September in which bullets were fired at buildings connected to Britain's diplomatic mission in Tehran.

On Sept. 3, five bullets were fired at the British Embassy in central Tehran. More shots were fired near the building almost a week later. No one was hurt either time.

Britain's Foreign Office has complained to Iranian authorities over the shootings.

The first shooting came two days after a rowdy protest outside the embassy over Britain's role in the occupation of Iraq.

The incidents also coincide with tensions over Britain's Aug. 21 arrest of former Iranian ambassador Hade Soleimanpour, who is wanted in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.