Israel ‘conducts espionage incursions into Iran from Kurdish Iraq’

Kurds in the Iran-Iraq border regionBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS & IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Israeli intelligence services are routinely using an undisclosed base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch regular intelligence missions into Iran, according to The Sunday Times. The London-based newspaper cited unnamed “Western intelligence sources” in alleging that Israeli commandos and highly trained special forces members have been conducting cross-border operations from northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan province. But, says the paper, these risky intelligence missions have been intensified to an unprecedented degree in the past few months, as the Israelis are desperately seeking “smoking gun evidence” to convince the United States and the United Nations that Iran is actively constructing a nuclear warhead. The Israelis, according to the Times, deploy twelve-member fully armed teams into Iran on modified Black Hawk helicopters, which are able to fly for approximately 500 miles without needing to refuel. After landing into Iran, the Israeli commandos, who are usually in Iranian military uniforms, are transported to target locations in vehicles made to look like those used by the Iranian military. Their target destinations include Iranian military complexes such as that in Parchin, located 19 miles southeast of Tehran. The Times claims that the Israeli commando teams have also been to Fordow, near Qum, a heavily guarded former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps base that houses an underground uranium enrichment facility. The article claims that, once they reach their destination, the Israeli commando teams use “sensitive equipment” to monitor levels of radioactivity and record the magnitude of any explosives tests that might be carried out at those locations. IntelNews has paid particular attention over the years to reports of alleged cooperation between Israeli intelligence agencies and Kurdish groups in Iraq and elsewhere. In September of 2010, Lebanese authorities arrested three members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near Beirut and charged them with spying for Israel. In January of 2011, leading French newspaper Le Figaro cited a “security source in Baghdad” who alleged that members of Israeli intelligence were operating in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. The source said that the Israelis, who were allegedly members of the Mossad, Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency, were actively recruiting Iranian dissident exiles in Kurdistan. Later that same month, Turkish intelligence agencies authored a report detailing Israeli assistance to Kurdish rebels. The report claimed that airborne intelligence collected by Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicles was being shared with PKK guerrillas.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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