Latest Headlines From the Middle East

In always trying to keep my finger on the pulse of the Middle East, I ran across these headlines this morning. Things might be on the verge of heating up.

‘Devastating response’ if Iran nukes attacked
Terrorists say Tehran providing instructions in case U.S., Israel strike atomic facilities

JERUSALEM – Iran is anticipating a U.S. or Israeli military strike on its nuclear facilities and has been providing Palestinian terrorists and other regional allies with contingency plans for attacks against the Jewish state and American regional interests in the event of war, according to Palestinian terrorist leaders.

A senior leader of the Islamic Jihad terror group, which Israel says is backed by Iran, told WND Tehran is expecting to be attacked, but he didn’t provide a time frame in which Iran anticipates a strike.

He claimed during any attack his organization has been directed by Iran to “wreck havoc” on Israel with suicide bombings, rocket attacks and “special surprises.” He said rocket attacks would be launched from both the Gaza Strip and from the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem.

He threatened his terror group will target American interests in the Middle East whether any purported strike against Tehran is carried out by Israel or the U.S.

“The Zionists and the Americans are coordinated 100 percent. It doesn’t matter who attacks Iran, we are planning to hit them both,” said the Islamic Jihad leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he said the topic was “very sensitive.”

He said overall Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah has been coordinating war plans with Iran, Syria and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Lebanese militia. Shallah resides in Damascus and travels frequently to Tehran.

Abu Ahmed, the northern West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization, told WND all major Palestinian militant organizations are preparing to work together in the event Iran is attacked.

“Our strategy is not to leave the Islamic alliance (Iran) alone against the enemy. All Palestinian organizations will work together in shooting rockets, suicide bomb attacks and other steps and actions decided closely.”

The Brigades is the declared military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party. Together with Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the last two years, including a bombing last month in Eilat and an attack in Tel Aviv last April that killed eight Israelis and American teenager Daniel Wultz.

Israel says major Brigades cells in the Gaza Strip and West Bank receive Iranian funding through contacts with Hezbollah.

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran’s nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.

A senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an “air corridor” in the event of the Israeli government deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons.

“We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

“The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don’t sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other.”

As Iran continues to defy UN demands to stop producing material which could be used to build a nuclear bomb, Israel’s military establishment is moving on to a war footing, with preparations now well under way for the Jewish state to launch air strikes against Teheran if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis.

The pace of military planning in Israel has accelerated markedly since the start of this year after Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, provided a stark intelligence assessment that Iran, given the current rate of progress being made on its uranium enrichment programme, could have enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead by 2009.

Report: 3 Gulf states agree to IAF overflights en route to Iran

Three Arab states in the Persian Gulf would be willing to allow the Israel Air force to enter their airspace in order to reach Iran in case of an attack on its nuclear facilities, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa reported on Sunday.

According to the report, a diplomat from one of the gulf states visiting Washington on Saturday said the three states, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, have told the United States that they would not object to Israel using their airspace, despite their fear of an Iranian response.

Al-Siyasa further reported that NATO leaders are urging Turkey to open its airspace for an Attack on Iran as well and to also open its airports and borders in case of a ground attack.

According to a British diplomat who spoke to an Al-Siyasa correspondent, Turkey will not repeat the mistake it made in 2003, when it refused to open its airspace to U.S. Air Force overflights en route to attacking Iraq.

British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that Israel is negotiating with the U.S. over permission for an “air corridor” over Iraq, should an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities become necessary.

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh on Saturday denied the reports and said Israel has no such plans.

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