Netanyahu: Israel helped stop terror attacks on planes in Europe

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Netanyahu: Israel helped stop terror attacks on planes in EuropeIsraeli intelligence has helped stop terrorists from using civilian aeroplanes in Europe to carry out major attacks “of the worst kind”, Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.  The Israeli prime minister told a group of ambassadors from Nato countries that his nation’s intelligence agencies had “helped save many European” lives by passing on warnings of jihadist plots.  He did not give details of the thwarted attacks but said they “involve civil aviation”.  “We have, through our intelligence services, provided information that has stopped several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries. Some of these could have been mass attacks, of the worst kind that you have experienced on the soil of Europe and even worse, because they involve civil aviation,” Mr Netanyahu said.  Israel has a formidable intelligence apparatus and Mr Netanyahu often uses his country’s intelligence gathering capabilities as a calling card as he tries to improve Israel’s diplomatic standing around the world. He speaks often about how countries that were once hostile to the Jewish state now seek out its help in the fields of both intelligence and technology.  Jihadist groups remain determined to try to smuggle bombs aboard civilian aircraft, according to assessments by both Western and Israeli intelligence agencies.  Perhaps the most dangerous bomb makers are Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  The group was behind a failed plot to smuggle bombs into printer cartridges and get them aboard cargo planes in 2010. One bomb was discovered at East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire and another in Dubai.  The plot was foiled after Saudi Arabia intelligence chief tipped off the US.  A forensic officer removes a package from a UPS container at East Midlands Airport in Castle Donington in 2010 Credit: REUTERS/Darren Staples AQAP was also behind the failed “underpants bombing”, when a young Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab nearly blew up a flight to Detroit on Christmast Day 2009.  Mr Netanyahu said that Israel was helping Europe by preventing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) from setting up “an alternative territorial base” in the Egyptian Sinai desert following their battlefield defeats in Iraq and Syria.  The jihadist group has a presence in the Sinai and has carried out deadly attacks against both Egyptian civilians and security forces. Israel has carried out strikes against the group in Sinai and shared intelligence with Egyptian forces as they battle the jihadists.  He told ambassadors that Israel was also working to prevent Iran consolidating its position in Syria. “This is dangerous for you too because the conquest of the Middle East by Iran would eventually effect all of your interests,” he said. 



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