Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BEIRUT – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Baghdad – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut/Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; Hezbollah Planning Revenge Attack in Coordination with Syria – Iran – Israel Forces on Northern Border Placed on High Alert – Israel Conducts Large Raids in Gaza – West Bank – Major Explosion in Srinagar – Heavy Fighting in Kashmir
Night Watch: NORTHERN BORDER – With the forty day Muslim period of mourning over Sunday, as a result of the mock assassination Feb. 12 of Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh, Israel always expected Hezbollah to strike not only inside Israel but also diplomatic offices and Jewish institutions internationally. However Haaretz is now reporting Israel has received fragments of intelligence which indicate Hezbollah will indeed be attacking but in coordination with Damascus and Tehran. Consequently Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Israel’s northern border have been placed on high alert and after consulting with security officials Defense Minister Ehud Barak has imposed a full closure on the West Bank until Monday. I have to assume Tehran believes enough preparations have been made by Hezbollah-Syria-Iran and the time has now come to increase the war around Jerusalem in order to increase the level of Islamic radicalism in the region, especially Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak, and unleash more attacks against the Washington led occupation of Iraq. Israel will be so heavily engaged I will be very surprised if they have time for any joint operations with the U. S. and I also doubt if Washington will want to get directly involved on any other front in the region though I suspect Washington will have to respond defensively to any missile attacks on its bases in Iraq from Iran. [HAARETZ]
Beit Hanoun – Despite the negotiations being conducted in Cairo between Israel and Hamas the IDF staged two large raids one in northern Gaza and the other in the West Bank in which they detained seven Palestinians in both areas. Xinhua reports the raid in northern Gaza was near the town of Beit Hanoun when tanks and bulldozers moved quickly to partially demolish a house in an area just two miles (3 km) from Sderot the target of most Qassam fire. Beit Hanoun has been one of the main areas used by militants for Qassam launches. The raids in the West Bank were near the cities of Nablus and Jenin in which seven more militants were detained. It is quite possible Tehran has instructed Hamas to pretend to show interest in a ceasefire with Israel until Sunday when the period of mourning is over. [XINHUA]
Jehangir Chowk – “Nearly 25 people have been treated in the hospital. One among the injured is serious.” That was a statement by Dr. Altaf Ahmad at the Srinagar hospital were the wounded were taken after a major explosion in Jehangir Chowk a busy section of Srinagar, Kashmir. Swissinfo/Reuters report the explosion was so powerful it shook the entire area. It sounds like one of the IED’s (improvised explosive devices) Iran has supplied Islamic units in Iraq and that could be why no group has taken responsibility for the blast. Last month crossfirewar.com (Feb. 21) quoted S. K. Jain India Inspector-General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as saying the months of March-April will be crucial in gauging the amount of militant activity in 2008 in the disputed, divided province that experienced an Islamic uprising in 1989 and continues to this day with varying degrees of intensity. How intense depends on the level of support from Tehran-Islamabad and if this is any indication then it means Iran-Pakistan believe enough preparations have been made to take the war to the next level-full scale-(f)allout. [SWISSINFO]
More explosions of this magnitude could be the prelude to infilitration. They may even be intended to force New Delhi to use its “hot pursuit” policy and attack Islamic bases inside Pakistan’s part of Kashmir with India knowing Pakistan will respond. It is estimated there are between 600-700 militants already active in the Muslim majority province that has provided the basis for two of the three wars between India/Pakistan, 1947 and 1965. It is also believed there are between 2,500-3,000 militants on “launching pads” (bases) in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir waiting for orders to infiltrate. February last year Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf visited Tehran had presented them his offensive “Action Plan” which he knows involves more than just Pakistan’s military. Islamabad has been waiting for Iran and the wait could be over. In other action Wednesday four militants were killed in an intense firefight with Indian soldiers near Doda in south Kashmir.