Friday, August 31, 2012

Egyptian officials accuse Mossad of assassinating Sinai jihadist (update)

From Ma'an:
Egyptian security officials said Thursday that three Bedouin men from the Sinai are suspected of involvement in the killing of an Islamist militant earlier this week.

Two of them fled to Israel on Wednesday, while another was captured by a Jihadi group, the officials said.

Egyptian intelligence reports also accused Israel's security service Mossad of being involved in the operation.

Ibrahim Owida Nasser Madan was killed in an explosion while riding his motorcycle south of Al-Qasiya, 15 kilometers from the Israeli border, on Sunday.

At the time, an Egyptian intelligence report said he was hit by a missile fired by an Israeli drone.

Other officials told Ma'an that Madan may have been killed by a missile which exploded while militants were trying to launch it.

Israel told Egyptian authorities it was not involved in the incident, Egyptian security sources said.

Madan, a member of a Jihadi militant group, had just been released by Egyptian security services after he was detained a few days ago during an Egyptian security campaign in northern Sinai, the intelligence report said.
This article doesn't directly say that Madan was killed by a drone, but Egyptian media is saying that. According to those reports, the Bedouin acted as spotters and called in the drone to kill him.

Their evidence? They say that there was a crater three meters deep and three meters wide where the motorcycle exploded, and if he was carrying explosives or ran over a mine it would not create such a crater.

That would be convincing evidence - if it was true. But here are two photos of the motorcycle; the first one while it was still burning and unlikely to have been moved:

Can you see any crater, let alone one ten feet deep?

In fact, the photos pretty much prove that it was not an Israeli drone that killed him. The accusations of Bedouin who escaped to Israel could be a cover-up in order to hide the fact that Egyptian security could not find them, or it might actually be true that the Bedouin who know the desert went over the border just to hide until the heat is off.

I somehow doubt that the Mossad has drones!

A Daily Star (Lebanon) report at the time made a bit more sense:
Witnesses said he was killed in an explosion as he tried to fire a rocket, and as an Israeli military drone hovered in the sky above its side of the border.

But the Mossad story is so appealing when you are already a crazed conspiracy theorist who already blames the Mossad for everything. Like most Arabs and some of their biggest fans.

UPDATE: Challah Hu Akbar points out that these photos, while accompanying a number of stories about the incident, are from an earlier Sinai incident. The real photos show a crater but it still does not look like it came from a missile (which would leave some shrapnel, directed downward), rather an explosion or a landmine: It does appear to be 3 meters wide in the sand but not close to three meters deep.

Egyptian police said they found a decapitated head in Sinai on Friday of a man kidnapped by Islamist militants, reportedly for his role in assassinating an extremist.

A security official said another man, also accused in the assassination, was believed to have been kidnapped by the Bedouin militants.

A Bedouin tribal source said the head found in the Muqatta area in north Sinai belonged to Manazil Bereikat from the same tribe of an extremist killed in a mysterious explosion near the Israeli border on August 26.

At the time, witnesses said the militant, Ibrahim Ouda Bereikat, died in a blast as he tried to fire a rocket into Israel. Security sources said he might have been killed in a landmine.

The Bedouin source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the militants behind Manazil’s kidnapping accused him and several other men of planting a booby trap to assassinate Ouda Bereikat.

The security official said two other men the militants were hunting to avenge Ouda Bereikat’s death fled across the border into Israel.
Booby trap, landmine, malfunctioning rocket, missile? The stories change with the wind.