LONDON (Feb. 26)
Israeli commandos operating behind Iraqi lines have found evidence of Scud missiles, according to the London-based newsletter Foreign Report.
The Israelis have been operating in Iraq’s western desert — which Iraq used as a launching pad for 39 Scud attacks on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War — in a bid to reduce the chances of a new Scud attack in case of renewed fighting in the Gulf.
The well-respected newsletter also reports that Israeli, American and British special forces operating inside Iraq are unlikely to be withdrawn in the immediate future, despite this week’s agreement between Baghdad and the United Nations.
The forces were part of the preparations for military action against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to force compliance with U.N. demands for unlimited access to weapons sites.
Quoting U.S. sources in Amman, Jordan, and in the Israeli air force, the newsletter says that in addition to searching for Scud missile bases, the units have been conducting reconnaissance missions of Iraqi troop movements, as well as preparing drills for rescuing downed American and British pilots and arranging hideouts.
The Israelis are said to have arrived in western Iraq from Turkey “with the permission of the Turkish generals.”
The newsletter says that if the agreement hammered out by U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan holds, the three countries will have to decide whether or not to withdraw their special units.