Iran has provoked a “clear escalation” in plotting to assassinate a Saudi ambassador to the United States and attack American and Israeli targets in the United States, Yaakov Katz tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. Amid reports that the United States is planning war games in the Middle East, the incident “could pave the way to a larger conflict,” said Katz, defense correspondent for The Jerusalem Post’
“We know that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been operating all over the world, not just in Iran but in Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and also there have been reports of operations potentially in the United States . . . The U.S. is going to be responding.”
Katz, an Israeli military expert, also addressed the ramifications of the prisoner swap this week between Israel and Hamas, which saw the exchange of 477 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. “There’s no question that Hamas comes out looking stronger,” he said.
The terrorist group “was able to show the world and particularly the Palestinian public that it . . . kidnapped a soldier five years ago and today was able to secure the release of [over] a thousand prisoners.” The second phase of the swap will see a further 550 Palestinian prisoners released.
“On the other hand, [the Palestinian Authority] in the West Bank had no hand in this, they weren’t involved. They had nothing to show to the Palestinian people and I think that potentially could be dangerous if Israel is sincerely looking to re-engage Fatah in peace talks. Will Fatah want to restart peace talks with Israel considering what just happened is another question . . . It could potentially put the renewal of those peace talks in danger.”
In terms of the prisoner swap’s effect on Iran’s prestige, “Hamas is one of Iran’s main proxies. It receives direct financial . . . support from Iran, in arms and money that helps it establish and maintain its terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Basically, Hamas has established an Iranian base on Israel’s southern border.
“By being strengthened and emboldened today, by having [Hamas’] status boosted and bolstered by this prisoner swap, that also has an effect on Iran in a more positive light for itself.”
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