(source: VOCfm Online)
The Media Review Network (MRN) has expressed grave concerns about the security at OR Tambo airport, following claims that the Johannesburg airport was used as an escape route for Mossad assassins who on January 20 were responsible for the murder of Hamas member, Mahmoud Mabhouh in the UAE. Speaking to VOC on Monday morning, chairman of MRN, Iqbal Jassat, said its biggest concern was the way in which South African authorities have been deceived and security at a central entry point to the country was being manipulated by the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, operating under the guise of El Al security personnel.
"We are gravely concerned about this issue which emanates from the fact that El Al has been deceiving South African authorities in as much as they have been able to manipulate security at OR Tambo. A few months ago it was uncovered that El Al’s security operatives are directly connected to Shin Bet. In fact, they are Shin Bet and they abuse the facility provided by the host country to airlines. They have deceived our authorities to the point that these operatives have been given diplomatic passports and immunity and may carry licenses fire arms," Jassat told VOC’s Breakfast Beat.
Of particular concern was the fact that an Israeli national, Yossi Tabul (49), who is a former head of El Al's security in SA, now serves as security advisor to the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), Jassat said. He added that it was therefore understandable that CCTV footage of the arrival of the assassins had gone missing.
According to the Saturday Star, Dubai officials had asked OR Tambo for CCTV footage of the group's arrival, but SA police went to collect the films they were forced to leave empty-handed, despite the fact that film recorded on the airport's 2,000 surveillance cameras is normally kept for 30 days. The Mossad agents are said to have traveled through Johannesburg on El Al by 21 January, a day after the Mabhouh's assassination.
He said while the South African mainstream media has been largely quiet about this issue, the matter has been drawn into the open now. MRN and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) last year took the matter up with various tiers of government and according to Jassat, an announcement is expected to be made soon.
Following an expose on M-Net's Carte Blanche, late last year about Israeli operatives at OR Tambo, El Al had been given until 28 February to clean up its act. This deadline has seemingly been ignored. Shortly after the expose, two El Al security operatives were expelled from SA – a claim the airline denied – and the SA government withdrew diplomatic immunity to El Al operatives.
"I believe that a decision on El Al – for them to make the required changes – is now imminent. The assistance by the Israeli government, its arrangement with host countries for El Al operatives are both a violation of our Constitution and international law. South African authorities have quite correctly realized that this is a huge infringement and have given Israel an ultimatum on this score. They cannot allow foreign agents to act above the law at an international airport. We expect this to come to a head quite soon."
Jassat said while security at OR Tambo was fairly credible, this incident once again demonstrated that it was vulnerable to manipulation by foreign agents. "This raises serious questions not only about who is really in charge at OR Tambo, but also how we have not been able to assist in a high profiled matter in which European countries have been co operating."
This was ironic given the fact that earlier this year they had co-operated fully with Interpol, leading to the arrest of Islam Channel CEO, Muhamad Harrath at OR Tambo. Harrath was later released. Jassat expressed the hope this expose would cause SA authorities to review security arrangements at the biggest South African airport in order to ascertain how the assassins had entered SA, facilitated by El Al.
"We believe that for as long as we have parallel security detail at OR Tambo who are able to operate without detection outside the law, with ability to abuse, manipulate and deceive – including our police and security clusters – then we have a huge problem with security at OR Tambo." VOC
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