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Eugenio Goussinsky / special report for “O Estado” – On the basis of secret information, the israeli government warned its general consulate in Sao Paulo about the possibility of an attack from the extremist lebanese group hezbollah in the paulist capital. The diplomatic representation put itself on a state of alert.
The consul said he received instructions to tighten the security measures in the areas near to the consulate. The information was given to the newspaper “Estado” by the israeli consul, Ilan Sztulman, who confirmed having received instructions from his government to secure the surroundings of the consulate and the jewish institutions in Sao Paulo. He himself declared that he changed his daily routine and cancelled meetings due to security reasons. “We are in a serious alert. We take extreme security measures at the daily work in the consulate and at the organizations of the jewish community”, the diplomat in charge since 2010 said on may 23.
Sztulman affirmed that the brazilian government was already informed about the possibility of a terrorist attack and strenghtened the security at the borders, the docks and the airports. “We have indications that Hezbollah wants to resume their attacks against Latin America. Brasil is one of two countries which are at risk. When the alert is given to me, I’m not told exactly what is all about. The information sources are very secretive. I received informations about a major threat, and a request for measures to increase security”.
The sidewalk in front of the consulate, which is located in a building in the southern part of the city, is being heavily surveilled. In order to enter the place, which is heavily reinforced with a glass door at the main entrance, one has to undergo a thorough checking of all personal objects from coats and belts to pens with a metal detector. It is not allowed to enter with backpacks or any king of bag, not even into the security room. Electronic devices are taken away and given back only when leaving.
Last week, the italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera highlighted that high rank sources from the israeli government confirmed the arrival of Hezbollah members, supported by Iran, to South America. According to the report, Bolivia and Colombia could be other possible destinations.
In order to reaffirm his fears, Sztulman recalled the attacks which happened in the 90’s against the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which left 29 dead, and against the jewish organization AMIA, in which 85 died. Israel and USA made Hezbollah responsible for that actions and affirmed that the group received financial support from Iran, which rejected the accusations.
In spite of the suspicions from the Argentinean Public Ministry, investigations were not concluded. “It was hard to prove that Iran would carry out an attack in a sovereign country even before those two terrorist attacks happened”, the consul explained.
In spite of the upcoming agreements between Iran and the IAEA, he has no doubts that Iran wants to develop an atomic bomb. “The issue is not if Iran is making the bomb, but at which pace the bomb is being developed”.
Sztulman points out, however, that the arab-israeli conflict has nothing to do with this issue. “Iran is not arab, but persian. We have no common boundaries, we’ve never had conflicts. Israel was an ally of Iran, with daily flights and exchanges between the two countries”, he stated.
“Our problem is not with the people, but with the iranian government, which wants hegemony in the region and tries to divert the attention from their internal problems, thus turning into a menace to the entire world”