2nd mystery 'hit'
Israeli jet flyover amid Hungary slay
By ANDY SOLTIS
Last Updated: 10:56 AM, March 19, 2010
Posted: 4:16 AM, March 19, 2010
In a possible sequel to the Dubai assassination, Israeli spy planes flew uninvited and unannounced over Budapest the same day a Syrian man was shot to death in his car, Hungarian media reported yesterday.
Two Israeli air force Gulfstream V-type jets, equipped with sophisticated intelligence gear, flew more than 1,300 miles over Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania on Wednesday before flying over eastern Budapest and then disappearing, the reports said.
The incident occurred the same day Budapest police said a 52-year-old Syrian was gunned down while stopping his black luxury car at a traffic light on the east side of the capital.
The attacker fired several shots before stealing a black briefcase from the car and fleeing on foot, authorities said.
Police have yet to identify the victim or give a motive.
The incident follows the Jan. 19 assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai, which United Arab Emirates police blamed on an Israeli hit team. Investigators accused Israel's Mossad spy agency of planning the hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh for more than a year and using dozens of bogus passports or phony identities to enter Dubai.
Hungarian Defense Minister Imre Szekeres yesterday demanded an investigation of Wednesday's overflights, which the ministry said were made without prior notification from Israel.
The MTI news agency said experts believed the planes approached Ferihegy International Airport at a low altitude before veering off. They said there was no attempt to land.
The Israeli Embassy in Budapest said the planes were on a diplomatic mission, but did not elaborate. "Of course, they were not spy planes," said Ambassador Alice Bin-Noun.
The Hungarian Foreign Ministry refused comment when asked about a possible diplomatic motive for the flights.
Over the years, Israeli operatives, including Mossad agents, have been credited with assassinating dozens of targeted Arab terrorists, often in Europe.
Some attacks occurred far from the Mideast, such as in Athens, Paris, Rome, Cannes, Norway and even Uruguay.
Aside from possible involvement in the Syrian's murder, the spy planes might have been gathering intelligence, the Hungarian newspaper Nepszabadsag said. The flying distance from Israel to Budapest is greater than to Iran, Israel's sworn enemy, it noted.
Israel has had a bitter relationship with Syria, which provides sanctuary for terrorists in Damascus and sponsors Hezbollah and other terror groups.
In September 2007, Israeli jets reportedly blew up a nuclear reactor in Syria that was being built with North Korean help.