Israeli Embassy strongly denies report it received early warning of attacks
Haaretz | July 8, 2005
By Yossi Melman
LONDON - A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London strongly denied Associated Press reports indicating British intelligence services informed embassy security officers of terrorists' intentions attack an Israeli target.
According to the same AP report, the British alerted the Israeli Embassy just minutes before the series of terror attacks in London.
The erroneous report apparently came to light after the embassy and the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade organized a special conference aimed at supporting investment in Israel and activities on the part of Israeli companies on the London stock exchange.
The conference was supposed to take place at the Great Eastern hotel near the Liverpool Street subway station - one of three stations hit in Thursday's terror attacks.
Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting in London, was invited to the conference as a keynote speaker.
When the attacks started, Israeli Ambassador Zvi Heifetz, a number of his aides and some conference guests were already situated in the hotel.
The conference was ultimately postponed and Netanyahu's security personnel prevented his departure from the central London hotel.
"After the first explosion, our finance minister received a request not to go anywhere," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio.
Netanyahu had been scheduled to stay in London until Sunday, but that could change, said Amir Gilad, a Netanyahu aide.
Heifetz said Thursday afternoon that British police had called to tell embassy personnel to stay inside their offices.
"There is fear that this wave [of violence] has not yet ended," Hefetz said.
In the wake of the London attacks, the Shin Bet security service ordered all Israeli embassies around the world placed on high alert, Channel 1 reported Thursday evening.