Author Topic: New al-Qaida 'center of activity'  (Read 608 times)

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Offline Confederate Kahanist

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New al-Qaida 'center of activity'
« on: January 27, 2010, 10:27:21 PM »

JAFFA, Israel – Iranian Revolutionary Guard units are actively working to train Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip, a senior Egyptian intelligence official told WND.

The official also said Egypt is concerned that neighboring Gaza could become a major center of al-Qaida activity in the region.

The Egyptian official said those factors were central in his country's decision to build a steel wall under the Egypt-Gaza border as part of efforts to isolate Hamas and stem weapons smuggling into Gaza.

The official also said Egypt has information that Hamas and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group for the first time formed a joint operations room from which the two groups exchange knowledge, coordinate efforts and work on obtaining weapons.

The Egyptian intelligence official said recent information as well as interrogations of arrested suspects in Egypt indicate Iranian-backed groups are working with al-Qaida in the Gaza Strip even though the two groups have different points of view and conflicting religious ideology. The official pointed to similar cooperation in Yemen, where he said Iranian agents and al-Qaida have been working against the Yemeni government.

(Story continues below)


The Egyptian official's comments come days after an audiotape message from al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden warning the U.S. would face further attacks if it did not stop its support for Israel.

Reports that Iranian agents have been operating in Gaza are not new.

In 2007, WND first reported security forces associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party captured seven Iranian military trainers – including a general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – at a purported Hamas training facility in the Gaza Strip

During Israel's military incursion in Gaza last year, Israeli newspapers reported an "Iranian Unit" of Hamas – members of the group's military wing trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – had been destroyed.

The Egyptian official speaking to WND yesterday said Iranian soldiers are working in Gaza to better train Hamas in case of a new confrontation between Israel and Hamas.

Forecast for Hamas: Assault with a chance of war

Earlier this month WND reported Hamas in the Gaza Strip will likely find itself increasingly under assault in the coming months both politically and military, including the possibility of another large-scale Israeli offensive in Gaza, according to informed Middle East security officials.

Egypt, the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority all believe that to achieve a PA-led Palestinian state, Hamas' power must be greatly reduced in the near future, the security officials said.

"There are preparations to seriously and dramatically weaken Hamas," a Middle East security official told WND.

Actions apparently are already being taken to isolate Hamas both politically and militarily.

WND has learned Egyptian forces have encircled the Egyptian Rafah border village, where they have been carrying out raids against militant strongholds associated with Hamas. An Egyptian intelligence official speaking to WND yesterday said those Egyptian raids continue.

In a further sign of frustration between Egypt and Hamas, earlier this month an Egyptian border guard was killed and at least 15 Palestinians were wounded in clashes over Egypt's delay of an international aid convoy intended for the Gaza Strip. The convoy was being led by extremist British parliamentarian George Galloway.

Israel is also changing its approach to Hamas.

"It used to be that (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu was happy with the status quo of a weak PA and strong Hamas so that he could argue there is no peace partner. Now he is under pressure to remove Hamas as an obstacle to a Palestinian state," an Egyptian security official told WND.

Israel in recent weeks reduced the amount of shipments allowed into Gaza in a possible effort to generate Palestinian frustration with Hamas, Middle East security officials said.

Netanyahu has been negotiating a prisoner exchange deal that would see hundreds of Palestinian convicts freed in return for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas and other Gaza-based Islamist groups since 2006. Such a deal is sure to strengthen Hamas.

According to the Egyptian security official, however, Netanyahu's latest offer to Hamas, containing a list of prisoners that Israel would be willing to free, was less generous than any of Netanyahu's previous offers, even removing from the list Palestinian convicts that Netanyahu agreed to release just weeks ago.

"Netanyahu clearly wants to sabotage the Shalit deal," said the Egyptian security official.

If that is the case, Hamas may understand the game. According to reports, the terrorist organization responded positively to Netanyahu's latest prisoner exchange offer, sending signals through a German mediator that it is ready to move forward with a deal.

Also, Hamas, perhaps feeling the heat, has expressed willingness to finally enter into a unity agreement with its rivals from PA President Mahmoud Abbas' party.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal this month claimed significant progress in talks aimed at reconciling his group with Fatah. Mashaal, who is based in Syria, said that unity talks mediated by Egypt had made "big strides," but he did not elaborate, saying only that the talks had reached the "final stages. Hamas previously spurned attempts to broker a deal with Fatah.

Also, Hamas officials said the group may be ready to accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as amend the Hamas charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews.

Meanwhile, Middle East security officials did not discount that Israel could launch a major raid of the Gaza Strip similar to the 22 days of confrontations one year ago that saw dozens of targets bombed and ground troops operating in Gaza. The officials did not talk about the timing of any such raid but said if progress continues toward creation of a Palestinian state, an eventual war in Gaza is likely.
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Offline george_jtf

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Re: New al-Qaida 'center of activity'
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 08:11:48 PM »
no surprise there, one group of islamic fanatics helping another group of islamic fanatics.