Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s Gaza cell is gearing up for a major terrorist attack against Palestinian target

The cell, whose penetration of Gaza debkafile first revealed last September, now numbers 10 operatives. Al Qaeda took advantage of Israel’s pull-back to establish itself in the Gaza Strip.
Zarqawi’s agents from Jordan and Egypt are positioning operational cells on the West Bank too, ready for strikes against both Israel and the Hamas-ruled Palestinian Authority.
Jordanian prime minister Maarouf Batiah and intelligence chiefs warned PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas of this threat in a four-hour conference they held in Amman on April 3. In consideration of the Palestinian leader’s passive tendencies, Jordan made sure the warning would appear publicly by releasing some details to the London Arab daily Al-Hayat.
debkafile discloses some high points of the Amman conference:
1. The Iraqi al Qaeda chief has appointed an emir for the countries west of Iraq, the Palestinian areas, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
2. Zarqawi no longer relies on local Palestinian groups for strikes in Israel and Palestinian areas. He is deploying terrorist manpower from Iraq. Syria, and Jordan, who enter Gaza freely through the Rafah crossing, with Egyptian border officials turning a blind eye.
3. The al Qaeda chief has decided to hit Gaza ahead of Israel for two reasons: he wants to put his oar in the affairs of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian government. He also calculates a devastating attack in Gaza will strike fear in Israel.
4. Al Qaeda has launched a drive to recruit terrorists for operations against the Palestinians and Israel. Volunteers with family ties in the West Bank are sought because they can more easily access the territory for “family reunions.”
5. Al Qaeda now targets Hamas and Abu Mazen equally. Since taking office, Hamas is perceived as weak for shelving its war option against Israel in favor of an informal truce.

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