Bounty for Murder Offered by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Syria, Hizballah

Remuneration for setting up the murder by suicide bombing of eight Israelis on Jerusalem No.14 Sunday, February 22, was a cool $50,000.

It was paid out to a bombing contractor, Jamal Hamamara, who is a serving officer of the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service in Bethlehem. He hired Mohammed Za’ul to blow himself up aboard the bus on behalf of the al Aqsa Martrys Brigades of Yasser Arafat‘s Fatah. He also purchased a bomb belt from Hamas.

Payment was forwarded to him by Ali Salah, a top suicide bombing recruiter based in Amman who acts as agent for principals – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – the dread Pazdaran, which is the Islamic Republic’s foremost arm of domestic and overseas terror, Syrian military intelligence and the Lebanese Hizballah.

Intelligence officials estimate that in the past eight months, Tehran alone has poured $10 million into the West Bank and Gaza Strip to fund suicide attacks against Israelis.

Two days after the bus blast in Jerusalem, the Israeli army “advised” Palestinian security forces in Bethlehem to leave their weapons at home. Most of them obeyed, deciding they would be safer unarmed should Israeli forces carry out a retaliatory operation for the bus bombing.

The exception was Hamamara, the man who dispatched Zaul on his deadly mission of murder. He is believed to be hiding out in a house or cave in the region, armed to the teeth and certain Israeli forces are on their way to kill him.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terrorism sources have gathered exclusive details on the workings of Palestinian terrorist cells and their funding by the Pazdaran, Syria and Teheran’s proxy, the Lebanese Hizballah. These Iranian, Syrian military intelligence and Hizballah agents are deep in a project to penetrate Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. They are working separately, while watching each other’s back. The Revolutionary Guards are by far the most aggressive, handing out large sums to hire hundreds of Palestinian operatives.

They win over Fatah, Hamas and adherents of other Palestinian groups by cunning sales talk: To work for us you don’t have to leave your own group. On the contrary, stay where you are. All you need do for us at this point is to act as our couriers. You might be asked to travel to the Gulf or Jordan to deliver or collect money or documents. That’s it for now.

Hundreds of Palestinian “couriers” in the impoverished camps have eagerly joined up for this innocuous-sounding work. By such shrewd devices, Iran, Syria and the Hizballah are quietly invading Fatah’s traditional strongholds in the Lebanese camps, taking them over without armed confrontation. Starting at the Lebanese end, the three are moving in on the Palestinian national movement from within.

The hired Fatah or Hamas operative is dispatched to Jordan carrying on – or often inside – his person several thousand dollars. For the Jerusalem No.14 Bus operation, one such courier made delivery to Ali Salah, one of a group of Palestinian middlemen who live in Amman and sign up local contractors for suicide bombing missions in Israel.

Salah, using couriers or smugglers who crossed the Jordan River Bridges into the West Bank, hired Hamamara in Bethlehem. Like Palestinian members of organizations in Lebanon, Hamamara was reassured about his allegiance; there would be no problem about his continuing membership of Fatah or his drawing a wage as officer of the Palestinian preventive security force. He was then handed the vast sum of $50,000 to set up a suicide bombing operation in Israel.

Not too subtly, Hamamara had been “turned.” His motivation had switched from allegiance to an organization and adherence to a goal – to one of profit.

This is how the bounty system works, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terrorism sources: a contractor like Hamamara gets to keep his fee even if he fails to bring off a suicide killing. But that is the last time he receives a cent. Even if he succeeds, he must prove that the bomber he hired was responsible before any more money is paid out. This explains why in recent months different organizations have been claiming responsibility for the same attacks. They all want a piece of the cake.

Because the 14 Bus bomber belonged to Fatah and his bomb belt was provided by Hamas, the two organizations rushed to assume responsibility and claim the fee.

Salah the recruiter waits in Amman after an attack for couriers to bring him evidence of the bomber’s identity. He passes the information on to his Iranian Guards, the Syrian or Hizballah controller. Final verification is made in Damascus and Beirut, where the information is checked against other intelligence data. Once the paymaster is satisfied, the next $50,000 is dispatched immediately for another suicide killing to be arranged.

Intelligence officials estimate that Iranians alone have poured some $10 million into the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past eight months to fund suicide attacks. Some 200 Palestinians, including elements within the Israeli Arab community, have each received their $50,000. Palestinian security services and terrorist squads know exactly where the money has gone, but none – nor any Palestinian leaders – will raise a finger to snarl this well-oiled terror-for-pay machine.

Some of those who received payments have been caught by Israeli security. But the money is still coming in and more suicide bombings are on the way.

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