debkafile Exclusive: Palestinian Hamas leaders from Gaza, on hajj with Israeli permission, met Iranian bosses on escalating anti-Israel war
As Palestinian missiles and mortar bombs continued to fly against Israeli border communities, debkafile reports that on Wednesday, Dec. 19, under cover of the annual Muslim pilgrimage which ended Friday, Hamas leaders got together in Mecca with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the al Qods Brigades officers in his retinue to discuss the next escalation of warfare against Israel.
Our sources report that, while Israel helped several hundred Gazan pilgrims attend the pilgrimage by bussing them to the West Bank crossing to Jordan, whence they flew to Saudi Arabia, Egypt did not bother to consult Israel before allowing top Hamas leaders in Gaza cross Sinai to Cairo airport.
Among them was Khalil al Haya, whom debkafile‘s counter-terror sources rate the top Hamas decision-maker on war tactics in Gaza. The conference was joined by Hamas’ Musa Abu Marzuk from Damascus, once arrested at Kennedy Airport for murder.
IDF officers leading the counter-terror offensive in Gaza ask why Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak did not intercede with Cairo to prevent Hamas terrorist chiefs leaving for the hajj, or activate the military to obstruct their departure. They find it hard to reconcile their own counter-terror strikes against Hamas and Jihad Islami with the government’s blind eye to the two groups’ external support-and-aid system, including Egypt.
debkafile further reports that intermingled with the hundreds of pilgrims Israel allowed to leave Gaza for Mecca was a large group from Hamas’ Ezz a din al Qassam Brigades, who took the opportunity to reach Iran from Mecca for special 6-week missile and sabotage courses conducted on their behalf by Tehran.
The al Qods Brigades officers with whom Hamas conferred in Mecca are in charge of Iranian covert military operations in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Israeli defense and military officials strongly suspect that new shipments of Iranian missiles and other weapons are already on their way to Gaza.
Our sources also report that on Wednesday, too, the Hamas delegation used the pilgrimage for a meeting with Sheikh Abdulmajeed Zindani, al Qaeda’s commander in Yemen, who is on America’s listed of wanted terrorists.