debkafile Exclusive: Palestinian PFLP-GC hang-glider instructors relocate from Lebanon to Gaza to beef up Hamas military arm
Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command is distinguished by an unusual specialty: motorized hang-gliders, hot-air balloons and remote-controlled model planes developed for border-defying suicide attacks into Israel.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources reveal that – at Tehran’s behest – the extremist PFLP-GC has placed this aerial terror unit at the disposal of Hamas’ Ezz-e Din al-Qassam in the Gaza Strip. A team of instructors was smuggled into the territory in early May, along with German-made remote-controlled model planes adapted to delivering explosives and motorized hang gliders piloted by suiciders carrying explosives. They are currently engaged in assembling the craft, instructing Hamas operatives in their use and teaching them to make their own motorized hang gliders.
Jibril’s team of instructors flew from Beirut to Cairo with the disassembled aerial equipment in their luggage. It was listed as sports gear. Egyptian security let the terrorists and equipment through without demur – yet another bone to pick with Egyptian security officials over their systematic failure to monitor terrorist traffic marching in and out of their territory.
debkafile‘s military sources report that IDF surveillance units have already sighted Hamas operatives going through their paces with the new gear. They passed the word on to government officials, but were told to keep it quiet.
However, IDF chiefs are deeply perturbed by the strengthening of Hamas’ terrorist capabilities by the influx of a key PFLP-GC element armed with a weapon that can outwit Israel’s border defenses. To meet this new strategic threat to the population of southern Israel’s towns and villages, Israeli military planners must overhaul the air force’s preventive operations and the electronic surveillance systems in force for the Gaza Strip. The pilot-less aerial vehicles and other means of tracking terrorist activity will have to be diverted from routine tasks inside the Gaza Strip to the additional functions of keeping suicidal gliders and exploding model planes from invading Israeli air space. The task is complicated by the devices ability to fly underneath Israel’s radar screens.
Israeli generals calculate that with its aerial increment, Hamas has doubled its destructive capability; the terrorist group in Palestinian government can now
combine airborne suicide bombers with surface missiles for lethal strikes against a single target, such as a city, a strategic installation or a military facility.
Israel has an unfortunate former acquaintance with this menace. In the 1980s, Israeli troops manning the security zone of southern Lebanon employed special spotters to track the airborne terror device. They used anti-air rapid-firing guns to shoot them down, the only effective weapons they had.
In November 1987, a team of Jibril’s hang-gliders penetrated Israel from Lebanon. One landed near an Israeli military base near the Galilee town of Kiryat Shemona, took the sentries by surprise and killed six Israeli soldiers before he was shot dead. This incident is recorded in IDF annals as The Night of the Gliders, a setback which encouraged the Palestinians under Yasser Arafat to go ahead and prepare the all-out terror war against Israel which was launched three years later.