debkafile Exclusive: The Palestinian terrorist band heading for attacks on Israeli holidaymakers in Sinai is the same group which kidnapped Gilead
It is a joint Hamas-Jihad Islami- Popular Resistance Committees team plus members of the Islamic Army (aka al Qaeda-Palestine), the same makeup as the group which snatched and is still holding the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit. Israeli tourists are urgently advised to evacuate Sinai’s coastal resorts, as Egyptian forces continue to scour them for the wanted Palestinian terrorists. debkafile‘s counter-terror sources also disclose that the mastermind behind this terror venture is Zakariah Durmush, chief of the Islamic Army militia based in Gaza City, who also trained the team.
What the commanders of the Egyptian unit in Sinai and Israeli security forces dread most is that the small Palestinian band will link up with the large al Qaeda force of 70 men, which infiltrated Sinai on July 31 and has not yet struck.
When Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman visited Jerusalem last week, he suggested that al Qaeda may be holding its fire until the winter holiday season which begins with the eight-day Jewish Channukah starting on Dec. 16, followed eight days later by Christmas, when many thousands of foreign and Israeli tourists usually crowd Sinai’s beaches and hotels.
Aside from uncovering a few weapons and explosives caches, the Egyptian official reported to Israeli security chiefs that his men had not managed to collar any members of the large al Qaeda unit hiding up in Sinai. Israeli security patrols are also on the watch for them to steal across the long Egyptian-Negev frontier and attack the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat.
debkafile‘s sources disclose that members of the Multinational Force deployed in the northern al Jura base and Sharm el Sheikh – especially the two US battalions – are also on alert for possible attack by the Palestinian or al Qaeda marauders.
debkafile‘s terror experts note that the chickens may be coming to roost as a result of the passivity displayed by Israel, Egypt, the United States and European powers in the face of expanding Palestinian terror resources in the Gaza Strip boosted by al Qaeda’s penetration. Very little is being done to stem the massive smuggling of weapons and fighters from Egypt to Gaza through an expanding warren of tunnels; nothing has been done to seal the Philadelphi border route against this traffic, or to snap the tightening interaction for joint projects between the armed Palestinian factions of Gaza and al Qaeda cells in Sinai.
Because Israeli authorities persist in shrugging off the al Qaeda presence in Gaza and its complicity in the Shalit abduction, the Islamic Army’s Durmush has been able to get away scot-free with more hits and now the threat of mayhem.
On August 14, his men captured two Fox News journalists, the American Steve Centanni, 60, and New Zealander, Olaf Wiig, 36, releasing them after two weeks only after they publicly converted to Islam.
On September 15, the senior Palestinian intelligence officer Col. Jad Tayeh was trapped and murdered in a cunningly-laid ambush on his way back to Gaza from an undercover mission in Egypt. Col. Taya was the senior liaison man between Palestinian and Egyptian intelligence services. Neither has tracked the leak which betrayed the murdered man’s secret route to Durmush. They are bound to suspect at least one mole has been planted by al Qaeda.