debkafile: Hamas was free to cause sensation with audio tape of Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit’s voice – but not to release him without al Qaeda’s a

Shalit’s obviously dictated call on the Israeli government to free thousands of Palestinian prisoners was rejected by prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference Monday, June 25.
“You must meet the demands of the moujeheddin to get me out of prison,” said the kidnapped soldier in the first sign of life in his year of captivity. “Just as I have parents who miss me, so too do the thousands of Palestinian prisoners and they deserve to have them home.”
“It has been a whole year and my health is continuing to deteriorate and I need lengthy hospital treatment. I was on a military mission under orders and not a dope peddler.”
The same day, al Qaeda’s No. 2 Ayman Zuwahiri released a new audio video supporting Hamas and its seizure of the Gaza Strip in a dramatic swing round from its earlier criticism.
Sunday, Hamas aired footage produced by al Qaeda’s Army of Islam showing BBC correspondent Alan Johnston wearing an explosive belt and warning that it would be detonated in any attempt to free him.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources: The release of the Shalit, Johnston and Zawihiri tapes within a few hours – the first two by Hamas – strongly indicates the timing was coordinated between Hamas and al Qaeda. Although the Army Islam holds the two hostages, its al Qaeda masters appear to be willing to let Hamas use the Israeli soldier to secure the release of a large number of its prisoners from Israeli jails. The kudos for this feat would gain the Hamas government prestige and popularity and create fertile soil for Osama bin Laden’s fundamentalists to further spread their wings in and from Gaza.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report that an earlier audiotape, which has not been released, was handed to Hamas by the henchmen of the chief of the Army of Islam aka al Qaeda Palestine, Mumtaz Durmush, who are holding both Shalit and Johnston. The two kidnapped men ask for their captors’ demands to be met. The two tapes were clearly made by the same hand.
The efforts made by both the Israeli and British authorities to keep al Qaeda connection dark and the two cases separate has worsened their situation. Time is only making Durmush – he now calls himself Abu Muhammad al Ansari – more implacable and more respected for his toughness in the circles of al Qaeda’s Middle East commanders.
Hamas pulled back from storming the Durmush compound in the Sabra district of Gaza City so as not to clash directly with al Qaeda’s Gaza network. Ayman Zuwairi’s support for its takeover of Gaza “despite the mistakes of their leadership” was its reward. Only last week, al Qaeda released a tape reprimanding Hamas for “daring to monopolize the Israeli Gilead Shalit and seeking a deal with Israel.” A victory for Hamas is a victory for Palestine,” said bin Laden’s deputy.

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