debkafile reports: Israeli security authorities angered by Olmert’s reprieve of bearer of Saddam Hussein’s largesse for Palestinian terrorists

Rakad Mahmoud Salameh, aka “Abu Mahmoud” or “Rakad Salam,” walks free Monday, Oct. 1, along with 90 jailed Palestinians, whose release prime minister Ehud Olmert and vice PM Haim Ramon ordered as a Ramadan gesture for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The next Olmert-Abbas meeting takes place the following day, Tuesday, in Jerusalem.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report that Salameh’s job was to manage Saddam Hussein’s bankroll for Yasser Arafat’s suicide “al Aqsa” campaign against Israel which peaked in 2000-2002. He handed the checks signed by the Iraqi dictator to the suicide bombers’ families and the terrorists wounded in IDF operations. The Iraqi dictator’s policy was to promote Palestinian anti-Israel violence by oiling its wheels with the money.
Although Olmert promised solemnly that none of the new batch of pardoned Palestinians had “blood on his hands,” Rakad was undoubtedly responsible for hundreds of Israel deaths at the peak of Arafat’s war of terror. The Palestinian suicides were driven by the knowledge that their families would be rewarded by Baghdad.
Israeli security sources are astonished that US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and her team okayed the release of a key terrorist aide of the Iraqi dictator who was ousted by American forces.
debkafile‘s sources disclose that Abbas asked for Rakad Salam to be freed as a personal favor. He is anxious to prove to his Fatah adherents that he pulls enough weight to set free the heroes of their war of terror. Abbas also asked Olmert to unlock the prison doors for two high commanders of Fatah’s suicide arm, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Jamal Hawil and Abu Ali Yata, who were jailed for orchestrating dozens of shooting and bombing attacks and causing scores of Israeli casualties.
This pair and many of the other freed Palestinians are expected by Israel’s counter-terror authorities to go straight back to their former activities. Many of their comrades, who bought Israel’s reprieve from pursuit as recently as July by pledging to renounce violence and surrender their weapons, have already been re-arrested on the West Bank deeply engaged in their former pursuits.
Rakad Salam, who was captured in Israel’s 2002 Defense Wall operation, still holds Iraqi citizenship and retains the title of secretary of the Arab Liberation Front, the Iraqi Baath’s West Bank-Gaza offshoot, conferred on him when he settled in the West Bank town of Bir Zeit in 1996.
In late 2000, immediately after the outbreak of the Palestinian terror war on Israel, he told his Israeli interrogators he was instructed from Baghdad by Abu Ahmad al-Hussein al-Ghayri, head of the Pan-Arab Iraqi Baath command, the party’s external intelligence arm in Arab countries, to withdraw moneys deposited in a Ramallah bank, and remit $10,000 to the family of each “martyr” and $1,000 to each injured Palestinian.
Later, he was told to disguise the origin of the transferred Iraqi funs by opening private bank accounts in his name.
During his two years as Saddam Hussein’s Palestinian war treasurer, Rakad Salam handled a total of $15 m transferred from Baghdad to Ramallah.
He also disclosed under questioning that his direct controller in Baghdad was called Ali Samarai. Israeli and American intelligence later identified this alias as one used by Saddam’s vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan. At least once a week, sometimes twice, he received calls from Baghdad demanding a detailed progress report on the Palestinian suicide campaign against Israel.
Monday, after only five years behind bars, Rakad Mahmoud Salameh will be a free man.

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