debkafile traces the chequered careers of two Palestinian Fatah al-Islam leaders fighting the Lebanese army in Tripoli

After founding the Palestinian Fatah Uprising last year, Syrian intelligence discovered that the leader they had appointed, Mussa al Alama, a Palestinian born in Jerusalem known as Abu Khaled, had betrayed them. He had enlisted 300 members, recruited in Damascus’ refugee camps, to al Qaeda.
They arrested him on Dec. 21, 2006, accusing him of misusing Syrian intelligence funds allocated to pay and train Palestinians to fight in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. He had spent the money instead on opening an al Qaeda center in central Damascus. This center passed the trained men to Lebanon instead of Palestinian territory, together with Iraqi, Saudi, Yemeni and Sudanese fighters from Iraq.
On Dec. 10, 2006, debkafile reported a esoteric ceremony that took place on Nov. 27, at the Nahr al Bared camp which is now under Lebanese army assault.
An armed Palestinian faction ceremonially changed its name from Fatah-Intifada (Fatah Uprising) to Fatah al-Islam. At the ceremony, its members showed off their new Taliban-style beards and said they had come to realize that the only way to achieve Palestinian goals was “by killing all the Jews and their crusader allies.”
Some made their way aboard smugglers boats to the Gaza Strip to join al Qaeda-Palestine.
The enigmatic Abu Khaled has reshuffled his loyalties more than once. Like him, Fatah al-Islam’s leader Shaker al-Abssi serves more than one master. A Syrian, debkafile reported al-Abssi worked with Abu Khaled last year. He made the arrangements for transferring the Islamist fighters into Lebanon to fetch up in the Tripoli camp. It was not clear then why Damascus chose to turn a blind eye to their passage.
On Dec. 10, DEBKA file also traced al-Absssi further back, identifying him as a member of the al Qaeda hit team which murdered Lawrence J. Foley, the USAID chief in Amman, on Oct. 28, 2002. He escaped to Syria where he spent three years in jail. In 2005, he was released.
Al-Abssi claims his only mission in Lebanon now is to reform the Palestinians in Lebanon’s refugee camps to Islamic law. However, Monday, May 21, Lebanon’s national police commander, Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, said that the entire Fatah al-Islam was nothing more than a pawn of Damascus.

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