Hamas Plots Knockout Blow with 800 Suicide Bombers

No sooner had the tens of thousands of mourners dispersed after the ceremonies and demonstrations of strength marking the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin last Tuesday, March 22, in an Israeli missile attack, when a thousand Hamas top and middle-ranking activists dived underground. This is reported by debkafile‘s counter-terror sources. Since then, known Hamas operatives have maintained perfect telephone silence, their relatives are in the dark about their whereabouts and contacts are maintained only through trusted couriers.
This situation presented the Hamas command center in Damascus with the problem of communicating urgent instructions to the men on the ground in the Gaza Strip – urgent for two reasons:
1. Although Adel Aziz Rantisi made a show of bending the knee to Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas Damascus command center, Mashaal knows he must assert his authority without delay and set the pace of coming in events in the Gaza Strip before the local leadership grabs the initiative.
2. Hamas, Hizballah and al Qaeda agents maintain day-to-day exchanges based on a delicately balanced intelligence and logistical give and take. Mashaal and company will not allow anyone in the Hamas Gaza command to upset the balance of this relationship.
A way therefore had to be found for Hamas, Damascus, to impose its will on Hamas, Gaza.
The method finally hit on was to take to the airwaves.
Friday, March 26, therefore, the Hamas liaison man in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, who managed the Mishaal-Rantisi compromise, was interviewed on Hizballah Radio Nur. On the assumption that the Gaza contingent in hiding were listening in case of coded messages, Hamdan addressed the Hamas “military” wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qasseem Brigades, directly – not in code but in plain language.
debkafile monitored his statement, as follows:
“The lone suicide martyr method has scored great achievements, but now, as we stand at the threshold of a decisive stage, we must resort to a tactic that brings us the desired results. Ideally, we would round up 70,000 to 80,000 martyrs and have them blow themselves up simultaneously in the enemy’s urban centers and so finally vanquish him. But that is not realistic. One tenth or even one hundredth part of that number should suffice to inflict a shock on a strategic scale. I therefore tell you not to hurry to exact revenge. We have to be sure our assault is concerted and perfectly orchestrated. Don’t waste resources and manpower on small operations. No one is pushing you. Take all the time you need and then pick a date and hour that are most advantageous to our project.”
Hamdan’s words freely translated are a directive from Damascus HQ to Muhammed Deif, commander of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam, to muster an army of several hundred suicide killers to reach the hubs of Israeli cities and blow themselves up at the same moment. The Damascus Hamas command reckons that, even if not all the massacres come off, Israel will not be able to withstand a shock and casualties of the magnitude projected
This escalation fits in well with the intelligence gathered by Americans and Israelis on the spreading base of anti-Israeli terror from the double suicide attack carried out in Ashdod shortly before the assassination of Sheikh Yassin which caused the deaths of 10 Israeli port workers. Their experts conclude the attack was the work of Hizballah aided and abetted by al Qaeda.
A senior US intelligence official is quoted as saying: “The soldiers were members of Hamas. But the overall planning, the way the ship’s container was prepared, the weapons used and the level of advance intelligence invested in the attack all bear the marks of the two Islamic terrorist groups. We can expect many more combined terrorist assaults of this kind in the future.”
The Ashdod attack posed a grave challenge to the Sharon government’s security and counter-terror policies. Last December, before handing over a large number of prisoners in an uneven swap deal with Hizballah, Israel issued a sharp public warning to the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group against further aggression.
Less than three months later, the Hizballah, not satisfied with the Ashdod operation, battered IDF for nearly three hours last Sunday, March 21, its missiles and mortars hitting road junctions on the Golan and coming close to the town of Kiryat Shmoneh inside the Green Line. Israel’s response, confined to an air-artillery raid on Hizballah firing positions, bespoke diluted deterrence, a signal certainly picked up by Hizballah and al Qaeda as well as the Hamas and its fellow Palestinian terrorist organizations.
Many Israelis, including some at decision-making levels, prefer not to see the international terrorist coalition functioning in Palestinian-controlled territory – and even among Israeli Arabs in the form of Al Qaeda sleeper cells. The phenomenon is not even new. Al Qaeda shoe bomber Richard Reid who failed to blow up an American airliner on December 22, 2001, learned how to pack explosives in his shoes while visiting Hamas activist Nabil Aqal at his home in the Jebaliya refugee camp of the Gaza Strip. This fact was not brought out in the US court that sentenced him to life imprisonment. Israel too kept quiet about this connection, mainly so as not to embarrass Mohammed Dahlan, then head of the Palestinian Gaza Strip preventive security apparatus, who could not have avoided knowing about the al Qaeda visitor.
He was not the last, the two British Muslim bombers, Assif Muhammad Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, who bombed Mike’s Place on the Tel Aviv promenade on April 30, 2003, also spent time with Hamas hosts in the Gaza Strip prior to their hit. Their real assignment was to bomb the US embassy a few doors away from the bar but they found it too well protected. American, British and Israeli security forces have conspired to keep this quiet. But, unlike the Israelis, who bury their heads in the sand, the British heeded the Tel Aviv attack as a danger signal warning them that al Qaeda had planted cells in Briton’s large Muslim population. Since the Madrid train attacks, London’s top security and police officials have reiterated that an al Qaeda strike in the British capital is inevitable.

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