An exchange of messages between Gaza-based Hamas leaders and al Qaeda has just been uncovered by Israeli intelligence. DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror sources report they were transmitted along two routes: contact men in Beirut and Damascus in touch with al Qaeda operatives in Iraq; and couriers entrusted with oral and written messages from Hamas to al Qaeda operatives based in the Persian Gulf.
The last Hamas signal intercepted on January 6 was forwarded through an Iraqi terrorist group. It was signed “Mujjaya.” Our al Qaeda experts translate its opening words as: “We, one of the armed bands of the Islamic resistance in Gaza, are concerned that soon Hamas will be forced to accept a hudna, a ceasefire, between the Palestinians and the Jews.” To withstand this trial, “We stand in need of strong backing for the continuation of our war against the Jews. We are very worried about the situation. Support by words will not suffice and we expect you to contact us. You know how to do this.”
DEBKA-Net-Weekly adds that Hamas received al Qaeda’s answer on January 10: “Anyone who knows us and how we operate understands that al Qaeda never responds to requests of this kind. Time will tell you what our reply is. Prepare to receive it in another form.”
The tone of the Hamas-al Qaeda interchange indicates that both terrorist organizations are in deep difficulties, in the judgment of our experts on Islamic terrorists.
Hamas fears it will have no choice but to bow to the demands of new Palestinian chairman Mahmoud Abbas, backed by Egypt, and accept a truce in its terrorist campaign against Israel. In return, the group will receive a personal pledge from the new leader to refrain from dismantling its fighting units and cells and to provide the resources for maintaining these frameworks.
Both groups are in distress
The Hamas faction that turned to al Qaeda wants no part of this deal. Its leaders also fear that Syrian president Bashar Assad will surrender to American pressure and expel the organization’s political and operational leaders from Damascus and Beirut.
Al Qaeda’s response from Iraq and the Gulf emirates suggests that this organization may be facing similar difficulties in its host countries. It is nonplussed and apparently out of touch with a superior authority as an address for the Hamas appeal.
“Time will tell you what our reply is” appears to mean that Hamas had better not expect help from that quarter in the foreseeable future.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Tehran sources, Iran is aware that the two terrorist organizations have fallen on troubled times. Three Iranian emissaries visited Beirut last week to test the ground before deciding whether to extend Tehran’s sponsorship to the Palestinian terrorists left high and dry by Abbas or Assad.
The emissaries, Col. Hossein Rezai, Col. Sghar Mohamadi, and Esmail Safari, are all high officers in the Revolutionary Guards Al-Gods unit, whose function it is to generate violent action against Israel and support Islamic terrorist groups.
A decision to help them now would be tantamount to the Islamic Republic stepping into Syria’s role as state patron of Islamic terrorists.
Our sources reveal that on Monday, January 10, the trio met Hossein Saed Abu-Saef, a representative of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi at a Hizballah safe house in Beirut. Present too were Hizballah and Palestinian Jihad Islami members.
The Iranian visitors asked Zarqawi’s man to list his group’s tactical and operational requirements – funds, arms, ammunition, training facilities, safe havens and access to Iran if their lives were threatened.
Wednesday, January 12, the three Iranian officials held a meeting with the Palestinian terrorist leaders, members of Jibril’s Popular Front-General Command and a united delegation of Hamas and Jihad Islami. They explained they had no authority to provide answers on the spot and would carry back to Tehran the content of their conversation and a summary of their needs. They promised the Palestinians a follow-up meeting at the end of February.