More Palestinian Terrorists Stream toward Gaza, Undeterred by Israeli Offensive
War tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been spiraling upward sharply in the last five days. Early Wednesday, 28 Sept, Israeli war planes sent rockets shooting against a Fatah-al Aqsa facility in the Bureij Camp in central Gaza and Hamas, Popular Committees and Jihadi Islami sites in Gaza City. Part of the town’s power supply was knocked out. The night before, after the fourth Qassam missile hit a Sderot residential street, following the Hamas pledge to desist from missile attacks, the artillery battery poised at Kibbutz Alumim boomed four times against missile sites in northern Gaza. No one was hurt in any of these episodes.
Amid the sound and fury, al Qaeda operatives are quietly creeping past the non-barriers on the Sinai-Gaza border to build up a malign presence in the Gaza Strip, as Israel’s AMAN military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen Aharon Zeevi, affirmed at a Tel Aviv University lecture Wednesday.
The tensions – which flared up after the Israeli pull-back from Gaza and the northern West Bank 16 days ago – are not confined to the Gaza Strip. The Hamas has branched out into a Zarqawi-style atrocity: the abduction, murder and display Tuesday, Sept. 27, of an Israeli, Sasson Nuriel, 50, blindfolded, bound and bloodstained, minutes before they killed him in a Ramallah hideout. The execution and disk appeared to have been prepared in haste. The Hamas was laboring under the pressure of mass Israeli military detentions across the West Bank.
The kidnappers threatened to take more Israelis hostage and sentence them to death against the release of Palestinian prisoners. They claimed to have launched a new Hamas unit, the Ezz-a-Dine al-Qassam “Prisoner Release Group,” to carry out abductions on Israeli soil.” Their first victim was snatched in Jerusalem.
Aside from that new initiative, debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report major Palestinian moves on three additional fronts:
1. The Rafah border crossing between Egyptian Sinai and the Gaza Strip, which Egypt and the Palestinian announced Friday, Sept. 23, would remain open and unrestricted for two days only, is still doing a roaring trade. Egyptian border police and Palestinian officers are waving everyone through both ways without examining papers. Al Qaeda has no trouble slipping through.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, in Cairo Wednesday, Sept 28, will propose keeping the border open for a lengthy period when he meets the newly-sworn in president Hosni Mubarak. In other words, two signatories are scrapping the entire trilateral edifice agreed with Israeli prior to the Gaza evacuation. The Palestinians and Egypt are in cahoots to cut Israel out of any security oversight – even by an international body – and its role in the customs arrangements at the shared Rafah crossing.
2. The passage of smuggled terrorists and banned weapons shipments from Sinai to Gaza has been regularized: people cross through the Rafah crossing; “goods” (arms) transit the gaps blown in the wall from day one. Egyptian and Palestinian officers perform only one task: they count the incoming crates and collect $50 toll per unit.
In these circumstances, the border terminal Israel is constructing at Kerem Shalom is wasted effort.
3. Fresh fuel for a future conflagration is piling up with the movement of 1,200-1,500 Palestinian terrorists from the most radical organizations, exported by Syrian intelligence from the refugee camps around Damascus since last Friday, Sept 23, to two focal points in Lebanon: the Beqaa Valley and Sidon on the southern coast. Fighting members of the extremist Hamas, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front and the Abu Mussa splinter faction are put on civilian trucks hired by the Syrian army along with their weapons and command structures.
Revealing this, debkafile‘s intelligence sources report the Assad regime’s motives are double: first, to pre-empt Mahmoud Abbas’ takeover of the Palestinian refugee camps and militias of southern Lebanon and, second, to get them out of Damascus and into Lebanon, whence they will be sent on to Sinai by sea. There, they can join the uncontrolled traffic heading into the Gaza Strip, to form a pro-Syrian Palestinian terrorist force or militia in the evacuated territory.
The Israel military’s seemingly broadened military offensive in the Gaza Strip is barely enough to slow down the Palestinian missile barrage on neighboring Israeli towns. Its current counter-terror measures fall far short of tackling the ingathering of virulently hostile terrorist forces heading in to the Gaza Strip from the north, the west and the south.