New Saudi-funded terrorist group suspected of Katyusha attack from Lebanon

The rocket attack which slightly injured three Israelis in the Arab Christian village of Mailiyeh early Saturday, Feb. 21 is attributed by debkafile‘s counter-terror sources to the “Jihad Movement for Gaza” – a new terrorist organization operating out of the Ain Hilwa refugee camp near the South Lebanese town of Sidon. No organization has taken responsibility for the attack.
This ragtag group of Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi terrorists is headed jointly by Jamail Hamad, a Palestinian Sunni Moslem, and Gandi Suhmurani, a Lebanese Shiite, with funding from Saudi intelligence to buy recruits, weapons, explosives and rockets.
Most of the recruits are drawn from groups linked to al Qaeda, such as the violent Jund al Sham, Hizbt al Nasser and Fatah al Islam and ex-Sunni insurgents on the run from Iraq. The Jihad Movement of Gaza has recently seized large sections of Ain Hilwa from Fatah control, at the same time running courses for its recruits in the use of bomb cars, rocket fire and suicide attacks.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources name the group’s three operations officers – Abdallah Liyani, a former Sunni insurgent from Ramadi, Iraq, another Iraqi called Hamad Naouchi and Hamis Ahmed, a Syrian.
Saudi intelligence is investing in the new group to create a militia for challenging Hizballah’s sole grip on South Lebanon and Iran’s inroads on Lebanon. To win recognition and legitimacy, the Jihad Movement for Gaza is trying to seize the war initiative against Israel and show Hizballah up as all talk and no action.
In the last two weeks, operations against UN peacekeepers and Israeli forces and rocket attacks on Galilee have been in the pipeline. UNIFIL has been on a high alert. But, although this information has been in Israel’s hands since the last week of January, the authorities refrained from putting Israeli border communities and towns on guard. This is compatible with the policy pursued by defense minister Ehud Barak and his senior adviser Amos Gilead to put all Israel’s security eggs in the Egyptian basket – and indirectly in Saudi hands.
Cairo and Riyadh’s interests diverge sharply from those of Israel in the areas adjoining its borders – Gaza and Lebanon. Saudi sponsorship of a new terrorist organization in South Lebanon illustrates this conflict of interests.
Earlier, debkafile reported:
One rocket fired from Lebanon early Saturday, Feb. 21, destroyed a home in the West Galilee village of Mailieh, a second fell on the Lebanese side of the border. Three civilians hit by shrapnel, two suffered shock. Hizballah has denied responsibility for the attack which no other terrorist organization has admitted.
Israeli artillery returned the fire emanating, according to Lebanese sources, from al-Qulaila and al-Mansouri near the Lebanese border town of Naqoura. The sources link the rocket attack to the flares Israeli forces fired over the border along 4-6 km of the south Lebanese coast Friday night after a soldier was reported by the Dubai-based Al-Arabia TV to have gone missing in the sea. No reports of a missing soldier came from Israel.
UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bou Zayan denied information about a missing person but confirmed flares were fired over Lebanese territorial waters. Unconfirmed Lebanese sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that the reportedly missing soldier might have drowned, explaining the flares. Early Saturday, the body of a wind-surfer was found on the beach north of the Israeli town of Naharia.
The last Katyusha attack from Lebanon occurred last month during Israel’s Gaza operation.

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