The day Abu Musab al-Zarqawi threatened to strike deep inside Israel he also sent a terrorist cell by sea to bomb Caesarea or Ashkelon

debkafile Exclusive updating DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports:
Lebanese intelligence services on Sunday, Jan. 8, succeeded in thwarting a terrorist attack against Israel when they seized four al Qaeda operatives near Tripoli. The team was preparing to set off for Israel in a boat loaded with weapons and explosives for attacks on the Israeli coast, in accordance with statements by Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama bin-Laden’s second in command, and al Qaeda in Iraq leader Musab al-Zarqawi, that al Qaeda was ready for attacks inside Israel.
In their initial interrogations, the captured terrorists reportedly said they planned out strategic attacks on the Mediterranean ports of Caesarea or Ashkelon, targeting Israel’s two big power plants.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 236 reported Jan. 6:
The al Qaeda network in Lebanon is hosted by a Palestinian militia calling itself Osbat al-Ansar or Jund al-Shem (Army of the Levant), which is headed by Abu Yusuf Sharqiya, 56, a Palestinian who came to Ain Hilwa in 1995 from the Nahar al-Bard refugee camp near Tripoli in the North.
He has devoted his 10 years at Ain Hilwa to tirelessly training a militia of between 400 and 500 Palestinian gunmen and turning the Jebel Halib district and the safe houses provided al Qaeda’s men in other parts of the camp into fortresses.
Sharqiya’s fortified buildings are a byword in Lebanon and Syria as impregnable fortresses, second to none in either country. No Syrian – let alone Lebanese – military force has ever been able to break into his citadels.
Not all the troops of his Army of the Levant are Palestinian. Among them is a group of extremist Muslim Lebanese Kurds, whose chief is Abu Remez al Sohmorani. This man is sought by Lebanese security for his involvement in a battle with the Lebanese police and army that took place in 2000.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources name the commander of the Army of the Levant as Imad Yasin, who took over when his predecessor, Abu Mohjiyan, went to fight with Zarqawi’s terrorists in Iraq. Mohijyan, whose real name is Abdel Karim Saadi, set up the connection between the Army of the Levant and Zarqawi.
The Palestinian Levant Army is so tightly intermeshed with al Qaeda by now that it maintains a special officer to liaise with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, like the global organization’s European, North African and Indian-Pakistani branches. This officer goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Aisha.
Our sources also disclose that the this Palestinian militia gets most of its weapons – an assortment of rockets, 82mm mortars and latterly the Grad missiles – supplied through Syria. Operational funds reach the group from the Persian Gulf via Lebanese banks and Western Union.

On Monday, the day after Zarqawi’s threat was issued and the terrorist cell was captured in Tripoli, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz spoke about the al Qaeda threat in various forums. Regarding al Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for the Katyusha attacks in the Galilee on December 28, Halutz said that when his mother heard about it she pictured Afghani horsemen charging toward us. He later said al Qaeda is more of a virtual phenomenon than a real entity. Rather, it is an umbrella organization. Halutz said the Palestinians operatives, after getting paid by organization A, then move over to organization B. Ultimately, we are talking about the same 107-mm. Katyushas, he said.
Halutz’s remarks are typical of airmen who tend to ignore happenings on the ground. DEBKAA-file’s counter-terror sources assert authoritatively that Al Qaeda in the Middle East is no virtual entity, but a combat force directed by a central command in Baghdad, Iraq, with branches in at least six other regional countries. This force is successfully confronting the US Army in Iraq and frustrating every effort to subdue it. Zarqawi’s al Qaeda is now offering a challenge to the IDF.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email