Two Terror Fronts under One Palestinian Truce

mg class=”picture” src=”/dynmedia/pictures/ARIEL1.jpg” align=”right” border=”0″>The fact that the two Palestinian bombers, both from Nablus, who carried out separate terrorist attacks on Tuesday, August 12, belonged to two different Palestinian terror groups is irrelevant. debkafile‘s counter-terror sources all agree that both were directed by the same hand in Ramallah, shared the same objectives and were funded from the same pocket. What the participation of two separate groups demonstrated was a distribution of labor meant to mislead.
Israelis, many on holiday and enjoying a relative lull, were stunned by the two terrorist attacks executed in quick succession:
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the Neve Afek supermarket of Rosh Ha’Ayin 20 miles north of Tel Aviv, killing one Israeli shopper and injuring at least 10. The attack took place a few hundred yards from the Israeli police commissioner’s home. Only 75 minutes later and 15 minutes drive away, a second bomber struck a group of hitchhikers outside the West Bank Jewish town of Ariel. They spotted him in time to open fire but not to stop him detonating his bomb belt and killing another Israeli and injuring two.
Later, police picked up a white Skoda with yellow Israeli plates whose driver was detained on suspicion of driving the bombers to their target sites. The car came from Nablus and was picked up just inside Israel opposite Rosh Ha’Ayin.
The two attacks occurred midway through the three-month ceasefire declared unilaterally on June 29 by some Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas and Jihad Islami. At the time, debkafile strongly questioned its durability, reporting that the terrorists were in desperate need of a partial lull to rest and regroup and would keep the violence simmering until they were ready for a fresh escalation. The Hamas was about to crack under the pressure of Israel’s military counter-terror onslaught and targeted assassinations of its operatives. It therefore suited the Islamists to take a back seat for a while and let the Fatah, its Tanzim militia and suicide arm Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades move into the front line of Palestinian terror.
Yasser Arafat and his top terror operatives, Hussein al Sheikh and Tawfiq Tirawi, used the respite to rearrange their terror blocks in a different pattern with the ultimate goal of sabotaging the Bush peace plan. That redeployment has relocated the terror hub in the Nablus-Jenin-Tulkarm triangle of the northern West Bank instead of the Gaza Strip.
The change was effected for three reasons:
1. To prevent Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas and internal security minister Mohamed Dahlan from asserting their authority over the West Bank or even thinking about breaking up terrorist structures and strongholds there. As long as that Number One clause is not implemented, the Bush peace plan is stalled.
2. It is a more convenient location for taking delivery of the heavy influx of explosives, expert-bomb makers and funds smuggled in all the time from two sources to the north: Syrian military intelligence in Damascus and the Hizballah in Lebanon. The logistical link between the Palestinians and the Hizballah is much strengthened in the last six weeks.
3. Since it is important to Arafat to demonstrate he is a lead player in the broader Arab and Islamic arena, he took note of Saddam’s Iron Triangle in the Sunni region of central Iraq. While Saddam loyalists strike down American troops, he set up his own terror triangle on the West Bank from which to launch murderous attacks on Israelis.
Arafat’s triangle is part of a larger terror configuration that surfaced in the August 7 bomb blast at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad – in which 19 were killed; in the August 8 Hizballah’s cross-border blitz against Israeli positions on Mt Dov; again, when another Hizballah shell killed an Israeli teenager, Haviv Dadon in Shlomi, on Sunday, August 10; and on Tuesday, August 12, in a double suicide bombing.
Israeli officials sometimes refer to the Iranian connection with the terrorists. Certainly, Iranian petrodollars are important in keeping the flames of terror at a roaring pitch. In January 2002, the Karin-A arms cargo ordered by Arafat and Dahlan – and caught before it landed in the Gaza Strip – was financed by Tehran. Today, too, funds for the arms and explosives smuggled into Israel come from Iran’s deep pockets. But the hands that pull the strings of terror and the fingers that pull the triggers are not located in Tehran; they belong to Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, Hizballah secretary Hassan Nasrallah and Yasser Arafat, chief of all Palestinian terrorist networks.
Just as their operations are closely synchronized, so too is the way they handle Israeli responses or inaction in the face of their assaults. When there was no reaction to the Mt. Dov bombardment, the terrorist chiefs judged Israel would be equally quiescent in the face of the death of Haviv Dadon. So why not step up the terror offensive with a double strike on Tuesday?
To try and cushion the impact of the two attacks, an Israeli officer claimed they were unrelated because they were carried out by bombers from different organizations, the Fatah and Hamas. He did not sound too convinced himself. Whatever the official line may be, no soldier serving in the anti-terror battlefront of the West Bank has any doubt that the Tanzim, the al Aqsa Brigades, the Hamas, Jihad Islami and the Hizballah all operate under a single tight command located at Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, in the same way as all the groups in the Gaza Strip obey the “Popular Resistance Committees”.

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