With Hamas now in power, the long-ruling Fatah party and its “military wing” Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades forced into the opposition, and Israel announcing it will soon withdraw from the West Bank, Palestinian terror leaders tell WorldNetDaily recent events here are leading them to launch what they call a third intifada – or violent confrontation – against Israel consisting of suicide bombings, rocket attacks against Jewish communities and “a few new surprises in our arsenal.”
Some terror leaders, particularly from the Al Aqsa Brigades, whose associated Fatah party scored poorly in last month’s parliamentary elections, say they are planning massive violence against Israeli civilians mostly to revolt against the new Hamas-controlled Palestinian government.
“The new intifada is only a question of time and this will be the hardest and the most dangerous one. It’s just about timing until the order to blow up a new wave of attacks will be given,” Abu Nasser, a senior Al Aqsa Brigades leader from the Balata refugee camp in northern Samaria told WorldNetDaily in an interview.
Israel expecting new wave of terror
In the last 10 days Israeli forces intercepted 12 potential suicide bombers and have stopped several dozen bombings the past few months, prompting fears of “a new and worrisome wave of terror,” said Yuval Diskin, head of Israel’s Shin Bet security services.
Hamas last month catapulted to power, winning Palestinian parliamentary elections by a large margin and wresting control from Fatah. Israel has warned the losing terror groups, particularly Fatah’s Al Aqsa Brigades, will try to stymie efforts by Hamas to form a new government and sign a long-term cease fire with the Jewish state. Also, members of the Islamic Jihad terror group expressed disappointment their organization decided not to run in elections, and have warned they will stop Hamas from imposing a truce.
Last week, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his Kadima party, leading overwhelmingly in the polls for next month’s Israeli elections, will seek to “change Israel’s borders” by withdrawing from most of the West Bank. Some security officials told WND they fear terror groups will increase attacks to claim credit for an Israeli West Bank pull-out.
After Israel announced its withdrawal from Gaza, which it carried out this past summer, terror organizations, mostly led by Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees umbrella group, increased attacks in the area, at one point firing an average of seven rockets per week at Gaza’s Jewish communities.
Diskin warned that Iran and Syria, currently under mounting international pressure, are streaming large sums of money to Palestinian terror groups to spur on local cells to carry out attacks in hopes of starting regional violence.
The Palestinians launched their first intifada in 1987, which developed into a well-organized violent rebellion orchestrated by Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization from its headquarters in Tunis. The so-called second intifada was initiated in 2000 after Arafat rejected at Camp David an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state on most of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and sections of eastern Jerusalem. Some 993 Israelis and 3,781 Palestinians have been killed so far. Many say the second intifada is still being waged.
The terror groups themselves say they are planning a new wave of violence against Israelis, which some terror leaders are calling a “third intifada.” They detailed for WorldNetDaily how they will carry it out.
Al Aqsa Brigades: ‘We’ll kill Israelis to revolt against Hamas’
The Al Aqsa Brigades was formed in 2000 by then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat as a military offshoot of the Fatah party. PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a cease fire with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last February, to which the Brigades was party – but the terror group continued carrying out attacks.
Al Aqsa’s Abu Nasser claims Israel put Hamas in power, and says his group is preparing a new terror onslaught as a result.
“For the last 10 months we respected a cease fire expecting to see changes in the lives of the Palestinian people, but we received from the Israeli side more assassinations … and above all we received the Hamas victory, which seems to be the result of an Israeli and international conspiracy. They believe that Hamas will give up easier our lands and rights. I think that they are right, but we will not allow this to happen. We will fight and we will blow up the new intifada,” Abu Nasser told WND.
Sources close to Al Aqsa say Abu Nasser was involved in preparing the last three suicide bombings in Israel, including the attack last month at a Tel Aviv shwarma restaurant that injured more than 30 Israelis.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal over the weekend said his group might sign a long-term cease fire with Israel, but told reporters he will not ask other Palestinian group to stop attacks.
Abu Nasser told WND the Brigades will not respect any cease fire agreed to by Hamas and will not halt attacks at Hamas’ request.
“I am sure Hamas will start arresting us, but it will not be that easy [for them],” said Abu Nasser. “We are preparing ourselves for the worst scenario.”
Asked if Al Aqsa’s new terror war will be launched less out of aggression toward Israel and more to revolt against Hamas, Abu Nasser replied, “This is partially true. When we were in power, we were obliged to be more sensitive and more obedient to the instructions and policies of our leadership. Now that we lost the elections, why should we obey the leaders and just who do we obey? The Hamas?
Continued Abu Nasser: “I am sure once [Hamas is] in power it is only that power that is really important for them. They will be ready to give up things that President Arafat refused to do. The proof for what I am saying is that in the last days when the Israeli army killed more than 15 Palestinian activists, most of them from our Brigades, we did not hear the voice of Hamas. Where are their resistance principles? Did they disappear after the elections?”
Abu Nasser warned the so-called third intifada will be a combination of suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Jewish towns.
“The Al Aqsa Brigades recently unified most of our cells and groups and we will wait for the most suitable moment to launch our resistance acts. As for the acts, there will be suicide attacks but there will be a massive use of rockets. These rockets will be launched against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but also if needed against Israeli cities inside the green line.”
Rocket war against Israel
Since Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip this past August, security officials have been warning that the Palestinian terror groups transferred their rocket capabilities to the West Bank, which is within firing range of Israel’s international airport and many major Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Israel has confirmed that at least two rockets have been fired in the West Bank so far from the northern Samaria town of Jenin. There is information terror groups in the West Bank, particularly the Al Aqsa Brigades and Islamic Jihad, will step up attacks against the area’s Jewish communities ahead of any Israeli withdrawal from the area.
WorldNetDaily caught up with Abu Oudai, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader responsible for coordinating the organization’s rocket network in the West Bank. He warned that his organization is preparing a rocket war against Israel:
“We have launched [several] times and with the help of Allah we will launch these rockets regularly. There will be no calm, no cease fire until the occupation leaves our land. I don’t need to tell you that the aerial distance from Jenin to Netanya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities is not big without telling you what are all our plans concerning other parts of the West Bank.”
Oudai said his organization and other terror groups have stockpiled Palestinian rockets, including Qassams, which can travel about 2 miles, more primitive Jenin-1 and Jenin-2s, and Arafat-1 and Arafat-2 rockets, some of which can reportedly travel up to 3 miles. He claimed his group is developing a new rocket that will put all of Israel’s major cities within firing range.
“The very near future will prove their capacity to kill and destroy and to beat the Israelis in the West Bank exactly like we did with these rockets in the Gaza Strip,” Oudai said.
Oudai pocked fun at Israel’s West Bank security barrier, which has been credited with making it more difficult for Palestinian groups to carry out suicide bombings.
“[The Israelis] have built a huge wall on which [it] spent billions of dollars but still we are hitting Israel with our rockets and reaching every target we want. This wall will not defend [Israel] from our rockets which have defeated the wall and all the security measures taken to prevent our attacks,” Oudai boasted.
Israeli military leaders previously warned that the Jewish state will launch an “unprecedented” military campaign against any rocket firing from the West Bank.
The Israeli Defense Forces did not initiate any large-scale anti-rocket operation in response to the rockets launched from Jenin. It has been largely unable to stop the rockets regularly fired from Gaza into nearby Israeli Negev towns.
The Israeli army regularly responds to Qassam firings from Gaza with surgical missile strikes and artillery fire at areas it says are used to launch rockets. In December, Israel set up a buffer zone in sections of Gaza occasionally used to fire rockets into nearby Israeli Negev communities, but the Palestinian terrorists shifted their launching sites to other areas and have continued the attacks.
Said Oudai: “Israel already has used all its tools. Tanks, aircrafts, assassinations and everything it could use. But we are still here and still fighting. We do not get excited from the Israeli threats. What can be this unprecedented reaction? They have already tried everything.”
In Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella organization of several Palestinian terror groups, has taken credit for many of the rockets launched from the area since 2000.
Abu Abir, spokesman for the Committees, boasted his group transported missiles to the West Bank.
“If there is need, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and everywhere in Israel can become our target. Israelis must also know that we have already transferred the knowledge and the technology of producing rockets to the West Bank,” Abu Abir told WorldNetDaily.
Abu Abir said his group has “improved [our] capacities in shooting these rockets. Even the Israeli officers agreed that the improvement is at all levels, [including] the distance that these rockets can reach, the capacity of explosives and their accuracy. In the last five years, there is no doubt that our abilities have improved.”
Islamic Jihad: ‘The Israelis should wait for our surprises’
Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for every suicide bombing against Israel since last February’s cease fire, including bombings in a Tel Aviv disco and restaurant and a Netanya shopping mall, among others. Al Aqsa leaders told WorldNetDaily they aided the recent bombings. Islamic Jihad also says it fired most of the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip since Israel’s August withdrawal.
Israel says Islamic Jihad is directly backed by Iran and Syria. Jihad chief Ramadan Shallah operates openly from Damascus and regularly visits Tehran.
Security sources say Hezbollah headquarters in Damascus and Beirut have ordered Islamic Jihad to carry out attacks in hopes of drawing Israel into a protracted military conflict.
Israel’s Diskin warned that Iran and Syria are looking to use Islamic Jihad in part to distract mounting international pressure against their respective countries.
Iran is under fire for its alleged nuclear ambitions, and the international community led by the United States has threatened to bring Syria to the United Nations Security Council for allegedly interfering in the investigation into the assassination last year of former Lebanese Prime Minister Raqif Hariri, for which Syria has been widely blamed.
WorldNetDaily spoke with Islamic Jihad’s northern West Bank leader Abu Khalil, who warned his terror group is planning a terror onslaught to chase Israel from the West Bank and eventually from Jerusalem.
“We will launch very soon very painful attacks that will shake the enemy. In fact, this is more the continuation of the (second) intifada because we never said that the intifada has ended. We will never give calm and security to the enemy. This will happen only when Israel will run away from Jerusalem and the West Bank like it did in Gaza,” Abu Khalil said.
Abu Khalil, like leaders from the Al Aqsa Brigades, said his group will not respect a Hamas request to halt attacks against Israel.
“I don’t believe the brothers in Hamas will ask us to stop. In any case, our only commitment is towards Allah, and the blood of our people and brothers and towards our political leadership,” Abu Khalil told WND.
“Therefore we will not give up the right to defend ourselves and to launch all kinds of attacks against Israel everywhere there is an Israeli soldier or any Israeli goal in the West Bank and 1948 occupied Palestine [the entire state of Israel].”
Asked which weapons will be emphasized during Islamic Jihad’s next wave of terror attacks, Abu Khalil replied, “I should not answer this question for operational reasons. But we proved that we use everything Allah enables us to achieve and to use – suicide attacks, rockets and more surprises. The Israelis should wait for interesting surprises.”
Hamas: ‘Our goal is to rebuild Palestinian society’
Hamas, a terror group responsible for more than 60 suicide bombings, last month won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament and is currently attempting to form a governing coalition.
Hamas leaders claim they will focus on rebuilding Palestinian society, and have stated they may sign a long term cease fire agreement with Israel.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas chief in Gaza, told WorldNetDaily his group will “rebuild the Palestinian life shattered by corruption in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This is our goal now. To make a better life for the Palestinians.”
In a widely circulated interview, al-Zahar even recently claimed to WorldNetDaily that Hamas might negotiate with Israel using a third party.
He said his group will likely agree to a long-term cease fire with the Jewish state, but said it will not recognize Israel or renounce its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel by “assaulting and killing.”
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal this weekend said his group will not stop other Palestinian organizations from carrying out attacks against Israel.
Still, some analysts contend Hamas might use its power to halt some anti-Israel violence in hopes of receiving financial aide from international donors.
But the Al-Mustaqbal Research Center in Gaza warned that after Israel’s Gaza withdrawal Hamas attacks will be focused on West Bank Jewish communities. The Center is reportedly closely aligned with Hamas and, according to Israeli security officials, it espouses Hamas ideology:
“[Hamas will be] transporting warfare technologies such as mortars and rockets from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. These will provide an easy way to bombard Israeli populated areas adjacent to the security fence, and the fence, which is currently under construction, will therefore become useless,” stated a recent publication by the Research Center, according to a translation by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at Israel’s Center for Special Studies.
Al-Mustaqbal stated Israel’s Gaza withdrawal provided Hamas and other terror groups with a staging ground from which to launch attacks and to transport rockets to West Bank communities. It said the Gaza withdrawal proves Israel will vacate other areas in response to repeated attacks.
PFLP: Terror forced Israel out of Gaza, will get us rest of Jewish state
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has carried out recent West Bank shooting attacks and rocket firings from the Gaza Strip. The group’s leader, Ahmad Saadat, is in a Palestinian jail in Jericho for allegedly planning the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavaam Zeevi in October 2001.
Israeli security officials say the PFLP has scaled back its participation in attacks the past few months, but Abu Hani, a leader of the PLFP’s “armed wing,” the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, told WorldNetDaily his group used the time earned from last year’s cease fire to build its arsenal in preparation for a third intifada.
“The last months were used for a rest in order to rehabilitate forces. The Palestinian people preserves its right to fight against Israel,” Abu Hani said.
He told WorldNetDaily the PFLP is “forced” to launch a new terror war.
“It is not that we prepare an intifada. It is the reality on the ground that dictates a new intifada. There is the fence, there is the building in the Jewish settlements, the daily Israeli penetration into Palestinian cities, villages and camps and of course the killing of our comrades and brothers,” Abu Hani says.
Israel routinely conducts anti-terror military raids in the West Bank when it receives intelligence warning of new attacks. The Israeli Air Force fires at targets in Gaza in attempts to halt Palestinian groups from launching rockets at nearby Jewish communities.
Abu Hani warned, “The current situation does not leave to the Palestinians many choices but to fight with all the tools we have or can have. The Gaza withdrawal proves unfortunately that force, attacks and rockets is the only language and attitude that the Israelis understand. They do not withdraw unless they are hit by the Palestinian resistance. So if there is a way that has already obliged the Israelis to withdraw, why not to use it again?”
Arabic-English translation services by Ali Waked