JERUSALEM – Hamas is seeking the ability to attack Israel using small airplanes laden with explosives to be flown 9-11-style into important targets, possibly Tel Aviv skyscrapers, Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ so-called military wing, told WorldNetDaily yesterday.
Abdullah is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ declared “resistance” department. He said his group would not immediately carry out airplane attacks, but that Hamas is preparing for the possibility should a long-term truce it claims to abide by falls apart.
Abdullah’s statements come after Palestinian security officials told WND they believe Hamas recently smuggled into the Gaza Strip three small airplanes that can carry explosives and be used to attack Israel. They said information indicates the aircraft were purchased from eastern European dealers and that Hamas members received flight training from professionals in the Sudan, Iran and Syria.
Abdullah refused to confirm the reports, but said his group has the right to acquire aircraft.
“I cannot confirm whether this information is right or not but for sure it is one of our goals to have these airplanes,” Abdullah said. “It is part of our legitimate arming in case the enemy [Israel] thinks to launch a big attack against our people.”
Abdullah said Hamas would fly the planes into Jewish targets, possibly Tel Aviv skyscrapers.
“The goal is to have these planes carry maximum quantities of explosives and that they will be able to hit the targets that are fixed for its operation at a high level of accuracy. All the Zionist goals in our dear Palestine are legitimate. I estimate that this tool will not be used against regular targets. We will choose precious targets and I do not want to speak about strategic or any other targets. … We know that the enemy is building new and high buildings in Tel Aviv.”
The terror leader listed possible military targets, as well.
“[Our target] could be important military and civil buildings and compounds and it could also be settlements in 1948 occupied Palestine (Israel). We know that many of the decisions to kill our brothers are taken in the army headquarters in occupied Beer Sheva (considered the capital of the Israeli Negev desert). All these targets are legitimate ones,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah would not specify whether the airplanes used in the attacks Hamas is seeking the ability to carry out would be piloted or flown by remote control.
He said Hamas is currently abiding by a truce with Israel it agreed to last February, but that at the same time his group was advancing its “resistance” capabilities for the eventuality the truce may fall apart.
“[Acquiring the airplanes] is part of the balance and the equilibrium with the enemy we have been working on these last years. It is not a secret that our military wing is very creative and works hard to improve its tools,” Abdullah said.
Hamas the past few months has claimed many times its “military wing” functions separately from the group’s political leadership.
Since Hamas was elected to Palestinian parliament in January, the terror group has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Some Hamas leaders have hinted at the possibility of negotiations. In a widely circulated report, Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar previously told WND his group would consider talking with the Jewish state through a third party. But Hamas leaders, including al-Zahar and the group’s overall leader Khaled Meshaal, regularly declare they will not give up the right to “resistance.”
Asked if the Hamas’ political leadership sanctions the acquiring of aircraft for attacks, Abdullah replied, “The acquiring of any weapon is a decision of the military wing and it depends on a number of conditions related to financial facilities and to the situation on the ground. The Hamas political leadership starts to play a role only when it comes to the question of time – when to come back to the military operations because as you know we are respecting the ceasefire.”
Israel says Hamas continues to direct attacks using other terror groups, particularly the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees. The Shin Bet Security Services recently announced Hamas senior member Ahmed Randor was responsible for a thwarted major bombing by the Committees at the Karni crossing, the main checkpoint between Israel and Gaza.
Hamas has previously been connected to foiled attacks using small airplanes.
Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv often called Israel’s Twin Towers
Israel in the past has reportedly had numerous security alerts involving plots to fly aircraft into skyscrapers, including Tel Aviv’s two Azrieli towers. Although the towers are shaped differently – one is triangular, another is circular – they are often referred to as Israel’s Twin Towers.
In February 2003, six Hamas members were reportedly killed in a blast while filling a small aircraft with explosives. Security reports at the time said Hamas planned to fly the airplane by remote control into an Israeli target. Hamas leaders, including Abdullah, blamed Israel for the explosion that halted the aircraft attack.
In the past we succeeded to acquire one of these planes but the enemy discovered it and bombarded the plane killing our brothers who were working and training on the plane,” Abdullah told WND.
Abdullah warned Hamas could easily resume its attacks.
“Any trial to launch a big attack against our lands and our people, any trial to remove our government from the power that we have achieved in a democratic way can motivate and accelerate the decision to use our new weapons. Once we are back in the operations, we are relatively independent to lead the struggle the way we see it.”