NAZARETH – Less than a day after rival Fatah and Hamas factions signed an agreement to form a unity government, the declared military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party today threatened to immediately send suicide bombers into Israel.
“There are martyrs on their way to Israeli cities. We will keep sending bombers until we infiltrate and carry out an attack,” Abu Nasser, deputy commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank, told WND.
Together with the Islamic Jihad group, Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the last two years, including a bombing two weeks ago in Eilat and an attack in Tel Aviv last April that killed eight Israelis and American teenager Daniel Wultz.
Abu Nasser claimed his terror group was attempting suicide bombings in Israel in response to Israeli renovation work near the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem to replace a ramp that provides access to a gate that lead to the Mount.
Necessary small excavations preceding the construction of the new ramp have sparked widespread Arab opposition, with Muslim leaders claiming the work will damage the Temple Mount.
Israel maintains the work, taking place in the Jewish Quarter outside the Temple Mount, poses no threat whatsoever to the Mount and that all excavations are being conducted under public transparency.
The leaders of several other major Palestinian terror groups, including Islamic Jihad, and the Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees, also told WND today they were sending suicide bombers into Israel.
Israeli security officials say the threats from the terror groups are credible. They say security forces are on high alert for suicide bombings and that they have specific intelligence of at least 19 planned attacks for the next 48-hours.
While the terror groups claimed their planned attacks are in protest of Israel’s Temple Mount construction, Israeli security officials say it might be an attempt by Fatah and Hamas to focus attention on fighting Israel so Palestinian infighting doesn’t torpedo a national unity agreement forged in Mecca last night.
The formation of a unity government follows months of deadly clashes after Abbas called for new Palestinian elections in a move widely seen as an attempt to dismantle the Hamas-led PA. The Qatari satellite channel Al-Jazeera aired images from the signing ceremony, attended by Abbas, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal.
The deal sets out the principles of the unity government, including an end to internal Palestinian fighting; a respect for old peace deals with Israel; and negotiations for Hamas to become a partner in all aspects of the Palestinian government.
The agreement does not call for the new Palestinian unity government to recognize Israel and does not commit Hamas to abide by previous peace deals with Israel, only to “respect” the previous peace deals.
Meanwhile today Muslim riots broke out on the Temple Mount following Friday afternoon prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Western Wall plaza, below the Temple Mount, was evacuated by Israeli authorities after Arab men threw stones at the plaza.
Israeli police are closely monitoring large Muslim protests convening today in Nazareth, and throughout the West Bank.
The Temple Mount has long been used by Palestinians as a pretence to start violence. The Palestinian intifada that began in 2000 started with rock throwing on the Temple Mount after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the holy site.
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