Mahmoud Abbas

JERUSALEM – Members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah militias are celebrating a suicide car bombing that killed nine U.S. soldiers in Iraq earlier this week, stating the attack bolsters their belief the U.S. will soon be defeated and retreat from “Muslim lands.”

“It was a very happy day for us Palestinians to hear nine American dogs were killed in Iraq. We feel encouraged and we feel great solidarity with our brothers in Iraq, and we consider this heroic operation, which aims to humiliate the Americans, as proof that the will of the our resistance is more powerful than any [big] American war airplanes,” Abu Ahmed, the northern Gaza commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, said in a WND interview today.

The Brigades is the declared military wing of Abbas’ U.S.-backed Fatah party, which American policy largely considers moderate.

Abu Ahmed was responding to news Monday of a suicide car bomber that struck a patrol base northeast of Baghdad, killing nine U.S. soldiers and wounding 20. It was one of the deadliest attacks against American ground forces since the Iraq war started more than four years ago.

“The Iraqi people, with the help of the mujahedeen fighters all over the world, are teaching the American dogs a huge lesson that will serve for generations for anybody who will dare attack lands of Muslims,” Abu Ahmed said. “Iraq will be the beginning of the collapse of the American empire.”

The Palestinian terror leader said he believes the U.S. will soon withdraw from Iraq, and he labeled any retreat a victory for “resistance.”

“Bush is speaking about bringing more soldiers to Iraq as a way to hide his crisis, but by the end of the day the Americans don’t support the occupation and Bush will give up the conflict, which is judged from Allah to fail,” he said. “This is the era of resistance. Bush is staying [in Iraq] now only because Cheney and the Israelis are pressing on him.”

Abu Ahmed said Palestinians are learning from the Iraq insurgency for their own war against Israel.

“The coming victory in Iraq proves the next step is to release Palestine if we speak in one voice,” he said. “We the Palestinians are learning both on the political and military level from our brothers, the heroes in Iraq. They are a model for us. We can be inspired from them because the challenge the Americans are putting in the Green Zone is similar to the challenge the Zionists are putting on us. And in spite of Israeli pilotless drones, we are succeeding to shoot rockets and winning.”

Asked if his group or other Palestinian organizations received help from Iraqi insurgent elements, Abu Ahmed replied, “Thanks to Allah the Palestinian people have enough fighting capacity and don’t need outside help, but it is our full right to get assistance from anyone for our fight against Israel. The Palestinian revolution throughout history witnessed participation of different nationalities, but for the moment we don’t need help.”

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has taken responsibility together with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years. The Brigades recently carried out scores of shootings and rocket attacks against Jewish population centers.

The U.S. regularly provides weapons and funds to Fatah militias. Congress earlier this month approved a $59 million aid package to bolster Fatah forces. Many members of the Fatah militias, including dozens recently arrested by Israel, are openly members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Abbas last June appointed senior Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of Force 17, Fatah’s presidential guard units, which are trained by America. Damra, who was arrested by Israel in November, was on the Jewish state’s most-wanted list of terrorists.

This past January, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Al Aqsa Brigades members firing the missiles from Gaza are not affiliated with Fatah and don’t take orders from Abbas. She said the militants are directed by the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

But in a WND interview following the spokeman’s remarks, Abu Ahmed said his group, including the militants launching rockets, is loyal to Abbas and coordinates “resistance operations” with the Fatah party.

“The Al Aqsa Brigades is the military wing of the Fatah and the President Abu Mazen (Abbas) is the chairman of the movement,” Abu Ahmed said. “We are committed to our leadership, to Abu Mazen. All our activity is in accordance with the political line of Fatah, which consists of fighting the occupation until the creation of a Palestinian state. The rocket-shooting is part of this vision.”

Most rockets fired recently from Gaza have been launched from the northern part of the territory, which falls within Abu Ahmed’s jurisdiction in the Brigades.

Asked why Abbas distances himself from Al Aqsa’s rocket firing, Abu Ahmed told WND, “Listen, we are aware of our president’s (Abbas’) declarations, but we are also aware of the international political system that brings the president to adopt this position.”

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