JAFFA, Israel – Hamas members today provided WND a preliminary list of what they claimed were hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. weaponry and equipment seized during last week’s coup against the U.S.-backed Fatah security organizations of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas vowed to obtain emergency U.S. aid slated for Fatah.
Last week, Hamas took complete control of all Fatah positions and U.S.-backed security compounds in the Gaza Strip, including Fatah’s major Ansar complex – where American-provided weapons were delivered and stored – and Abbas’ presidential guard complex.
The U.S. in recent years reportedly transferred large quantities of weaponry to build up Fatah forces against rival Hamas. Hamas officials told WND in multiple interviews they would seize the American weapons.
Hamas’ Al Aqsa Television last week broadcast footage of Hamas gunmen brandishing American assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, rocket launchers and ammunition the U.S. reportedly provided to Fatah over the past few months.
Members of Hamas’ so-called “military wing” today sent WND a preliminary list of U.S. weaponry and equipment they claimed they obtained during last week’s coup. The Hamas members clarified it was possible a small quantity of munitions on the list were provided to Fatah by other countries besides the U.S., but they claimed the vast majority of weapons and equipment they detailed were transferred by Washington.
The list of claimed seized U.S. material included:
- “Dozens” of mounted machine guns
- Approximately 7,400 American M-16 assault rifles
- About 800,000 rounds of bullets.
- Eighteen armored personnel carriers
- Seven armored military jeeps
- “Tens” of armored civilian cars, including pickup trucks and magnums.
- Eight massive trucks equipped with water cannons for dispersing protests
- Fourteen military-sized bulldozers
Hamas sources said the terror group was still sifting through the weapons and equipment it obtained. They said the list they provided didn’t include what they said were large quantities of U.S.-provided rocket propelled grenades, grenade launchers, explosives, and military equipment, such as boots and tents.
Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hamas’ so-called military wing, told WND Hamas estimates they obtained at least $400 million worth of American weapons and equipment. That number couldn’t immediately be verified. The average cost of an M-16 in Gaza yesterday was $16,911, and the average cost of a bullet there was $12.07, meaning the cost in Gaza of U.S. assault rifles and bullets Hamas claims to have obtained amount to over $137 million.
Abu Abdullah said Hamas officials and “military” leaders were surprised Fatah didn’t evacuate some of the heavy machinery it left behind, including the bulldozers and armored personnel carriers.
“I am surprised Fatah weren’t directed by their Zionist and American handlers to evacuate the heavy equipment. It could have been brought out through the Egyptian border,” Abu Abdullah said.
U.S. pledges more aid to Abbas
The Hamas list of purportedly seized American weapons comes as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced this week the U.S. will resume “full assistance to the Palestinian government,” lifting an economic and political embargo against the Palestinian government enacted after Hamas came to power in March 2006.
Rice said she will ask Congress to rework a previous $86 million aid package to Abbas that was lowered following concerns by some lawmakers some of the money would end up financing terrorism. Congress in April only approved about $59 million of the aid package and stipulated the money cannot be used to purchase weapons. Rice intends to request Congress now grant the full $86 million.
Rice also said the U.S. would contribute an additional $40 million to the United Nations to help Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which is now controlled by Hamas.
According to Palestinian and Israeli diplomatic sources, the bulk of the $86 million is slated to be used to fund Force 17, which serve as de facto police units in the West Bank and previously patrolled the Hamas-seized Gaza Strip.
Many members of Force 17 are also openly members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, which took responsibility together with Islamic Jihad for every suicide bombing in Israel the last two years.
A Palestinian diplomatic source told WND the PA wants to use some of the money “to purchase equipment to help secure the Palestinian Authority against coups by other competing groups attempting to hijack our government.”
The source would not specify whether the equipment the PA wants to purchase includes weapons, which would be in breach of the previous ruling from Congress that Rice has now asked to be reworked.
A number of American officials this week said the U.S. and international community must work to build up Abbas’ forces in the West Bank.
But a top Fatah commander yesterday admitted Hamas may overrun Fatah in the West Bank, leaving open the possibility the Hamas terror group may again obtaining large quantities of U.S. weaponry.
In an interview yesterday with Reuters, Fatah strongman Mahmoud Dahlan warned the West Bank is at risk of being overrun by Hamas.
“If serious reforms are not undertaken in the security forces it would be easy for Hamas to take over the West Bank,” Dahlan said.
Hamas’ Abu Abdullah Monday vowed to obtain U.S. aid slated for Fatah.
“Like the American weapons in Gaza we told you will come to Hamas, also the weapons and aid the Americans are giving to Abu Mazen (Abbas) as part of their conspiracy against us in the West Bank will finds its way to the Palestinian resistance and Hamas,” said Abu Abdullah.
Abu Abdullah would not say whether Hamas was planning a coup in the West Bank similar to the complete takeover last week of all Fatah positions and U.S.-backed security compounds in the Gaza Strip, but he told WND he “hopes” the U.S. provides large quantities of weaponry to Fatah in the West Bank so Hamas can obtain them.
Besides obtaining American weapons, last week WND broke the story that terrorist groups, including Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees, claim they seized large quantities of CIA security files stored at major Fatah compounds.
Terror leaders speaking to WND claimed the files contain, among other information, details of CIA networks in the Middle East.
“The CIA files we seized, which include documents, CDs, taped conversations and videos, are more important than all the American weapons we obtained the last two days as we took over the traitor Fatah’s positions,” said Muhammad Abdel-El, spokesman for the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees terror group.
The Committees has been accused of carrying out anti-U.S. attacks, including a 2003 bombing of an American convoy in Gaza that killed three U.S. contractors.
Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees leaders told WND upon taking over Gaza City’s Fatah compounds, particularly the Preventative Security Services building and intelligence compound, they seized the purported CIA files and that prior to Hamas’ advances, Fatah officials attempted to destroy the CIA files but only succeeded in eliminating some.
U.S. security coordinators the past few years maintained a presence at Fatah’s Gaza headquarters.
Hamas’ Abu Abdullah said, “Now our job is to study these files, which are already showing that they are crucial for our fight against the Zionists and anyone who collaborates with them, including the Americans.”
Abdullah said the CIA documents they browsed so far contain “information about the collaboration between Fatah and the Israeli and American security organizations; CIA methods on how to prevent attacks, chase and follow after cells of Hamas and the Committees; plans about Fatah assassinations of members of Hamas and other organizations; and American studies on the security situation in Gaza.”
Abdullah claimed the documents also detailed CIA networks in other Arab countries and “how to help beat Islamic allies of Hamas in other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan.”
“We will use these documents and make portions public to prove the collaboration between America and traitor Arab countries,” Abdullah said.
Committees spokesman Abdel El told WND he was sitting in a Gaza mosque pouring through some of the files on the Committees when he found his name mentioned in the documents four times.
“I am amazed by the material and the context of the documents,” he said.
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