JERUSALEM – The U.S. and international news media are falsely portraying an Israeli air strike against a Hamas-run university in the Gaza Strip, claiming a “woman’s wing” was targeted, when, according to the Israeli military, the target was a weapons lab at the school’s chemistry department.
Known senior Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, speaking on the record, previously explained to WND how the Islamic University’s chemistry department was used to manufacture explosives for use against Israel.
Palestinian raids of the targeted building previously yielded illicit Hamas rockets.
In a series of air Israeli raids yesterday, one precision strike hit a building of Gaza’s Islamic University.
A widely circulated Associated Press report claimed, “One strike destroyed a five-story building in the women’s wing at Islamic University, one of the most prominent Hamas symbols in Gaza.” The report did not cite the source of the information.
CNN also reported a “women’s wing” was targeted, as did London’s Independent newspaper and China’s Xinhua news agency.
The BBC Online described the building as a “science center” and painted the university as “a center of support for the Islamist militant group that controls the narrow coastal strip.”
Reuters claimed the university was a “significant Hamas cultural symbol.”
Avital Lebovich, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces, told WND Israel only targeted one chemical laboratory at Islamic University, which she said was used for the manufacture of Hamas explosives.
“This is the first university in world that gives out bachelor’s degrees in rocket manufacture,” she said.
Lebovich affirmed the targeted building did not house any women’s wing.
Islamic University was founded by Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004. Previous Israeli raids of the main university campus in Gaza yielded mass quantities of weaponry and Hamas incitement material.
Officials from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party claimed in February 2007 they captured seven Iranian military trainers – including a general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – inside Gaza City’s Islamic University, which they said was being utilized as a Hamas military training ground.
The Fatah officials said at the time they also found about 1,000 Qassam rockets and equipment to manufacture the rockets inside the university. They previously suspected kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was being held for a time on the university grounds.
Terrorists admit university a jihad stronghold
In a 2007 interview, Muhammad Abel-Al, a leader and spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-affilated terror group, told WND Islamic University is “extremely important” for recruitment of militants.
Abdel-Al, who also goes by the name Abu Abir, said several members of his group study chemistry at the university to aid in the manufacture of explosives and suicide belts. The Committees is responsible for hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at nearby Jewish cities.
Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’ so-called military wing, told WND in 2007 that Islamic University is regularly used by Hamas to support “resistance activities.”
“It is no secret that we utilize all tools at our disposal, including our fighters at Islamic University in preparations to fight the Zionists,” said Abu Abdullah of Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ declared “resistance” department.
Reuven Erlich, director of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and Israel’s Center for Special Studies, told WND his organization analyzed material captured in previous Israeli raids of Islamic University, which yielded mass quantities of weaponry and Hamas incitement material supporting terrorist attacks.