Arafat, al-Qaida linked by new attacks?

By WND Staff

While the apparently well-coordinated terrorist attacks today in Kenya and Israel are being blamed by most analysts on Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, claims of responsibility link them with Yasser Arafat’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hezbollah’s Army of Palestine.

At least four Israelis were killed and over 20 injured this afternoon in an attack by two terrorists who opened fire on people voting in the Likud leadership primary at the party branch in the northern town of Beit She’an. Thirteen people were in serious condition and seven sustained moderate wounds. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade – which is linked to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction – claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to initial reports, at around 3:20 p.m. two terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at people crowding around the Likud branch, which is located in the town’s main bus station. Both terrorists were killed by security forces who arrived at the scene of the attack. One of the two was said to be wearing an explosive belt.

The attack came as Likud members are going to the polls across the country to choose their candidate for prime minister in the coming elections. Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is challenging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the leadership of the center-right party.

Meanwhile, in simultaneous attacks, a car bomb exploded today at a hotel frequented by Israelis, killing 14 people, and at least two missiles were fired at – but missed – an Israeli charter jet that had just departed this popular destination for tourists and trade. A little-known group called the Army of Palestine claimed responsibility.

The group said it carried out attacks on Israelis in Kenya to mark the anniversary of the 1947 United Nations resolution partitioning Palestine between Arabs and Jews. In a statement faxed to Reuters, the previously unheard-of group said it had sent two groups of attackers to Kenya to “make the world hear once again the voice of Palestinian refugees, and to cast light on Zionist terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza.”

It said the attacks were intended to mark the 55th anniversary of “the ill-fated (U.N.) resolution to partition Palestine tomorrow, November 29, 2002” and followed “the accusation of terrorism against courageous resistance movements in occupied Palestine and Lebanon.”

The bombing occurred at about 8 a.m. at the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, 15 miles north of Mombasa, said Col. Bonventur Wendo, director of Kenya’s National Disaster Center. Kenya’s minister, Julius Sunkuli, said 14 were killed and 80 wounded in the suicide attack according to initial indications.

Yoav Biran, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s director general, said the death toll from the hotel attack could rise.

The Army of God, described in many reports as a previously unknown terrorist group did, however, also claim responsibility for one other major, high-profile act of terrorism last April in the Israeli community of Adora on the West Bank. At that time, intelligence sources linked the group with the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah – an organization that is allied with al-Qaida.

Assuming the attacks today were coordinated at the operational level, it indicates, say intelligence sources, that Arafat, Hezbollah and al-Qaida are all working together to plan terrorist attacks throughout the world.

Hezbollah receives direct funding and support from Iran and Syria. Arafat’s organization receives direct funding from Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries, as well as direct taxpayer support from the U.S. and the European Union.

WorldNetDaily intelligence sources say witnesses to the hotel bombing said they saw a light plane drop two to three explosives almost at the same time of the car-bomb attack. The report of the plane attack is confirmed by the East African Standard.