JERUSALEM – While Israeli negotiators held peace talks yesterday with members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization, Abbas’ declared military wing announced it will attempt a series of suicide bombings inside Israel.
“The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades calls on its members in the Gaza Strip and West Bank to launch a series of martyrdom bombing attacks, shooting attacks and rocket attacks in response to the Zionist escalation in Gaza,” said an official Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades pamphlet distributed in the West Bank yesterday and obtained by WND.
“The military wing of Fatah stays loyal to Fatah strategy and the way of Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat). We call on our brothers to take their weapons and plan attacks and attack every Israeli target. … Al Aqsa threatens our reaction will come very soon in the middle of your (Israeli) cities,” stated the pamphlet.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, is listed by the State Department as a terror group. It took responsibility, along with the Islamic Jihad terror organization, for every suicide bombing in Israel in 2005 and 2006 and for thousands of shootings and rocket attacks.
In an interview, Abu Oudai, a chief of the Brigades in the northern West Bank, told WND the pamphlet addresses his group’s objectives.
“The second intifada is entering a new cycle,” said Abu Oudai. “We are proud to declare that on its 43rd anniversary Fatah is back to leading armed struggle. The Israelis will learn in the coming days what are our capabilities.”
The terror leader claimed his group’s planned attacks were in response to Israeli “atrocities” in the Gaza Strip, referring to Israeli anti-terror efforts to combat escalated rocket fire from Gaza into nearby Jewish communities.
Palestinian terrorists in Gaza yesterday fired some 40 rockets into Israel, wounding four people, including two motorists hurt when a rocket slammed into a busy intersection.
The Israel Defense Forces yesterday killed at least three Palestinian terrorists in two separate air strikes in Gaza. In one attack, a senior terrorist in the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees, which took credit for many of this week’s rocket attacks, and the terrorist’s wife were killed when a missile fired from the air hit their white sedan in northern Gaza.
On Wednesday, the IDF reportedly mistakenly hit a car of Palestinian civilians while targeting a nearby vehicle carrying terrorists who had just fired rockets at Israel. While Palestinian terror leaders vowed revenge, the IDF pointed out it put to use better targeting capabilities in recent years that have limited the number of civilians killed in air strikes from roughly 50 percent in 2002 to 2-3 percent last year.
In what would be considered a major escalation, Hamas Wednesday claimed to WND it fired Katyusha rockets from the Gaza Strip aimed at a strategic Israeli city. Katyusha rockets can travel farther and carry much larger payloads than Qassam rockets, the brand usually launched by Gaza-based terror groups.
The escalation in violence follows a visit to the region last week by President Bush in which the U.S. leader termed Abbas a “negotiating partner” and urged Israel to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year.
Bush aimed to inject momentum into negotiations started at November’s Annapolis summit in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to commence talks leading to a Palestinian state. Israel is widely expected to withdraw from most of the West Bank and key eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met the past few days, including yesterday. Also, according to top diplomatic sources in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Abbas and Olmert held a secret personal meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday to advance talks.
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