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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

The United States coordinated the transfer of American-made weapons last week by Israel to Force 17, the presidential guard units of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The weapons cache consisted of 3,000 M-16 assault rifles and over one million rounds of ammunition, according to Palestinian officials close to the transfer.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced he had approved the shipment of weapons, stating that the transfer was meant to bolster Abbas’s Fatah party in recent clashes against Hamas.

But Abu Yousuf, a senior member of Force 17, told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview that the weapons, which his group has already received, will be shared with the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group and utilized for attacks against Jews.

He hinted that the weapons already have been used in a spate of shooting attacks by the Al Aksa Brigades, including an ambush this week that left three Israeli schoolgirls wounded. Yousuf, also a member of the Brigades, personally took responsibility for the ambush. Many Force 17 gunmen are known to also be members of the Brigades.

In addition, Yousuf said the American weapons might actually be shared with Hamas, but only if the terror group incorporates its 3,000-strong Gaza militia into the general Palestinian police. Although analysts say this is unlikely, Hamas reportedly has agreed several times to redeploy its gunmen in Gaza as part of the Palestinian police.

Yousuf said the weapons may also be shared with other terror groups besides Hamas and the Brigades. He said Israel facilitated the transfer of weapons to his Force 17 unit “for its own political purposes. We are not concerned with the reasons. The weapons will not be used against our brothers, only [against] Israelis.”

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Contradicting most of his colleagues, a former senior leader of the Wakf, the Islamic custodians of the Temple Mount, told WorldNetDaily said he has come to believe that the first and second Jewish Temples existed and stood at the current location of the Al Aksa Mosque.

The leader, who was dismissed from his Wakf position after he quietly made his beliefs known, said Al Aksa custodians passed down stories for centuries from generation to generation indicating the mosque was built at the site of the former Jewish temples.

He said the Muslim world’s widespread denial of the existence of the Jewish temples is political in nature and is not rooted in facts. The former leader, who is well known to Al Aksa scholars and Wakf officials, spoke on condition his name be withheld, claiming an on-the-record interview would endanger his life.

While the Islamic leader’s statements may seem elementary to many in the West, especially in light of overwhelming archaeological evidence documenting the history of the Jewish temples, his words break with mainstream thinking in much of the Muslim world, which believes the Jewish temples never existed.

“I am mentioning historical facts,” said the former leader. “I know that the traditional denial about the temple existing at the same place as Al Aksa is more a political denial. Unfortunately our religious and political leaders chose the option of denial to fight the ewish position and demands regarding Al Aksa and taking back the Temple Mount compound. In my opinion we should admit the truth and abandon our traditional position.” But the leader said his conclusion that the Jewish temples existed does not forfeit what he calls “Islamic rights” to the Temple Mount and Al Aksa Mosque.

“We believe that Islam is the third and last religion. It came to complete the monotheistic message. The mosque is here at the place of the temple to serve for the same purpose, for the work of Allah.”

*******

Egypt, Jordan and Israel are on high alert for possible large-scale attacks by Al Qaeda members in response to the recent killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the global terror group’s leader in Iraq, security sources said.

The sources said Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian intelligence officials have held several meetings over the past few days to share information and coordinate anti-terror measures in light of the new threats.

Israel has beefed up border security for fear Al Qaeda could try to penetrate from neighboring territories or attack along the border. There is also information that the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza-based terror group, is looking to carry out an attack inside Israel to avenge Zarqawi’s death and the assassination on the same day of its own leader, Jamal Abu Samhadana.

*******

The rockets regularly fired from the Gaza Strip into nearby Jewish communities are “not a big deal,” according to Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who called on Israelis to “end the hysteria” over the missile onslaught.

“This hysteria over the Kassams must end,” Peres told journalists at the Knesset. “What happened? Kiryat Shimona was shelled for years. What, there weren’t missiles? Kassams shmassams.”

Since Israel withdrew from Gaza this past summer, an initiative Peres pushed for, over 500 rockets have been fired from the territory. In recent weeks, an average of five rockets per day have been fired at Sderot, an Israeli Negev town about four miles from Gaza. Residents there have held hunger strikes demanding the government order the army to carry out a large-scale anti-rocket operation in Gaza.

Many Sderot residents say the rocket onslaught has disrupted their lives and have been threatening to relocate from their neighborhood, which is within pre-1967 Israel.

Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal has warned that a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will bring a similar missile onslaught against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, parts of which are within rocket firing range of the areas Israel plans to vacate.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He is a co-host of ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show and can be heard regularly on other top American radio programs. Klein is editor of the upcoming Galil Report, an e-mail intelligence newsletter focused on news about Israel. Subscriptions are available at www.g2bulletin.com.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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