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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

With October becoming the most deadly month for U.S. troops in Iraq in nearly two years, Palestinian preachers in several major mosques in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are celebrating the anti-American violence as a gift from Allah bestowed upon Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

Terror leaders told WorldNetDaily that they believe the insurgency in Iraq has exposed U.S. weakness and will soon force an American withdrawal, citing as proof the “many” people in the U.S. who are comparing the war in Iraq to Vietnam.

Abu Ayman, a leader of the Islamic Jihad terror group in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, said, “We saw in Iraq [during] this month [of Ramadan] how Allah helped the mujahedeen fighters to mark a great victory, a victory that brought the Americans to speak for the first time seriously and sincerely that Iraq is becoming a new Vietnam and that they should fix a schedule for their withdrawal from Iraq.”

Similarly, in Hebron this past weekend a popular Palestinian Islamist political party, Hizb A-Tahrir, distributed a pamphlet celebrating the American deaths as a Ramadan gift and petitioning Allah to “keep cooling our hearts and souls with more and more American soldiers killed.”

In several Internet chat rooms associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which is partially funded by the U.S., users this weekend spoke of an American withdrawal from Iraq as imminent.

One user hailed the “good and divine news that comes from Iraq,” referring to the high number of deaths. The user wrote it is “only a question of time” before the U.S. withdraws from the country.

‘Major Attacks Against Israel On The Way’

Terror groups allied with Hamas in the Gaza Strip are planning a series of large-scale attacks against Israeli positions near Gaza “within the coming days,” including rocket attacks, suicide bombings and raids on Israeli military posts, according to several senior terror leaders in Gaza.

“The Israelis have misunderstood the period of calm in last few weeks and months. This was the calm before the storm,” said Abu Abir, spokesman of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees.

“The Palestinian resistance will carry out very soon a big offensive that will include shootings of rockets for a distance farther then until recently; it will include tunnel attacks and suicide attacks inside Israel,” he said.

Abir, one of several terror leaders to claim upcoming attacks from Gaza, urged Israel to respond with a Gaza assault.

“We wish Israel will come in (to Gaza) in a bigger way because we will turn the entire area of the Israeli operation into a big cemetery filled with Zionist soldiers,” he said.

Palestinian and Israeli security officials said they are aware of the attack plans. Israel said it has beefed up security at Gaza border crossings.

The Palestinian officials said the threatened large-scale attacks, which they claimed may be imminent, are meant to provoke an Israeli military response in Gaza that would unite the Palestinians and thwart any attempt by Abbas to dissolve the Hamas-led alestinian government.

Israel To Step Up Operations In Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces will in the coming days expand its military operations against terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset this week. Olmert did not publicly specify the new measures for operations in Gaza, which he approved after a meeting with the senior IDF leadership.

Last week this column reported that the Israeli military, concerned about the massive amount of weaponry recently smuggled into the Gaza Strip and the regular firing of rockets at nearby Jewish communities, would present battle plans for approval by the government for a large-scale Gaza offensive.

The Israeli assault, a version of which includes reoccupying parts of Gaza, is aimed at blocking Egypt-Gaza smuggling routes, confiscating weaponry already transferred into Gaza, halting the rocket-firing at Jewish communities and badly damaging Gaza’s terrorist infrastructure.

The IDF officials said the offensive is “crucial” for Israel’s security and would be the largest military operation launched against Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza since Israel evacuated the territory last year.

But the officials last week said they worried the Gaza assault may be “watered down” or not approved at all by Olmert for political reasons.

Indeed, IDF officials now say Olmert only approved stepped-up, isolated operations in Gaza and not the large-scale offensive they assert is needed.

Hamas, Fatah Training For Civil War

Security organizations and militant groups associated with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party are currently undergoing training for the possible breakout within weeks of large-scale clashes with Hamas. The possible infighting, which Palestinian leaders speaking to WND warned could result in a “Palestinian civil war,” is feared if Abbas follows through with recent threats to dismantle the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Israeli officials are worried that any major Palestinian clashes could spill over into attacks against the Jewish state.

As Palestinian president, Abbas has the authority to abolish the PA and establish an emergency government that he would head for three months, at which point new elections would be held. Under certain circumstances, Abbas can maintain and lead the emergency government indefinitely, usurping Hamas’s power.
 
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on America’s top radio programs.

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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