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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

A U.S.-financed and trained Fatah force in the northern Gaza Strip that surrendered to Hamas last week consisted primarily of members of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group, the declared “military wing” of Fatah, WorldNetDaily has learned.

The Fatah militia in Beit Lehiya in the northern Gaza Strip surrendered to Hamas forces after reaching an agreement in which the Fatah militants stated they would evacuate the city and altogether depart the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian officials told WND that the Fatah force, directed by Fatah official Mahmoud Dahlan, was provided with U.S. weapons and training and had been charged with competing with Hamas for security control of Beit Lehiya, a large Gaza city from which rockets are regularly fired into Israel. Some of the rocket attacks are carried out by Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

The Fatah force in Beit Lehiya consisted of about 40 senior officers from Force 17, the Palestinian Preventative Security Services and the General Security Services. The leader of the Force was Samih El- Madhun, who is also openly a senior leader of the Al AKsa Martyrs Brigades.

According to Madhun and to Fatah and Brigades sources, most of the leadership of the U.S.-backed force that surrendered in Beit Lehiya consisted of Brigades members.

The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades is responsible for scores of shootings and rocket firings, and together with the Islamic Jihad terror group has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel during the last two years.

The news came as the Bush administration announced plans last week to ask Congress to approve $59 million to strengthen Abbas’s Fatah security forces. The U.S. said today the bulk of the new aid package – $43.4 million – would be used to strengthen Abbas’ s Force 17 guard units.

In January the Bush administration pledged $86.4 million to strengthen the Fatah forces. That aid was temporarily blocked by some members of Congress who worried the transfer may reach terror groups.  The lawmakers asked for a clarification from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who then lowered the amount of requested aid. 

Abbas group: We’ll use American aid to attack Israel

The declared “military wing” of Abbas’s Fatah party took credit last week for firing rockets into Israel, vowed to break a Gaza cease-fire, and told this column that the $59 million in U.S. financial aid pledged for Fatah security forces will be used to “attack the Zionists.”

“Even if the American money and weapons reach only members of Fatah who are not involved in the resistance, it will find its way to the Palestinian resistance and be utilized for attacks against the Zionists,” said Abu Ahmed, the northern Gaza commander of Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group.

Ahmed claimed his group launched two rockets at Israel last Wednesday in response to “Israeli threats to the Al Aksa Mosque and criminal Israeli operations in the West Bank against our fighters.”

The Jewish state is not threatening the Al Aksa Mosque. The Israel Defense Forces carried out a series of anti-terror operations during the past two weeks in the northern West Bank, aimed primarily at arresting Brigades members.

Ahmed said that if the Israeli raids continue, “there will be no more cease-fire, and you can count on a large string of suicide bombings and rocket attacks.”

Arrested terrorist in unit receiving U.S. Funds

Thursday night Israel raided a military headquarters of Abbas’s Fatah party and arrested a Fatah militia member wanted for carrying out terror attacks against the Jewish state.

The arrested terrorist was a member of Fatah’s intelligence unit, which received U.S. weapons shipments in recent months and is slated to be infused with funds from the $59 million American grant that was announced last week. Eighteen other suspected terrorists from the Fatah intelligence unit wanted for attacks against Israelis were arrested by Israel last month.

One of the main leaders of the Fatah intelligence unit, Jamal Tarawi, who has received American training, is also a member of the Brigades, according to Brigades sources. He formerly served as the chief of the Brigades in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Hamas: Confrontation with Israel ‘on its way’

Palestinian terrorist groups on Sunday once again used a former Gaza Strip Jewish city evacuated by Israel in 2005 to test new explosives and rockets for use against the Jewish state, according to senior members of Hamas’s so-called military wing, who said they were preparing for a “coming” confrontation with Israel.

Hamas said they utilized Nezer Hazani, a former city in Gaza’s Gush Katif slate of uprooted Jewish neighborhoods, to test new rockets.  One Hamas member was killed during the explosives training exercises. 

Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’s Izzedine al-Kassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’s declared “resistance” department, told this column in recent weeks that his group has turned three other former Gaza Jewish towns – Eli Sinai, Dagit, and Neve Dekalim - into advanced training zones.

The Hamas terror leader said this week that his group stepped up the pace of its training the past few weeks because of what he called the coming confrontation with Israel.

“We think that the confrontation with Israel is not a question of if but a question of when….The Israeli officers say every day that a big operation in Gaza is being prepared and is waiting for the decision of the enemy government,” he said.

Hamas sources said that until recently, Palestinian training in Gaza was conducted quietly. They said the recent public testing of explosives should be “taken by Israel as a warning that Palestinian groups are ready for a confrontation.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. 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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