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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations in the Gaza Strip used American and international weaponry to attack Israel this week, top terror leaders told this column.

The weapons were seized in June when Hamas took control of Gaza and overran U.S.-backed security compounds of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization.

“The American weapons and Western weapons that reached Fatah before Hamas took over Gaza [are] being used by the Palestinian resistance, including in our aerial attack yesterday,” said Muhammad Abdel-El, spokesperson for the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees.

“[Sunday] was not the first time we used these American weapons against the [Israeli] occupation. The resistance will keep using all weapons at our disposal for the liberation of Palestine,” Abdel-El said.

Abdel-El’s Committees and members of Hamas’s so-called resistance department said they used heavy machine guns they obtained from Fatah compounds in June to fire at an Israeli Defense Forces helicopter this past Sunday. The helicopter had ventured into the central Gaza Strip near the territory’s Nuseirat refugee camp.

The U.S. in recent years reportedly transferred large quantities of weaponry to build up Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank against rival Hamas. The State Department recently announced a multimillion dollar program to train Fatah militants in the West Bank.

Abdel-El vowed to obtain more of the American weaponry shipped to Abbas: “America and Israel can keep financing and supplying Fatah’s militias, but at the end of the day all available resistance movements, including large numbers in Fatah, will do everything so these weapons will reach the good hands of those who fight for Islam, Allah and the liberation of Palestine, and not those who are only carrying out an American and Zionist policy such as the Fayyad-Abbas government.”

Return of the Bnei Menashe

A group of 174 people from among thousands in India who believe they are one of the 10 “lost tribes” landed in Israel this week, fulfilling for many a life-long dream of returning to what they consider their homeland.

Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based organization led by American Michael Freund, hopes to bring to the Jewish state the remaining 7,000 Indian citizens who believe they are the Bnei Menashe, the descendants of Manasseh, one of biblical patriarch Joseph’s two sons and a grandson of Jacob.

The tribe lives in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, to which they claim to have been exiled from Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire.

According to Bnei Menashe oral tradition, the tribe was exiled from Israel and pushed eastward, eventually settling in the border regions of China and India, where most remain today. Most kept customs similar to Jewish tradition, including observing Shabbat, keeping the laws of kosher, practicing circumcision on the eighth day of a baby boy’s life and observing laws of family purity.

In the 1950′s, several thousand Bnei Menashe say they set out on foot for Israel but were quickly halted by Indian authorities. Undeterred, many began practicing Orthodox Judaism and pledged to make it to Israel. They now attend community centers established by Shavei Israel to teach the Bnei Menashe Jewish tradition and modern Hebrew.

Freund said he hopes the arrival this week of more Bnei Menashe would “jump-start the process of bringing back the rest of the 7,000 Bnei Menashe who are in India yearning to return home.”

United In Terror

Hamas and members of the so-called military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization took responsibility for an attack against the Israeli army this week, stating that a recently formed new terror group will be used to conduct joint operations against the Jewish state.

Last week, this column broke the story that Hamas and Fatah had formed a new organization called the Fire Belt to jointly attack Israel. On Sunday, the new Fire Belt terror group took responsibility for a grenade attack against Israeli forces operating in the vicinity of the Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

According to Abu Nasser, a leader of Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus and a self-declared top commander of the Fire Belt group, among the terrorists that attacked the jeep Sunday was a member of the Brigades who is on Israel’s official list of amnesty.

In July Israeli Prime Minister Olmert granted amnesty to 178 Fatah fighters, purportedly as a gesture to Abbas and to bolster the Palestinian leader against Hamas. The amnesty was offered on condition that the Fatah gunmen refrain from attacks against Israel.

The information about a Hamas-Fatah group follows the recent announcement of large sums of U.S. aid to Fatah, with military training programs for West Bank Fatah militias – again purportedly to back Abbas’s group against Hamas and to isolate Hamas in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

‘Attacks Will Continue’

A top leader of the so-called military wing of Abbas’s Fatah party vowed that his terror group would continue firing rockets from the Gaza Strip at nearby Jewish communities regardless of peace negotiations reportedly taking place between Abbas and Olmert.

“No matter what happens in negotiations, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades will keep shooting these rockets at the Zionists,” Abu Lel Muntasser, chief of the Brigades in the southern Gaza Strip, told WorldNetDaily.

Muntasser claimed the Brigades has a new rocket in Gaza that can travel further than those previously fired from the territory, and took credit for a Kassam rocket attack this week that scored a direct hit on a house in the Israeli city of Sderot, injuring two.

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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