Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been reluctant to authorize “necessary” anti-terror operations in Judea and Samaria for fear military action there would hamper his planned withdrawal from the area, security officials charged.
They said large-scale anti-terror operations could highlight major terror threats in Samaria and generate criticism of Olmert’s withdrawal plan, which seeks to evacuate most of Judea and Samaria, territories bordering Israel’s major population centers.
Olmert called for an IDF raid in northern Samaria last week following the death of Daniel Wultz, the American teenager critically injured in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Seven senior terrorists were assassinated in the raid, including the alleged plotter of the Tel Aviv blast. The security officials said the operation could have been conducted months earlier.
A senior security official listed dozens of anti-terror operations that are necessary to be carried out to protect against further suicide attacks. These include large-scale raids in Kabatiyeh and other northern Samaria towns, particularly Jenin and Nablus, which have extensive Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror networks.
Ala Senakreh, the overall leader of the Brigades, the so-called military wing of the long-ruling Fatah party, boasted to WorldNetDaily that he is able to operate openly in Nablus. The terror leader went on to threaten more suicide bombings inside Israel in the near future.
Said a security official: “What is needed is for the terror infrastructure [in northern Samaria] to be knocked out. Israeli troops would be required to conduct ground operations. But this is not on the Olmert administration’s current agenda.”
Israel and the international community should consider carrying out strategic strikes now against Iran’s nuclear facilities to stall its suspected uranium enrichment activities, Israeli Knesset member Effie Eitam said in an interview.
Eitam, chairman of the National Union party and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, warned that Israel would need to attack Iran by itself if the international community led by the United States fails to successfully halt Tehran’s nuclear program within about a year.
He blasted Olmert’s administration for “failing to devise a coherent strategy toward Iran” and urged Israel to immediately make public a doctrine of deterrence that would assure “total destruction” of Iran should it contemplate a first strike against the Jewish state.
The Knesset member deemed Iran “an international problem” and not just an Israeli problem. “This evil will not compromise,” he said. “It is best if it is destroyed physically. If the world doesn’t act by a certain point, then Israel must.”
Hamas and other Palestinian groups are being used by Iran and Syria to threaten the stability of so-called moderate Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said in an interview with WND and ABC Radio.
“TheIranians, with their expansionist souls, are trying to use all kinds of groups, including Hamas, to destabilize the area,” said Jumblatt, widely considered to be the most prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politician.
Palestinian groups have been clashing in recent days with the Lebanese army. “It’s a war to destabilize Lebanon,” said Jumblatt. Earlier this month, Jordanian officials announced security officers caught a large arms cache smuggled from Syria into the country by Hamas members. Jordanian television broadcast confessions by three Hamas militants who said they smuggled the arms into the country for possible attacks against Jordanian officials and interests.
Egypt has a mixed relationship with Hamas, many analysts say. In its role as a Middle East power broker, Egypt often hosts Hamas delegations for regional talks. But there are widespread reports of tensions in the Hamas-Egypt relationship. Egypt occasionally has accused Hamas of involvement in attacks on its soil. It has been monitoring Hamas’s relationship with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to create an Islamic theocracy in place of the current Egyptian regime. Hamas is an offshoot of the Brotherhood.
A suspected plotter of last month’s triple bomb blasts in the Sinai resort town of Dahab has infiltrated the Gaza Strip and has been extended refuge there by local terror groups, including members of Hamas, according to Egyptian officials.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities issued a request for Hamas to arrest and turn over the alleged attack plotter, who they said escaped from the Al-Arish region of the Sinai desert near Dahab, a popular Red Sea vacation spot not far from Egypt’s border with Israel.
Egyptian officials said one attack plotter entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Crossing, the main Egypt-Gaza checkpoint, and has been sheltered by Hamas members and leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza-based terror organization.