Photo Credit: Yehonatan Valtser/TPS

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) intelligence service has recently conducted two successful operations, in Syria and in Greece, with the assistance of the Turks.

Over the weekend, PA intelligence operatives returned four sisters, from the Makhlouf family, from Syria to their home in Shechem (Nablus). In 2014, the father of the family, the cleric Majdi Makhlouf, went to Turkey for treatment for his wife’s kidney disease. But then, Makhlouf moved from Turkey to Syria taking along his wife. He joined the Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization, and also married another Syrian woman.

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Shortly afterward, his (Palestinian Authority) wife began her journey back from Syria to Turkey while his four daughters remained in Syria. Makhlouf, who decided to leave ISIS a few months later, was arrested in the town of Azzaz by the Free Syrian Army and as far as his family knows, he is still in a Syrian prison. Recently, Makhlouf managed to contact his family in Shechem.

Meanwhile, the four daughters and their stepmother moved between the towns of Raqqa, Tabaka and Abu Kamal, and in the past year have settled in Azzaz, close to their father.

When word of the father’s arrest became known to the family members in Shechem, the PA’s “foreign security mechanism” began to operate to locate the girls. At the end of a complicated operation, with the help of Turkey, with whom the head of PA intelligence Colonel Majed Faraj, maintains good relations, the PA intelligence agents managed to transfer the girls to Turkey and then to the PA.

The second operation, which also took place with Turkish assistance, began following the abduction and murder of a Palestinian Authority woman from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria.

Abdi Hadi Baaj, a young Syrian, seduced the girl to come to Istanbul and then abducted her and began negotiating her return with her family in exchange for a ransom. When the negotiations failed, Baaj murdered the young woman and fled to Greece.

Turkish police figured out the murder in Istanbul, but following the killer’s escape to Thessaloniki, the PA’s intelligence began operating in Greece, this time also with Greek assistance.

A PA intelligence source told TPS that the Arab community in Greece needed help and a special command center was set up in Ramallah.

For a month, Palestinian Authority intelligence personnel conducted an operation, during which PA agents, assisted by locals, operated throughout Thessaloniki. After lengthy surveillance, Faraj’s agents managed to capture Baaj and hand him over to the Greek police.

Activists in Fatah and the PA are now showering praise on “the long arm of Palestinian intelligence” and attributing to Faraj the “responsibility for the sanctity of Palestinian blood.”

Sources in the PA and Fatah are writing about PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ “order to act at all costs to come to terms with anyone who thinks Palestinian blood will be ownerless.”

Fatah spokesman Munir Ja’ub wrote that “Palestinian intelligence has intelligence capabilities that do not embarrass even advanced countries.”

Sheriff Taher, a publicist, praised Abbas and Faraj.

“Mahmoud Abbas is the president and founder of the noblest phenomenon history has ever known,” he wrote, referring to the affair in Syria, “which brought home four flowers taken out of the oven of hell.”

“The arrest in Greece of a murderer whose hand was polluted in the holy Palestinian blood is confirmation that Faraj’s men are everywhere to protect the Palestinians and that Mahmoud Abbas is responsible for that,” Taher added.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.