Terrorist acts

Last week it was revealed that in a series of coordinated raids Israeli
security forces arrested 117 Palestinian activists in the Hebron area. They
belonged to three major Hamas cells, many of them wanted for previous fatal
attacks on Israelis. These attacks continued through the so-called tahdiya
or “calm” that was supposedly agreed to by Hamas with Pres. Mahmud Abbas of
the PA. This included the abduction and murder two weeks ago of Sasson
Nuriel, an Israeli sweet maker who worked with Palestinians, the suicide
bombing in Beersheva several weeks ago that killed two security guards, and
an imminent plan to kidnap Israeli hikers and IDF soldiers and to attack a
helicopter at a base in the Judean desert.
A key operative in one of the cells was Yasser Saleh, son of the PA Police
Chief in Ramallah, who was recruited by Hamas when he was studying in Egypt.
He was also planning attacks on Israeli tourists visiting Sinai (this might
have been the basis for the strong warning by the Foreign Ministry against
Israelis visiting Sinai over the Rosh Hashanah holiday). This indicates the
level and extent of Hamas activities in the West Bank, where they are known
to be trying to expand, following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. No doubt
these arrests will be a set-back for their plans.
Another attempted Hamas operation that was foiled was to send a female bomb
maker, Sabir Sabih (22), from Gaza to the West Bank under the guise of her
getting married there. She was given a pass by Israel to visit her supposed
fiancé in Tulkarm, but was arrested there by Israeli security forces.
Meanwhile in Gaza, the situation continues to deteriorate. On Wednesday,
the President of Al-Azhar University in Gaza City, Adnan al-Khadi, was
attacked in his office and beaten by a gang of 20 al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades
gunmen, for having expelled six of their members for violent behavior.
Other members of his office were also beaten and some were thrown into the
street. The University has been closed down.
Also on Wednesday, two journalists, an American Dion Nissenbaum and a
British cameraman Adam Pletts were abducted by an al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades
group near Khan Yunis and taken to Rafah. They were later turned over to
the PA police and released in Gaza. In another town in Gaza, Kabatiya,
there was shooting between two rival Fatah gangs that killed at least one
man. An Arab man was also abducted 8-days ago in Khan Yunis and is being
held for ransom by a terrorist group.
Coincidentally, the PA issued some statistics on lawlessness in its
territory. It appears that the al-Aksa Brigades are just ahead of Hamas in
the number of internal killings. This is the first time that PA statistics
show that more Palestinians have been killed by their own terrorist
organizations (209 in 2005) than by Israel. And until now Pres. Abbas has
done essentially nothing to stop this lawlessness or to act against the
terrorists, even though nominally al-Aksa is part of his own Fatah
organization.
At the same time, the State Dept. representative David Welch, who was
visiting the region, asked the Israeli Government to strengthen Pres. Abbas.
But Pres. Bush has acknowledged that no progress on the Road Map is possible
without the cessation of Palestinian violence and terrorism.

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