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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Iranian general supervised Hamas arms, source says

Iranian general supervised Hamas arms, source says,2506,L-3360122,00.html
Following seizure of Iranian agents in Gaza, Palestinian source tells Ynet most senior agent, a general, was in charge of several labs in Islamic University, trained activists manufacturing explosives

Ali Waked

A Palestinian source has said that the Iranian general nabbed in Gaza by Palestinian security officers supervised the manufacturing weapons and explosives for Hamas.


The source told Ynet on Friday that the expert was in charge of several labs in the university, mainly chemistry labs in which he trained Hamas activists, most of them women, manufacturing the explosives.


At least five Iranian citizens were arrested during a raid at the Islamic University, a Hamas stronghold in Gaza City. One of the Iranians committed suicide during the raid. Six to nine Palestinians were killed in the raid, sources said.


The raid on the Hamas-linked university in Gaza was carried out by national security forces affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hundreds of weapons and a lathe for the production of Qassam rockets were seized in the raid.


A security official said that during the raid a Hamas commander believed to have orchestrated the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier near the Gaza Strip in June last year suffered serious-to-moderate wounds.


Ahmad Jaabri is believed to have planned the cross-border raid carried out by gunmen of Hamas and two other Palestinian groups on June 12 during which Corp. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped.


The Palestinian source added that at least 20 women, some of them students, were arrested in the labs supervised by the Iranian expert, who was mainly involved in developing shells and rockets, but also explosives.


The source said that it was so far not clear what would happen to the general, who was still being questioned by Fatah members.


Official diplomatic sources in the Palestinian Authority, including aides to Abbas and senior Fatah officials, refused to officially comment on the affair. Hamas officials also continued to strongly deny the report on the Iranians' arrest.

The security forces also took control of Hamas-controlled government offices.


Hundred of security officers stormed the university, eyewitnesses said, and set fire to one of its building.


Hamas gunmen fired a rocket at the Gaza City office of Abbas, who was in Ramallah at the time.


Earlier Thursday, Hamas gunmen ambushed a Presidential Guards convoy, seizing weapons and explosives transferred by the United States and Arab countries to Abbas. Fatah denied the claim, saying that two boxes seized by Hamas contained medicines.


The raid came at the end of a day of clashes that collapsed a three-day truce between the warring factions. Iran has supplied Hamas with funds, but there have been no previous claims of Iranians working with Hamas in Gaza.

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