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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Evacuated Gaza settlements used for Hamas training centers

The Hamas are working overtime to prove to the world why Israeli concessions are dangerous. Evacuated settlements are used as training bases for terrorists, greenhouses are used to launch rockets and as termini for arms smuggling tunnels. How could this possibly be helping the cause of the Palestinians? How can it be permitted by the world community?

Ex-Jewish cities now for Hamas terror training
Conversion of Israeli towns 'sign from Allah' Palestinian resistance works

Posted: March 20, 2007
10:48 a.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV – Two Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip evacuated by Israel have been turned into advanced Hamas militant training centers, a senior member of Hamas' so-called military wing told WND today.

Last night, Israelis living near Gaza and Palestinians inside the territory heard loud explosions coming from the northern Gaza Strip area. Israeli security officials at first feared the blasts were terrorist attacks, while some Palestinians immediately reported the explosions as an Israeli raid. Israel has refrained from carrying out military operations in Gaza since a cease-fire was forged last November.

It turned out the blasts were part of Hamas explosives training exercises conducted in the former Jewish communities of Eli Sinai and Dagit in Gaza, according to Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared "resistance" department.

Israel Defense Forces officials confirmed the explosions were attributed to Palestinian terror groups inside Gaza.

(Story continues below) Abu Abdullah told WND Hamas turned Eli Sinai and Dagit into advanced training zones, which he said include areas for "physical shape exercises; use of weapons training; practice lands for ambushes of Israeli forces; courses for the reading of maps and [production and use of] explosives and many other trainings; military techniques, fighting in open fields and in built and populated areas; and rockets shooting."

The two former Jewish communities were located in Gaza, north of Gush Katif, a slate of former Jewish neighborhoods of the Gaza Strip. The areas were entirely evacuated by Israel in August 2005.

Abu Abdullah called the utilization by Hamas of the former Jewish towns for anti-Israel activity a "big sign from Allah that the settlements that were the strongest symbol and proof of the Zionist injustice are now turned into tools at the service of the Palestinian resistance against the enemy plans and are proof that the resistance works."

The Hamas terror leader said his group stepped up the pace of its training the past few weeks because of a "coming" confrontation with Israel.

"We think that the confrontation with Israel is not a question of if but a question of when. We have no doubt that the Israelis are not ready for a full withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and that they will try to escape from this withdrawal by trying to invading Gaza and cities in the West Bank," Abu Abdullah said.

"The Israeli officers say everyday that a big operation in Gaza is being prepared and is waiting for the decision of the enemy government," he said.

Hamas sources said that until recently, Palestinian training in Gaza was conducted quietly. They said last night's testing of explosives should be taken by Israel as a "warning" Palestinian groups are "ready" for a confrontation.

In November, Israel agreed to a truce with Gaza militants in which the Jewish state vowed to suspend anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip in exchange for quiet. Since then, more than 160 rockets have been fired from Gaza, but the IDF has been restrained from operating in the territory. Yesterday, Hamas carried out a shooting attack against an Israeli civilian near Gaza.

Last week Yuval Diskin, head of Israel's General Security Services, told the Knesset Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip aided by Iran used the four-month-old cease-fire to improve the range of their rockets, smuggle in mass quantities of weapons, construct underground bunkers and build guerrilla-like armies.

He said Palestinian advances during the cease-fire period will now make it more difficult for the Israel Defense Forces to confront Gaza's terror infrastructure.

In December, three weeks after the Nov. 23 truce was forged, WND quoted top Gazan terror leaders explaining they would use the truce to smuggle in weapons, increase the range of their rockets, construct underground bunkers, fortify military positions and build guerrilla armies.

Diskin said Hamas was sending hundreds of Gaza-based militants to Iran for prolonged periods of advanced training. He announced smuggling of weaponry into Gaza from the neighboring Egyptian Sinai desert recently increased six-fold and that Palestinian terror groups were taking advantage of the cease-fire to enhance rockets and create a complex system of underground bunkers.

Last week, Yoav Galant, chief of the IDF's Gaza-area division, told reporters the Gaza truce enabled Hamas to grow from a ragtag terror group into a well-organized militia resembling an army – complete with battalions, companies, platoons, special forces for surveillance, snipers and explosive experts.

Galant compared Hamas to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia which last summer engaged in 33-days of confrontations with the IDF, bombarding northern Israeli population centers with thousands of rockets.

The use of Eli Sinia and Dagit as Hamas training zones are the latest in a string of reports Gaza's former Jewish communities are being utilized for terror.

WND reported a Hamas-affiliated university with a history of involvement in terrorist activity opened a branch earlier this month in Nitzarim, a former Gush Katif community, building on the foundations of evacuated Jewish structures.

Last month, WND broke the story the ruins of two large synagogues in Gush Katif's former capital city, Neve Dekalim, were transformed into a military base used by Palestinian groups to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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