Abbas and Dahlan dealt mortal blow by Barghouti

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report exclusively

Palestinian Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades group splits, with 40 percent defecting to Hamas

[US strategy is an abject failure]

The breakaway Fatah rebel group based in the West Bank has turned its back on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his senior adviser Mohammed Dahlan and established a separate suicide terrorist militia. Called the Martyr Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat) Brigades, the rebel group’s new commanders are Hamas Gaza operatives Hussein Hijaz and Abu Hilas (Abu Maher). They also take orders, as well as explosive supplies and funds, from the Lebanese Hizballah.

DEBKAfile quotes Israeli military and intelligence sources as rating this split as extremely dangerous. It affords Hamas a prime strategic asset for escalating its violent campaign against Israel.

Hamas managed in the middle of its factional war with Fatah to infiltrate the opposition’s West Bank strongholds and persuade a large faction to secede from the Fatah group and establish a Hamas-controlled militia. Israel did not prevent this happening.

The result, our counter-terror experts report, is a Hamas launching pad on the West Bank, previously controlled by Fatah, for a mass suicide bombing offensive against central Israel, projected by the Iran-backed Hamas as the next stage of its missile campaign from Gaza. The new Martyr Abu Amar Brigades have been given orders to gear up to stage multiple suicide truck bombings, Iraq style, in Israel’s main cities.

This week, Israeli military and undercover units fanned out across the West Bank to hunt down and capture Fatah defectors to the new Hamas-backed militia. Sunday, May 27, they captured Khaled Shawish, who was important enough in the Fatah terrorist hierarchy to hide for years in the Palestinian Authority compound in Ramallah, after engineering numerous terrorist attacks, including the Dec. 31, 2000 murder of Binyamin and Talia Kahane. Recently, he was involved in shooting attacks in the West Bank.

Monday, the brother of Zakariah Zubeidi, the notorious Fatah commander of Jenin, was picked up. He had been acting as intermediary between the al Aqsa Brigades and the rebels; a leading Fatah defector was killed in a village near Jenin. Tuesday, Israel forces detained Jamil Tirawi in Nablus. He is the son of Tawfiq Tirawi, Arafat’s faithful lieutenant, who was a co-founder of the al Aqsa Brigades, Fatah’s suicide strike force.

The revolt against Abu Mazen and Dahlan, instigated by Hamas and backed by Hizballah, is spreading.

The influential Fatah-Tanzim terrorist leader, Marwan Barghouti, has endorsed the defection from his Israel cell, where he is serving six life sentences for murdering Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks.

Another supporter is Jibril Rajoub, former preventive security chief on the West Bank, and rival of Dahlan.

The Fatah mutiny has awarded Hamas strike force and terrorist networks stretching from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip to Jenin in the northern West Bank. It is described by Israeli security sources as the gravest terrorist threat Israel has faced since its 2002 Defensive Wall operation broke Arafat’s terrorist infrastructure. Abu Mazen’s rule has never been in greater peril.

Israeli prime minister could not have chosen a more unfortunate moment to yield to Washington’s pressure and announce talks next week with Abbas. All the Palestinian leader needs now is a meeting with Ehud Olmert as he battles for authority over his increasingly radicalized and mutinous Fatah .

May 29, 2007 | Comments Off on Abbas and Dahlan dealt mortal blow by Barghouti

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