Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BEIRUT – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Baghdad – El Arish – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut – Nablus/Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; Jerusalem Attack First in a Series of Planned Attacks by Hamas – Islamic Jihad – Hundreds of Hamas Fighters Trained in Syria – Iran Since Israel Withdrawal from Gaza in 2005
Night Watch: NABLUS – There are more indications the attack on the Jewish seminary in Jerusalem last Thursday night was not planned overnight but as part of a systematic campaign of attacks by a West Bank network Tehran has decided to activate as part of its plans for war in this regional theatre. Haaretz/AP quoted sources today in the Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, that the gunmen acted on instructions from Hamas leaders in Damascus, instructions unknown to the Hamas leaders in Gaza which is why Hamas officials in Gaza weren’t sure if Hamas was involved or not. Their most important officials are in Damascus and under direct control by Tehran. The sources also state Hezbollah helped coordinate the attack. This is definitely a network Iran has placed under Hamas’ military administration in Damascus as the beginning of a series of attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank either by Hamas members or Islamic Jihad with both units acting independently. [HAARTEZ]
Gaza – “We send our best brains to Tehran.” That is a quote from a senior Hamas commander in its military wing the Iz al-Din al-Qassam in an interview with London’s The Sunday Times on the training hundreds of Hamas members have received and still receive in Syria-Iran ever since Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. There were countless warnings in Israel before the withdrawal that it would not make Israel at all secure in fact quite the reverse as Tehran-Damascus have simply used Gaza as a military base for another unit they support in the region in the same way they support Hezbollah in south Lebanon. In effect Hamas and its 15,000 members have now become another extension of Iran’s military as is Hezbollah. There were those in Israel and the West who tried to portray Israel’s withdrawal as a humanitarian gesture. Gaza is now a base of constant rocket fire. [HAARETZ]
As I have written, since the end of the 2006 war, Tehran was waiting to have Hamas better equipped and trained before Iran had Hezbollah become active again on Israel’s north as a prelude to Syria-Iran’s entry into the war this year in the name of supporting Palestinian people. The commander mentioned the members come back as experts in field tactics and weapons technology. “We have sent seven “courses” of our fighters to Iran.” The fighters are sent through Syria where their passports are not stamped. “During each course the group is trained to increase our capability to fight.” The most promising members remain in Iran for longer periods and then return as trainers themselves which means through this new elite Tehran trains all of Hamas. “We send our best brains to Tehran. It would be a waste of money to send them and then have them come back with nothing.”
Haaretz reports this confirms the assessments by Israel’s Shin Bet (Military Intelligence) Director General Yuval Diskin and his speech last week in front of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “Hundreds of Hamas members have been sent to Iran for training and not training periods of a week, two weeks or a month, but for long term, high quality training.” One hundred fifty are known to have completed courses that run for 45 days to six months under the direction of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards at a closed military base. It was when some Revolutionary Guard officers were found among the Hezbollah dead in August 2006 that the ceasefire was called. One hundred fifty more are known to be currently in Iran while 650 have been trained in Syria by Syrian officers who themselves were trained in Iran. Sixty-two Hamas fighters are known to be in Syria right now.
The Iz al-Din al-Qassam leader stated the fighters, “Come home with more abilities that we need, such as high-tech capabilities, knowledge about land mines, rockets, snipers and fighting tactics like the ones used by Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War (2006) when they were able to come out of tunnels from behind the Israelis and attack them successfully. We don’t have tanks. We don’t have planes. We are street fighters and we will use our own ways.” Their ways have obviously become more effective than just two years ago when Hamas used a tunnel to capture the Israeli soldier in late June that started the war that year. Hamas has since continued to dig a network of tunnels, fortifications and bunkers like the ones Hezbollah has. Now Tehran is activating the network in the West Bank, concentrating on the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, as its final preparation to engage Israel on all of its borders to prevent Israel from concentrating on just one front.