In a major statement on Monday, Purim Demukofim, the
religious terror organization Hamas said that it thinks and
plans on a global scale.
In a statement taking responsibility for a suicide murder
attack on a Tel Aviv cafe in April 2003 that murdered three
people and left dozens wounded. The suicide murderer was a
Pakistani-born British Muslim, 22-year-old Asaf Hanif of west
London. He was accompanied to Israel by Omar Khan Sharif, 25,
also a Pakistan-born Briton, from Derby, whose body floated
ashore in Tel Aviv a few days after the bombing. Sharif also
planned a suicide bomb but he did not detonate himself. He
escaped from the scene of the bombing and apparently sought
refuge in the sea from the search parties that went after him
minutes after the bombing, and then drowned.
The declaration on Monday said the attack of the two Britons
was on the first anniversary of the assassination of Dr.
Ibrahim Almakadeh, the main ideological militarist of Hamas,
one of its founders and the head of its military arm during a
number of periods in the 1990s and current intifadah. He was
killed by an IDF helicopter missile attack in the Sheikh
Radwan neighborhood of in Gaza City, which also killed three
of his aides.
"We have decided that the response to the crime of the
assassination of Dr. Ibrahim Almakadeh should take place at
the global level of the Islamic world," said the Hamas. The
attack was the only successful terror attack inside Israel
that came from Gaza.
When it was determined that the attackers were Britons, the
speculation was that al-Qaida was behind the bombing. Now
analysts say that the delay in the announcement of
responsibility at the time was due to the timing of the
attack. Britain was then considering adding Hamas, including
the political wing, to the UK's list of terror organizations.
Also because Hamas has not conducted any major operations
lately, it wanted to send the message it could circumvent the
fence around Gaza and the one going up in the West Bank.
The two Britons were able to travel relatively freely between
the West Bank and Gaza and then through Israel at the time.
Relatives of the two bombers in Britain are under arrest and
awaiting trial on charges relating to the bombing. The three -
- the bomber's wife, brother and sister -- are expected to be
the first Britons to be put on trial on the basis of the
amended terror laws promulgated after 9/11 for acts of terror
conducted outside British territory.
Hamas, formally founded in 1987, has so far emphasized the
local nature of its goals and character. Any attempt to tie
it to global Islamic organizations was met with vehement
denials by its spokesmen. In this statement, for the first
time the organization presents one of its actions as part of
a global Islamic struggle. It was the first time it used non-
Palestinian suicide bombers.
Hamas also said that it would continue its attacks on Israel
even after the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in
order to "liberate the rest of Palestine." The movement
denied reports it was planning to seize control over the Gaza
Strip after Israel withdraws from the area.
Senior Palestinian Authority officials fear that Hamas could
step in if Israel withdraws from Gaza. The current state of
chaos and lawlessness cannot continue if Israel leaves.
Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said he believed Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon was serious about evacuating all the
settlements from the Gaza Strip. "Today he [Sharon] knows
that it is safer for him to run away from the hell of the
Gaza Strip," he added. "He realizes that remaining in the
Gaza Strip is going to cost him a lot. There is no doubt that
this retreat from the Gaza Strip is a big victory for the
Palestinian resistance. It is also an indication that the
armed resistance is the only option the Palestinians
Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is scheduled to
visit Ramallah soon for talks with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat
on Israel's plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza
Strip. The visit, according to PA officials in Ramallah, is
designed to put pressure on the Palestinians to enforce law
and order in the Gaza Strip to prevent a slide into anarchy
after the Israeli withdrawal. They said the Egyptians have
made it clear that they would not deploy forces inside the
Gaza Strip for fear that such a move could lead to a
confrontation with the Palestinians.
Senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers said that they
expected that IDF operations in the Gaza area will continue.
Early this week there was a short incursion into Gaza in
which 15 Palestinians were killed, most of them armed.
The commanders of the operation say that armed terrorists
held children up in the air, and fired from within crowds of
As they always do, Hamas threatened revenge for events in
Gaza. Analysts say that Hamas is always trying to do whatever
An IDF source told Globes, "We take into account
possible harm to innocent bystanders, and make extensive
efforts to avoid it as much as possible. However, we'll
continue with operations like this, because unless we catch
the terrorists on their home ground, we'll have to deal with
them in Israel, at the Erez checkpoint, and in our
communities, after our children and soldiers have been
Despite 49 specific warnings of terrorist attacks, the IDF
opened the Erez checkpoint and industrial zone to Palestinian
traffic on Tuesday, after a closure for the Purim holiday
In a related story, the General Security Service (GSS)
recently foiled a triple suicide bombing planned by the
military wing of the Fatah. The plot featured a female
suicide bomber who was to dress up as a volunteer of Magen
David Adom (Israel's emergency medical service). The would-be
female bomber gave herself up to security forces. She said
that two other members of her cell in Nablus were planning to
board a bus in central Israel and blow themselves up. She was
to wait, dressed in a MDA uniform, for the arrival of rescue
forces and set off her explosive belt among them.
This is an extremely clear violation of international rules
of fighting. All noncombatants may not be targeted, and one
may not dress in any way so as to disguise one's combatant