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5 Iyar 5766 - May 3, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Hamas Behind Recent Huge Bomb at Karni Crossing

by Mordecai Plaut

Israeli security services said that the attempted attack last week on Wednesday April 26th 2006 at the Karni Crossing between Gaza and Israel was carried out by the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip under the direction of Hamas. The incident shows that Israel was justified in closing the Karni Crossing repeatedly over the past months.

A dispute between the terrorists accompanying the car and the Palestinian security services uncovered the massive bomb of more than 300 kilograms of explosives. By way of comparison, the usual suicide bomber carries about three kilograms of explosives, and the massive bombs that destroyed Israeli tanks had about 60 kilograms of explosives. Analysts believe that the plan was to blast a massive hole in a security wall, and then the gunmen would burst through and kill civilians.

Government officials noted that while Hamas was warning of a humanitarian disaster inside the Gaza Strip, and while the Palestinian Authority was lobbying the world to pressure Israel to keep the Karni Crossing open to avoid this disaster, Hamas was behind an attack aimed at blowing up the crossing.

Due to numerous specific terror warnings, Karni has been repeatedly opened and closed by Israel since the disengagement from Gaza last year. The closures are often depicted by the PA as collective punishment on the Palestinian people, which relies on the goods transferred through the crossing.

"Hamas spokespeople who have continuously complained to the western media of a so-called Israeli policy to starve the Palestinian people are now exposed as cynical hypocrites whose real agenda is nihilism. They have no scruples about bringing suffering on their own people to advance their own extreme political agenda," one government official told Ha'aretz.

According to the security services, on Wednesday April 26th a Popular Resistance Committees cell in the Gaza Strip under the direction of Mamtaz Dougmoush was on its way to carry out a bombing attack at the Karni goods crossing. In the early afternoon three vehicles arrived at the crossing: one of them was filled with a large amount of explosives, while the other two carried armed gunmen. The plan was apparently to approach the crossing, detonate the explosives along the barrier separating between the Israeli and Palestinian sides creating an opening for the gunmen to cross over to the Israeli side where they were to open fire at Israeli civilians and security personnel operating the crossing. A similar attack was carried out on January 13th 2005 at the crossing, killing 6 Israeli civilians.

Mamtaz Dougmoush and his men have been operating since January 2005 — exactly when Hamas declared the beginning of the so-called "period of calm" (tahdi'a) — with the full authorization, funding and guidance of the senior Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip. Hamas thus surreptitiously continued to actively promote terror activity, while pretending to maintain a public nonviolence.

Dougmoush routinely participated in meetings of senior Hamas leaders, in which those Hamas leaders authorized Dougmoush's planned terror activities. Hamas also supplies weaponry, professional guidance and assistance in terror training for Dougmoush's cell.

In addition to its activities against Israel, Dougmoush's infrastructure also assists Hamas in its internal affairs, mainly by attacking security and political officials in the Palestinian Authority who are perceived as a threat to Hamas.

The assassination of Mousah Arafat on September 7th 2005 is an example such assistance: Arafat, the head of the Palestinian National Security and the Palestinian Military Intelligence in the Gaza Strip, and who served as a close advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was executed by Popular Resistance Committees operatives. His son, a Military Intelligence officer, was kidnapped in the same incident. The operatives involved in the assassination received military support from senior Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip and, apparently, received from them the order for the assassination itself.

The attempted bombing at Karni last week was the realization of a long line of attempts to carry out an attack at the crossing over the course of the past three months. During this time, Hamas showed consistent involvement in the preparations, supply of weaponry, guidance and training for Dougmoush's cell.

Hamas leaders involved with Dougmoush's infrastructure include: Ahmad A'ndour — head of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. He authorizes terror activity of the Popular Resistance Committees while coordinating Popular Resistance Committees activity in general. A'ndour maintains constant contact with Dougmoush and his men. Ahmad Jabri — a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip. He meets on a regular basis with Dougmoush and his collaborators, and serves as both a source of funding and as an authorizer of their terror activity. Abed Al Massi Abu Dif — a senior Hamas explosives instructor. Dif assisted in the preparing and training of Dougmoush's operatives. Abu Dif was killed in February of this year in a "work accident" when an explosive device detonated accidentally during one of his training sessions. Imad Akkel — a senior Hamas explosives expert. He assists in training and weapons manufacturing for the Popular Resistance Committees.

Despite the fact that the Karni goods crossing serves as the main conduit of commodities and consumer goods for the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip — and perhaps because of this fact — the Karni crossing has been a common target for attacks by terror organizations over the past several years.

Following intelligence information of planned attacks such as the one that, bechasdei Hashem was foiled last Wednesday, the Karni crossing has been intermittently closed over the past few months.

Hamas has repeatedly declared its commitment to the well- being of the Palestinian people and as of January 2006 has become officially responsible for the Palestinian population. It is in fact this very organization which stands behind a longstanding plan to attack the largest goods crossing in Gaza, and it is therefore directly and fully responsible for the hardships stemming from the closing of the crossing.


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