The Hamas terrorist organization released a video this weekend purporting to be of one of its most-wanted masterminds, Muhammad Deif.
Appearing only in shadow, with no indication of his appearance or location, a figure claimed by the Hamas to be master bomb-maker Deif was exultant over the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and promised more attacks until Israel is eliminated. "The Hamas will not disarm and will continue the struggle against Israel until it is erased from the map," the man in the video said. "You conquered our land. Today you are leaving Gaza, humiliated." For the Jews, he continued, "all of Palestine will become hell."
Mohammad Deif, from Gaza's Khan Younis, is one of the terrorists at the top of the General Security Services' (GSS, or Shabak) most-wanted list. He is known as an expert bomb maker and as the senior Izz Al-Din Al-Kassam Brigades leader responsible for deciding when and where many large-scale suicide bombings, among other attacks, have taken place in Israel. In August of 2001 and again in September of 2002, Deif was targeted in IDF helicopter-borne missile strikes, the latter strike leaving him seriously wounded.
Deif reportedly was appointed head of the Hamas' Izz Al-Din Al-Kassam Brigades after the death of its former commander, Salah Shehadeh, in an Israeli airstrike in July 2002. One of Deif's senior aides, Izz Al-Din Al-Masri, was apprehended by IDF forces in December of 2002.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry Public Relations Department reacted to the latest Hamas video by saying that it is an indication that the Palestinian Authority leadership must fulfill its commitments and fight the terrorist groups. "Deif's statements threaten the chances to renew the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, as Israel continues to demand the disarming of such factions," said Gideon Meir, deputy director of the PR department.
EU Envoy Otte: Withdrawal is the Model for Jerusalem
Sunday, August 28, 2005 / 23 Av 5765
The EU envoy to the Middle East, Mark Otte, said in an interview appearing this weekend that Israel's recent uprooting of Jewish communities is a model for the rest of Samaria, Judea and Jerusalem.
"Our position regarding the West Bank and east Jerusalem is identical - they are occupied territories, and the future of Jerusalem will also be discussed in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," Mr. Otte told Al-Quds, a Jerusalem-based Arabic-language newspaper.
Otte dismissed statements by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Israel will retain large blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in any permanent arrangement with the Palestinian Authority. Such commitments, the European Union envoy asserted, are nothing more than "spin" intended for internal Israeli consumption.
The EU also does not take seriously Israel's demand that the PA fulfill its commitments to disarm Arab terrorist groups. According to the Al-Quds interview, Mr. Otte said the EU does not demand that the PA confront terrorist groups militarily, or that the PA initiate a civil war in order to carry out its obligations.
In June, Mr. Otte defended European Union contacts with Hamas representatives, despite the organization being listed as a terrorist organization in EU countries, by saying that "if they are duly elected in free and fair elections under international supervision, you have to know what to do with elected representatives."
From: Islamic Association For Palestine <Iapinfo@...> Date: Tue May 16, 2000 4:50 pm Subject: IAP-Net: HAMAS leader Mohammed Deif arrested by the PA
JERUSALEM (AP) - A Palestinian who topped Israel's most wanted list was arrested when Palestinian agents stormed a Gaza City house after evening prayers, a leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas said Tuesday.
The arrest of Mohammed Deif - the top Hamas fugitive for the past four years - has been shrouded in mystery, with neither Israeli nor the Palestinian security officials willing to talk about it.
Giving details of the capture for the first time, Ismail Abu Shanab said Deif was seized Thursday at a house in Gaza City's Sabra neighborhood, where Hamas' spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, also resides.
Deif had just completed Muslim evening prayers when agents of the Preventive Security Service dressed in civilian clothes stormed the house, Abu Shanab said. "It went quietly," he said.
The Palestinian Authority assured Hamas it would not hand Deif over to Israel, Abu Shanab said.
Deif is believed to have orchestrated suicide bombings that killed scores of Israelis and several Americans. Deif was the right-hand man of Yehiyeh Ayyash, the chief Hamas bombmaker assassinated in January 1996 in an operation widely attributed to Israel.
Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon said Tuesday that Deif was not seized, but simply surrendered to Palestinian officials.
Deif's arrest was a severe blow to Hamas and its military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, said Abu Shanab. Deif became leader of the wing after Ayyash's death.
Deif and Mohammed Dahlan - the head of the Gaza branch of the Preventive Security Service responsible for the fugitive's capture - grew up together in the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, and later went to the same university.
Palestinian officials have denied rumors that they were in contact with Deif during his years on the run, and made no serious effort to arrest him.
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