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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Jewless in Gaza - Terrorists plan to relocate to West Bank announcing " we will start operating their too"

Jewless in Gaza - Terrorists plan to relocate to West Bank announcing " we will start operating their too"

Killers announce that "Jerusalem is more precious to us then the West Bank"
August 7, 2005

Gaza militias moving to West Bank


The Popular Resistance Committees, an alliance of various armed militias in the Gaza Strip, announced on Sunday that it would start operating in the West Bank immediately after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

"We will move our cells to the West Bank," said Jamal Abu Samhadaneh, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, which has been behind many of the attacks on IDF soldiers and settlers in the Gaza Strip over the past four and a half years.

"We won't sit on the side and watch Israel as it perpetrates massacres in the West Bank. We will start operating there, too."

He said that after the Israeli pullout, his group would employ the same "fighting tactics" used in the Gaza Strip in the West Bank. "We will focus on the West Bank," he said. "We will transfer all our fighting methods and capabilities to the West Bank. The withdrawal will not be complete without the West Bank and Jerusalem, which is even more precious to us than the West Bank."

The Popular Resistance Committees, which consists mainly of disgruntled gunmen belonging to the ruling Fatah party and dissident members of the PA security forces, had claimed responsibility for the October 2003 attack on a US diplomatic convoy in the northern Gaza Strip. Three US security officers were killed when a roadside bomb went off near their vehicles.

Abu Samhadaneh, who is wanted by Israel for his role in a series of terror attacks, revealed that the Palestinian Authority recently offered him a senior position in its Military Intelligence Force and that he was positively weighing the offer.

The Popular Resistance Committees was established in the Gaza Strip shortly after the beginning of the intifada in 2000. Its founders said then that they had been deeply influenced by the "great victory" achieved by Hizbullah following Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

According to Abu Samhadaneh, the Israeli pullout from Lebanon "enhanced our belief that the option of resistance can succeed, especially through qualitative operations against the occupation."

The "qualitative operations" are a reference to suicide bombings, rocket attacks and drive-by shootings used by Hizbullah against IDF troops. "This was our model," Abu Samhadaneh explained.

"We learned from Hizbullah and started establishing armed cells that have carried out special operations against settlements and the Israeli army together with other Palestinian groups. Thank God, the withdrawal [from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank] has been achieved through the blood of our martyrs and the sacrifices of the wounded and prisoners."

Abu Samhadaneh said he and his cohorts viewed the disengagement as an Israeli "surrender" to the will, determination and resistance of the Palestinians. "When [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon came to power, he had a plan to eliminate the initfada within 100 days," he added.

"Now, a few years later, he is admitting defeat in the face of the Palestinians' determination to pursue the resistance. By God's will, after the withdrawal we will celebrate and we will send a message to the martyrs and the wounded that their blood was not shed in vain."

Abu Samhadaneh said his group is planning to participate in the celebrations organized by the PA after disengagement. "Like the rest of the Palestinian groups, the Popular Resistance Committees will go to the settlements immediately after the withdrawal to participate in the celebrations," he said.

"We will go very close to the settlements despite the risks and even if the Palestinian Authority closes the area. We have already seen how the Lebanese people celebrated their victory and we want to do
the same. This is a beautiful victory."

He said his group would continue to launch attacks on Israel after the disengagement "to liberate the remaining Palestinian lands." The Palestinian armed groups, he said, were not established only to liberate the Gaza Strip. "Our goal is to liberate all Palestinian lands," he added. "That's why military operations will continue in the West Bank and other parts of the Palestinian lands. We won't leave our people in the West Bank to face Israeli repression alone."

Abu Samhadaneh disclosed that at least 500 members of his group have been recruited to the PA security forces since PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas was elected in January. "We are entering the Palestinian security forces as soldiers to defend our people," he said. "If Israel tries to invade the Gaza Strip, we will be at the frontline to fight."

He also dismissed reports that al-Qaida was trying to establish terror cells in the Gaza Strip. "There are no al-Qaida groups in the Gaza Strip," he said. "These are unfounded Israeli allegations designed to link the Palestinians to the violence."

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