FROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAU
Iran building guerrilla armies in Gaza
Israel admits truce exploited by Palestinians to prepare for war
Posted: March 14, 2007
10:11 a.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Gaza terrorists (Photo: Defense-update.com)
GSS chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset yesterday Palestinian advances during the cease-fire period will now make it more difficult for the Israel Defense Forces to confront Gaza's terror infrastructure.
In December, three weeks after the Nov. 23 truce was forged, WND quoted top Gazan terror leaders explaining they would use the truce to smuggle in weapons, increase the range of their rockets, construct underground bunkers, fortify military positions and build guerrilla armies.
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Diskin said Hamas was sending hundreds of Gaza-based militants to Iran for prolonged periods of advanced training. He announced smuggling of weaponry into Gaza from the neighboring Egyptian Sinai desert recently increased six-fold and that Palestinian terror groups were taking advantage of the cease-fire to enhance rockets and create a complex system of underground bunkers.
Last week, Yoav Galant, chief of the IDF's Gaza-area division, told reporters the Gaza truce enabled Hamas to grow from a ragtag terror group into a well-organized militia resembling an army – complete with battalions, companies, platoons, special forces for surveillance, snipers and explosive experts.
Galant compared Hamas to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia which last summer engaged in 33-days of confrontations with the IDF, bombarding northern Israeli population centers with thousands of rockets.
In November, Israel agreed to a truce with Gaza militants in which the Jewish state vowed to suspend anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip in exchange for quiet. Since then, more than 160 rockets have been fired from Gaza, but the IDF has been restrained from operating in the territory.
Terror leaders admit copying Hezbollah
Three weeks after the November truce was forged, Palestinian terror leaders, including militants from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, explained to WND they would use the cease-fire to create Hezbollah-like armies in the Gaza Strip.
"We are turning Gaza into south Lebanon," Abu Ahmed, northern Gaza leader for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group told WND, referring to the area in Lebanon in which Hezbollah built military bases and a large rocket infrastructure.
"We learned from Hezbollah's victory that Israel can be defeated if we know how to hit them and if we are well prepared," Abu Ahmed said. "We are importing rockets and the knowledge to launch them, and we are also making many plans for battle."
The Brigades, the declared military wing of Abbas' Fatah party, took responsibility along with the Islamic Jihad terror group, for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years.
Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' so-called military wing, told WND in December his group is preparing for war against Israel.
"In the last 15 months, even though the fighters of Hamas kept the cease-fire, we did not stop making important advancements and professional training on the military level. In the future, after Hamas is obliged to stop the cease-fire, the world shall see our new military capabilities," said Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared "resistance" department.
Al Aqsa's Abu Ahmed said his group is receiving help from Hezbollah to import long-range rockets and train in guerrilla warfare tactics.
"We have warm relations with Hezbollah, which helps with some of the training programs," Abu Ahmed said. "We don't have anything to be ashamed of – that we are dealing with Hezbollah and that we are receiving training and information from them."
He said Hezbollah maintains cells in the Sinai.
"The Sinai is an excellent ground for training, the exchange of information and weapons and for meetings on how to turn every piece of land into usable territory for a confrontation with Israel," Abu Ahmed said.
Palestinians establishing Gaza war bunkers
Abu Ahmed said Palestinian groups are developing war bunkers inside Gaza similar to the underground Hezbollah lairs Israel found during the war in Lebanon.
"Our preparations include the building of special bunkers. Of course, we are taking into consideration that Gaza is not the same topography as Lebanon," Abu Ahmed said in December.
During its confrontation with Hezbollah, Israel destroyed scores of complex bunkers that snaked along the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon border. Military officials said they were surprised by the scale of the Hezbollah bunkers, in which Israeli troops reportedly found war rooms stocked with advanced eavesdropping and surveillance equipment they noted were made by Iran.
Abu Ahmed said the most important "tool" in the Palestinian resistance arsenal was rockets. He said his group learned from Hezbollah that Israel can be defeated with missiles.
"We saw that with the capacity to bombard the Israeli population with hundreds of rockets every day we can change the strategic balance with Israel," he said.
WND reported exclusively last week Palestinian terror groups in Gaza claim they manufactured improved rockets that can travel deeper into the Jewish state, placing hundreds of thousands more Israelis within firing range of the Gaza Strip.
Abu Muhammad, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad terror group, which has been responsible for recent rocket-fire, vowed his organization would continue launching rockets deeper into the Jewish state.
He told WND Israel would be "very surprised and astonished soon by our rocket capacities. We will not abide by any cease-fire."