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Sunday, March 28, 2004
Anti-Aircraft Missiles Smuggled From Egypt To Gaza

Anti-Aircraft Missiles Smuggled From Egypt To Gaza
Background / Hezbollah had a role in Ashdod bombing

By Ze'ev Schiff Haaretz 28 March 2004
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/409268.html
[IMRA: Buried in the middle of the item we have a look at things to come if
Israel relies on Egypt.]

Hezbollah financing was behind the suicide bombings at Ashdod Port, which
was carried out by Hamas members on March 14, killing 10 Israelis and
injuring many others. The Lebanese-based Shi'ite organization was also
involved in choosing the site, which is considered a prime target.

Funding for the attack was transferred in two stages. The first payment was
made to Hamas following the agreement on the target. The second transfer was
made after the attack was carried out.

During their investigation, Israeli intelligence services uncovered the
Hezbollah link to the bombings at the Ashdod port. The planning was carried
out by Hezbollah and Hamas but the actual attack was executed by Hamas and
the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of the Fatah.

Inside container

The strike at the Ashdod port is considered in Israel as bold in view of the
security at the site. The two suicide bombers exited the Gaza Strip in a
container, through the Karni crossing, in a sophisticated ploy that has also
harmed the ability of Palestinians to export goods from Gaza.

The attack against the Ashdod port was viewed by Israel as very serious and
altered a previous decision regarding the targeting of Hamas leaders,
including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

The direct link of Hezbollah to the attack against the port puts the
incident in a broader strategic context.

In its relationship with the Palestinian organizations, Hezbollah is making
great efforts to convince the Palestinians to concentrate on prime targets.
From this point of view, Ashdod Port is considered an important target.

The two suicide bombers managed to kill 10 Israelis but failed to reach the
dangerous and flammable materials stored at the port.

Penetrating cells

Since it began operating in the territories and Israel, Hezbollah has
managed to penetrate mostly into Tanzim and Fatah cells in the northern West
Bank.

A the same time, it is trying to get close to Israeli Arabs, with its
primary concern being to use them in immediate terrorist action. Political
efforts among the Israeli Arab population is regarded as secondary in
importance by the Shi'ite organization.

To date, Hezbollah activity in the Gaza Strip has been of low intensity,
compared to its efforts in the West Bank. However, Hezbollah has invested in
tunnel digging for the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip from Sinai.
In addition, Hezbollah is believed to have been behind the foiled effort
[IMRA: Hebrew version: smuggled from Egypt into the Strip and captured a few
weks ago"] a few weeks ago to smuggle Russian-made, shoulder-fired,
anti-aircraft missiles from Egypt, so that militants could target IDF
helicopters.

Palestinians have also met with Hezbollah agents in Turkey, Jordan and
Lebanon. In Lebanon, Palestinians were trained by Hezbollah in the use of
weapons and explosives.

It is assumed that Hezbollah activities in the territories and Israel are
being carried out in full coordination with Iranian intelligence and the
Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Hezbollah receives a great deal of financial and military assistance from
Iran.

Both Hezbollah and Iran have a clear interest in disrupting any efforts at
diplomatic initiatives between Palestinians and Israel.

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