Palestinian Secret Report: Al-Qaida Could Set Up Base in West Bank

Friday, 03 Jan 2014 08:22 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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A secret report by one of the Palestinian security services warns that jihadists returning from Syria could create an al-Qaida base just miles from Israeli cities and that a third intifada is likely to erupt if the current U.S.-led peace initiative fails, according to Ynet.
 
Ynet describes the report as a “grim echo” of the situation at the start of the second intifada in September 2000, which occurred several months after the failure of U.S.-mediated negotiations between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat at Camp David, Md.
 
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Thousands of people were killed over the next five years in suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis and Israeli military operations targeting militants.

The report warns that Palestinian jihadists who supported Jabhat al-Nusra, a branch of al-Qaida working to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, may set up terror cells after returning to the West Bank, according to Ynet.
 
It says that the first objective of militants affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is to kidnap an Israeli civilian or soldier and hold him captive in the West Bank in the hope of exchanging him for Palestinian radicals.
 
One possible model for the exchange could be the 2011 deal in which Hamas released kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
 
In exchange, Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian militants, many of whom were convicted of violent crimes against Israelis and Palestinians, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
 
According to the Palestinian security report, Gaza-based Hamas operatives released in the Shalit exchange are directing the implementation of a new strategy for fighting Israel.

It de-emphasizes suicide bombings, which tend to draw a massive response from the Israeli Army, in favor of smaller-scale shooting attacks targeting Israelis.
 
The report also warns of increased activity by both Hezbollah and Salafi jihadist organizations. It says the Salafis, former Hamas members who now believe that group is insufficiently militant, will try to lay the groundwork for a West Bank terror campaign against Israel.
 
Also, Hezbollah can be expected to try to recruit Palestinians for the purpose of establishing “sleeper cells” in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
 
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