Tags: Iran | Israel | Middle East | War on Terrorism | west bank | terrorists | state sponsor of terror

Is Iran Setting Up New Military Forces in West Bank?

Is Iran Setting Up New Military Forces in West Bank?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Amir Cohen/AP)

By    |   Sunday, 21 January 2018 04:01 PM

Israeli security's dismantling of a spy cell in the West Bank that allegedly worked in the interests of Iran is raising concerns for both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Al-Monitor reported Sunday.

The Israeli Shin Bet said Jan. 3 it broke up a cell headed by Muhammed Maharma of Hebron, who allegedly was paid $8,000 by Iran to recruit suicide bombers and gunmen to carry out attacks against Israelis, the outlet reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Iran was trying to harm Israel by organizing terrorist activities.

But Maj. Gen. Wasef Erekat, a Palestinian military expert in the West Bank and former artillery unit commander of the PLO, told Al-Monitor an Iran-affiliated cell is "unlikely."

"Iranian support in the Palestinian arena is focused on providing funds and weapons to military cells without forming military groups directly affiliated with it," he said, the outlet reported. "Iran is not interested in creating military bodies outside the organizations it [already] supports, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad."

Still, Hamas leader Mahmoud Mardawi told the outlet "Iran has certain aspirations in the Palestinian arena and is making intensive attempts to strengthen its influence by supporting military formations in the West Bank, funding and arming them."

Former Israeli military intelligence officer Yoni Ben-Menachem told the outlet both Israel and the Palestinian Authority face a common challenge to thwart the arrival of Iranian weapons in the West Bank.

"The Palestinian leadership is angry at Iran's increasing interference in the Palestinian arena because it poses a great danger to the Palestinian national security and the stability of the Palestinian leadership," an unnamed Palestinian official told the outlet.

"This threat needs to end no matter what, even if this calls for increased security cooperation with Israel."

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Al-Monitor reported Sunday that Israeli security's dismantling of a spy cell in the West Bank that allegedly worked in the interests of Iran is raising concerns for both the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
west bank, terrorists, state sponsor of terror, nuclear deal
289
2018-01-21
Sunday, 21 January 2018 04:01 PM
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