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TERRORIST SECURITY CHIEF

Analyst Shalom Harari: Appointment Of Abu Samhadana Appears Part of Ongoing Power Struggle Between Ruling Hamas and Fatah

A Major IDF Ground Operation Into Gaza Could Torpedo International Front Against Hamas

Samhadana | Qassams

The Hamas government has now appointed Jamal Abu Samhadana, a leading warlord in the Gaza Strip, to rebuild the Palestinian security apparatus. Samhadana founded the Popular Resistance Committees that carried out numerous deadly terror attacks over the years. Israel declares that it still wants Samhadana dead of alive. What are the implications to the surprise appointment by the Palestinian Authority now run by Hamas? IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari is a senior analyst at the Counter-Terrorism Center at the Inter-Disciplinary Centre in Herzliya. In an interview with IsraCast, Harari assesses the current situation including this weeks suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The general also explains why the IDF is finding it difficult to halt the launching of those Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Its like appointing a Mafia godfather to be the police commissioner thats the Israeli reaction to a notorious terror leader being handed control of the Palestinian security apparatus. Ismail Abu Samhadana is known as a key warlord in the Gaza Strip and founded the violent Popular Resistance Committees. Samhadana took part in many deadly attacks on Israelis and is also thought to have been involved in the killing of several American diplomats in the Gaza Strip. He is on Israels wanted list and Israeli officials say his official appointment cuts no ice - he is still wanted dead or alive. Analyst Shalom sees Harari links the surprise appointment to an ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah. After winning the January election, Hamas has been trying to co-opt various terror groups in the match-up with Fatah. President Mahmoud Abbas of Hamas opposes the appointment of Samhadana and Harari says theres no telling when an explosion might occur between Hamas and Fatah. There are already minor clashes from time. Despite the Islamic Jihad bombing in Tel Aviv that murdered nine people and wounded scores of others and the repeated Qassam rocketing, Harari cautions against a major IDF ground operation into the Gaza Strip. He feels this would be perceived abroad as a reconquering of Gaza that could undermine the international front against Hamas.

But why is Israel finding it so difficult to halt the launching of primitive Qassam rockets from Gaza? Keep in mind that Israels Arrow system can reportedly knock out sophisticated Iranian ballistic missiles in space. The general says its simply because no two Qassam rockets are the same. They are assembled by hand in workshops and all have different flight paths for example. Therefore, it is hard for a computerized Israeli system to adapt a model. He notes that half of the Qassams launched fall short and land inside Gaza. Another 20 per cent blow up when launched. In 99 per cent of the launchings there are no Israeli casualties. But Harari concludes if a Qassam scores a direct hit on an Israeli populated target, then whole situation could change overnight.

David Essing

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