Jerusalem – Yesterday morning, the IAF launched an airstrike at Islamic Jihad operatives. The commander of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Majad Al-Harazin, was hit while traveling in a vehicle. Another Islamic Jihad operative in the vehicle, Jihad Dahar, was also killed in the same attack. Mr. Harazin commanded a number of terrorist cells responsible for firing Qassam rockets into Israel and he himself had fired countless rockets into Israel. Four hours following the attack, around midnight, the IDF attacked four Jihad operatives in Gaza City; amongst them was Carim Dahdouh, a senior Islamic Jihad operative. The forces identified hitting him in the attack. Also yesterday morning, the IDF attacked an Islamic Jihad Qassam rocket launching cell in the United Nations UNRWA refugee camp of Jabilya, in the northern Gaza Strip. The forces identified hitting four members of the cell.
Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Loses Power To Iran.
The London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily has reported that Hassan Nasrallah was removed as commander of the Hezbollah military wing.
The newspaper said Hezbollah fighters have come under the command of Mr. Nasrallah’s deputy, Naim Kassem, who became the leading liaison to Teheran.
“Kassem isn’t only Hezbollah’s second-in-command but also [Iranian supreme leader Ali] Khamenei’s representative in Lebanon and Palestine,” the newspaper said on Dec. 13.
The article was the latest in a series of reports that Mr. Nasrallah’s authority was reduced in wake of the 2006 war in Lebanon. A day before A-Sharq Al Awsat, the Israeli daily Maariv published a similar report.
In late 2006, Western intelligence sources reported that Iran imposed direct control over Hezbollah units in the wake of severe criticism of Mr. Nasrallah’s handling of the war. The sources said Teheran blamed Mr. Nasrallah for sparking a premature war with Israel.
A-Sharq Al Awsat said Mr. Khamenei ordered the reduction of Mr. Nasrallah’s authority. The newspaper, quoting sources close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Mr. Kassem and Mr. Nasrallah had been engaged in a dispute over Hezbollah’s military wing.
Hezbollah was said to have received $1 billion from Iran over the last 18 months to help the militia recover from the 2006 war. The militia has a budget of $400 million.
A-Sharq Al Awsat reported that Mr. Khamenei formed a panel of IRGC commanders to restructure the intelligence and combat units of Hezbollah. Two members of the panel were identified as IRGC Quds Brigade commander Kassem Suleimani and Hezbollah external intelligence chief Imad Mughniya.
Hezbollah has denied the reports on Mr. Nasrallah. The organization suggested that the articles were part of a disinformation campaign.
“We believe that the talk about the presence of a problem in the Hezbollah leadership comes following the international intelligence shock resulting from the widespread support for Hezbollah all over the region in view of the status of its secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, as a leader on the Lebanese, Arab, Islamic, and international arenas and the role of the holy warriors who are committed to their position in confronting the occupation, in addition to the fact that the position of Hezbollah leadership is giving a greater glimpse of hope for the wronged people and free men day after day,” the statement said.
PA Fails To Capture Hamas Weapons
The Middle East Newsline assesses that Hamas and its allies have stored a huge amount of weapons in the West Bank.
PA officials said more than 1,000 Hamas members have been arrested in the West Bank since July 2007. They said the lion’s share of the detainees were low-level operatives who provided little information on Hamas’ military wing or weapons.
“We are convinced that Hamas has a massive military infrastructure in the West Bank,” a PA security source said. “So far, we have not managed to find much of anything.”
Over the last month, the PA has conducted search operations in such West Bank cities as Nablus and Tulkarm. The officials said the search for weapons and major Hamas insurgents was not successful due to a lack of intelligence and poor law enforcement skills.
Israeli Security sources said Hamas was believed to have penetrated the 70,000 police and PA security forces. They said this has enabled Hamas to acquire advanced information of PA raids and other operations.
Last week, PA police commander Gen. Kamal Al Sheik said 612 PA officers – out of 13,000 – helped Hamas in the takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Mr. Sheik said the Fatah renegades were no longer being paid salaries by the PA.
©The Bulletin 2007