Low on funds and struggling against rival group Fatah in Palestine, the Hamas has sought alliance with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, two Pakistan-based groups involved in terrorist activities in India, according to an Italian newspaper report. Hamas is a militant group that won the Palestinian Authority’s general elections early this year and is infamous for its terrorist activities aimed at Israel.
According to Corriere della Sera, a widely read Italian paper, Hamas has befriended LeT and Hizb, both close to Al-Qaeda. The report said the ties were forged during the visit of a Palestinian minister, a Hamas member, to Pakistan this summer. The report has caused a flutter among intelligence and security agencies here because if true, it will mean a major threat to all countries fighting the war against terrorism.
The report said the Palestinian minister, apart from his official engagements, had two separate meetings —one with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen’s Syed Salahuddin and another LeT’s Hafez Said. The report said the two, possibly with the help of the Pakistani intelligence, offered to the Hamas representative a briefcase containing $2 million. The paper quoted “Islamabad sources” saying this. The money was to be used to sustain the Hamas movement in Palestine (like running schools, hospitals) and to deal with economic emergency the government was facing. Another alarming aspect of the report was that the Palestinian minister was also exploring the possibility of strengthening “military relation” between the Hamas army and the Pakistan-based militants.
The paper alleged that an agreement was reached, based on three points. One that Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and LeT will have the possibility of going to West Asia (Syria and Lebanon) to learn new terror techniques from Arab Mujahideens; second, Palestinian “elements” will seek refuge in the centres managed by the Pakistani outfits in the Waziristan area and third, there could be exchange of information relating to the use of explosives and the methods to smuggle them, Ajai Sahni, executive director at the Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, said there had been sporadic dialogue among Islamic terror outfits in the past. “The LeT has been talking to these people.”