Hamas behind foiled Gaza crossing attack: Israel
The Israeli army has accused Hamas of being behind an attempted bomb attack on a border crossing in the Gaza Strip last week.india Updated: May 01, 2006 15:22 IST
The Israeli army on Monday accused the governing Palestinian movement Hamas of being behind an attempted bomb attack on a border crossing in the Gaza Strip last week.
A statement said that a military investigation into the plan to attack the Karni border crossing last Wednesday found it was carried out by the Popular Resistance Committees under the direction of Hamas.
The radical Islamist movement has not claimed credit for any bombings since January last year but the army said the mastermind of the Karni operation, whom it named as Mamtaz Dougmoush, had been working closely with Hamas.
"Dougmoush and his men have been operating since January 2005 with the full authorisation, funding and guidance of the senior Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, thus allowing Hamas to continue to pursue terror activity through them, while maintaining its desired image of non-violence," said the statement.
"Dougmoush routinely participated in meetings of senior Hamas leaders, in which Hamas authorised Dougmoush's planned terror activities. Hamas also supplies weaponry, professional guidance and assistance in terror training for Dougmoush's cell."
The attack at Karni was foiled when Palestinian security officers ordered a group of armed militants to pull over at a checkpoint.
When they refused, a gunbattle broke out in which six members of the security forces were wounded.
Palestinian security sources said one of the vehicles was packed with explosives and that a Popular Resistance Committees cell had planned to attack Karni, the main trade crossing between Israel and Gaza, although there was no claim of responsibility.
Security forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank are under the control of Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas rather than the Hamas-led government and are drawn largely from the ranks of his Fatah movement.
The Popular Resistance Committees is an umbrella militant organisation, which includes disaffected Fatah activists and Hamas sympathisers.
One of its leaders, Jamal Abu Samhadana, was named last month by Hamas interior minister Said Siam to a senior security post but Abbas vetoed the appointment, as well as a decision to create a new volunteer security force.
Hamas has been behind dozens of bombings in the course of the five-year Palestinian uprising but more recent suicide attacks have been the work of the smaller Islamic Jihad movement.
Despite embracing the democratic process in January's parliamentary elections, Hamas has refused to renounce the use of violence.