Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hamas Minister Calls for Suicide Attacks in Israel

Hamas Minister Calls for Suicide Attacks in Israel

Palestine Press reports that Hamas’ Atallah Abu Sebah, the Minister of Detainees' Affairs in Gaza, has called for the resumption of suicide attacks inside of Israel.

According to Abu Sebah, the renewal of suicide bombings will force Israel to release Palestinian prisoners. Abu Sebah’s comments were made in front of the Red Cross’ Headquarters in Gaza, according to Palestine Times.

Palestine Press says that Hamas has not carried out a suicide attack since 2006. This is incorrect; Hamas took responsibility for a suicide attack in Dimona in 2008.

According to a Secret cable released by WikileaksPalestinian Authority security officials also said that Hamas was responsible for the Dimona attack as did U.S. officials in Jerusalem.  
1.  (S) PA police chief Kamal al-Shaykh and Hazem Attallah (PM Salam Fayyad's military secretary) told PolOff on February 6-7 that Hamas was responsible for the February 4 suicide bombing in Dimona and that the blast is part of a Hamas strategy to sow instability and undermine peace efforts.  Attallah said the PFLP/al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claims of responsibility were spurious and were announced even before the identity of the bombers was known.  He said the PFLP and al-Aqsa Brigades factions may currently have militants, with priority-ordered target lists, who are in hiding and out of communications.  However, faction spokesmen usually do not know the exact timing/location of a planned suicide attack in advance and must guess whether their militants were those actually involved.

2.  (S) Attallah said Hamas made a decision, confirmed by official claims of responsibility in al-Qassam Brigades outlets, to restart suicide attacks after a meeting of Hamas and other militant faction leaders in Damascus on January 23. He commented that Hamas overstepped in allowing violence against Egyptian border guards at Rafah crossing and suffered a rebuke from Egypt, and is now shifting its focus to undermining the PA by carrying out terrorist attacks. Al-Shaykh also assessed that Hamas has shifted its strategy to include attacks inside Israel to undermine PA security efforts and GOI-PA security cooperation. 

3.  (C) The PA security establishment's attribution of the Dimona attack to Hamas is supported by other reporting and is a troubling threat indicator, as Hamas has generally avoided attacks inside Israel since 2004.  If Hamas restarts suicide attacks on a major scale, it will greatly complicate PA-GOI security cooperation and peace efforts generally.