The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in northern Gaza has graduated a new class of terrorists loyal to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the United States and Western countries term a "moderate" because of his declared intention to recognize Israel and stop terrorism.
The new militiamen said they intend "to continue armed resistance against the Israeli occupation," according to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, which is considered close to Abbas.
The news agency stated that the general commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and senior Fatah policy makers attended the graduation. Members of the graduating class showed off their skills in kidnapping soldiers, storming buildings and launching rocket-propelled grenades.
The graduating class showed off their skills in kidnapping soldiers, storming buildings and launching rocket-propelled grenades.
"Al-Aqsa Brigades asserted that the graduation of a class of fighters sends a clear message to Israel that resistance is still a valid choice for freeing Palestinian lands and the Al-Aqsa mosque," Maan reported.
Fatah has been engaged in a bitter struggle with rival Hamas terrorists, who took over control of the Gaza region in June a year ago.
Hamas has charged Al-Aqsa terrorists with trying to undermine the Gaza ceasefire by firing rockets on Israel. Fatah leader Abbas has not commented on the sporadic interruptions of the ceasefire and has continued to meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an attempt to create a new Arab country within Israel's current borders.
He has conditioned recognizing Israel on the Jewish state's surrendering all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including the Temple Mount and the Old City in Jerusalem, as well as the immigration of several million foreign Arabs claiming to be descendants of former Israeli Arabs.