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      Iran-Linked Terror Group May be Connected to Haifa Bomb

      The Iranian-linked Hizbullah terrorist group may be linked to the perpetrators who planted a massive bomb under a Haifa mall on Saturday night.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 3/23/2009, 11:20 AM

      Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

      The Iranian-linked Hizbullah terrorist group may be connected to the operatives who planted explosives weighing approximately 100 kg (220 lb) underneath a Haifa mall on Saturday night. A massive tragedy was narrowly avoided when a passerby noticed a small explosion in the underground parking lot and immediately notified security personnel.

      According to a report published Monday in the Hebrew-language Haaretz newspaper, a source in the Palestinian Authority said Hizbullah has been actively recruiting members of PA terror groups for operations against Israel.

      The Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations have all been contacted by the Lebanon-based terror group and were urged to carry out attacks within Israel, according to the source.

      This is not the first news of “outside” terrorist groups recruiting operatives from within Israel to carry out attacks on citizens in the state.

      Shortly after the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah secretary-general Sheikh Naim Qassem told the Christian Science Monitor that small groups "can infiltrate in and out very quickly… It is not complex. These are not large groups of people. Just two or three who plan for a while…"

      In April 2007, then-Balad party chairman and Knesset member Azmi Bishara fled Israel just as police were closing in to arrest him on suspicion of aiding Hizbullah in its war against Israel.

      A month later, a judge lifted a gag order and allowed publication of the information that Bishara was set to be charged with passing intelligence information to the enemy during the Second Lebanon War in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bishara officially presented his resignation from the Knesset to officials at the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

      Since fleeing the Jewish State, he has continued to incite local Israeli Arabs against peaceful co-existence. Last summer Bishara addressed a Balad party youth convention via video convention from Qatar, calling on the teens not to serve the country. The suspected traitor and former Israeli Arab legislator exhorted young Arab teens during his address not to participate in National Service with other Israeli youths, warning it would "erase our identity."

      The former Balad party chairman also called Israel a "foreign entity" in a June 2008 interview with the Nazareth-based al-Anwan al-Raisy newspaper, claiming the Jewish State "refuses to live in peace with its surroundings."

      Al Qaeda in Israel
      The international al Qaeda terrorist organization has also been busy, quietly developing its own network within Israel for some time, resulting in the creation of the Army of Islam group in Gaza.

      The group, also referred to as "Jaysh al-Islam," has carried out several high-profile kidnappings in recent years, including participation with Hamas and other terrorists in the 2006 abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who remains in captivity. 

      Operatives of the group also kidnapped the head of the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) Gaza City bureau, journalist Alan Johnston, two years ago this month. Johnston was released by the group only four months later, after Hamas won its militia war against the rival Fatah faction and tightened its chokehold on Gaza.

      Bedouin Being Recruited
      Two Rahat residents were indicted last summer on charges of treason, espionage and membership in the al Qaeda terrorist organization.

      Taher Abu Sakut and Omar Abu Sakut were picked up by Israel Police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agencies during a sting in May 2008, although the arrest was not cleared for publication until after their indictment in July, two months later.

      Taher confessed that he was drawn in to the terrorist group during 2006, after he became active in the Islamic movement in Rahat, considered to be the "Bedouin capital of the south."

      The influence of the Islamic Movement, which has long been an active element among Israeli Arabs in the north, has also recently begun to extend its tentacles into Negev Bedouin communities.

      Also in July 2008, six Israeli Arabs – including four from neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem – were arrested for attempting to establish an al Qaeda terrorist cell.

      A month later, a 24-year-old Negev resident of the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva was arrested on charges of attempting to contact al Qaeda agents through a Gaza terrorist. Abu Rakik was a former student at a technological college in nearby Be'er Sheva.