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IDF Fears Gaza Terror Gangs Moving to Judea and Samaria

The IDF fears Gaza terror gangs, including terrorists from the PA's ruling Fatah party, are planting cells in Judea and Samaria. The army damaged one terror gang, but "there are a dozen more."

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/4/2005, 10:27 AM / Last Update: 11/4/2005, 12:36 PM

The IDF has arrested several Arab terrorists trying to bring Kassam rocket technology and parts into Judea and Samaria, but intelligence officials do not how many have slipped by. One soldier who patrols the Judean Desert said, "You wouldn't believe the weapons we have caught in smuggling attempts."

Residents in the Tel Aviv suburbs in the Sharon area said Friday they also are concerned about the increasingly likelihood of rocket and mortar shell attacks and have asked the government to install Red Dawn alert systems as has been done in Sderot and Ashkelon. The siren alert gives residents 20 seconds to run for cover in the event of an attack.

Brig.-Gen. Yair Golan, head of the IDF forces in Judea and Samaria, feels that the truce called by the terror organizations in their war against Israel is essentially dead. "We see in all the [terror] organizations processes of building the infrastructure, with weapons [and] organization, so that if this truce ends, we will face... an operational challenge," Golan told United Press International (UPI).

Referring to last month's suicide bombing in Hadera that killed five Israelis, Brig.-Gen. Golan said he doubts claims by Fatah that it was behind the attack. He told UPI he is "99 percent" sure that Hamas launched the attack.

But the Hamas terrorists often act on behalf of the Popular Resistance Committees, which sprung up in Gaza at the beginning of the Oslo War in September 2000. Its attempts to transplant terror cells from Gaza to Judea and Samaria were revealed to the public last month when three of its senior members were arrested after having crossed from Gaza to Sinai en route to Jenin.

Both the lengthy Egyptian-Israeli border and the Judean Desert, where there is no security fence, provide terrorists with an open area to transport weapons and ammunition. Gen. Dan Harel, who recently left his post as head of the IDF Southern Command, said earlier this week that the 250-kilometer (155-mile) international border along the Sinai Peninsula is a cause for worry,

In Samaria over the past two weeks, soldiers targeted several Islamic Jihad terrorists who headed a gang in the Jenin area.

"We harmed this terrorist cell quite significantly but this is not the end," said Brig. Gen. Golan, He said he believes the Islamic Jihad has about a dozen more cells.

In the south, Arab terrorists continued to fire mortar shells and Kassam rockets on the western Negev this week, wounding one soldier and one woman. "We will not accept a situation of even half a Kassam fired from Gaza to Israel," according to an unnamed Southern Command officer quoted by UPI.