An Israeli-Arab terrorist group calling itself the "Free Galilee Brigades" (FGB) claimed responsibility for the deadly bulldozer attack in Jerusalem last week. In an interview with a London-based Arabic daily this weekend, a purported leader of the group claimed that FGB committed several other terrorist murders, threatened more attacks to come, and added that they are holding a female IDF soldier hostage.
In an interview conducted by way of third-party email, a journalist for the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi posed a series of questions to someone claiming to be the commander of the FGB. In his replies, the
The FGB spokesperson hinted that they are holding Dana Bennet.
unidentified terrorist claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and murders of IDF soldier Oleg Shaichat in July 2003 and of Michael Ronkin in August 2007, as well as for the shooting attack that killed eight students in the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva in March of this year. The group also claimed that a man who was shot dead while carrying out an attack in Jerusalem's Old City in 2007 was the perpetrator of the Ronkin murder.
In the interview, appearing in the Al-Quds Al-Arabi weekend edition, the FGB spokesperson hinted that they are holding Dana Bennet, 17, who was reported missing in August 2003. The group made a similar announcement in 2005. Asked why Israel has thus far refused to acknowledge the FGB's claims that they are holding a hostage, the spokesperson said, "because it is causing considerable embarrassment to them."
In fact, Israel has thus far refused to officially acknowledge the Free Galilee Brigades in any way. Many security sources saying the group may not exist in any operative sense; rather, it pops up to claim credit for certain "lone wolf"-type attacks in order to contribute to a general sense of growing terror among Israel's Jewish citizens. Its claimed affiliation with Hizbullah, these sources say, can be seen as a way to artificially boost the FGB's credibility.
With or without Israeli response, the FGB's stated ransom demands include the release of six Israeli-Arabs imprisoned on terrorist-related offenses. Afterwards, the FGB leader said, they would release a video tape "showing a female soldier talking to the people and Government of Zionism." Following that, they would negotiate the release of a larger number of imprisoned Arabs in exchange for the release of the soldier.
The Objective: 'To Sow Terror'
The objective of FGB, according to the spokesperson, is "to sow terror in the hearts of Zionists" and to "pursue the enemy wherever he is to be found." Claiming the group was founded in 2002, the terrorist said it had established links with the Lebanese Hizbullah, but no coordination with terrorist factions in the Palestinian Authority.
In light of these links, the interviewer asked if FGB is planning to avenge the killing of Hizbullah leader Imad Mughniyeh, which the Lebanese terror organization blamed on Israel. The FGB spokesperson replied that coming attacks will be "unlike anything the Zionists have ever seen before." They will strike the heart of the Zionist enemy and "will surprise not just the Zionists, but the whole region."
FGB operatives, the spokesperson wrote, are deployed "throughout Palestine" and "recruited from all its regions." The Arabs living in the State of Israel since 1948, the FGB spokesperson said, should reject all political solutions to obtain their rights, should not serve in the Knesset and should struggle for the "liberation of Palestine".
According to the PA-based Maan news agency, the Free Galilee terrorists released a video on Sunday in which they displayed what they claimed was a homemade mortar shell or rocket. In an accompanying statement, the terrorists said that it represents "the first time in the history of the 1948 Arabs that they have produced a homemade projectile which is now set up in the Galilee hills and is ready to be launched" at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.