Terrorists associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party who have been firing rockets from the Gaza Strip into nearby Jewish towns are loyal to Abbas and commit their attacks in accordance with Fatah, the northern Gaza leader of Fatah's declared "military wing" told WND in an interview.
Since a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups was agreed to in November, more than 60 rockets have been fired by Palestinians in Gaza, seriously injuring two Jewish teenagers and disrupting life in Israeli cities neighboring the Gaza Strip.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which bills itself as the "military wing" of Fatah, has taken responsibility for about one-third of the recent rocket fire. Abbas has claimed Brigades leaders firing rockets from Gaza during the truce are "renegade" members of the group, and that he doesn't have authority over the terrorists.
Miri Eisin, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, this week told the Israel Resource News Agency the al-Aqsa Brigades members firing the projectiles from Gaza are not affiliated with Fatah and don't take orders from Abbas. She said the terrorists are directed by the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hizbullah militia. Olmert last month held talks with Abbas and has said he is willing to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinian leader.
But Abu Ahmed, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades leader in the northern Gaza Strip, told WND his group, including the terrorists launching rockets, is loyal to Abbas and coordinates "resistance operations" with the Fatah party. "The al-Aqsa Brigades is the military wing of the Fatah and the President Abu Mazen (Abbas) is the chairman of the movement. We are committed to our leadership, to Abu Mazen. All our activity is in accordance with the political line of Fatah, which consists of fighting the occupation until the creation of a Palestinian state. The rocket shooting is part of this vision," Abu Ahmed said.
All rockets fired from Gaza have been launched from the northern part of the territory, which falls within Abu Ahmed's jurisdiction in the Brigades. Asked why Abbas distances himself from al-Aqsa's rocket firing, Abu Ahmed told WND, "Listen, we are aware of our president's (Abbas') declarations but we are also aware of the international political system that brings the president to adopt this position."
The terror leader said Abbas never asked his group to halt the rocket fire. "We know what is Fatah's general political line and we act according to this line and I can say that we were never asked to stop shooting rockets. Therefore, the rocket shooting is not in any way harming our loyalty and our commitment to (Abbas) and his leadership."
Abu Ahmed refused to address information released by Israeli security officials his group is financed by Hizbullah, but sources in the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades admitted they receive some funds and training from the Lebanese militia. The Brigades sources also said they regularly coordinate their attacks with Mahmoud Dahlan, Fatah's strongman in Gaza. "We are still totally committed to Fatah and (Abbas) regardless of help from other groups. The help is sanctioned by Fatah," a Brigades source said.
The longer Abbas holds the reins of Fatah, the more I am struck by his commitment to follow Arafat’s party lines, and why not? No world body or government ever truly held Arafat accountable for any of his command decisions and even the Bush Administration seems to be committed to giving Abbas not only a free pass, but guns to boot. While Olmert, simply reminds me of a man living in an alternative dimension.