By Dr. Reuven Erlich and Col. (res.) Shalom Harrari
The Nabil Abu Aucal case: General Characteristics
Nabil Madris Muhamad Abu Aucal is a Palestinian resident of Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, born in 1973. He was drafted into the “Hamas” in 1990. During his first years he was an activist in the “Daawa” aparatus – a religious and social apparatus that is the civilian infrastructure of the organization. The “Daawa” apparatus includes nursery schools, schools, universities, and medical centers. It is also used to recruit those who will become fighters or suicide bombers in the military wing of the “Hamas.” And, indeed, three years after Abu Auchal was also drafted into to the military wing of the “Hamas.” (The main Islamic Terrorist Organization in the Palestinian Authority. The meaning of “Hamas” is – The movement of Palestinian Islamic Resistance).
In 1997 Abu Aucal traveled, within the framework of his activities in the “Daawa”, to Pakistan were he was recruited into an Islamic extremist organization (al-Ansar). He underwent training, was sent to Afghanistan, and was recruited into Bin Laden’s organization (al-Qaeda). In Afghanistan Abu Aucal underwent sabotage training and was sent back to the Gaza Strip in order to found a terror infrastructure that would receive its instructions from Bin Laden’s organization. After his return to the Gaza Strip he contacted senior “Hamas” members including Sheikh Yassin (the spiritual leader of the “Hamas” in the Gaza Strip).
Abu Aucal was arrested on 1 June 2000 on his way to another visit to Afghanistan, at the end of a period of organization and preparation for terrorist attacks, for the purpose of advanced training and acceptance of additional instructions. He is currently on trial. (Nov. 2001)
It is still not completely clear whether in this case the “Hamas” organization received only “training services” from Bin Laden’s organization as a subcontractor or if this is an example of direct operation of “Hamas” members by Bin Laden. An analysis of the nature of the ties between Abu Aucal and international terrorist factors as transpires in the indictment sheet against him, clearly points to the second possibility. Either way, the Abu Aucal, affair as well as other affairs involving other Palestinians who trained in Afghanistan, open up a window to the understanding of the modus-operandi of Bin Laden and his organizations in activating fellow Islamic extremist terror movements around the world, including the “Hamas.”
The following analysis is based on the indictments served against three Palestinians who trained in Afghanistan. The importance of the Abu Aucal case derives from the fact that it is the first one, because prior to the year 2000, no such activity by Bin Laden is known to us.