An investigation into the attempted attack on April 26th 2006 reveals that it was carried out by the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip under the direction of Hamas.

(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

On Wednesday April 26, 2006, a Popular Resistance Committees cell in the Gaza Strip under the direction of Mamtaz Dougmoush was on its way to carry out a bombing attack at the Karni goods crossing. In the early afternoon, 3 vehicles arrived at the crossing: one of them was filled with a large amount of explosives, while the other two carried armed gunmen. The plan was apparently to infiltrate the crossing, detonate the explosives along the barrier separating between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, creating an opening for the gunmen to cross over to the Israeli side, where they were to open fire at Israeli civilians and security personnel operating the crossing. Indeed, such an attack had been carried out on January 13, 2005 at the crossing, killing 6 Israeli civilians.

Mamtaz Dougmoush and his men have been operating since January 2005 (when Hamas declared the beginning of the so-called "period of calm") with the full authorization, funding and guidance of the senior Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, thus allowing Hamas to continue to pursue terror activity through them, while maintaining its desired image of non-violence.

Dougmoush routinely participated in meetings of senior Hamas leaders, in which Hamas authorized Dougmoush’s planned terror activities. Hamas also supplies weaponry, professional guidance and assistance in terror training for Dougmoush’s cell.

In addition to its activities against Israel, Dougmoush’s infrastructure also assists Hamas in its internal affairs, mainly by attacking security and political officials in the Palestinian Authority who present a threat to Hamas. The assassination of Mousah Arafat on September 7, 2005 is an example of one such incident: Arafat, who stood at the head of the Palestinian National Security and the Palestinian Military Intelligence in the Gaza Strip, and who, after retiring, served as a close advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was executed by PFLP operatives. His son, himself a Military Intelligence officer, was kidnapped in the same incident. The operatives involved in the assassination received military support from senior Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip and, apparently, received from them the order for the assassination itself.

The attempted bombing at Karni on April 26, 2006 was the realization of a long line of attempts to carry out an attack at the crossing over the course of the past three months. During this time, Hamas showed consistent involvement in the preparations, supply of weaponry, guidance and training for Dougmoush’s cell.

Hamas leaders involved with Dougmoush’s infrastructure include:

Ahmad A’ndour – head of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip; authorizes terror activity of the Popular Resistance Committees while coordinating Popular Resistance Committees activity in general. A’ndour maintains constant contact with Dougmoush and his men.

Ahmad Jabri – a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip; meets on a regular basis with Dougmoush and his collaborators, serves as both a source of funding and as an authorizer of their terror activity.

Abed Al Massi Abu Dif – A senior Hamas explosives instructor; assisted in the preparing and training of Dougmoush’s operatives. Abu Dif was killed in February of this year when an explosive device detonated accidentally during one of his training sessions.

Imad Akkel – A senior Hamas explosives expert; assists in training and weapons manufacturing for the Popular Resistance Committees. 
 
Despite the fact that the Karni goods crossing serves as the main conduit of commodities and consumer goods for the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip – and perhaps in light of this fact – the Karni crossing has been a preferred target for attacks by terror organizations over the course of the past several years.

Following intelligence information alerting of attacks such as the one we witnessed last Wednesday, the Karni crossing has been intermittently closed over the past few months. Hamas has repeatedly declared its commitment to the wellbeing of the Palestinian people and as of January 2006 has become officially responsible for the Palestinian population. It is in fact this very organization which stands behind a longstanding plan to attack the largest goods crossing in Gaza, and it is therefore directly and fully responsible for the hardships stemming from the closing of the crossing.