Hamas ‘found tracking devices’ inside weapons bound for Gaza
March 4, 2013 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Sunday it refused to take possession of a shipment of missiles after its weapons experts discovered they contained a number of carefully hidden tracking devices. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabea, which reported the story, said it spoke to a source “closely affiliated with weapons smugglers” in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, who confirmed Hamas’ claim. According to Al-Youm, the weapons shipment consisted of 28 long-range missiles stolen from the arsenal of the Libyan armed forces during the uprising that led to the overthrow of Libya’s late leader, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. The shipment made its way across the border with Egypt and from there to the Sinai desert, before ending up at the Rafah Border Crossing, located between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. It was there that the missiles were inspected by a team from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. The paper reported that one of the Hamas inspectors, a senior member of the al-Qassam Brigades, discovered a number of miniature tracking devices carefully concealed inside the missiles, which appeared to be active. Following the discovery, the Hamas team backed out of the purchase deal and abandoned the inspection site. Al-Youm also said that the Palestinian group has decided to terminate its contacts with a significant number of weapons smugglers operating in the Sinai, because of concerns that they may have been penetrated by Israeli and Egyptian intelligence. The source of the alleged tracking devices remains unknown, but Hamas operatives suspect that the Israel Defense Forces are behind the operation. Its purpose appears to have been to detect the routes through which weapons are smuggled into the Occupied Territories, as well as their secret storage sites once inside Gaza. The militant group issued a press release warning that “the incident will not go unpunished”. In another report, the Egyptian daily said Hamas has launched a new initiative aimed at exposing “Israeli spies” operating in Gaza. Hamas commander Colonel Mohammed Lafi told the paper on Sunday that the initiative would be the most comprehensive of its kind in recent years.