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600 Palestinian police agents killed since 2000

Maandag, Februari 7, 2005

By Khaled Abu Toameh, The Jerusalem Post, February 7, 2005.

At least 600 members of various Palestinian Authority security services have
been killed since the beginning of the intifada more than four years ago, most of
them while participating in violence against Israel, a senior PA security official
revealed Sunday.

The official told The Jerusalem Post that dozens of PA policemen and security
agents had also been arrested by the IDF during the same period for their
involvement, both directly and indirectly, in armed attacks against Israel.

According to the official, most of the security personnel killed by the IDF had
joined various armed militias in the West Bank and Gaza Strip shortly after the
violence erupted in September 2000.

The majority of the policemen chose to join Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa
Martyrs Brigades, while only a few preferred Hamas and Islamic Jihad militias,
he added.

“Most of these men doubled as security officers and members of armed
groups,” the official admitted. “The fact that they had received paramilitary
training as policemen was an asset because they were able to implement the
tactics they learned in the fighting with the Israeli army.”

Many PA policemen and security agents were trained by Egyptian, Jordanian
and American security experts; others had attended military academies in
former Eastern Bloc countries and the former Soviet Union before and after the
signing of the Oslo Accords.

The policemen who also “moonlighted” as militiamen came mainly from
the General Intelligence Force, the Preventative Security Service and the
National Security Force.

The official said the best example was that of Youssef Kabaha, nicknamed Abu
Jandal, who served as the commander of the armed militias in the Jenin
refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002.

Abu Jandal, a lieutenant-general with the National Security Force in the
West Bank, played a major role in organizing the gunmen who fought against
the IDF in the camp. He was killed during the clashes.

Abu Jandal’s friends said that although he was on the PA’s payroll, he
also served as commander of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad in the Jenin
refugee camp.

Another famous case is that of Jihad al-Amarin, founder of the “suicide
division” in the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip. Amarin, from the
Zaitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, was a senior officer with the National
Security Force.

He was killed in an IAF missile attack on his car in July 2002. His
nephew, Wael al-Nammara, 33, who was also killed in the attack, was, in
addition to his membership in the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a senior officer with
the Preventative Security Service.

The Preventative Security Service in the Gaza Strip has also been boasting that
two of its officers were involved in attacks on the IDF over the past four years.

In the first case, Baha Abu al-Said, who was also a member of the Aksa
Martyrs Brigades, led a group of gunmen that infiltrated an IDF outpost, killing
three soldiers.

His colleague in the same security force, Yasser Khatib, was the
commander of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Rafah before he was killed by the
IDF last year. Khatib was accused of carrying out several attacks on IDF bases
and settlements.

Khaled Shawish, one of the commanders of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the
West Bank who spent the last three years hiding in the Mukata “presidential”
compound in Ramallah, was also a senior officer with the National Security
Force.

In a recent interview, Shawish, who remains at large, revealed that he
had been stationed at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus before he decided to join the
Aksa Martyrs Brigades and carry out a string of fatal attacks on settlers and
soldiers.

The PA security forces have rarely distanced themselves from the actions of
their officers. On the contrary, most have boasted about the fact that their
officers were also involved in the fighting against Israel.

Obituary notices distributed in the West Bank town of Salfit by Fatah and the
PA General Intelligence Force a few months ago revealed that the local
commander of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, who was killed in a mysterious
explosion, had doubled as a security officer.

Jihad Hassan, who was known as Abu Na’im, was the commander of the Aksa
Martyrs Brigades in Salfit and has been wanted by Israel for two years.

Residents said Hassan had purchased from an arms dealer an M-16 rifle
that apparently had been booby-trapped by the Shin Bet (Israel Security
Agency). They said the rifle exploded while Hassan was cleaning it. He was
rushed to a hospital in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

An obituary notice published by the General Intelligence Force, headed by Gen.
Tawfik Tirawi, revealed that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades commander was also
serving in the force with the rank of lieutenant.

“The command of the Palestinian General Intelligence Force and all its
officers and soldiers mourn the death of martyr and hero lieutenant Jihad
Hassan, who was martyred on the soil of Salfit on September 26, 2004, while
carrying out his duties,” said the obituary statement.

But what is perhaps most worrying is the fact that some policemen who were
trained in the US and Europe eventually ended up joining the Aksa Martyrs
Brigades. At least two Fatah gunmen from the West Bank recently admitted
that they had been trained for six weeks as bodyguards by American security
experts near Washington, DC. The two were later involved in a number of
armed attacks against Israel and suspected “collaborators.”

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