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memri
January 29, 2009 No.
2185

From the MEMRI TV Archives: Hamas'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades – Training and Ideology: Special on Al-Jazeera

In a special on Al-Jazeera TV, [1] correspondent Iyad Al-Daud accompanied fighters from the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, to locations in Gaza. There he observed training exercises and interviewed fighters and leaders about the Brigades' history, training, weaponry, operations, and ideology.

The following is the transcript of the special.

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A Gaza street at night; vehicles start up and move off. Stirring military music in background.

Text on screen: "11 pm"

Masked 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades Member [to correspondent]: "We want your mobile phones."

Iyad Al-Daud, correspondent [to masked Brigades member]: "No problem. [Brigades members blindfold him and he gets into vehicle].

[To viewers] "The first moments, while we are waiting for permission to reach one of the largest military organizations in the Gaza Strip."

Text on screen: "Hosted by the Rifle"

[Exits vehicle. His blindfold is removed] Iyad Al-Daud: "From the confrontation areas, in the line of fire – Al-Jazeera TV is hosted by the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas."

Text on screen: "Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades"

Commander: "Attention. Forward march.

We are the Brigades..."

[Shots of masked fighters marching]

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "We are the Brigades..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "We march forward..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "We defend the borders..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "We kidnap soldiers..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "We carry out operations..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "Martyrdom operations..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "The Brigades..."

Commander: "On our hearts is inscribed..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "On our hearts is inscribed..."

Commander: "'Ahmad Yassin is our beloved.'"

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "'Ahmad Yassin is our beloved.'"

Commander: "'Abd Al-Aziz [Al-Rantisi] is our beloved.'"

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "'Abd Al-Aziz [Al-Rantisi] is our beloved.'"

Commander: "Five-ten. Five-ten. Prepare to do it again, five-ten."

Another Commander [to fighter]: "Jump out of the car quickly. Jump. Great."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "Allah Akbar. Don't move."

Iyad Al-Daud: "We were supposed to film this training last night, but they told us that Monday was these fighters' day off. This may corroborate the information leaked, according to which Hamas has a real army, and a highly disciplined military institution, estimated to number 15,000 fighters in the Gaza Strip alone."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "We are the ones who have sworn allegiance to Muhammad, and we swear to continue as long as we live."

Commander: "Do it again."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Let's eat, man."

Text on screen: "4 am"

Iyad Al-Daud: "Who among you are students?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "We are all students. In ten days' time, we have exams."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "Some of us are engineers, doctors, everything..."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Is there anybody who is married?

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: We are all married.

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: I'm not married. There are single men here too."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "This guy has three children..."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Whoever is married raise his hand."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "This guy has three children..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "The third is on the way..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "My fourth is on the way."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Do your families know that you are training?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "The whole family knows."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Do your families know that you are training?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Yes, and they are the ones who help us and prepare everything for us."

Iyad Al-Daud: "So there is not only one Umm Muhammad Farhat?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "All the women are like Khansaa."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "My grandmother prays for me even before my wife."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "His wife prepares his clothes and his Kalashnikov."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "My wife cleans my Kalashnikov, and organizes everything."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Your wife cleaned this Kalashnikov?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Sometimes she takes it apart, removes the bullets, and cleans it."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Don't you have a problem with your wives..."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Not at all, they ask to do it."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "They want to participate in the jihad, and carry out martyrdom operations."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Until when?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Until the liberation of Palestine, and until the message 'There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger' reaches the entire world."

Iyad Al-Daud: "During the warriors' rest, while we were talking, the so-called 'murbiteen groups' were following, from the front posts, every suspicious move of the Israeli army's vehicles.

"They gave you Gaza."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Gaza is not the end."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "They did not give us Gaza – they fled from it. They did not give us Gaza – they fled from it."

Iyad Al-Daud: "OK, but are there no more confrontations in Gaza?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "We will go to the West Bank, Allah willing. The Jews are all around."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Tell me what ways you use to reach the West Bank."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "Allah make us succeed. We don't have to get there physically. Our minds are there."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Has any one of you filmed his last words for his martyrdom?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "We all have."

Iyad Al-Daud: "People think the only thing you are good for is dying. They think: All these young men want is to cry and dig their own graves."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "If that was true, we wouldn't be studying, getting married, working, having children, playing soccer, and so on."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "If we are seekers of death, for whom are we supposed to wait to establish the Islamic state, to rule justly, and to spread the law of Allah throughout the land?"

Muhammad Al-Deif: "We are a people that has suffered oppression and injustice. We have been expelled from our homes. We strive to obtain our rights. What were things like before 1948? The occupying Israeli state did not exist. This occupation came to be as the result of a U.N. resolution. I don't know whether the League of Nations has turned into the 'Gang of Nations,' because it does not enforce our right on these lands. As you could see, all the laws are enforced on all the weak, but are not enforced on the Israeli entity state."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari, described as "Most Prominent Al-Qassam Brigades Commander": "The 'Jihad wa Al-Da'wa' organization began its Jihad activity, its activity for the sake of Allah, and it had an effect. Some of our brothers the mujahideen of the Muslim Brotherhood also began to attack the patrols of the occupiers within the Gaza Strip. Some operations were carried out. Then the 'Martyrs Squad' began its activity in the north, and later the brothers in the south began, and then in the center and in all of the Gaza Strip. Then the idea arose to establish the military apparatus – the martyr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades."

Iyad Al-Daud: "On January 1, 1992, the Al-Qassam Brigades were officially announced. The identity of the Brigades was clear. This followed the operation in which the rabbi of the Kfar Darom settlement in the Gaza Strip was killed. This was preceded by many preparations."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "We set out to fight the occupiers. Naturally, we threw grenades. We began training. Then I was arrested and sentenced to 13 years, from the beginning of 1982 to the beginning of 1995."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "The activity began with the 'Palestinian mujahideen' squad. This was the beginning of the military activity, in 1988. Following that, I was arrested in 1989. It was called the 'Palestinian Mujahideen.'"

"A new military day is dawning. Is the resistance required to achieve a decisive victory by a knock-out, or merely to make the price paid by the occupation a heavy one, by winning points in stages, leading to full liberation? This is part of the strategy that made Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledge time and again that Israel's war of independence has not yet ended, since 1948.

"There is a higher military council for the organization. Of course, there are brigades everywhere. Each brigade consists of several battalions, each battalion consists of several companies, each company consists of several platoons, and each squad consists of several men."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "We have special departments for training – scientific departments, development departments, cultural departments, and there are educational departments within the military apparatus. In addition, we are considering establishing a military court for the Martyr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, so we can complete the process of establishment, which was begun by our brothers, the mujahideen who preceded us, headed by the founding sheikh, Sheikh Salah Shehada, Allah's mercy upon him."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "In 1993, we were only two squads. Then we moved to the West Bank and had two more squads there. In all of Gaza and the West Bank there were only four squads: Two in the West Bank, and two in the Gaza Strip."

Iyad Al-Daud: "You may be surprised, just as I was totally surprised – The man with whom I am walking is Muhammad Diyab Ibrahim Al-Deif, known as Muhammad Al-Deif. He is the general commander of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam brigades, and number one on the most wanted list of the Israeli authorities since 1992."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "I used to move throughout these lands as a guest, from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south, to the West Bank, and everywhere in these beloved lands."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Ever since, he strikes everywhere, but is never seen. The results of his actions can be seen, but his face cannot."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "At first, we acted against collaborators. Then we started shooting at the army directly. Yahya 'Ayyash was in charge of the bombing operations. Then, we carried out bombing operations. Later it developed into tunnel warfare, into the storming of settlements, and the killing of settlers, border patrol servicemen, army officers, and intelligence personnel. We acted on all fronts. Our activity was improved, and eventually, before the withdrawal, there was tunnel warfare, which was high quality warfare, in my view. This was the straw that broke the camel's back."

Abu 'Ubeida, "Spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades": "We carried out five tunnel operations. The first operation was against the Termit post in Rafah. Then there was the operation against the Hardon post in Rafah. Next was the Mahfuza operation, followed by the Al-Sahm Al-Thaqel operation in east Al-Shaja'iya. The last one was the 'Barakin Al-Ghadab' operation at the Rafah crossing. The biggest and longest of these tunnels was 350-400 meters, and it took a few months to dig, maybe four."

Iyad Al-Daud: "How many men participated in the digging?"

Abu 'Ubeida: "I don't want to go into the figures, but I will say that there are squads that take turns, because it is hard work."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Are we talking about dozens or hundreds of people?"

Abu 'Ubeida: "No we are talking about dozens."

Iyad Al-Daud: "So you spend one-third of your day underground."

Member of the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Al-Qassam Brigades: "Yes, it is very difficult to breathe and work. Our young men work very hard. But as I told you, the goal is more important than all these difficulties."

Iyad Al-Daud: "This is an intelligence war par excellence, which is waged above and below ground. I am in what they call a five-star tunnel, compared to the previous tunnels, which were primitive even though they were effective. I wonder whether Israel has lost the war of the minds to the counter-terrorism unit of the Al-Qassam Brigades. The operation for which this tunnel was dug is all but ready, and can be carried out within days at the most. When, how, and where? And how many Israeli casualties will it cause?"

Member of the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Al-Qassam Brigades: "Even if the enemy takes all the necessary precautions, we will definitely reach it within its own home, no matter what it does. This is what the enemy must realize from now on. We will reach it, because there is still land that is occupied, and there are still prisoners. The family of each prisoner waits for him. Therefore, we will do all we can to release these prisoners, using all methods, including the tunnels we are digging until we succeed, Allah willing, in liberating our land."

Al-Qassam Brigades member who carried out the 'Barkain Al-Ghadab' operation: "They said to me: 'The tunnel is ready. You must go in to examine it.' I underwent training. I took two courses. I took a beginners' course and a special course in Al-Qassam Brigades. I gained experience in [the resistance to] the incursions into Rafah, Khan Yunis, and the north."

Text on screen: "The Salah Shehada Academy"

Official at the Salah Shehada Military Academy: "Brothers, the nature of guerilla warfare is no secret to any of you. You know how dangerous it is, facing regular armies, because of the nature of the secret formations, and the continuous attack and retreat operations. The guerilla fighter relies on his agility, his strength, his courage, and his willingness to sacrifice. The examples provided by our brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades have emphasized the importance of guerilla warfare, and its effectiveness..."

Iyad Al-Daud: "According to the theory of Hamas, the masses no longer serve as a lung with which the fighter breathes. The masses must gradually undergo training in weapons, in order to establish a popular army that will bequeath the rifle to generations to come, and will support the professional military organization in the long battle."

Commander: "Step forward."

Official at the Salah Shehada Military Academy: "In accepting students, we examine how a certain person behaves in society. We also examine his religious devotion and moral conviction. We select him after he completes a period of education. Then he undergoes personal interviews, medical checkups, and physical fitness tests. Then he goes to theoretical lectures. He is accepted to the courses here at the academy. Then he goes out to the field."

Student at the Military Academy: "When the course ends, we undergo a theoretical exam, and then a practical exam. We undergo evaluation, and there is a graduation day, in which we receive our diplomas."

Iyad Al-Daud: "On the highway between the mosque and the military academy, we were told that students who excel get special privileges, and this was the first."

Student at the Military Academy: "The brothers selected me, a day or two before. They told me that there was a martyrdom operation ready, and that my role would be to storm the place after the bombing."

Iyad Al-Daud: "The training has aroused a persistent question, which no one has answered: Are Al-Qassam Brigades holding Israeli prisoners, or even body parts of soldiers?

"Israeli sources say you are second in command, after Muhammad Al-Deif."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "They can say what they want."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Sir, Allah loves this modest behavior. What is your official position?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "I don't have any position. I am a mujahid and a fighter for the sake of Allah. Wherever there is work for the sake of Allah, you will find me fighting the Jihad, just like the others."

Iyad Al-Daud: "So you are not Muhammad Al-Deif's representative in the field?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "No. I would be honored to be Muhammad Al-Deif's representative in the field, but we do not have such titles."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Did you carry out operations yourself, or is it the case that the soldiers get to die while you get the medals, like in the Arab armies?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "We are not people of medals. We are not interested in medals at all. Our medal of honor is to fight for the sake of Allah. Thanks to Allah, I had the honor of participating in the preparations for some of the Jihad operations."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Sources in the Al-Qassam Brigades say that they conducted over 200 military operations, which caused some 50% of the Israeli dead and wounded in the Gaza Strip, since the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000. I can tell you that 90% of the operations carried out by the Al-Qassam Brigades are high-quality operations, because the Al-Qassam Brigades' operations room will only dispatch an operation after completing everything relevant to the operation."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "Preparing the operation of 'Atsmona took 4-5 months. How did we get the weapons in? We took a large gas cylinder and cut off the bottom. We inserted the weapons and sealed it up again. Of course, one cylinder was not enough, se we used three. They made sure that when you enter, you open the valve and gas comes out, so the brother opened it, gas came out, and he got the weapons in. We refused to carry out operation with only 5-10% chances of success. In most operations, the success rate is 70-80%."

One of the Engineers of the Grenade Manufacturing Department: "Today, we deal with hand grenades. This place is a non-permanent location for manufacturing grenades, or the third stage of the grenades. We can move out of it and change it from time to time, in accordance with security requirements. There is an American model of which this grenade is an exact replica. This grenade is very dangerous. An officer in the [Israeli] Defense Forces said that the grenades of the Al-Qassam Brigades are capable of killing in a range exceeding the range of the grenades of the Zionist Defense Forces. This grenade is considered a personal weapon of all members of the Al-Qassam Brigades. Allah be praised, large quantities have been distributed to all the members of the Al-Qassam Brigades in the Gaza Strip."

Iyad Al-Daud: "How many grenades do you manufacture daily?"

One of the Engineers of the Grenade Manufacturing Department: "You cannot measure it on a daily basis. We have a certain quantity that we manufacture each month, but I cannot reveal it.

"Of course, the grenade has undergone very significant and continuous development stages. It was a long series, which involved some of the commanders of the mujahideen, commanders in the Al-Qassam Brigades and in the manufacturing department, including the commander and mujahid Muhammad Al-Deif, may Allah protect him, the commander of the Marytr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam brigades, the martyr and mujahid 'Adnan 'Abu Bilal' Al-Ghol, and the martyr and mujahid, 'The Engineer' Yahya 'Ayyash. There were many martyrs among them, like Yasser Taha and Zahar Al-Nassar, who worked on developing this grenade. In the beginning, it was merely a grenade that worked with a match. It was lit manually, not mechanically. It was not done in the mechanically advanced manner that we see today. While the local production attests to the innovation of the Palestinian factions in the adaptation of the instruments of the conflict, what is more important is the human factor, and its ability to continue to make sacrifices. Forever the bearer of arms is rarer than the arms themselves."

Hamas Member who carried out the 'Volcanoes of Rage' operation: "I entered the tunnel at 5 am, after the morning prayer, together with a brother from the Fatah Hawks. We stayed there until just before the evening. We detonated the explosives at 5:30 pm. Then we moved to the tower, and we killed seven soldiers at least. My colleague from the Fatah Hawks was fortunate enough to be martyred for the sake of Allah, and I continued the battle for another 15 minutes, and then returned safe and sound to my brothers, the mujahideen."

Iyad Al-Daud: "The battle swiftly moves from the darkness of the tunnels to the light of the computer screen and the media. The information office in its present form..."

Abu 'Ubeida: "The information office of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades was officially established in early 2004. But the media activity in general has continued ever since the Al-Qassam Brigades were established. Operations were announced through communiqués, written by brothers in the field who actually carried out the operations. They used to send them to the media outlets. But since the beginning of this Intifada, a mechanism was established, at the order of the general commander, Salah Shehada, Allah's mercy upon him. He instructed a group of mujahideen to formulate the military communiques of the Al-Qassam Brigades, and to conduct the media activity, in order to display the radiant aspect of the resistance, and of the activity of the Al-Qassam brigades.

"The information office has a department for filming and production. The filming department accompanies the brothers in the field in all their military training and real military operations, like launching missiles and firing mortars. They follow the brothers in the field in this area. The brothers prepare these materials and send them to the media."

Engineer in the Department for the Manufacture of the Al-Qassam Missile: "The launching of the Al-Qassam missiles began in June 2001. The range of the first Al-Qassam missile was one and a half kilometers. With Allah's grace, three or four months later, on October 26, 2001, the Al-Qassam 2 missile was launched. Since then, the factions have continued, in recent years, in 2004 and 2005, to launch these other missiles. This missile comes in different forms. One type of missile has a range of 2.5 kilometers. Another missile has a range of 5.7 kilometers. A third has a range of 8 kilometers, and another missile has a range of 9 kilometers. These missiles have undergone many stages in this department. There were many obstacles, but with Allah's grace, we overcame them. We made technical improvements that enable this missile to have a range that we will only disclose at the appropriate time, Allah willing.

"All the information indicated that the Palestinian manufacture departments are about to develop a missile with a longer range, increased accuracy, and more destructive capabilities. While all the advanced means could not prevent the falling of primitive missiles on Israel, the launching of the Al-Qassam missile from the West Bank has become a definite date in the diary of the days to come."

Al-Qassam Brigades Members: "Allah Akbar."

Engineer in the Department for the Manufacture of the Al-Qassam Missile: "Our brothers the martyrs Nidal Farhat and Tito Mas'oud conceived the idea of using missiles."

The Martyr Tito Mas'oud: "Allah willing, this missile will be called 'Al-Qassam 1,' unless our brothers..."

Interviewer: "'Al-Qassam 1' or 'Izz Al-Din 1?'"

The Martyr Tito Mas'oud: "'Al-Qassam Izz Al-Din,' unless our brothers decide on another name."

The Martyr Nidal Farhat: "We are still deliberating."

Engineer in the Department for the Manufacture of the Al-Qassam Missile: "Nidal made the missile out of nothing. We used to laugh at him. When he brought the missile, we laughed at him."

Maryam Farhat, Mother of the Martyrs Nidal, Muhammad, and Rawad Farhat: "His Jihad projects were great, Allah be praised, from the beginning to the end, with the missile. He began with stones, and ended up with a missile, Allah's mercy upon him. He was planning other things as well – that plane which led to his martyrdom. There were many things he strived for. He had many things he wanted to accomplish, if he had lived on."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "First we had the RPG launcher in the Gaza Strip. Each launcher would cost you US$20,000, or 14,000 Jordanian dinars. Today, we manufacture this launcher ourselves. With the grace of Allah, we manufacture the RPG itself as well."

Engineer in the Department for Manufacturing the Yassin Launcher: "Details about the 'Yassin:' The range of the 'Yassin' launcher exceeds 200 meters. The RPG is capable of penetrating armor. It can penetrate over 16 cm of fortified iron. In one of the incursions to the center of the Gaza Strip, the first tank came and the 'Yassin' was used. The tank was immediately put out of action. The second tank was also put out of action, after it was hit by a 'Yassin.' Then came the third tank. All this was thanks to the 'Yassin' launcher."

Iyad Al-Daud: "I am in the Al-Qassam military factories. Despite the humble nature of these weapons, compared with the strongest war machine in the region, it grants the military apparatus of the Hamas movement a qualitative leap in its power. Once, the Al-Qassam Brigades members took turns using an old, small pistol, while today, their local factories manufacture, develop, and distribute [weapons] for free to the other Palestinian factions."

Engineer in the Department for Manufacturing the Shuwaz Explosive Device: "The production of explosives devices started with the beginning of the blessed Al-Aqsa Intifada. The first model was this device, which contained 40 kg of high explosives, and it was developed into a series of other explosive devices – this is the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh, until we reached this last device – the 'Shuwaz.' This device contains 3.5 kg of high explosives. Now, Allah willing, we will experiment with detonating a 'Shuwaz' device against 45 cm of iron – we have 9 plates, each 5 cm thick. The distance between the device and the iron is approximately 60 cm. This is the result of the explosion. Seven plates were completely penetrated. The eighth was also penetrated to a large extent. Approximately 38 cm of iron were penetrated. This device, of course, was used to penetrate the Merkava tank."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Where do you get your money from?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "Your Lord provides for us."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Where do the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades get their funds from? It is said you have enormous funding."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "We are members of a jihad movement. This movement is responsible for funding the Al-Qassam Brigades."

Iyad Al-Daud: "What does Iran have to do with you?

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "We don't have any connection to anybody, especially not with foreign elements, or with Arab and Islamic countries. We in the Islamic resistance movement Hamas know that our funding comes from our movement, which collects dues from all those who work for it. This movement receives donations and aid. Therefore, it funds the mujahideen and takes care of them, with all its means and power."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Wisam, how many years did you spend in prison?"

Wisam Farhat: "Ten years and seven months, more or less."

Maryam Farhat: "To this day, I cannot believe Wisam is with us. True, we love them and love having them with us, but when there is a sacred duty, all that is dear becomes cheap."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Do you want to marry him off, or have him return to the Al-Qassam Brigades?"

Maryam Farhat: "There is no contradiction between the two. He is free to do as he wishes. If he wants to return, he can do so, but marriage is one of the conducts of Islam."

Iyad Al-Daud: "She is the mother of the martyrs and the wanted men, or, as they call her, Khansaa of Palestine. These pictures served her in her election campaign, which won her a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council."

Maryam Farhat: "By Allah, I cannot believe this. My children leave me alone so I can cry properly. But I have no regrets, and I will never be sad. I am willing to sacrifice... Even if I had a hundred children like them, I wouldn't prevent any of them from going for the sake of Allah."

Iyad Al-Daud: "When I was looking at her, I realized that we are the same in war and in love. In both cases, we proceed towards our fate, contrary to reason.

"Do you hear the planes?"

Farhat Family Member: "It's an F-16."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Anyone could be the target, right?"

Farhat Family Member: "Yes."

Maryam Farhat: "We live this every day."

Farhat Family Member: "The minute the planes appear in the sky, anyone who is a target disappears from the streets and does not ride in a car."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Who is being targeted now?"

Wisam Farhat: "That's an embarrassing question. Of course, mother is..."

Farhat Family Member: "First her, and them Mu'men."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Mu'men, there are planes in the sky."

Mu'men Farhat: "This is our daily life. If we become fearful, we will not move a single step forward."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "As soon as I came out of the meeting, the missile was after me. I threw myself down on the street, saying: 'There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.' The next day they told me: 'Your eldest son, Muhammad, was martyred, and so was your brother, Hussein.' I asked them about Fathi, my younger brother. They said he too was martyred. I asked about Salah, and they said – martyred. Come here, Shehada... "

Iyad Al-Daud: "These are your grandchildren?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "This is the daughter of the martyr Salah. She is my granddaughter. This is my youngest daughter, Malak. Naturally, this one calls me 'dad,' because she has never seen her father."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Sheikh, you are as close as one can be to death."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "True. As I've told you, this homeland is precious, this is a precious cause, and this paradise..."

Iyad Al-Daud: "What about your family?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "They know for sure that they have a part in the reward, and therefore, they bear these things and persevere."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Are you ever home?"

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "On and off, depending on the circumstances, depending on the security surveillance. If the security surveillance is OK, you will find me at home. It depends on the security circumstances."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Allah be praised, the operation was carried out very easily. I'm more afraid standing here than I was during the operation."

Iyad Al-Daud: "The camera scared you more than the enemy's weapon?'

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Yes."

Iyad Al-Daud: "I will allow myself to stand here, in an effort to understand the motives of dozens, even hundreds, of young men, who recorded their wills and placed their souls at the ready. Some of them were killed, and many still await their turn on the list."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "I carry out this martyrdom operation in order to please Allah and take revenge upon the Zionist Jews, in revenge for the blood of our martyrs, children, women, and elderly, and to avenge the blood of Sheikh Yassin..."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Is that your will?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Yes."

Iyad Al-Daud: "When did you record it?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "About a year ago, shortly after the assassination of Dr. Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Rantisi."

Iyad Al-Daud: "How do you feel about being a martyr on the waiting list for over a year?"

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "Martyrdom is only the means leading us to the most lofty goal of liberating our homeland, and removing injustice from Man."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "Life in this world has its own significance. I am married. Life in this world had its own significance, because if we really were focusing on death alone, why would we take security precautions? We go on, but we take into consideration any danger. Much has been said about our security precautions in different circumstances. You may have encountered difficulties arranging this interview, because we take precautions."

Al-Qassam Brigades Member: "This is the Zionist MAG, which was taken as booty by the Al-Qassam Brigades. It is made by the Zionists in order to kill children, and we, Allah willing, will use it to kill soldiers, not their children or civilians."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "The Jew who came to the land of Palestine is a murderous, criminal, plundering, and occupying Jew. This is the Jew we are fighting. As for the Jew who lives in his synagogue in Britain or American, we have nothing to do with him – over there. But if he comes to the land of Palestine, he is a combatant fighting us, and we will fight and kill him on the land of Palestine. Is this part of your philosophy of not moving the battle abroad? This is the policy of the movement and the military apparatus, of course."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "We have never carried out operations against Israeli civilians, except for cases of retaliation for the killing of civilians. This means we could have killed more.

"This means we could have killed more. Operations can be carried out. Sheikh Ahmad Yassin said: 'If they stop killing civilians, we will stop killing civilians.'"

Iyad Al-Daud: "Are there clear plans regarding the West Bank?"

Muhammad Al-Deif: "Naturally, I will talk about the West Bank without disclosing details. We spare no effort in helping our brothers in the West Bank, so they can reach the same degree of liberation of their West Bank, just as we liberated Gaza with the help and Jihad of our brothers the mujahideen in the West Bank."

Iyad Al-Daud: "In an evening that has reconciled with the weapon, and has allied itself with obscurity and the great secrecy that characterizes them, and which they consider to be one of the sources of their strength, it can be said that the leadership of the Al-Qassam brigades does all it can to transfer the Al-Qassam experience of Gaza to the West Bank, especially since Al-Deif was a guest there, and helped to establish the apparatus in the West bank in the early 90s."

Muhammad Al-Deif: "The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the 1948 areas are the Palestinian lands. This means we must play a role... It is our obligation and duty – Not only us Palestinians, but every Muslim around the world has the right and the duty to fight in order to liberate these lands, because they are Islamic lands."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Despite the difficult beginnings and the less than ideal circumstances, the Al-Qassam Brigades have drawn their legitimacy from their success in the battlefield. It has sacrificed hundreds of commanders from among the thousands of martyrs and detainees. From nothing, it has managed to become a key variable in all the equation of the conflict. This has placed it among the ranks of the great liberation movements in the world, or at the top of the black list of those with a price on their heads, under the pretext of terror."

Ahmad Al-Ja'bari: "We are a jihad movement. We are a jihad military organization that bears arms, and will protect these arms and this cause, and will protect its strategic plan to liberate the land of Palestine in its entirety. The jihad goes on, and this resistance continues. It will not be stopped by either justice or oppression. Therefore, we will continue our security measures, Allah willing, until we complete the journey of liberation."

Iyad Al-Daud: "Between the scales of politics and resistance, and after Hamas won the elections for the Legislative Council, and reached the government – what does the future have in store for its military wing? Will the confrontation with Israel remain hoisted on high, despite the heat of the situation, and the danger posed by the [Israeli] surveillance?"

Text on screen: "Production services: Ramatan Company"

"Presentation, script, and direction by Iyad Al-Daud"


Endnote:

[1] Al-Jazeera, July 4, 2006.