August 23, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 260

Statements by Heads of Fateh Factions

August 23, 2001
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 260

Deputy Commander of "Force 17," Muhammad Dhamrah,[1] A.K.A, Abu Awdh in an interview with Al-Hayat [London, August 17, 2001]:

"...Independence will be realized only through sacrificing. We have prepared thousands, tens of thousands, martyrs in order to regain our land and for the return of the refugees. I derive my strength from this people, rather than from the security coordination or from promises made by the CIA. I feel safe, as many others do, among my people. I am not worried. I am very optimistic that victory will come."

"I promise that the number of shootings at the occupation will increase to 500 to 1,000 shooting [incidents] per day... The Palestinians have trained themselves to attack the Israeli tanks and explode their bodies that will be loaded with a belt of explosives, as part of the preparations for a possible Israeli attack in the Palestinian territories… The current Intifada differs from the previous one because it is armed and the Palestinians are fighting inside their territory and from it..."

"We need patience and [have] to continue the struggle [so] we will achieve our freedom in five years... The Palestinians have nothing to lose, while the Israelis have a lot to lose. We can live on olives and za'tar [thyme] and continue our struggle until the liberation of our land." One of the leaders of the "Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades" and its Official spokesman, A.K.A Usama Al-Najjar in an interview with the Hizbuallah weekly, Al-Intiqad, [Lebanon, August 17, 2001]:

"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades was established in the first month of the Intifada by groups of Fateh who had been active in the first Intifada of 1987, and especially those who were imprisoned by the occupation and who carried out operations against the traitors. They were released when the Palestinian Authority moved into the West Bank and Gaza in 1994..."

"The activity of the 'Brigades' began with armed confrontations with the occupation soldiers in some places in the West Bank, and its establishment was officially announced on January 1, 2001, during the military parade in commemoration of the establishment of the Fateh movement. The 'Brigades' consider the killing of a Zionist settler near the West Bank village of Jalameh at the beginning of 2001 as its first operation."

"The 'Brigades' believes in the strategy of operating against the Israelis wherever they are. We believe in road-side explosives, armed confrontations, and sniper-shootings. The range for our operations is throughout occupied Palestine, but we do not carry out Martyrdom [meaning suicide] operations because we believe in the importance of protecting the lives of our Jihad-warriors, as much as possible..."

"The members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs [Brigades] are warriors who are not subjected to any political decision and have no relation with the first rank of the PA, although some of its members work in sensitive positions in the PA's civil ministries or its security apparatuses. There has not been any clash between the 'Brigades' and the PA, in contrast to the "[Popular] Resistance Committees" that clashed with the PA and some of whose members were hit in these clashes. The 'Brigades' respect the national interest and [carefully] chose the place and the time to carry out its operations. We killed an Israeli settler and injured others on the first day of the week of "calming". We try to expose the traitors and deliver them to the PA, without killing them, in order to avoid mistakes that were made in the past."

"Recently, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have announced that it carries out operations together with the "'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades," the military wing of Hamas, and with members of the "Al-Quds Squads," the military wing of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine. One example was the operation that took place on the opening day of the Maccabiya Games, when two members [of the Brigdaes'] were martyred when they tried to plant a bomb near the stadium. In addition, several shooting operations took place in cooperation with the "Al-Quds Squads."

"The 'Brigades' do not have a central command and this is the secret of its success. Its people operate separately in each district and decide about their plans."

"The 'Brigades' include hundreds of members, aged between 22 and 52, who were released from Israeli prisons or students in Palestinian universities who operate sometimes with and sometimes without coordination [with each other]."

"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades will continue as long as the reasons for the resistance exist, i.e. the occupation, the settlements, and the defiling of the holy places. The line of the resistance cannot be forsaken and in the coming days there will be more operations in retaliation for the Israeli massacres."

[1] He is also commander of "Force 17" in the Ramallah region.

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