Yossi Gurvitz examines the evidence around last weeks attacks in southern Israel and the claims made by Israeli officials that the gunmen came from Gaza.
Israel has never supplied any proof that the attack has indeed originated in the Gaza Strip. The PRC [Popular Resistance Committees] have denied involvement in the attack. An Israeli propaganda apparatus, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, also claimed (Hebrew) the PRC was behind the attacks, but had to tautologically write “no terror organizations has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack and the Popular Resistance Committee has denied any involvement. However, the Israeli prime minister and other Israeli officials have pointed to the Popular Resistance Committee as the organization who carried out the attack. So, according to the ITIC, the fact that Netanyahu is proof enough, even if the other side completely denies it.
During the weekend, the news website Real News interviewed a senior IDF Spokesman officer, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz, who’s in charge of the IDF Spokesman with the international media. Leibowitz denied that the IDF connects the PRC to the attacks, said she was not responsible for that the prime minister said, but claimed that the attackers did come from Gaza, citing as proof the fact they were using Kalashnikov assault rifies (Sic! 2:28 and onwards in the video). I dunno how to put it to Col. Leibovitz, but Kalashnikovs are the most common light assault rifle in the world – a gift that keeps on giving from the defunct Soviet Union – and are rather easy to get all over the Middle East.
In a phone conversation with Leibovitz yesterday, she said “senior officials have already expressed themselves on the issue”, and declined to provide more information on the attackers, aside from insisting on them being Gazans. I asked her if she could provide me with the identity of the attackers killed by the IDF, which was until recently standard procedure, carried out within hours of an attack. She said this is unfortunately impossible, and repeatedly insisted they were Gazans. B’Tselem researchers in the Strip, contacted via B’Tselem today, were unaware of the identity of the attackers. Again, usually they are quickly identified and a mourners’ hut is rapidly constructed. They were killed on Thursday; if they resided in the Strip, their families would have heard of their deaths by now.
Yesterday evening the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that Egyptian security forces have identified three of the dead attackers. Egypt has a strong interest to claim the attackers were Gazans, since this would lessen its responsibility for the attacks; nevertheless, they say at least two of the attackers were known terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula. As far as I could find out, the rest of the bodies are in the hands of the IDF – which, again, does not reveal their identity.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reports:
Egyptian authorities have identified three of the people responsible for carrying out a terrorist attack in Israel, just north of Eilat, on Thursday, in which seven Israelis were killed, according to an Egyptian security source.
The same source added that one of the men identified is a leader of terrorist cells in Sinai, while another is a fugitive who owns an ammunition factory.
Al-Masry Al-Youm also reports:
Bin Laden’s doctor, Ramzy Moafy, who escaped from prison during the revolution, held military exercises south of Arish in Sinai, informed sources have said.
They said Moafy led the exercises for 40 armed men under the protection of 13 four-wheel-drive vehicles, of which four carried anti-aircraft guns.
An eyewitness has said he saw 15 of the gunmen carrying machine guns and sophisticated binoculars.
Security sources said a large number of extremist groups in and outside of Sinai have been identified and would be arrested soon, adding that those groups were joined by hundreds of gunmen coming form different governorates to carry out an order given to them in March to turn Sinai into an Islamic emirate.
They have arrived there with their families settled in different areas.
While a security source admitted that there are seven main camps to train militants in Sinai, he denied that Moafy was there, accusing Israel of spreading rumors.