Muhamad Deif Succeeds Salah Shehada as Hamas Wing Commander

Abu Hasam, a senior official in the Alaqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah, says that Muhamad Deif has succeeded Salah Shehada as the Commander of the Az-aladin Alqasam, the terrorist wing of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hasam's statements were made in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper, Albian, on 29 July 2002.

Abu Hasam did not reject the possibility of terror attacks on vital areas within the "Green Line" as well as residential neighborhoods. He labeled the recent attack in Hebron (26 July 2002), in which four Israelis were killed, as “a mild attack,” and expressed the hope that an attack would soon take place which would cause an earthquake within "the Zionist entity".

Abu Hasam confirmed reports that a joint Hamas-Fatah operations center has been established to orchestrate attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The senior operative said that ties between the Alaqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas had never been severed. He hoped that Muhamad Deif would demonstrate "responsibility" and continue the contacts between the two organizations. He said that talks with Hamas have been renewed, with greater vigor than ever before.

Muhamad Deif has been active throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He was even more renowned than Shehada and was considered for many years to be number one on Israel's most wanted list. It was previously reported that the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in the West Bank had placed Deif under arrest, while others claimed that Deif was under no restrictions whatsoever.

Gil Eyal PRAVDA.Ru Israel

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