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Israel stops Islamic Jihad plan to buy suicide rubber boats

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Sunday, February 8, 2004

TEL AVIV Islamic Jihad has sought to establish a naval unit in an effort to attack Israeli targets off the Mediterranean coast.

Israeli security sources said Jihad received $500,000 from Iran to procure rubber boats for suicide and other operations against Israeli targets. The Islamic insurgency group had planned to use the Gaza Strip as a launching pad for these attacks.

Jihad, the sources said, intended to purchase lifeguard boats and train insurgents to attack Israeli targets off the Mediterranean coast of the Gaza Strip. Some of the boats were meant to have been outfitted with motors and pose as fishing vessels to help evade Israel's navy.

The mastermind behind the Jihad effort was identified as Ali Hisi, a resident of the Shati refugee camp also known as Abu Islam. Hisi wanted to form a unit of Jihad vessels that could help facilitate attacks on Israeli military units.

An investigation by the Israel Security Agency led to the arrest of a Jihad agent who was ordered to help obtain the boats.

Iyad Abd Issa Alouan, 24, a fisherman from Khan Yunis, was arrested by Israeli authorities on Nov. 19, 2003 and was said to have told interrogators that he had been ordered to help carry out a sea-borne attack against an Israeli target.

An ISA statement said Alouan was ordered by Hisi to procure a lifeguard boat that could be outfitted with a motor. Alouan was also asked to help designate a target and train insurgents. He was told that the Jihad naval unit would begin operations when other boats would be procured and concealed.

Jihad was said to have been given $500,000 to procure the boats and weapons and secure a hideout. The statement said Alouan was arrested before he could purchase the lifeguard boats.

"The security forces have reason to believe that Islamic Jihad will continue to develop new methods in which to perpetrate terrorist attacks in complete disregard of the possible consequences for the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially the fishermen," the statement said.

In an unrelated development, a Palestinian Authority police commander has escaped an assassination attempt. A PA statement said gunmen burst into the office of Gaza police chief Brig. Gen. Ghazi Jabali on Thursday and killed one person and wounded 10 others. Jabali was not injured.

"The group of outlaws tried to assassinate the head and founder of the Palestinian police General Ghazi Jabali in his office," a police statement said.

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