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Wednesday, June 1, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Pro-Hamas military training base near Egypt rocked by explosion

GAZA CITY — A military training base of the Hamas-aligned Popular Resistance Committees was hit by an explosion near the border with Egypt on May 31.


At least three PRC fighters were killed and another four were injured.

PRC confirmed the explosion but did not cite its cause, Middle East Newsline reported. The Israeli military said it was not conducting operations near the PRC base, called Aby Ataya and located in the southern city of Rafah.

Palestinian sources said Hamas has approved military training for several Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip. They said the training was meant to coordinate militia operations with that of Hamas's military and security forces in any confrontation with Israel.

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"Hamas does not bother the militias as long as they observe the ceasefire and don't threaten the movement," a Palestinian source close to the Hamas regime said.

The sources said PRC marked a major military ally of Hamas. They said Hamas has helped train and equip PRC as well as assign it a sector in any war with Israel.

PRC as well as other Palestinian militias were also said to have been engaged in missile and rocket production. The sources said the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad received Chinese-origin extended-range BM-21 Grad rockets that could fly more than 40 kilometers.

The explosion on May 31 was the bloodiest in months in the Gaza Strip. In October 2010, 13 Palestinians were killed in a blast at Hamas security headquarters in the Tel Sultan neighborhood in Rafah, located near the PRC training camp.

"Palestinian security services said that the reasons behind the blast are still unknown while an investigation was opened into the incident," a Hamas statement said.

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