Israel: Iran runs Fatah's armed wing

Oct. 15, 2004 at 8:51 AM
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Israeli security officials say Iran has taken control of many Palestinian terror cells from Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, funding and directing assaults.

Tehran has for years funded and provided ideological direction to radical Palestinian groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Telegraph reported Friday.

More recently, though, the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades has now come under Iran's sway, especially in the West Bank where Tehran effectively directs actual attacks.

That sway comes via Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based terror group whose funding and direction account for about a third of the 98 Israelis killed so far this year, Israeli officials say.

"Hezbollah is a finger of Iran's hand," one senior Israeli security source said. "In the past year we can see increasing Iranian influence in Palestinian attacks on Israel. The same people sometimes receive money both from Arafat's headquarters and from Hezbollah. If the attack succeeds in causing fatalities, they get a bonus from Hezbollah."

The charges mark an unusual point of agreement with Arafat, who this week said Hezbollah was trying to infiltrate Fatah.

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