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Hamas looks for expanding network within foreign fighters

Afghan War, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Pakistan, Hamas, Palestinian Jihad, Islamic Jihad, Soviety Forces, Gaza, West Bank, Israel, Bangladesh, Czechoslovakia

Counterterrorism

Hamas looks for expanding network within foreign fighters

Immediately after the Afghan war, thousands of former foreign fighters who travelled to Afghanistan and joined the war against Soviet forces had got involved in militancy. These foreign fighters joined Al Qaeda, Harkatul Jihad and other terrorist organizations, thus posing the gravest threat to international security. Now, Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad are looking for inspiring the foreign fighters who had joined and fought against Israel with the notorious agenda of establishing international franchises of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

According to information, back in 2020, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan openly declared Israel as the “number one enemy of Pakistan”. Referring to normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Imran Khan said, no matter what other countries do, Pakistan will never recognize Israel until “Palestinians are given their right of a just settlement”. He said, if Pakistan accepts Israel, it will have to give up Kashmir as well, because the same situation applies there.

It may be mentioned here that, thousands of Pakistani nationals have joined Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad and fought against Israel. Every year, at least one thousand Pakistanis are travelling to Gaza and other parts of the West Bank and joining Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Pakistan and Palestinian Authority have extreme intimacy since 1947, while Pakistan provided military assistance to the Palestinians. It was also reported that Pakistani battalion was sent to Palestine in disguise to fight along side their Palestinian brethren. Pakistan also purchased 250,000 rifles from Czechoslovakia which were later sent to Palestinian fighters.

According to intelligence reports, Pakistan also purchased three aircrafts from Italy for the Egyptian forces, while Pakistan Air Force participated in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars and Pakistani pilots flying Jordanian and Syrian planes downed some Israeli planes, whereas in the 1982 battle for Beirut between Israel and the PLO, fifty Pakistani volunteers serving in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) were taken prisoner by Israel.

Pakistan and PLO signed an agreement for training PLO officers in Pakistani military institutions. Pakistan and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had developed close ties. The PLO was first recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians at an Islamic summit in Lahore in February 1974. This was approved six months later at an Arab summit in Rabat. PLO missions in Karachi and Islamabad (Pakistan’s capital since 1960) received full diplomatic recognition in 1975.

Also, in 1975, Pakistan had supported and voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 which had equated Zionism with racism (the resolution was later revoked with Resolution 4686 but Pakistan voted against revoking it).

During the First Intifada that began in 1987, pro-PLO rallies were held in Pakistan and the government sent the organization food and medical supplies. After the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988, Pakistan then recognized the Palestinian Authority on 16 November 1988 and had established full diplomatic relations with it by the end of 1989.

Due to such extreme cordiality between Pakistan and Palestinians, Arab nationalist Haj Amin el Husseini travelled to the Arab countries during the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh and branded Bengali freedom fighters as “terrorists”. Even after Pakistani occupation forces were defeated in the war and Bangladesh got independence, Palestinian leaders, including Yasser Arafat had taken desperate diplomatic moves in stopping the Arab and several Muslim nations in refraining from extending recognition to Bangladesh.

Now, Pakistani spy agency ISI (Inter Service Intelligence) has expressed readiness in extending support and cooperation to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in using the foreign fighters in forming foreign branches of these terrorist entities. According to intelligence sources, Pakistani ISI is keen in using thousands of former foreign fighters who had joined Hamas and Islamic Jihad and fought against Israel in destabilizing security of a number of “enemy nations”.

According to Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star: “In the early 80s, plenty of Bangladeshi youths went to Lebanon to fight against the Israeli invading force. According to the US Library of Congress, the then Bangladesh government put the number of volunteer fighters at nearly 8,000 – a figure which might have been exaggerated to show a significant contribution from the country to the Palestinian cause”.

The Daily Star, a known anti-Semite and anti-Israel newspaper, expressing its support towards BDS anarchy wrote: “A group of Palestine supporters has developed an effective and non-violent method to fight Israel’s brutal occupation: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. As its title itself suggests, the strategic campaign advocates for a cultural, academic and economic boycott against Israel, and urges for divestment from all Israeli and international companies that operate in Israel, and hence contribute to solidifying its occupation and colonial project. It also calls on countries to hold Israel responsible for its gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity by imposing sanctions against it. As we speak, the movement sweeps the leading university campuses across both sides of the Atlantic”.

Hamas, Palestinian Jihad and Pakistani spy agency ISI’s latest bids of spreading Hamas activities in the foreign countries is a matter of grave concern particularly for Bangladesh and India. As we know, there are over eight thousand Palestine-repatriated Bangladeshi fighters. Our intelligence agencies and counterterrorism organizations should bring these fighters under strict surveillance, as they may onwards emerge into another threat to national security similar to those of ex-fighters from Afghanistan.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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