A Hamas Headquarters in Saudi Arabia?

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Matthew Levitt - * The revelation that Hamas operates a command center in Saudi Arabia with close ties to Hamas militants executing attacks and the movement's political and social-welfare (dawa) operations is remarkable. * Individuals, charities, and banks tied to the Saudi ruling class are among the most prolific supporters of Islamist extremism, of both the Palestinian and the global varieties. * Individual contributions from Saudi Arabia were instrumental in helping Hamas develop the Kassam rockets it routinely shoots into Israel from Gaza. In December 2001, Israeli authorities arrested Hamas operative Osama Zohadi Hamed Karika carrying documents detailing the development of the Kassam rockets. Under questioning, he admitted that he was on his way to Saudi Arabia to brief unidentified supporters on the development of the rockets and to obtain their continued funding for the project. Karika also told his Israeli interrogators that he had personally secured initial funding for the rocket program in Saudi Arabia. * Just last month, Saudi television ran a program on the jihad in Palestine that implored viewers to donate funds to the Palestinian intifada. Donors could send funds through the Saudi Committee for Support of the al-Quds Intifada's Account Ninety-Eight, "a joint account at all Saudi banks." * Funding for terrorist groups, including Hamas, continues to flow from within Saudi Arabia, albeit at a slower pace than previously. But the exposure of a Hamas command center operating from Saudi Arabia marks a disturbing upgrade of Hamas's presence in the kingdom.

2005-09-30 00:00:00

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