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Saturday, December 29, 2007

A cargo of cash

DEBKA has some more details about what's aboard those ferries that are sitting off the coast of Nuweiba in the Sinai (and to think I once slept on that beach!). Apparently not all of the passengers are 'Palestinians' returning from Mecca. And there's lots and lots of cash:
According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, Hamas leaders have been trying to smuggle suitcases packed with the equivalent of $150 m in Jordanian and Egyptian currency into Gaza since the end of the Mecca pilgrimage last Friday.

To disembark, Egypt demanded that each sign a pledge to enter Gaza through the Nitzana or Kerem Shalom crossings. These border posts are under joint Egyptian-Israeli control. Israeli customs is authorized to search incoming travelers and impound smuggled and terror-related items. Our intelligence sources report that several Hamas operatives aboard The Princess are high on Israel’s wanted terrorist list.

This is the first time since the war on Islamist terror began that a jihadist group took two public passenger ferries hostage.

Egyptian naval and commando forces massed at Nuweiba, rushed there from Sharm el-Sheikh further down the Sinai coast, where president Hosni Mubarak will be hosting French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Grimly determined not to let the hundreds of Hamas operatives transit Sinai with their war funds, Egyptian forces set up a large tent camp to take them into custody if they tried to disembark

Of the $150 m in Hamas suitcases, around $50 m was donated by Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his secret rendezvous with Hamas leaders during the hajj on Wed. Dec. 19; the rest was collected by Hamas’ parent, the Muslim Brotherhood and handed over under cover of the pilgrimage. Our sources disclose that Brotherhood branches worldwide launched a secret fundraising drive on behalf of Hamas last September under the slogan: “Contribute to save Hamas rule in Gaza.”

If delivered, the money is enough to keep Hamas’ military operations going for another three to four months, including missile and other attacks.

Saudi authorities permitted the cash to be brought into the kingdom and handed to Hamas leaders. Egypt allowed Hamas leaders to leave the Gaza Strip for the hajj.

Cairo’s new resolve is the outcome of Mubarak’s talks with visiting Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak last week and their decision to join forces to combat the war activities mounted from Gaza by Hamas and its allies.

DEBKAfile’s sources reveal that the Gulf of Aqaba standoff began on the night of Wednesday, Dec. 26, when the Hamas delegation to Mecca arrived in Aqaba to catch the ferry to Nuweiba. Egyptian authorities warned Jordan that they would not be allowed to disembark. After giving the group 48 hours to cut a deal with Cairo, Jordan finally decided to get rid of this disruptive element. They boarded the ferry without a deal.
Let's hope Egypt doesn't cave in on this.


At 11:16 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

We've seen Israel's leaders cave again and again in the face of terrorism. I hope Ehud Olmert and his government have grown a stiff backbone but I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to make good on it. They have a way of letting us all down when we least expect it.

At 3:58 AM, Blogger Enzo said...

It has to be either Kerem Shalom or Egypt for as long as it takes!
It's their choice...
I'm curious to see what their big brothers (the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt) are going to do!
Let's wait and see...
I'm enjoying it!

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