Found in possession of terror cells in Saudi Arabia
For the first time, a thread links the three rockets which hit the Israeli town of Sderot Sunday, Aug. 26, slightly injuring two workmen, and the two terrorist cells captured in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on the same day, DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report. Both events were conceived by Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP has ordered its Sinai cells and Egyptian and Palestinian offshoots to step up their attacks from Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
By three happenings Sunday, AQAP broke new and menacing ground:
1. Three Qassam missiles fired at the industrial zone Sderot shares with Shear Hanegev ushered in a Gaza-based anti-Israel offensive launched by the “Shura Council in the Jerusalem Area” – the umbrella organization of all the Salafi groups operating in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
This group’s 6,000-strong force of well-armed terrorists is commanded by an Egyptian by the name of Hisham Saydani. Al Qaeda has dubbed him Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi. He and his lieutenants serve as liaison between the Sinai cells and AQAP headquarters in Yemen.
2. Hamas held Saydani in a special security prison cell in the Gaza Strip until two weeks ago when, for some unknown reason, which US, Egyptian and Israeli counter-terror agencies are trying to discover, Hamas let him go. His first action was to set up the Shura Council’s attack near Rafah, in which 16 Egyptian troops were killed and the Kerem Shalom crossing barrier into Israel was rammed. The gunmen were liquidated before they reached their target: the IDF Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion’s command base nearby.