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  • Abu al-Ata was a top commander in the Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing.

    Abu al-Ata was a top commander in the Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 January 2020
Opinion

Gaza’s Ministry of Interior has already arrested six members of a cell they say spied on al-Ata for months before he was assassinated by Israel.

Gaza officials made public Thursday a recording of a phone call allegedly between a Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence officer and Israel, accusing the PA of having assisted Israel in the killing of senior Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu al-Ata in November

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In the recording, a voice said to belong to Shaaban al-Garbawi, the PA General Intelligence Services officer accused of collaborating with Israel by Gaza’s interior ministry, is heard sharing with another person, who the ministry says is an Israeli intelligence agent named Barry, the details of the activities and plans of the Palestinian fighters along the border of Gaza with Israel. 

“Barry, the al-Quds Brigades had a meeting with the military council and Bahaa Abu al-Ata was present, and they gave instructions for a monitoring operation for three days to carry out an attack using a Kornet missile," the voice is heard saying.  

"They are working on three targets, ya Barry,” it continues, then listing targets. Barry's voice in the background is hardly audible. 

Gaza’s Ministry of Interior has already arrested six members of a cell they accuse of having worked under the leadership of al-Garbawi to spy on al-Ata for months before he was assassinated by Israel, along with his wife Asmaa, at their Gaza City home on Nov.12.

During months, the alleged spies have collected information that was then handed out to Israeli intelligence services, according to the ministry.

“It is all lies and has no base in reality,” the Fatah movement, the main faction in the PA, said in a statement.

Denying the allegations, the movement said it is accustomed to “Hamas’ lies,” adding that "it is just a failed attempt to disguise the agreements for a long truce with the occupation," in a reference to Israel.

"In return, Israel would recognize the Emirate of Gaza, and start implementing the Deal of the Century that aims to put an end to the Palestinian national project and selling Jerusalem and its sacred places."

Hamas and Fatah have been divided since a violent split following the 2006 Hamas victory in Palestinian legislative elections. Since that time, the Hamas has been the de facto ruling movement in Gaza, while the Fatah governs the West Bank, with ongoing tensions between the two factions.

Abu al-Ata was a top commander in the Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing. He joined the organization in 1990, and finally became the chief of the northern Gaza Strip.

Israel tried many times to assassinate him and he was also detained several times in PA jails over his activities in the Quds Brigades.

His assassination led to two days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian movements in which 34 Palestinians lives were claimed, including women and children, before the agreement of a ceasefire was concluded.

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