Terror chief received, distributed American assault rifles
Arrested militant doubled as officer in Abbas' US-backed security detail
Aaron Klein, WND
Published: 05.30.07, 16:09 / Israel News
A long-wanted terrorist chief captured this week by Israeli forces was trained by the US, served in a senior capacity on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' US-backed security detail, and was a ranking member of a team that received and distributed American arms shipments the past two years, the WND has learned.
Khaled Shawish, an officer in Abbas' Force 17 presidential guards, was arrested Sunday by undercover Israeli police forces following scores of shooting attacks Shawish is suspected of carrying out.
Nabbed in Ramallah
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Shawish doubled as the Ramallah chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group. He previously boasted of involvement in a West Bank shooting attack in December 2000 that killed Israeli ultranationalist leader Benjamin Kahane and Kahane's wife, Talya.
The Brigades, the declared "military wing" of Abbas' Fatah party, took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years and for multiple deadly shootings and rocket attacks.
After the Kahane murder, Shawish was extended refuge by Arafat to live in the late PLO leader's Ramallah compound, widely known as the Muqata.
Weapons arrived through Jordan-Israel border
Shawish continued the past seven years to live some of the time in the Muqata, from which, according to Israeli security officials, he directed the Brigades to carry out scores of shootings against Israelis driving on West Bank roads.
According to Israeli and Palestinian security sources, Shawish, as a member of Force 17, received US training in 1997 at an American managed military base in the West Bank city of Jericho. The base continues to train Force 17 members. Multiple other Brigades members who also double as Force 17 officers previously received US training.
The US in recent months reportedly transferred large quantities of weapons to Fatah, purportedly to back Abbas' military organizations in recent deadly clashes against Hamas.
The last confirmed US weapons transfer to the Palestinians took place last May and consisted of 3,000 assault rifles, but WND reported multiple other transfers later were delivered to Fatah, including a cache of 7,000 rifles last January and about 8,000 assault rifles in February.
The weapons mostly arrived in convoys through the Jordan-Israel border and were then reportedly trucked by the Israeli Defense Forces to the Gaza Strip and to Ramallah. According to Palestinian sources, the Ramallah shipments were received at the Muqata and at a neighboring Force 17 base.
The sources said Shawish was part of the Force 17 team that inspected and distributed the American weapons to other Fatah militia members. According to the sources, Shawish himself has taken possession the past two years of multiple American assault rifles.