American-Trained Terrorist Trains Hamas 'Martyrs'

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

( Fares Al-Ashi, who was trained by Americans in South Carolina when Fatah controlled Gaza security forces, is using his education to teach Hamas loyalists to be martyrs, according to the Chinese new agency Xinhua. He said he gives his trainees information about explosives as part of a new Hamas police training program.

The "martyr Aziz Massoud" course is named afteAmerican-Trained Terrorist Trains Har a terrorist, one of the police trainers, who was killed in an IDF strike in February. "Every program should carry the name of a martyr," Al-Ashi said.

The United States has trained hundreds of Arab Fatah militia members who were part of the elite Presidential Guard, a private army that was envisioned as protecting Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas from a Hamas coup. However, the Americans suffered an embarrassing defeat when Hamas overran Fatah forces in Gaza last year.

A training manual distributed by American Secret Service officers, with the logo of the Counterterrorism Training Group and the U.S. government seal, was a teaching manual for Al-Ashi and other former Fatah terrorists who switched to Hamas.

The American strategy was based on bolstering Fatah forces and preventing them from becoming faithful to Hamas, which American officer Keith Dayton said at the time "is receiving money and arms from Iran and possibly Syria."

The new Hamas training program in Gaza includes members of other factions besides Hamas and lasts four months, plus one month of examinations.

Hamas took over control of Gaza from Fatah a year ago, resulting in a break in relations between the two rival parties that previously were part of a unity government. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has vowed to break off talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) if he tries to bring Hamas back into the government. Abbas this week sent senior aides to Gaza for the first time in a year to discuss improving relations.

Xinhua noted that the training by the American-trained Al-Ashi helps tighten Hamas's grip on PA institutions in Gaza.

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