TEL AVIV (Nov. 7)
A captured Islamic terrorist says he and his comrades nearly succeeded in a “suicide mission” into Israel last week aimed at sabotaging the Madrid peace conference before it opened.
According to Fahdy Mohamad Ahmed Elgazar, 20, a member of Islamic Jihad, their orders were to infiltrate Israel and kill as many civilians or soldiers as possible, “except children.”
The attempt, on the night of Oct. 29, resulted in a clash with the Israel Defense Force that left three Israeli soldiers dead and five wounded. Of the three would-be infiltrators, only Elgazar survived.
He was interviewed by a Foreign Press Association pool reporter, whose story appeared Thursday.
The youth, who said he was born in Beirut to a Lebanese mother and Palestinian father, joined the Islamic Jihad’s propaganda department earlier this year but switched to its guerrilla branch on the promise of a 20 percent pay raise.
He was sent on his mission after only three weeks of basic training at a camp in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon, which is controlled by the Syrian army.
Elgazar said his instructors were from the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah. He said no Syrian soldiers ever entered the camp.
On the day before the Madrid conference, he and two companions crossed the southern Lebanon security zone undetected and cut through a steel fence close to the Israeli border.
With only a few yards separating them from what the young terrorist called “occupied Palestine,” one of his companions stepped on a mine.
The explosion brought Israeli soldiers rushing to the scene. Despite their injuries, they managed to wound five soldiers before two died.
Elgazar said another fundamentalist guerrilla cell operating in the vicinity killed three IDF soldiers with a remote-control land mine.
The wiry, bearded young man said he knew his mission would almost certainly end in death.
“We knew it was a suicide mission aimed at the peace talks. Our mission was to die for the holy war. Those killed liberating the land of Palestine go straight to heaven,” he said.