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February 26, 2003

Exploding toy planes - the next threat to Israeli security?

Jane's has this report, a piece that verifies what DEBKA had noted a few days ago

On Sunday 16 February, the Zaytoun neighbourhood east of Gaza City was rocked by an explosion that killed six members of the Hamas military wing, the Izz Eddin Al-Qassam Brigades, and wounded a seventh, writes Mohammed Najib.

Early reports suggested the blast was caused by a car bomb which had detonated next to the group. However, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza told JTIC that the men had been killed while preparing to test an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that exploded next to them without warning.

"The Qassam Brigades members who were killed bought the UAV through an Israeli Arab and they were intending to use it in carrying out a military attack against an Israeli target inside Israel, or against one of the Israeli Jewish settlements inside Gaza Strip," he said.

The Hamas spokesman accused collaborators with the Israeli Security Agency ISA [Shin Bet] of duping the Qassam members by supplying them with a booby-trapped UAV.

JTIC understands that the Izz Eddin Al-Qassam Brigades had recently established contact with an Israeli Arab businessman and tasked him with bringing the components of a UAV, likely to have been some type of radio-controlled model aircraft, into the Gaza Strip. [more]