Shin Bet chief: First signs of World Jihad visible in West Bank

By Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondent

The security forces have recently identified initial signs that World Jihad has begun building an ideological foothold in the West Bank, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin said on Tuesday.

The head of the domestic security service told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that security forces recently arrested individuals in the Jerusalem and Nablus areas found with plans for terror attacks.

The plans were very general and did not include specific timetables.

Diskin reminded the Knesset committee that World Jihad also has an infrastructure set up in neighboring Jordan, but added that the Jordanian authorities are operating widely against the organization.

Egypt, however, has not managed to successfully combat World Jihad cells operating within Sinai and the peninsula is thus flooded with weapons smugglers. Diskin said Egypt has had very limited success in combating terrorism.

Since the Israel Defense Forces withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Diskin said, weapons smuggling from bordering Sinai has increased dramatically. Militants have managed to smuggle more than 10 tons of explosives, several million rounds of rifle ammunition, some 10,000 assault rifles, several hundred rocket-propelled grenades and a small number of surface-to-air missiles.

'PA services on verge of collapse
Diskin said that all Palestinian government services will collapse if the Palestinian Authority is not supplied with funds - a development that will not serve Israel's interests.

The Shin Bet chief noted that the Palestinian economic crisis is weighing heavily on the Hamas-led government and there have been a number of recent attempts to smuggle suitcases jam packed with foreign currency into the Gaza Strip.

It is still not clear whether PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will be able to carry out his plan for a referendum on the prisoners' document, Diskin said. He said Israel should not interfere in the matter and noted that no Palestinian faction has any interest in continued internal conflict.