Translations by MEMRI, Middle East Media Research Institute, an
independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of
the Middle East.
Deputy Commander of ‘Force 17’ and commander of ‘Force 17’ in the Ramallah
region, Muhammad Dhamrah, A.K.A, Abu Awdh in an interview with Al-Hayat
[London, August 17, 2001]:
Independence will be realized only through sacrificing. We have prepared
thousands, tens of thousands, martyrs in order to regain our land and for the
return of the refugees. I derive my strength from this people, rather than from
the security coordination or from promises made by the CIA. I feel safe, as
many others do, among my people. I am not worried. I am very optimistic that
victory will come.
I promise that the number of shootings at the occupation will increase to
500 to 1,000 shooting [incidents] per day…
The Palestinians have trained themselves to attack the Israeli tanks and
explode their bodies that will be loaded with a belt of explosives, as part of the
preparations for a possible Israeli attack in the Palestinian territories. The
current Intifada differs from the previous one because it is armed and the
Palestinians are fighting inside their territory and from it…
We need patience and [have] to continue the struggle [so] we will achieve our
freedom in five years… The Palestinians have nothing to lose, while the Israelis
have a lot to lose. We can live on olives and za’tar [thyme] and continue our
struggle until the liberation of our land.
One of the leaders of the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades” and its Official
spokesman, A.K.A Usama Al-Najjar in an interview with the Hizbuallah weekly,
Al-Intiqad, [Lebanon, August 17, 2001]:
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades was established in the first month of the Intifada
by groups of Fateh who had been active in the first Intifada of 1987, and
especially those who were imprisoned by the occupation and who carried out
operations against the traitors. They were released when the Palestinian
Authority moved into the West Bank and Gaza in 1994…
The activity of the ‘Brigades’ began with armed confrontations with the
occupation soldiers in some places in the West Bank, and its establishment was
officially announced on January 1, 2001, during the military parade in
commemoration of the establishment of the Fateh movement.
The ‘Brigades’ consider the killing of a Zionist settler near the West Bank
village of Jalameh at the beginning of 2001 as its first operation.
The ‘Brigades’ believes in the strategy of operating against the Israelis wherever
they are. We believe in road-side explosives, armed confrontations, and
sniper-shootings. The range for our operations is throughout occupied
Palestine, but we do not carry out Martyrdom [meaning suicide] operations
because we believe in the importance of protecting the lives of our
Jihad-warriors, as much as possible…
The members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs [Brigades] are warriors who are not
subjected to any political decision and have no relation with the first rank of the
PA, although some of its members work in sensitive positions in the PA’s civil
ministries or its security apparatuses. There has not been any clash
between the ‘Brigades’ and the PA, in contrast to the ‘[Popular]
Resistance Committees’ that clashed with the PA and some of whose members
were hit in these clashes.
The ‘Brigades’ respect the national interest and [carefully] choose the
place and the time to carry out its operations. We killed an Israeli settler and
injured others on the first day of the week of ‘calming.’ We try to expose the
traitors and deliver them to the PA, without killing them, in order to avoid
mistakes that were made in the past.
Recently, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have announced that it carries out
operations together with the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,’ the military wing
of Hamas, and with members of the ‘Al-Quds Squads,’ the military wing of the
Islamic Jihad in Palestine.
One example was the operation that took place on the opening day of
the Maccabiya Games, when two members [of the ‘Brigades’] were martyred
when they tried to plant a bomb near the stadium. In addition, several shooting
operations took place in cooperation with the ‘Al-Quds Squads.’
The ‘Brigades’ do not have a central command and this is the secret of its
success. Its people operate separately in each district and decide about their
“The ‘Brigades’ include hundreds of members, aged between 22 and 52, who
were released from Israeli prisons or students in Palestinian universities who
operate sometimes with and sometimes without coordination [with each other].
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades will continue as long as the reasons for the
resistance exist, i.e. the occupation, the settlements, and the defiling of the
holy places. The line of the resistance cannot be forsaken and in the coming
days there will be more operations in retaliation for the Israeli massacres.