Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades: The Resistance imposed a new reality on the ground in Gaza

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A member of the Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades prepares for combat. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

By: Qassem Qassem, Nidal al-Wahidi

Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades, affiliated with the Fatah movement, did not stand idly by during the assault on Gaza. Despite its rejection of the repeated truces, it agreed to them in order to maintain Palestinian unity. It is proud to have the support of the Lebanese Resistance. It believes that resistance movements everywhere, from Iran to Gaza, share a common concern.

During the latest ceasefire, Al-Akhbar met with Abu al-Walid, Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades’ spokesperson, and conducted the following interview with him.

How does the Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades view the repeated ceasefires between the Resistance and Israel? Did these truces pacify the battlefront?

We believe that any ceasefire without a price is a bonus for the occupation and it benefits from it and uses it as a means to subdue the Resistance, in an attempt to turn the victory that we accomplished on the military battlefield into a defeat at the negotiating table. We agreed to these ceasefires without being convinced that they are the right choice, only to maintain a unified position among the Resistance factions.

What do the Brigades’ fighters do during the ceasefire?

We take advantage of the calm to regroup and learn from the mistakes we made and we constantly reevaluate the situation on the ground. We also work on manufacturing rockets and mortar shells to replace the ones we used during the battle. Also we restock the rocket launchers and we rotate soldiers on the frontlines in preparation for the next round. Despite the ceasefire, our fighters are still in their positions, trenches and tunnels with their fingers on the trigger.

If the war breaks out again, how long can the Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades last in the battle in light of the Israeli army’s high combat capabilities?

Our battle will continue until Israel succumbs to all the conditions of the Resistance without exception. In spite of Israel’s military capabilities and advanced technology, we have something more important, namely, the fighter who is psychologically and militarily ready to defend his land, honor and everything that is sacred to him. The battlefield has proven that this is a reality and not mere words.

What if the Israeli army were to launch a new ground operation and enter the Gaza Strip?

The decision to wage a ground war on Gaza is no longer an easy one for Israel. The Israelis know well that this decision will be very costly and that their soldiers are likely to be killed, imprisoned or injured. If they were to launch a ground invasion again, they will see what they have not seen before and they will not be pleased.

Is there a joint operations room for you and the other military wings of the Palestinian factions from which to conduct the war on the ground?

We have previously asked for a joint operations room that would include all the Resistance factions in order to conduct the war in a more effective fashion, but unfortunately it did not happen. There is, however, constant coordination between all the factions and we have formed a special operations room for Fatah’s armed wings in Gaza. We also carried out joint operations with the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades and the National Resistance Brigades and we hope to work seriously on forming a joint operations room for all the Resistance factions.

How far did the rockets launched by the Brigades against Israel reach?

We used short and medium range rockets with a reach of eight to 55 kilometers. We wanted to maintain a state of peace between all the Resistance factions during the war and so we distributed the targeting of the occupied towns among the factions. As far as we were concerned, we maintained the pace of our bombing. We are acting as though we are in a long war of attrition and we are still able to expand our target area based on the needs and agreements between the factions on the battlefield so that we keep all the cities, towns and military posts under rocket fire.

How do you view the advances in the quality of the rockets and the fact that they reach Tel Aviv and Haifa?

Every day that passes in Gaza the Resistance makes progress compared to the day before. This is an important and necessary thing. The Resistance has stripped the occupation of its deterrence force, which Israel had always hailed, and we imposed a new reality on the ground. The Resistance made a new quantitative addition in the confrontation with the occupation through the tunnels.

Gaza has been under siege from air, land and sea. How did you overcome the siege and develop the range of your rockets and your military performance?

It is the revolution of the impossible, as the late leader Yasser Arafat used to say. It does not retreat, it does not know submission, and it does not surrender to the status quo. No matter how much our enemy tries to tighten its grip on us and prevent us from arming and developing our combat capabilities in human and military terms, it will not succeed. We thank everyone who supported the Resistance and helped us develop our rocket and military capabilities. We expect from them more and better things to protect the Resistance and to continue our struggle against our enemy until victory.

Are there contacts between the Resistance factions in Gaza on one hand and Hezbollah and Iran on the other? And what kind of contact is it?

Of course, there is always contact between the Palestinian Resistance and Hezbollah and Iran. This is no longer a secret. We are facing a fierce enemy that has its own alliances and we too, as the Resistance, have our alliances. We seek to expand the circle of these alliances in a way that serves our just cause and the legitimate national Palestinian project. These contacts take different forms, such as training, preparation, equipment, logistical support and developing the Resistance and its weapons. Of course, all that without interfering in the other side’s private affairs.

Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, expressed the party’s willingness to give all the support necessary to the Resistance in Gaza. How do you view this?

We are thankful and grateful to Hezbollah, which never abstained from giving support to the Palestinian Resistance in the Gaza Strip. The result of this support became very evident in this battle. We value and bless any support from Hezbollah and we are confident that this support will continue and develop more than before. We also welcome everyone who offers a helping hand and support to the Palestinian Resistance until we achieve victory and liberation.

The Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades had a prominent presence in this battle. You waged war directly with the Israeli army. Could you tell us about the nature of your operations during the war?

We had the honor of launching the first rocket in this battle in retaliation to Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Jerusalem, especially after the settlers kidnapped, killed and burned the martyr Mohammed Abu Khudair in a horrendous manner. Israeli war jets later assassinated the martyr Mazen al-Jarba, a military commander in Central Gaza, as well as the martyr Marwan Salim, commander of the rocket unit in the same province after they launched rockets at occupied towns. During the operation, The Drawn Sword of God, the Brigades launched more than 783 rockets at towns and Zionist military positions. We also engaged the enemy face to face in more than one location, inflicting death and injuries among enemy soldiers. The Israeli media admitted the killing of eight soldiers by our fighters, including Staff Sergeant Avita Moshe Torjamin, son of the commander of the southern region, who was killed on July 22 in al-Zanna area, east of Khan Younis. In addition, five soldiers were wounded in these clashes, two of whom were seriously injured.

We targeted the occupied city of Ashkelon with several rockets. We were about to get the extremist minister of foreign affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, during a press conference if it weren’t for the Iron Dome. The important thing is that our rockets reached him. He saw them with his own eyes and ran to hide in a shelter. The scene was repeated when the minister of interior, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, visited Ashkelon to raise the morale of the residents and the policemen. When the sirens sounded, he ran to the bomb shelter in fear of our rockets.

We also carried out three sniping operations and blew up an Israeli Caterpillar D9 [an armored bulldozer] in northern Gaza in the Tibet al-Daour area. Even though the real number of those killed in the ranks of the Israeli soldiers has been kept under wraps, Israel admitted to the killing of eight soldiers and two settlers in addition to the more than 40 injured during the operations that our fighters carried out.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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