Hamas is training West Bank Palestinian students in Malaysia to conduct operations as part of the organization’s military wing, the Shin Bet security service says. The students are meant to operate undercover upon their return to the West Bank.
While Israel last year claimed that Hamas was training its operatives in paragliding techniques in Malaysia, a claim that Malaysia denied, this is the first time the Shin Bet has presented detailed allegations about Hamas activities in that country.
The claims appear in an indictment filed March 18 in the Judea Military Court against a Hebron resident, Waseem Qawasmeh, 24, charged with belonging to and being active in a banned organization, making contact with the enemy and receiving money from an enemy. Qawasmeh was arrested February 13 at the Allenby Bridge upon returning from Malaysia via Jordan.
According to the Shin Bet, Hamas men in Malaysia actively recruit for military training Palestinians who are studying there. Recruiters also put the students through ideological preparation that includes joining the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian charities that operate there.”
After their training, the operatives are sent to set up military networks in the West Bank, act as messengers between the territories and foreign countries, and carry out secret transfers of funds to meet Hamas’ needs.
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It would not be surprising that Hamas would have a presence in Malaysia. GMBDW research suggests that the Palestinian Cultural Organization Malaysia (PCOM), headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, is likely one Malaysian organization that is close to Hamas. In March of this year, the PCOM director described Hamas as follows:
Hamas is one of the main Palestinian resistance movements that inspire the hope of the Palestinian people to see their country free and independent. What Palestinians expect from their fellow friends worldwide is to see their bold support for Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Listing Hamas as a terrorist organization is seen by most Palestinians as nothing short of backstabbing of their struggle!
One notable leaders of the Global Muslim Brotherhood residing in Malaysia is opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim who is also one of the founders of the US-based International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). IIIT has long been active in Malaysia and Indonesia and has branch offices in both countries. IIIT co-founder and leader Jamal Barzinji is also a former director of two Islamic Banks in Malaysia as well as having other business interests in the country. Barzinji was also one of the main individuals involved in the now defunct SAAR Foundation, an extensive network of charities and companies in Northern Virginia suspected by the US government of involvement in terrorism financing. He and other SAAR officers were involved in establishing earliest organizations of the US. Muslim Brotherhood.