JERUSALEM – In recent weeks, at least twenty members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the so-called “military wing” of Hamas, have traveled from the Gaza Strip to Malaysia to participate in combat training, according to a Palestinian security source.
Along with the training, some of the Hamas members will study at Malaysian academic institutions in fields that could aid Hamas in developing its military capabilities, the source said. For example, they are slated to undergo theoretical and practical training in the field of operating unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
Another Palestinian security source added that Malaysia has become a “favorite destination for Hamas members to develop their military abilities.”
Hamas Spokesman Ismail Radwan told Breitbart Jerusalem that the report is “one more lie that aims to embarrass the Malaysian leadership after a very successful visit of a Hamas leadership delegation to the country.”
Last week, a Hamas delegation led by Khaled Meshaal, the head of the terrorist group’s political bureau, took part in a four day visit to Malaysia that included meetings with senior politicians. While in Malaysia, Meshaal praised the ongoing wave of violence targeting Israelis. He claimed Palestinians have become disillusioned with the land-for-peace process and declared “only the path of Jihad, sacrifice, and blood” will bring results.
Israel has accused Malaysia of hosting Hamas training programs in the past.
In March, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency revealed it had information that Hamas was training Palestinian students in Malaysia to carry out attacks on behalf of the group’s “military wing.”
At the time, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported:
‘The (Shin Bet) 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.’
In response to the Haaretz report, Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told the Malaysian Insider that the allegations were “ridiculous” and Israel was seeking to create reasons for the international community to oppose Malaysia.
In 2014, Israeli officials claimed Hamas members went to Malaysia to train in paragliding techniques. At the time, Malaysian officials denied the report.