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Popular Resistance Committees

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The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) are a Palestinian militant network which operates in the Gaza Strip and are regarded as terrorist organizations by Israel and the United States. Set up late 2000 by former Fatah and Tanzim member Jamal Abu Samhadana, the PRC are composed of ex-Fatah militants combined with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades activists. The PRC is specilized in planting roadside bombs and vehicle explosive charges - directed against military and civilian convoys in the Gaza Strip.

The PRC have been involved in a number of bombing incidents on military and civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, including the following:

  • The November 20, 2000 bombing of a bus full of children as it passed near Kfar Darom killing two.
  • The October 8 shooting attack on a bus carrying airport workers near the Rafah terminal on October 8, 2000, wounding 8 civilians, and a similar attack on a car on the road from Kerem Shalom to the Rafah terminal, killing the woman driver
  • Mortar attacks on April 28, 2001 on the Netzer Hazani agricultural Israeli settlement the Gaza Strip (wounding five, one seriously), and similar attacks on Kfar Darom on April 29 and on Atzmona on May 7 of the same year.
  • The February 14, 2002 killing of three Israeli soldiers using large explosive charges meant for tanks, and similar killings of three more soldiers on March 14 and one more on September 5 of that same year.
  • The May 2, 2004 killing of the unarmed and pregnant Tali Hatuel, and her four daughters aged 2 to 11, on Kissufim road. The PRC and Islamic Jihad jointly claimed responsibility, also claiming that the attack was in retaliation for earlier Israeli Defense Forces killings of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi.[1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3679395.stm)

In addition, the Palestinian Authority arrested several PRC members, accusing them of being responsible for planting the explosives which, on October 15, 2003, destroyed a US diplomatic convoy at Beit Hanoun, killing three security guards and severely wounding a diplomat.[2] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1063942,00.html) The PRC confirmed the men were PRC members, and initially claimed responsibility for the attack, but later denied carrying out the attack, saying it was against Palestinian interests. Following the attack, the US demanded that the Palestinian Authority find those responsible and bring them to justice. Palestinian officials said that because of lack of progress in the attack's investigation, the US halted financial support for the PA and placed unofficial sanctions on its accounts. After heavy US pressure, the PA tried 4 suspects in a Palestinian military court, but intelligence agencies dismissed the tribunal as a "mock trial" and said the suspects indeed were PRC activists, but not those responsible for the attack. The suspects were released in March 2004, less than one year after the attack.

The PRC are also involved in Rafah's smuggling tunnels [3] (http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/sib/8_04/pto.htm) which have been used to smuggle weapons, explosives, drugs, fugitives, prostitutes, cigarettes etc. [4] (http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2003/10/11/8_killed_as_israelis_raid_camp_in_gaza?mode=PF) [5] (http://www.csis.org/features/EscalatingToNoWhere/Ch14.pdf) [6] (http://mideastreality.com/english/rafahtunnel.html) [7] (http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=429159&contrassID=1)

External link

The Leading Palestinian Terrorist Organizations (August 2004) (http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/sib/8_04/pto.htm) from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S)

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