Lebanese daily relates Jibril assassination to deadly ambush in north Israel about two months ago
Jihad Jibril’s suspected involvement in an ambush in northern Israel two months ago, in which six Israelis were killed, raises the possibility that the Palestinian guerrilla leader may have been the victim of an Israeli revenge operation.
Israel has been roundly blamed for Monday’s car-bomb killing of Jibril, 38, the son of Ahmed Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command.
According to the Lebanese Daily Star, Jibril is among a number of suspects implicated in a deadly roadside ambush on March 12 near the village of Matsuba in northern Israel, 3 kilometers south of the border with Lebanon. Six Israelis, five of them civilians, were gunned down by two assailants wearing Israeli Army uniforms who had taken up position on a hill overlooking the Shelomi-Kabri road. Both attackers were subsequently killed in a shoot-out with Israeli soldiers.
According to the daily, there is compelling circumstantial evidence to suggest that Hizbullah was involved in what was a well-planned and professionally executed operation, probably in cooperation with Palestinian allies such as the PFLP-GC, whose fighters would have carried out the attack.
The two fighters who carried out the ambush were probably specially trained Palestinians, allowing Hizbullah to maintain some plausible deniability if they had been captured alive. Fighters belonging to the PFLP-GC, which works under the auspices of Hizbullah in the South, are likely suspects. Fighters from Islamic Jihad, which is also close to Hizbullah, are another possibility.
The Matsuba ambush bore similarities to the PFLP-GC’s most famous operation, when two fighters in 1987 flew by hang-glider across the border, landed at an Israeli Army base and killed six soldiers before being shot dead themselves, the Lebanese newspaper mentioned.
The Israelis may have considered it expedient to take revenge on Jibril, an “expendable” Palestinian, whom they may have known or simply suspected of involvement in the Matsuva ambush. Such a scenario would have sent a message to Hizbullah and the PFLP-GC without the risk of igniting the Lebanon-Israel border, which an attack on the Hizbullah leadership, Syrian Army or Lebanese infrastructure may have provoked, the Daily Star concluded. (Albawaba.com)
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