Gaza has become a regional exporter of terrorism under Hamas rule. Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports that in June, Moroccan security forces captured an 11-man jihadist squad that was planning carry out attacks against army and tourist targets throughout Morocco. The terrorists, who included Moroccans and Palestinians, sought to assassinate prominent Moroccan officials, including members of the nation's Jewish community.
The alleged leader of the network was Yahya al-Hindi, a Gazan who formerly was a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). In 2006, he established an organization calling itself "The Unity of Allah and Jihad in the land of Ribat," which planned attacks against Israel and claimed credit for rocket strikes targeting the Jewish State.
Trained in utilizing and manufacturing explosives, al-Hindi has reportedly visited Afghanistan and undergone training in Taliban camps. While in Afghanistan, he is reported to have met with al Qaida operatives, including some from Morocco, remaining in contact with them for several years after returning to Gaza.
After four unsuccessful efforts to enter the country, al-Hindi was able to get in by falsely claiming he was engaged to marry a Moroccan girl. Once inside Morocco, al-Hindi and his associates searched for locations to train. In June, Moroccan security forces uncovered the group and arrested its members.
The Morocco arrests serve to highlight one way in which Gaza exports terror. Earlier this month, terrorists operating from the Sinai Peninsula fired a volley of Katyusha rockets into southern Israel and Jordan, killing a Jordanian cab driver near an Aqaba hotel.
Israel is concerned that Hamas and other terrorist organizations might seek to utilize Gaza to smuggle arms and carry out future attacks. Gaza Bedouin are suspected of having helped Hamas and global jihadist groups linked with al Qaida to smuggle weapons into the Sinai. In April, Egypt convicted and sentenced 26 members of a Hizballah cell on charges that included smuggling weapons to Hamas in Gaza.
But with Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in failing health, Israeli officials are uncertain that Cairo is prepared to exert sufficient control over the Bedouin.
"The farther from Cairo, the weaker the central authority is. They are having great difficulties with the Bedouin," said Ronen Bergman, a security commentator for Yediot Ahronot. "If Hamas is able to deepen its cooperation with the Bedouin, and create bases in Sinai for recruitment, we're talking about a new ballgame."