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IDF Implies, Then Retracts That U.S. Approved Gaza Hit

mohammed al nimnim

IDF murdered Army of Islam leader Mohammed al-Nimnim (AP)

The IDF teamed up with the Shin Bet to execute a Gaza militant, Mohammed al-Nimnim (or Nemnem), thought to be a leader of a shadowy group Army of Islam.  The group has engaged in activities like kidnapping which haven’t always sat well with the Hamas rulers of the enclave.  Army of Islam played a role in capturing Gilad Shalit and BBC correspondent Alan Johnston.  Israel erroneously describes the group as the local Gaza affiliate of Al Qaeda.  It’s more likely that it is influenced by the Islamist terror group, but certainly not affiliated with it.  This AP story sums up the divergence:

An [IDF] military statement asserted that the Army of Islam is tied to Al-Qaeda and world jihad, but Palestinians said it does not have a direct, operational connection with Osama Bin Laden’s group.

Nimnim was murdered by an airstrike on his car, though some Palestinian security sources (likely the PA, which would like to make Hamas look bad) claimed it was a car bomb.  This seems highly unlikely as it would mean that Israel would’ve had to smuggle it into Gaza and somehow place it in the target vehicle–almost an impossibility.

What is intriguing is the IDF’s tacit claim that the U.S. government approved this killing because Army of Islam and specifically Nimnim targeted Americans in the Sinai:

Asked whether Israel had coordinated the hit on Mohammed Nimnim, a commander in the Army of Islam group, with its American ally, the spokesman did not respond.

She did, however, refer to the tight relationship between the army and the U.S.

“Without getting specifically into more details, I can tell you there is very good cooperation between us and the Americans,” she said.

“We have an ongoing relationship with the Americans, as well as with other forces, and from time to time we pass on information as with other sources,” she said.

Sounds like a non-denial denial to me.

The reporter’s question to the press flack was motivated by this statement on the IDF website:

Lately, the senior operative [Nimnim] was involved in planning several attacks on Israeli and American targets in Sinai with the cooperation of Hamas elements in Gaza.

Now, ain’t that interesting.  What Israeli targets are there in Sinai?  Maybe tourists, though it’s doubtful.  The only potential American target there I can think of is an international observer group which contains American personnel.  It was targeted for attack once in 2006.

Since Israel has released no further information about Nimnim’s alleged crimes except the impossibly vague claim he was a “ticking bomb,” I find the entire story of U.S. approval far too convenient to be credible.  Of course, Israel wants to appear to be doing the U.S.’ bidding in attacking terror targets that the former wishes to liquidate.  Nothing relieves the pressure of charges of international war crimes than knowing the president of the U.S. has “approved this message” to Palestinian terrorists.  Israel only wishes it could say the same of the al-Mabouh hit, which really would’ve taken the heat off the international outcry that followed that debacle.

Debka goes even farther and delusionally claims the victim was killed by a missile fired from a U.S. warship (sorry I can’t stomach increasing their Google rank with a link)!  How do they know?  Their “exclusive counter terror sources” like the birdie, told ’em so.  Now, that would be handy for those Shabak and IDF assassins wouldn’t it, to have full U.S. cover for their machinations.  I also especially liked the way Debka knows that Israel didn’t assassinate Nimnim: because “witnesses” (where did Debka find witnesses in Gaza to speak to? you see why I call them delusional?) told them they saw no Israeli aircraft in the skies.

This is also an IDF reminder to the world and U.S. that the Obama administration has its own “hit” parade going in which it has targeted an American citizen for assassination.  The IDF wants everyone to know that it is only doing what the world’s greatest superpower arrogates unto itself the right to do.  It does tend to undercut the argument that targeted killings are a gross violation of international law when the U.S. partakes in the tactic too.  Unless of course, you plan on targeting the U.S. president and defense secretary for war crimes charges.

I for one am thankful that a coalition of U.S. human rights groups have challenged the Obama order approving the killing of the Yemeni-American jihadist, al-Alwaki.  I hope the courts will strike down this monstrous affront on the Constitution and human rights.

I have queried several U.S. reporters asking them to secure a response from either the White House or State Department about the Israeli claim.  Perhaps word from the U.S. government has already trickled back to Israel leading the IDF to issue this outright denial:

An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said Thursday that she had been completely misquoted in a reported that hinted the army’s assassination of a Islamist militant leader in Gaza had been cleared in advance with Washington.

“I did not, in any way, say that,” said the spokesman.

Well, you were given a chance to deny it originally and you didn’t.

If you ask me, it’s much more likely that this murder was payback for the capture of Gilad Shalit since Army of Islam played an instrumental role in that action.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Avi November 5, 2010, 2:06 AM

    It took me till the end of the article to understand what you’re aiming at: What does it matter if the IDF shot the missile on its own, got an OK from the U.S. or even if the U.S. shot the missile from a warship as Debka claims?

    Finally, it dawned upon me that you believe that killing this person is a bad thing.

    I think the basic issue is a matter of trust. You say you’re against terror. So, if you consider the IDF and the Shin-Beit (and the US Army) are triggers happy irresponsible villains aiming to kill civilians, you’re correct. If you assume, as I do, that these are responsible, credible civil servants who wish to fight terror, than you’re wrong.

    Whom would you trust if you don’t trust the guardians?

    Avi, your enthusiastic reader.

    • Richard Silverstein November 5, 2010, 11:14 PM

      Finally, it dawned upon me that you believe that killing this person is a bad thing.

      A little slow on the uptake aren’t we? Do you know anything about what this man has allegedly done? Do you have any real proof? Are you prepared to take the word of your secret police who lie to you at every turn about matters large & small? Apparently you are. Apparently you’re prepared to live in yr mini police state with its veneer of democracy & be happy being led by the nose to God knows where.

      Am I in favor of apprehending, prosecuting terrorists & imprisoning them for their crimes? You bet. But Israeli as well as Palestinian terrorists. Not just Palestinian. But am I in favor of cold blooded state sponsored terrorism that is embodied in the targeted killing tactic? No, no, never.

      If you assume, as I do, that these are responsible, credible civil servants who wish to fight terror, than you’re wrong.

      You have absolutely no evidence to prove that any of these moral cretins are responsible, credible civil servants. You have made a pact w. the devil. The pact is that they agree to root out terror for you, you agree to ask no questions. They agree to do so showing no mercy, no morals, & no control, you again agree to ask no questions.

      The Israeli secret police are guardians of nothing but their own power & perogatives. If they really cared about doing their job the way it should be done they would do it the way intelligence services do in other western democracies & not the way its done in N. Korea or Iran.

  • dickerson3870 November 5, 2010, 5:01 PM

    The timing of the “hit” is interesting. It came on the day after Obama and the Democrats took a “shellacking”. Is this an example of Netanyahu “marking his territory”.

  • John Yorke November 5, 2010, 7:14 PM

    Well, whatever the pros and cons of such an assassination /murder/execution, it’s a fair bet this one won’t be the last we’ll hear about.

    This deed is done, the consequences awaited and are probably already in train. But life, as they say, goes on; no break in this cycle of death, no means of slowing down its all too familiar frequency.

    You’d think, what with all the attention and political manoeuvring that’s gone on over the years, some sort of mechanism might have evolved by now to deal more effectively with the subject.
    But no.
    We sit. We wait. We fulminate against the conduct of this side or that; we plead, we curse, we castigate.

    But never does it seem to get us anywhere. The conflict continues apace; the positions becoming more and more entrenched, as inflexible as ever. Although we might wish it otherwise, Death still visits where and when he wills. As in the case of the unfortunate Mr.al-Nimnim (or Nemnem), his fate was sealed, not by blind chance, but by the failure of everyone else to forestall his untimely exit from this world. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this incident, it still reflects badly on the rest of us that no alternate course of action was deemed available.
    It seems our much vaunted expertise in all the ways of dealing death counts for nothing when faced with the real prospect of having to put a halt to such an industry.

    The IDF may indeed have pulled the trigger on this occasion. But are we no less guilty because we permitted them to do so? Didn’t we do that? I think you’ll find it’s not so much the hatred some men may have for others that causes so many casualties along life’s path. Rather, it is their seeming indifference to those casualties; an inability to grasp the enormity of what confronts them, an unwillingness to do what is necessary.

    Then is Mankind inherently evil? No, we’re just too damn lazy to work the thing out for ourselves. That has always been our real crime where such matters are concerned.

    And, as the saying has it, in the end, it’s ever the lazy people who have to take the most pains.

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