Former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat instructed Hamas to launch terror attacks against Israel when he realized that the peace talks weren't going anywhere, Mahmoud Zahar, one of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, revealed on Tuesday.

"President Arafat instructed Hamas to carry out a number of military operations in the heart of the Zionist entity after he felt that his negotiations with the Israeli government then had failed," Zahar told students and lecturers at the Islamic University in Gaza City.

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Zahar did not say when and how Arafat instructed Hamas back then to launch the "military operations" – most of which were suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

However, it is believed that Arafat issued the order to Hamas following the failure of the Camp David summit in 2000.

This was the first time that a senior Hamas official disclosed that some of the suicide bombings in Israel during the second intifada, which erupted 10 years ago, were ordered by Arafat.

Until now it was widely believed that Arafat had ordered his Fatah militiamen to carry out terror attacks on Israel.

According to various testimonies, Arafat ordered the armed wing of Fatah, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, to launch terror attacks against Israel after he realized that the government of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak was not going to meet all his demands.

Zahar claimed that Arafat's decision to negotiate with Israel was one of the reasons that led to his "assassination." He said the decision was a grave mistake and a tactical error on the part of Arafat.

Zahar urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas to pull out immediately from the talks with Israel.

He claimed that the PA's security coordination with Israel has resulted in the elimination of a number of Hamas men in the West Bank at the hands of the IDF.



He added that Hamas now had more capabilities to smuggle weapons and other military equipment into the Gaza Strip in preparation for the next confrontation with Israel.

Zahar said that a growing number of Palestinians were now convinced that the armed struggle was the only way to deal with Israel.

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