Malaysia denies it trained Hamas operatives

Malaysia denies it trained Hamas operatives

Minister dismisses claims by captured operative that terror group had received paragliding instruction ahead of attack

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, in the central Gaza Strip, on June 30, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, in the central Gaza Strip, on June 30, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Malaysia’s Deputy Home Affairs Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar denied Thursday that his country had ever allowed Hamas fighters to train on its soil.

The statement came a day after the Israeli Shin Bet security service said it had apprehended a highly trained operative from the Gaza-based Islamist group who claimed to have taken part in a week-long military-style exercise in the southeast Asian country.

“It does not matter what kind of freedom-fighting group they belong to, even those against Israel, we have never given permission to have such training here,” Jaafar told local Malaysian media, according to the Bangkok Post.

The Malaysian minister added that although his country backs the Palestinians’ national ambitions, “the report is incorrect.”

On Wednesday, a Hamas operative in Israeli custody confessed that at least 10 fighters affiliated with the terror group had gone abroad to Malaysia for a week of paragliding training, in anticipation of perpetrating a terror attack on a southern Israeli town.

The terrorists had planned to bypass the Gaza border security fence by paragliding directly into a town.

The Hamas detainee, who was recruited to the Islamist terror group in 2007 and joined one of the group’s special units in 2010, said his squad had conducted a second training session in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, according to the Shin Bet.

The Hamas operative was arrested near the Palestinian city of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on the night between July 21 and July 22.

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