Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-hamas-fugitive-who-‘ran-terror-group’s-operations-in-the-west-bank’-lives-in-council-property-in-north-london-borough-home-to-roughly-fifth-of-uk’s-jewish-community,-report-revealsAlert – Hamas fugitive who ‘ran terror group’s operations in the West Bank’ lives in council property in North London borough home to roughly fifth of UK’s Jewish community, report reveals

A Hamas fugitive who ‘ran the group’s terrorist operations in the West Bank’ lives in a council property in a North London borough that is home to roughly a fifth of the UK’s Jewish community, a report has revealed.

Muhammad Qassem Sawalha, 62, who served on Hamas’s ruling body, managed to steer clear of Israel’s security services using a relative’s passport and left for the UK in the 1990s, before later gaining British citizenship, The Times reports.

In the UK, Sawalha continued to work for Hamas. He held secret discussions about ‘revitalising’ terrorist acts in Israel and helping to launder money to fund activities in the West Bank and Gaza, according to a 2004 US Department of Justice indictment.

In 2003, the father of four became a council tenant at a two-storey home with a garage and a garden in Colindale, in the north London borough of Barnet, where he lives with his 56-year-old wife Sawsan.

Some 56,616 Jews live in the borough of Barnet, the highest Jewish population of any in Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Muhammad Qassem Sawalha, 62, who served on Hamas’s ruling body, managed to steer clear of Israel’s security services using a relative’s passport and left for the UK in the 1990s, before later gaining British citizenship, according to a report

The address is within a 10-minute drive of two synagogues.

In June 2021, Sawalha and his wife used the Right to Buy scheme to purchase their home for £320,700.

The council granted them a £112,300 discount on the property’s market value, £500 less than the maximum discount available for that financial year. They do not have a mortgage on the property.

Under the Right to Buy scheme, council tenants can get a discount on the market value of a property. The average price of a home in the area is nearly £600,000, according to Land Registry data.

The council’s leader, Barry Rawlings, said he was ‘horrified to think [Sawalha] could be living in our midst’ and noted that he had launched a review.

He said: ‘We will liaise with other stakeholders including the police and the government in reviewing the full history of this case and will take all appropriate action.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Israeli-American paramedic on the front line of Hamas terror attack describes how three of his colleagues were slaughtered as they tried to save Jewish villagers and festival-goers 

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‘This has emerged at a time when communities locally are in desperate need of reassurance following the escalating conflict in the Middle East, and we have a responsibility as the council to ensure we can give that reassurance.’

In 2020, Rawlings said that the UK Lawyers for Israel campaign group had informed the council of Sawalha’s background and that, as soon as it had received this information, officials ‘reported it to the counterterrorism unit at the Met Police’.

National Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit officers determined whether the tenancy agreement may have contravened sanctions legislation.

But a spokesman said ‘the evidential test was not met’ and there was no further action taken. 

The sale of the property the following year has not been subjected to an investigation.

In 2019, Sawalha met Vladimir Putin’s deputy foreign minister at an official Hamas delegation to Moscow. He served on Hamas’s politburo from 2013 to 2017 and he was photographed with the group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, in 2010 and 2012.

In 2009, Sawalha signed a declaration that commended Allah for having ‘routed the Zionist Jews’, made a plea for weapons to be sent to Gaza, and demanded a ‘Third Jihadist Front’ be set up in Palestine, alongside Afghanistan and Iraq.

Israel’s defence ministry has officially designated Sawalha as belonging to Hamas and he will face arrest should he return.

Despite his controversial activities, Sawalha was able to gain a British passport in the early Noughties. Home Office guidance states that anyone who ‘incites, justifies or glorifies’ terrorist violence or ‘seeks to provoke others to terrorist acts’ will be denied citizenship under ordinary circumstances.

Sawalha has never faced any charges in the UK. 

Footage shows fighters training ahead of Hamas’ operation into Israel

Footage shows fighters training ahead of Hamas’ operation into Israel

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast and Cardiff on Saturday in protest as they defended the rights of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank following the violent response to horrific Hamas terror attacks launched on Israel earlier this month.

Around 1,000 Met Police officers were on duty to monitor events in the capital after a similar event last week saw a large crowd turn out in solidarity with Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip.

Marchers held signs reading ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and ‘Stop Bombing Gaza’. 

Participants called for an end to Israel’s blockade and airstrikes launched in the wake of a brutal incursion into southern Israel by the Hamas terrorist group that controls Gaza.

The border crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened on Saturday to let a trickle of desperately needed aid into the besieged Palestinian territory for the first time since Israel sealed it off following Hamas’ bloody rampage two weeks ago.

Just 20 trucks were allowed in, an amount aid workers said was insufficient to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis. More than 200 trucks carrying 3,000 tonnes of aid have been waiting nearby for days.

Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, half of whom have fled their homes, are rationing food and drinking dirty water. 

Smoke rises as the Israeli airstrikes continue on its 15th day in Beit Hanoun, Gaza on October 21, 2023

Hospitals say they are running low on medical supplies and fuel for emergency generators amid a territory-wide power blackout. 

Five hospitals have stopped functioning because of fuel shortages and bombing damage, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

On Friday Hamas freed two American hostages, Judith Tai Ranaan and her daughter Natalie, who had been held in Gaza since the war began on October 7, but Israel says the terrorist group is still holding at least 210 captive. 

Israel is still launching waves of airstrikes across Gaza as Palestine fires rockets back.

Israel’s military spokesman said the country planned to step up its attacks starting on Saturday as preparation for the next stage of its war on Hamas. 

Asked about a possible ground invasion, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters that the military was trying to create optimal conditions beforehand.

‘We will deepen our attacks to minimise the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks, from today,’ Hagari said, repeating his call for residents of Gaza City to head south for their safety.

There are growing expectations of a ground offensive that Israel says would be aimed at rooting out Hamas. 

Israel said on Friday that it does not plan to take long-term control over the small but densely populated Palestinian territory. 

This aerial view shows humanitarian aid trucks arriving from Egypt after having crossed through the Rafah border crossing arriving at a storage facility in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023

An Israeli ground assault would likely lead to a dramatic escalation in casualties on both sides in urban fighting.

The war, which entered its 15th day on Saturday, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. 

The Gaza Health Ministry said on Saturday that the death toll has reached 4,385, while 13,561 people have been wounded.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly in the initial attack on October 7. 

Rishi Sunak has warned that the Israel-Hamas war risks unleashing a ‘contagion of conflict’ across the Middle East.

The Prime Minister, who visited Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for talks with key regional players this week, said the leaders agreed ‘we need to do everything possible’ to prevent the spread of the war.

He said his two-day visit to the region demonstrated ‘that the UK stands in solidarity with them against terrorism’ and that ‘there can be no justification’ for the atrocities committed by Hamas.

He said the opening of the border crossing with Egypt to allow an aid convoy into the Gaza Strip was an example of what could be achieved.

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