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PUBLISHED: Jul 31, 2014 4:35pm

Home Ministry denies Malaysia a special training ground for Hamas

Powered Paraglider

HAMZAH NAZARI By:
Hamzah Nazari

According to a report by 'The Jerusalem Post', a suspected Hamas member was captured on July 21 in Khan Unis by the Israeli Defence Force. He claimed that he had undergone power parachute training in Malaysia in preparation for aerial attacks. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 31:

Malaysia has been named as a training ground for Hamas in preparation for aerial attacks and kidnap operations using powered parachutes.

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, a suspected Hamas member was captured on July 21 in Khan Unis by the Israeli Defence Force and revealed this information after being interrogated.

It was alleged that the captured Hamas member told Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officers that he had trained in carrying out attacks via powered parachutes.

The suspect apparently travelled to Malaysia in 2012, where he and nine other Hamas members learned how to fly a powered parachute.

“In Gaza, the cell members underwent repeated training sessions on how to fly into Israel and carry out attacks, and were ordered by their Hamas commanders to keep their training top secret,” according to the Jerusalem Post report.

Meanwhile, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today responded to Bernama on the allegation, denying the report altogether.

He said Malaysia had never organised any form of military training for any parties, except for countries with formal agreements.

“The Home Ministry has never provided secret training to Hamas fighters,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Wan Junaidi said the baseless allegation was merely to tarnish Malaysia’s good name, adding that it could be an ill-intention of Shin Bet following Malaysia’s support for the Palestinians and condemnation of Israel’s atrocious attacks on Palestine.

The Rakyat Post was unable to find references to the use of such equipment in active military engagements except for an advertisement and one line on Wikipedia.

“In some armies, powered paragliding is used to insert special forces soldiers into specific areas. The Lebanese Airborne regiment adopted this technique in 2008,” read the entry.

However, Wikipedia does state that powered parachutes are often used to herd reindeer.

It also states that research by FootFlyer.com estimates that the activity is slightly safer than riding motorcycles and more dangerous than riding in cars.

“The most likely cause of serious injury is body contact with a spinning propeller. The next most likely cause of injury is flying into something other than the landing zone.

“The most likely cause of fatality is drowning,” according to the entry.

According to Wikipedia, in 2007 British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that, “only when precise reserve factors have been established for individual harness/wing combinations carrying realistic suspended masses, at load factors appropriate to the manoeuvres to be carried out, can these aircraft be considered to be structurally safe”.

It also states that powered paragliding, as it is also known, is noisy and can cause considerable nuisance to people on the ground, which may rule out the use of such techniques in covert operations.

“It is therefore advisable to avoid landing, take-off or low level flying in populated regions or in regions where the noise may disturb nature.”

Checks by The Rakyat Post revealed that if the militants had waited a year, they could have saved up to 57% on their training session by buying the deal on an online deal website.

The deal, which has since ended, gave a Malaysian or a militant the opportunity to fly on a Powered Parachute for just RM180 or RM340 for 2 people or RM450 for 3 people.

As 10 Hamas members are alleged to have come here to train, they would have only had to spend RM1,530 as part of their training by opting for a combination of the packages.

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