CANADIAN PLOTTED TO KILL ISRAELIS IN AMERICA
By URI DAN
December 9, 2003 -- JERUSALEM - A Canadian born in Gaza was trained by Hamas to assassinate Israeli VIPs in the United States, Israeli investigators said yesterday.
Jamal Akel confessed he was also told to recruit accomplices at Canadian mosques to help him attack Jewish communities in North America, the Shin Bet secret service said.
"New York is a place where it's easy to find Jews," Akel said he was told by the Hamas commander who recruited him, Ahmed Wahaba.
Akel, 23, was arrested Nov. 1 by Israeli authorities during a three-week visit to see his family in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, where he was born.
Akel, who went to college in Windsor, Ontario, and now runs a convenience store there, said he met Wahaba soon after arriving in Gaza.
Wahaba asked if he wanted to help the cause of Hamas, which has organized dozens of homicide bombing attacks.
According to the confession, Akel agreed. Wahaba then taught him how to fire an M-16 rifle and told him to buy his own when he returned to Canada.
Akel allegedly was told by Wahaba to collect information about senior Israeli government officials and diplomats who were planning to visit the United States - and to kill one of them either by gunfire or explosives.
Wahaba told Akel to enlist confederates in Canadian mosques to help him in attacks on Jewish communities.
Akel's family in Gaza said he had only come back to his homeland to find a wife and visit with his six sisters, whom he hadn't seen in years.
Akel's lawyer, Jamil al-Qhateb, acknowledged that Hamas had tried to recruit Akel to carry out attacks in North America but insisted Akel refused.