No surprise here. But note the close ties between Al-Qaeda and Hamas. “‘Al-Qaida operating in Gaza’: Global jihad group targeting Palestinian leaders, secular Muslims,” by Aaron Klein for WorldNetDaily.com, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
JERUSALEM — Al-Qaida is operating in the Gaza Strip and previously attempted to assassinate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other top leaders from Abbas’ Fatah party, according to Palestinian security officials.
The officials, associated with Fatah, told WND assassination attempts against Abbas — including explosives planted in January along the route of his motorcade and reportedly intended for detonation while he was on its way to a meeting in Gaza and explosives found buried near his Gaza residence — were attributed to al-Qaida cells in the Gaza Strip and to groups in Gaza working on behalf of the global jihad organization….
They noted the increased activity of groups in the Gaza Strip claiming to work on behalf on al-Qaida, pointing to recent attacks in Gaza against secular music stores, Internet cafes and a pool hall in which groups that state they work for al-Qaida have claimed responsibility….
In April, WND first reported a new purported group, the Army of Islam, which claims to speak for al-Qaida, announced an al-Qaida leader as important as Osama bin Laden would soon reveal himself in the West Bank and Gaza and orchestrate local and global jihad from the areas.
In March 2006, Abbas became the first Palestinian leader to admit al-Qaida infiltrated Gaza after Israel’s withdrawal from the territory in the summer of 2005.
“We have indications about a presence of al-Qaida in Gaza and the (West) Bank. This is intelligence information. We have not yet reached the point of arrests,” Abbas said, after months of denying the global jihad group was able to infiltrate Palestinian territory.
Al-Qaida and Hamas: Ideological partners?
Reuven Erlich, director of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at Israel’s Center for Special Studies, stressed the common ideological links between al-Qaida and Hamas, which heads the PA government in a unity deal with Fatah.
The link, Erlich said, can be emphasized through Palestinian cleric Abdullah Azzam, who was al-Qaida’s ideologue and, until his death, Osama bin Laden’s spiritual mentor.
“We found Azzam’s picture on Hamas posters from Gaza and a lot of Hamas material,” Erlich told WND. “Azzam’s portrait in materials reveal that he is perceived by Hamas as one of the four ‘outstanding figures’ of the Islamic ‘struggle’ in Palestine and around the world.”