Tiny Minority of Extremistsâ„¢ Update: “Mideast: Salafist Spokesman,11,000 Support Al Qaeda In Gaza,” from ANSAmed, April 19 (thanks to Insubria):
(ANSAmed) – GAZA, APRIL 19 – In the Gaza Strip, Al Qaeda “can currently count on 11,000 supporters”, said a spokesman for the local Salafist movement, Abu al-Hareth, in an interview with the press agency MAAN. However, his words were viewed with scepticism in Gaza, where estimates still hold that the various Al Qaeda-inspired movements total a few hundred militants at the most. Abu al-Hareth said that the armed groups in Gaza taking their cue from the teachings of Osama bin Laden did not have direct links with Al Qaeda, but that they were influenced by his orders. He added that relations with Hamas had been tense since last summer the latter’s security forces broke into a Salafist mosque in southern Gaza and killed 16. Subsequently Hamas carried out numerous arrests among the group. “We are kept under control 24 hours a day,” complained Abu Hareth. Nevertheless, the spokesman added that the Al Qaeda-inspired armed groups had managed to conduct a number of attacks on Israeli forces deployed along the Gaza. Under the generic name of Jaljalat, noted the spokesman, currently four Salafist-inspired are operating in Gaza: Jund Ansar Allah; Jaish al-Islam; al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad and Jund-Allah. (ANSAmed).