More on the battle in Gaza 0

Here is an Israeli report of the battle between Hamas and an al-Qaeda linked group in Gaza (see post below):

A senior Hamas commander is reported among the nineteen dead and 120 injured in the gun battles between Hamas forces and hundreds of members of the al Qaeda offshoot Jund Ansar Allah in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah Friday Aug. 14. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Hamas special units fired mortars and heavy machine guns into the Ibn Thaymas mosque where the Jund leader, Abdullah al Latif Mussa earlier proclaimed the enclave an al Qaeda emirate. He urged all its inhabitants to defy Hamas rule and take an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. After storming the mosque, Hamas forces blew up the Jund leader’s four-storey home with all its occupants. [As our reader aeschines says in a comment on the post below, if the Israelis tried something like that there’d be ‘global fireworks’ – JB.] His death was reported but not confirmed.

Our counter-terror sources report that in recent months terrorist groups identified with al Qaeda are spreading out through the southern Gaza Strip, establishing their influence with plentiful cash, weapons and explosives. They accuse Hamas of failing to establish Islamic law in the enclave.

Which report is the more accurate we’ll have to wait and see. This account puts the episode in a believable context. Credible reports of al-Qaeda groups establishing themselves, well armed, in the southern Gaza Strip have been circulating for some months now. Of course Hamas feels threatened. Which terrorist group will dominate the other? Will war decide the issue? Meanwhile, let crocodile eat crocodile.

Posted under Arab States, Islam, Israel, Muslims, News, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 15, 2009

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Hamas fights a bloody battle with the ‘non-existent’ in Gaza 1

From the Telegraph:

Six people were killed and 55 wounded in Gaza fighting on Friday when Hamas police stormed a mosque where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said.

Shooting was continuing after dark, witnesses said, after clashes began in the afternoon following weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border.

Among the dead was Mohammed al-Shamali, head of the Hamas military unit for southern Gaza, emergency services said, adding that bodies of some other victims could not be reached because of the intensity of the fighting…

An Egyptian security official said a three-year-old boy was critically wounded by a bullet from the fighting across the [Egyptian] border.

Witnesses said that following the prayers, a group of Palestinians announced the formation of the Islamist “emirate,” defying the authority of Hamas, which has ruled Gaza’s 1.5 million people for the past two years.

“We are today proclaiming the creation of an Islamist Emirate in the Gaza Strip,” Abdul Latif Musa, a representative of Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of the Partisans of God), said at the Bin Taymiyya mosque, the witnesses reported.

Musa was surrounded by armed fighters when he made his statement, according to the witnesses.

Rafah is the Gaza stronghold of the so-called Salafist movement, of which Jund Ansar Allah is said to a part and which is ideologically close to al-Qaeda.

An AFP photographer reported that Hamas police dynamited Musa’s house. It could not be established whether the Islamist was there at the time.

Hamas police blocked all entrances to Rafah, the photographer said.

The Hamas interior ministry warned that those violating the law would be pursued and arrested.

“Everyone outside the law and carrying arms in order to spread chaos will be pursued and arrested,” a ministry statement said.

At the same time, Hamas premier Ismail Haniya denied that the group exists.

“No such groups exist on the ground in Gaza,” he said at prayers in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. He blamed the “Israeli media for spreading this information with a view to turning the world against Gaza.”

Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007 after a week of vicious fighting with forces of the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.