Jihadists in Gaza

(Reuters) Nidal al-Mughrabi - Bandleader Jamal Al-Bayouk said he and his musicians would not risk performing in the southern Gaza Strip any more after militant Islamists threatened to kill them at a wedding party. They had just finished performing east of Khan Yunis when armed militants burst in, set fire to $40,000 worth of instruments and fired shots between the legs of band members. "One gunman...told me: Prepare for death, you immoral infidel," Bayouk said. The threats come from Salafi jihadists whose agenda is global holy war against the West. Hamas is not Islamist enough in the eyes of hardline groups which have stepped up attacks in Gaza over the past several months. Last Sunday, masked gunmen vandalized a UN-run summer camp for children after Islamist militants accused the UN of promoting immorality among Gaza's Muslim youth. Analysts say Hamas is reaping the harvest it sowed: many current members of the jihadist Salafi factions were once trained activists of Hamas' armed wing. Political analyst Talal Okal says the number is rising, thanks to the Islamist environment Hamas encourages. Boaz Ganor, an Israeli expert in counter-terrorism, said the hardline groups were loose cannons in territory Hamas controls, and as far as Israel was concerned it is Hamas that bears responsibility for their actions.

2010-05-28 10:20:05

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