Al-Qaeda Infiltration of Gaza: A Post-Disengagement Assessment

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) David Keyes - In a September 2005 interview, leading Hamas spokesman Mahmoud az-Zahar confirmed the infiltration of al-Qaeda members into Gaza. In addition to physical infiltration, he said that telephone contact from Gaza with other al-Qaeda centers in foreign countries existed as well. Leaflets in Khan Yunis distributed by al-Qaeda's "Palestine branch" proclaimed that the terrorist group has started its work of uniting Muslims under an Islamic state. The group stated that their primary goal was enforcing sharia law worldwide. The leaflets were signed by al-Qaeda of Jihad in Palestine. Though al-Qaeda in Gaza currently may have only a limited numerical presence, preventing it from gaining a real foothold needs to be an important counterterrorism priority of all interested parties.

2005-12-19 00:00:00

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