Gaza Turning into Regional Terror-Training Center

(Ha'aretz) Barak Ravid - 15 different Salafi groups affiliated with the global jihad movement and al-Qaeda are operating in Sinai, according to senior officials at the Israel Security Agency. While the ISA estimates the number of operatives at several hundred, IDF Military Intelligence puts it at a few thousand. Some are from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Gaza, but most are Sinai Bedouin who have undergone radicalization. The four groups most active against Israel are Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has fired rockets at Eilat several times; Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis, which killed an Israeli civilian at the border fence in June 2012; Al-Takfir wal-Hijra, which killed 16 Egyptian policemen in August 2012; and Jaish al-Islam, a group started by the Dughmush clan from Gaza that was involved in kidnapping IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel's 2005 pullout from Gaza brought Gaza and Sinai much closer. After Israel's disengagement, Gaza began exporting terror to Sinai. Experienced Palestinian terrorists from Gaza have gone to Sinai and hooked up with Bedouin groups there, bringing a great deal of knowhow with them, a senior Israeli intelligence official explained. Moreover, over the last two years, Gaza has become a base for Salafis from all over the Arab world seeking military training. Most of the training camps are run by Mumtaz Dughmush, the head of Jaish al-Islam. The trainees then go to Sinai, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

2013-08-21 00:00:00

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