Jihadist Groups Fill a Palestinian Power Vacuum

[New York Times] Steven Erlanger and Hassan M. Fattah - With the fragmentation of authority in Gaza, and its isolation, said a Gazan analyst, Taysir Mhaisin, "there is an increase of fundamentalism and the birth of groups believing in violence and practicing violence as a model created by bin Ladenism." Bush administration officials say they are increasingly concerned that Hamas and even more radical groups may be hijacking the Palestinian movement. Whether these jihadist groups are part of al-Qaeda or simply local bands of religious fanatics, Westerners and their institutions are now more clearly under attack throughout the region, including in Gaza, as seen in the bombing of American and UN schools and in the kidnappings of two Fox News correspondents and of Alan Johnston, the BBC's Gaza correspondent. A shadowy group called the Army of Islam claims that it kidnapped Johnston in March.

2007-05-31 01:00:00

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