Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hamas and Jaysh al-Umma

Hamas is cracking down on a pro-al-Qaeda group in the Gaza Strip:
"In a deserted area of southern Gaza, the recently formed Jaysh al-Ummah (The Army of the Nation - JAU) organized its first public training session on September 1. The local Reuters video crew was given access to record the training of this little-known armed group. The resulting video showed about 25 masked gunmen engaged in mock battle. Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi, the masked leader of the JAU, also appeared, saying that his group is not part of al-Qaeda while indicating that 'there is an ideological bond between our brothers in al-Qaeda and ourselves. We share the same course, the course of our Prophet Muhammad.' Abu Hafs spoke while surrounded by his men, with the name al-Qaeda written in Arabic on the wall behind them. Other graffiti on the wall read; 'We are coming, Jews!' The JAU leader also criticized the Hamas movement which controls the Gaza Strip; 'We believe that Hamas applies neither Sharia law nor any other Islamic rule or order.' In what seemed an echo to Osama Bin Laden’s words, Abu Hafs added: 'We say that the world will not live in peace as long as the blood of Muslims continues to be shed' (Reuters, September 2).

"Two days after this unprecedented move, Hamas authorities called Abu Hafs in for questioning and kept him in custody. One of his assistants said that the arrest is related to the public training session (al-Hayat, September 5)."



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