GAZA CITY — Hamas has found an ally in its war for control
of the Gaza Strip.
Al Qaida cells have come to Hamas's aid in the militia war against
Fatah, particularly in the northern Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources said
purported Al Qaida operatives have joined or
led attacks on Fatah targets in Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Beit Layhia,
regarded as the remaining Fatah bastions in the strip, Middle East Newsline reported.
Al Qaida cells have claimed responsibility for strikes on music
stores and places of entertainment in the Gaza Strip. The cells have also
attacked women in Western dress.
On Jan. 23, Al Qaida also claimed responsibility for an attack on a vacant
resort in Bet Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. The fighters blew up the
holiday village, said to have been owned by Preventive Security Apparatus
founder Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan has been deemed the leading Fatah opponent
Witnesses said 40 masked Al Qaida fighters raided the Al Waha complex.
They abducted three guards and then placed bombs in the rooms of the
"Al Qaida has arrived in Gaza and we will destroy every place owned by
Dahlan and bomb him, too," an Al Qaida attacker was quoted as saying.
Later, Dahlan aides denied that he owned the resort. Dahlan, supported
by Egypt, Israel and the United States, has become the de facto chief of
security agencies loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in
the Gaza Strip.
"Most of the Al Qaida people are former Hamas members with strong ties
to the organization," a Palestinian source said. "The use of the Al Qaida
name is meant to bolster their credentials and instill fear in the hearts of
On late Jan. 22, Palestinian insurgents blew up the office of Al Arabiya
television in Gaza City. The station had been threatened since the
Saudi-owned satellite channel broadcast a tape of PA Prime Minister Ismail
Haniyeh, a senior member of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The tape quoted Haniyeh as rejecting Fatah as a partner in the
government. "Even if God sets conditions for us, we will reject this,"
Haniyeh was heard to say.
Later, a group termed "Swords of Righteousness claimed responsibility
for the bombing of Al Arabiya. At the same time, the Hamas-aligned Executive
Force warned that it would file charges against any media outlet deemed
"This is the project of fear and terror that is taking place," Fatah
spokesman Maher Miqdad said. "Hamas is the hero of that scene par