They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Abbas: Hamas supporting Al Qaeda in Gaza

... In an interview on Monday with the RAI television network of Italy, Mr. Abbas said, "Thanks to the support of Hamas, Al Qaeda is entering Gaza."

The accusation, which was quickly denied by Hamas, underscored the depth of Mr. Abbas's hostility toward Hamas, the Islamic militant group that won a majority in the Palestinian parliament in the elections of January 2006. After months of skirmishes between the two factions' fighters, Hamas seized control of Gaza in June, routing the Fatah forces there.

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said today that Hamas has "no links" to Al Qaeda and that Mr. Abbas "is trying to mislead international opinion to win support for his demand to deploy international forces in Gaza."

Hamas has always tried to distance itself from Al Qaeda and that group's agenda of global jihad, saying that Hamas’s own struggle is confined to the Israeli-Palestinian arena.

Late last month, after the Hamas takeover in Gaza, an audio recording of Ayman al-Zawahri, the deputy leader of Al Qaeda, was posted on a militant web site. In it, Mr. Zawahri called on Muslims around the world to help finance and arm Hamas. Mr. Abu Zuhri said at that time that "Hamas has its own program, regardless of the comments of this group or that group."

Previously, Mr. Zawahru had criticized Hamas for involving itself in elective politics and for sharing power with the more secular Fatah party in a joint "unity" government for a time. Hamas reacted angrily to both criticisms.

... Israeli experts doubt that there is any connection between Hamas and Al Qaeda itself.

"I am not sure there is a real Al Qaeda presence in Gaza, though there are clearly people there who identify with it in spirit," said Yoram Schweitzer of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. Mr. Schweitzer dismissed the idea that Hamas would help Al Qaeda set up in Gaza: "On the contrary, Hamas wants to be in control there. It would do all it could to stop it." Link