Some 22 militants died in fighting in Gaza between Hamas and the Army of God’s Helpers on Friday, the latter being a radical fundamentalist cult that took some of its cues from al-Qaeda and the Taliban and demanded the imposition of a rigid understanding of Islamic law in Gaza, as well as plotting global holy war. Hamas, though it is fundamentalist, is more of a regional political party and less of a cult, and it has a strict policy against hitting the US or other international targets beyond Israel itself. Hamas is focused on Palestinian-Israeli issues, not on global jihad. Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections in both Gaza and the West Bank and so is the legitimate government of both, but it was removed from the West Bank when it clashed with the secular Palestine Liberation Organization of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
It appears to me that Hamas was earlier made by Western media and politicians to take the blame for things that the Army of the Helpers of God actually did.
As for why some people at a mosque in Rafah turned to this extremist organization, it has to be remembered that Gaza is under siege by the Israelis and faces shortages, including of food. Rebuilding from Israel’s war on little Gaza has still not been allowed to begin. The Israelis have only allowed in what is need for basic survival, as is pointed out in the below film from Dissident Voice.
Israeli policies are what have turned Gaza into a powder keg. And we haven’t heard the last of al-Qaeda-type organizations growing up there if the Israeli siege continues.
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