When Hamas are the moderates

When I was in Gaza I asked a number of people about extremist forces. I was told that they existed and Israel’s siege only makes them more likely to thrive. Looks like Hamas is taking action:

Hamas security forces killed the leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group in the Gaza Strip Saturday in a shootout that claimed the lives of 22 people, Hamas said.

The fighting erupted Friday when Hamas forces surrounded a mosque in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on the Egypt border where about 100 members of Jund Ansar Allah, or the Soldiers of the Companions of God, were holed up.

The head of the radical Islamic group, Abdel-Latif Moussa, was killed when fighting resumed after dawn Saturday, Ihab Ghussein, a Hamas interior ministry spokesman told the Associated Press.

“The operation is over and what is going on right now is searching and clearing the area,” he said, adding that it wasn’t clear if Moussa died from an explosives belt he was wearing or from Hamas gunfire.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry official in Gaza said a total of 22 people, including six Hamas police officers and an 11-year-old girl, were killed in the violence that also wounded 150.

The group’s Web site vowed vengeance, meanwhile, saying “we swear to God to avenge the martyrs’ blood and we will turn their women to widows.”

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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