Jund Ansar Allah is one of several tiny radical Islamist groups that have popped up in the Gaza Strip in the past few years.
These groups have openly challenged the Hamas government on the grounds that it has not imposed Islamic law (Shari’a).
The radical groups want to see a regime similar to the one in Sudan and other Islamic countries, where thieves have their arms amputated and those found guilty of adultery are stoned to death.
Some have claimed that these groups are either linked to or inspired by al-Qaida, but so far there is no evidence to back up their claim.
Hamas officials, however, say that many of the leaders and members of these groups were in fact affiliated with the former Fatah-controlled security forces or with militias belonging to Fatah in the Gaza Strip.
A senior Hamas official told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend that Jund Ansar Allah received its weapons from former Fatah policemen and security officials in the southern Gaza Strip.
The official said he did not rule out the possibility that Fatah leaders in the West Bank were trying to use radical Islamic groups to undermine the Hamas government. [continued…]
Al-Qaeda loyalists in Gaza declared war on Hamas Saturday after violent shootouts left 24 people dead, including Jund Ansar Allah leader Abdel-Latif Moussa.
In a message posted by al-Qaeda’s websites the Islamic Swords of Justice, a group affiliated with the Salafi movement, vowed to avenge the deaths. “We tell our people who witnessed this crime that this is not over, and war is on its way,” the message said. [continued…]
Operating initially in Rafah and Khan Younis, Jund Ansar Allah spread rapidly throughout Gaza and, until Friday’s raid, claimed to have 500 members, including a number of foreign fighters.
It is said to have a military base in a former Israeli settlement, from which it carried out a number of minor attacks on Israeli forces during the first half of the year, according to its website.
On 8 June, however, the group came to public attention with a spectacular, if unsuccessful, raid on the Karni border crossing.
At least three of its fighters were shot dead by Israeli troops after 10 rode into battle on horses laden with large quantities of explosives. [continued…]