Poser Salafi-Jihadis in Gaza?

The “Followers of Monotheism and Jihad” in Palestine released a statement on 31 August 2009 that lambasted Hamas for its narrow interests and the killing of Salafis (Part 1 and Part 2). They claimed that Hamas continues to arrest and harass members of the Salafi movement in Gaza and that “a long beard and Sunni clothes have become an accusation to be arrested for.”

They stated that they carry weapons and train only to “fight the apes and pigs.” They maintained that if Hamas were to implement Sharia law, if only gradually, they would serve Hamas, but Hamas “fights anyone who threatens its position.” They continued, “[Hamas] is forcing us to use our weapons to defend ourselves after [they] severed every method of settling differences.”

Therefore, they announced that on 29 August 2009, they had attacked a Hamas governmental compound, the Security and Protection HQ, and the Internal Security HQ using “sound charges as a message to you [Hamas] to stop your crimes against the sons of monotheism and jihad, and the adherents to Salafism in Gaza.” They stated that they did not intend to spill any pious blood and they disavowed any responsibility of that happening during their attacks.

These types of groups come and go in Gaza and it is unclear if the Followers of Monotheism and Jihad in Palestine are an actual jihadi group backed by a cleric, like Jund Ansar Allah, which was backed by Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi, or merely a group of thugs. The fact that their statement was not distributed by an established media production company like the Global Islamic Media Front suggests the latter, but time will tell. However, the document does clearly indicate the stark division between Hamas, which is attempting to assert its authority, and the Salafi-jihadis (or at least poser Salafi-jihadis), who are trying to usurp the “un-Islamic” elements of Hamas.

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