(photo credit: AP)
An Islamic fundamentalist group in the Gaza Strip on Sunday threatened to “slaughter” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for “collaboration with the Jews.”
The commander of the group, Jaish al-Umma [Army of the Nation], said: “If it is proven that Abu Mazen [Abbas] is helping the Jews, we will slit his throat.”
The commander, Abu Abdallah Ghazzi, said that his group was also planning to launch an attack on Israel from southern Lebanon on condition that Hizbullah or UNIFIL don’t thwart it.
Jaish al-Umma is one of several Islamic fundamentalist groups that have popped up in the Gaza Strip in recent years. The groups are believed to be inspired by al-Qaida.
Ghazzi, who is wanted by Hamas, also revealed that his group turned down an offer for financial aid from Iran. He also strongly denied any links to al-Qaida, but heaped praise on Osama bin Laden “because he’s fighting against anyone who’s hostile to Islam and Muslims.”
He added that his group started operating in the Gaza Strip about six years ago. He said that while the group has only 200 active members, it also has thousands of supporters in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.
“Some of our members are in their sixties and they participate with younger members in defending their people and land to liberate our holy sites from the Jews,” Ghazzi said in a rare interview with the London-based newspaper *Al-Hayat.
“Our goal is to liberate Jerusalem, remembering it had been liberated by Omar ibn al-Khattab and Salah Eddin al-Ayyoubi, and to implement sharia in the rest of the world.”
Asked about the sources of funding for his group, the commander
revealed that Iran had offered to finance the militia – an offer which,
he said, was turned down. “We reject any cooperation in return for
something,” he said. “But if someone wants to give us in return for
nothing, we will take it.”
Ghazzi said that his group was receiving financial aid from “outside parties and individuals,” but did not elaborate.
He said that while his group regarded Abbas’s Fatah faction as an
“enemy,” sometimes there was coordination between the two parties. He
also accused Hizbullah of working to spread the Shi’a faith in the
He said that his group was against Hamas because of the latter’s
decision to run in the parliamentary elections in 2006 “under the
umbrella of the Oslo Accords.”
He also accused Hamas of waging a campaign of arrests against members and supporters of Jaish al-Umma.
“Fatah and Hamas torture anyone who’s in their prisons,” he charged,
pointing out that he had been previously targeted by both sides.