US adds Gaza militant group to terrorism list

By REUTERS
May 19, 2011 23:56

 
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WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday put the Army of Islam, a Palestinian militant group based in the Gaza Strip and blamed for numerous attacks, on its official terrorism blacklist.

The Army of Islam gained notoriety in 2006 when it worked with Hamas to capture Gilad Schalit and was also involved in the 2007 abduction of BBC journalist Alan Johnston. The two groups are now rivals.

The US State Department said the Army of Islam, which is closely linked to Gaza's powerful Doghmush clan, was also responsible for a number of rocket attacks on Israel and attacks on Egyptian civilians in 2009 which resulted in casualties and deaths.

"AOI has previously worked with Hamas and is attempting to develop closer al-Qaida contacts," the State Department said in a statement, noting that the group had released a eulogy for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden after he was killed in Pakistan during a raid by US forces on May 2.

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