Americans 'unwelcome' in Gaza, warns militant chief after US terror label

Remarks come day after US designated former Hamas interior minister Fathi Hammad as an international terrorist.

September 18, 2016 16:53
1 minute read.
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades, who were killed when a tunnel collapsed close to the Gaza Strip's eastern border with Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Abu Jamal, a leader of a terrorist faction in the Gaza Strip, warned American citizens against coming to the coastal enclave on Saturday, days after the US designated former Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad as an international terrorist.

“We warn American citizens against entering Gaza because they are unwelcome after the decision [against Hammad] was made,” said Abu Jamal, leader of the al-Nasser Saladin Brigade, in a video published on social media.

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The US State Department designated Hammad as a terrorist on Friday, saying that he used his former position as interior minister “to coordinate terrorist cells.”

Hamas sharply condemned the US’s designation of Hammad as a terrorist, saying the “decision is biased in favor of the occupation.” However, Hamas also denounced Abu Jamal’s statement, warning Americans against coming to the Gaza Strip.

“The threats published by someone who belongs to one of the resistance factions are unacceptable and illegal,” Iyad al-Bazm, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry spokesman, wrote on his Facebook page. “The Interior Ministry and the national security services affirm their commitment to providing security and protection to all foreign citizens residing and visiting the Gaza Strip.”

Bazm added that legal action is being taken against Abu Jamal for his statement.

The al-Nasser Saladin Brigade is the armed wing of the Resistance Committees, a terrorist faction established during the Second Intifada, and responsible for a number of attacks against the Israeli army and citizens.

Hundreds of foreign aid workers and journalists including US nationals reside in and visit the Gaza Strip.

The State Department issued a warning against travel to the Gaza Strip in late August, urging its citizens “to depart as soon as possible when border crossings are open.”

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