A new Palestinian terror group aligned with the ideology of al-Qaida has been formed in the Gaza Strip and may plan attacks not just against Israel but also aimed at other “enemies of Islam and their collaborators among Arab regimes,” the group’s leader told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview.
“For the moment, our attacks are concentrated against the occupation, but I am sure that there will come a day where the Jihad operations will reach all the enemies of Islam and their collaborators among Arab regimes. The U.S. seems to do everything in order to speed this evolution,” said Abu Mohammed, leader of the Palestine Army of Islam.
The Army of Islam is a splinter of the Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Army bills itself as the closest Palestinian organization ideologically to al-Qaida. It left the Committees earlier this year complaining the group was not “Muslim enough.”
The Army of Islam is one of three terror groups that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in June of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, prompting an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. It is led by Gaza’s Dugmash clan, a family of strongmen that head several terror cells in Gaza, including the “Saladin resistance department” of the Popular Resistance Committees.
In his first-ever interview, Abu Muhammad, a senior member of the Dugmash clan, explained to WorldNetDaily why his group is different from other major Palestinian “resistance organizations.”
“We believe that Muslims should participate in the jihad no matter how far the jihad field is from a geographic point of view,” he said. “We are not limiting ourselves to the jihad in Palestine as the other Palestinian groups do, and we see that our duty obliges us to help Muslims and to participate in the jihad everywhere it is needed.
“For the moment, we are restricting ourselves to Palestine not because of ideological or strategic reasons, but just because Palestine is today the most important field of jihad in the world. If the situation changes, we easily see ourselves as soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere,” said Abu Muhammad.
The terror leader warned attacks against U.S. interests may come soon.
“[Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice said that the U.S. wants a new Middle East, and there is no doubt that jihad, the armed jihad, will be the main tool and weapon when the day will come, and we believe that this day is not so far,” Abu Muhammad said.
Asked is his group is affiliated with al-Qaida, the terror leader replied, “We respect Al Qaida. We admire Sheik Osama (bin Laden) and Dr. (Ayman) Zawahri, but we are not affiliated with them. I think that some infrastructures of al-Qaida are being built in Gaza and in the West Bank. It is not only me who is saying that. (Palestinian Authority) President (Mahmoud) Abbas said the same thing few months ago.
“I will not be surprised if big attacks in the name of al-Qaida or affiliated groups will take place if there is no political change,” Abu Muhammad said.
Indeed both Abbas and Israeli officials have stated al-Qaida infiltrated Gaza following Israel’s withdrawal from the territory last summer.
A number of Gaza-based groups have distributed pamphlets claiming to work on behalf of the global jihad group.
In May, Egyptian authorities announced Gaza-based militants helped train and finance the perpetrators of triple bomb blasts one month earlier in the Sinai desert resort town of Dahab. The attacks, which killed 24 civilians, were widely blamed on local cells working for al-Qaida.
Abu Muhammad said his group shares the same goals as al-Qaida.
“Our ultimate goal is, of course, after the liberation of Palestine, the establishment of the Islamic state where everybody, and I am emphasizing on everybody, will live in full honor and respect of its rights as those are guaranteed in our Quran,” he said.
“The new Islamic state is the big state for all Muslims. The state that will be ruled by Sharia laws through a Calipha and will replace all those corrupted and artificial states which were founded by the West in order to hurt, to beat and to divide the unity of Islam and the Muslims,” Abu Muhammad said.
Speaking of reported U.S. allies Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Abu Muhammad commented, “Those regimes in the Arab and Islamic world have nothing to do with Islam and must disappear and leave their places for the real Islam.”