JERUSALEM – The American-funded Palestinian Authority provided financial support and, in at least one case, an official salary to al-Qaida allies in the Gaza Strip, according to information obtained by WND.
U.S. policy considers the PA to be moderate. America arms, trains and funds PA militias and provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year in financial support to the Palestinian group. President Obama, furthermore, backs the creation of a PA-led Palestinian state.
But WND has learned that Abdel-Latif Moussa, leader of a Palestinian Islamist splinter group allied with al-Qaida, has been on the official PA payroll for at least the last year.
Ten days ago, there were deadly fire clashes between Hamas and Moussa’s group, after Moussa declared the Gaza Strip an “emirate”, or under strict Islamic rule, in a sermon.
Moussa’s group, Jund Ansar Allah, or Warriors of God, branded Hamas as un-Islamic and issued revolutionary statements against Hamas. Jund Ansar Allah previously has been accused of multiple deadly attacks against Christians in Gaza.
At least 24 people were killed when Hamas forces stormed Moussa’s strongholds, including a mosque where the Jund Ansar Allah leader was holed up. Moussa committed suicide using an explosives belt instead of surrendering to Hamas.
According to a PA official, Moussa, a trained doctor, had been under salary with the PA, paid as a doctor.
According to multiple sources in Gaza, however, Moussa has not practiced medicine for the past ten years.
Last week, Abbas and other PA leaders accused Hamas of committing a “massacre” against the al-Qaida inspired group.
A perusal by WND of official Fatah websites, including Fatah news websites, during the last week found a strange phenomenon – Fatah has been granting positive coverage to Jund Ansar Allah and has even published anti-Hamas pamphlets from several Islamic extremist groups in Gaza, providing the al-Qaida-oriented groups a platform to espouse their ideology. Fatah news websites have traditionally been more secularly oriented and have stayed away from promoting al-Qaida.
Last September, WND first quoted informed security officials stating Fatah was providing money to al-Qaida-inspired Islamist groups in Gaza to build them up at the expense of Hamas.
The security officials said there was no official decision within Fatah to bolster the Islamist radicals, but that top Fatah officials were acting independently.
Yesterday, Hamas officials speaking to WND claimed they have information Fatah strongman Mahmoud Dahlan has been funneling cash to Jund Ansar Allah and other Gaza-based Islamist groups.
The Hamas officials said their group this week will release documentation showing Dahlan’s connection.
A senior source in Hamas’ Interior Ministry told WND last September that Hamas arrested a number of Fatah members in Gaza suspected of serving as links between the Islamist radicals and Fatah officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Yesterday, Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, told WND he has many questions about the financing of Jund Ansar Allah.
“They have a lot of weapons and money, making everyone here wonder how they got such weapons and explosive material,” he said, speaking by cell phone from Gaza.
Aside from blaming the PA, Yousef also claimed Israel may have provided Jund Ansar Allah with weapons.