A previously unknown terrorist group has claimed responsibility for
gunning down an Israeli security guard and critically wounding another
outside a social security office in Arab east Jerusalem.
The group faxed a statement to a Reuters news agency office in the
Middle East, but reports yesterday said the claims could not be
immediately substantiated. The group identified itself as the Saladin
(Salah Al Din) Brigades.
“The Saladin Ayoubi Brigades announce the first of its attacks, which
was carried out by one of its groups on Monday against the Zionists in
Jerusalem,” said the statement.
Senior Palestinian officials said they had never heard of the
organization and did not know its origin.
According to the statement, the group said its attacks against Israel
would continue until “Jerusalem is liberated and the flag of victory is
Saladin Ayoubi is a 12th century figure — a Muslim Kurdish leader —
whom Palestinians and others in the Muslim world regard as the man who
liberated Jerusalem from European Crusaders.
Known for his tolerance of Jews, he allowed them to settle Jerusalem
under his rule in 1190. He was also tolerant of the Crusaders he
defeated, though the Crusaders banned Jews from the holy city.
Separately, the United Arab Emirates called yesterday for Britain to
pressure Israel to stop all aggression against Palestinians and to
withdraw from occupied territories.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and
deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, made his request
during a meeting with Peter Hain, British foreign office minister for
the Middle East, who is on a visit to the UAE.
“A just and comprehensive peace cannot be achieved in the Middle East
unless Israel withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories, the
Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese territories still under Israeli
occupation,” the sheikh said.
He called the Jewish state’s action against the Palestinians
“genocide” and accused the Israeli government of breaking agreements it
had signed with the Palestinian Authority.