Hamas cracks down on radical Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip
Authorities arrest leader of Salafist organization in wake of deadly terrorist attack on Egyptian border with Palestinian enclave
By Ilan Ben Zion August 18, 2012, 3:03 am
Hamas launched crackdown on radical Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip by arresting a Salafist leader injured in an Israeli airstrike in June, Palestinian Maan News reported on Friday.
Gaza Strip security forces arrested Sheikh Abu Suhaib Rashwan after he left the hospital where he had been recovering from wounds sustained in an Israeli airstrike on June 20, Salafist group spokesperson Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir was quoted by Ma'an saying.
Rashwan is allegedly a member of the terrorist organization known as Tawhid wal Jihad, who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in 2011.
Several members of Salafist organizations that identify with al-Qaeda have reportedly been summoned for interrogation since the August 5 terrorist attack. Hamas previously raided a Salafist mosque in 2009, killing 28 people, after a Salafist imam declared an Islamic emirate in Gaza.
The crackdown on radical Salafists in Gaza comes on the heels of a deadly jihadist attack on an Egyptian army base situated on the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel.
It was not clear whether the Egyptian government pressured Hamas leaders to begin cracking down on radical jihadist groups operating in the Gaza Strip. Hamas's Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh on Monday promised newly-instated Egyptian Defense Minister Abdul Fatah Khalil al-Sisi that he would coordinate security issues with Cairo and work to protect their mutual border.
Since the attack, Egypt has launched a military campaign to root out radical Islamist terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian press previously reported officials in Cairo saying that terrorists from the Gaza-based Army of Islam were suspected to have participated in the cross-border attack in Sinai and Israe
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