A new report by a pro-Israel think tank warns that radical groups in Gaza may execute a major attack to secure an alliance with Al Qaeda. But a full-blown franchise is unlikely.
Militant Islamist groups in Gaza seeking an alliance with Al Qaeda may be planning to carry out a large-scale attack in order to boost their credentials, warns a report released today by the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
“Al Qaeda-inspired groups in Gaza ‘think big’ and are regularly plotting large-scale attacks,” says the report, coauthored by a former deputy director of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service. It also quotes an anonymous member of one of these groups as saying his operatives are “waiting to carry out a big jihadist operation dedicated to Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”
Mr. Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organization, now believed to be hiding along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, has long used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cause célèbre for their fight against the West. But it has yet to establish authoritative operations in either the West Bank or Gaza, where both Hamas – the Islamist organization that rules the coastal territory – and its militant rivals are focused more on Israel than the vision of global jihad symbolized by Bin Laden.