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Gaza Exporting Terrorists to Syria

The Gaza Strip is swarming with radical Islamist groups whose goal is to destroy Israel and the U.S. Most emerged after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Gazan Islamic Jihadists.

Gazan Islamic Jihadists.
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The Gaza Strip has begun exporting terrorists to other countries. If the terrorists are not stopped, they will start showing up in European capitals and probably cities in the United States.

In contrast to claims by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaderships to the effect that the Palestinians are not taking sides in the Syrian conflict, Palestinians are indeed involved in the fighting.

The Palestinians who are heading to Syria have been told their ultimate mission is to liberate Palestine “from the river to the sea.” Once they get rid of Assad, they are told, they will move to their next station — Jordan. From there, their jihad will take them to Israel, where they and their friends in Jabhat al-Nusra, “The Support Front,” hope to create a pan-Islamic state ruled by Sharia laws.

According to Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip, in the past few weeks alone, dozens of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip headed to Syria through Turkey to join various radical organizations engaged in the fighting against the army of Bashar al-Assad.

Many of these Palestinians have fallen in love with Jabhat al-Nusra, a group recently designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and, according to reports in the Arab media, believed to be responsible for some of the massacres against Syrian civilians.

The organization consists of hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslim fundamentalists from several Arab and Islamic countries. Its declared goal is to topple the Assad regime and create an Islamic state.

The Palestinian men who are heading to Syria belong to Salafi and other radical Islamist groups that have been operating in the Gaza Strip over the past few years. Some are also former Hamas members who broke away from the Islamist movement under the pretext that it was too “moderate.”

Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, the leader of one of the Salafi groups in the Gaza Strip, revealed that in recent weeks at least two Palestinians were killed in the fighting in Syria: Mohamed Kunaita, 32, and Nidal al-Eshi, 23.

More than 1,000 Palestinians, most of them from the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, have been killed in the past few months during the fighting between the rebels and Assad’s army.

The camp has been under daily attacks by the Syrian army ever since terrorists belonging to Jabhat al-Nusra and other Islamist groups found shelter among the Palestinian residents.

The Gaza Strip is swarming with radical Islamist groups whose goal is to destroy Israel and the U.S. Most of these groups emerged after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and the Hamas takeover of the coastal region two years later.

The Hamas government, which feels threatened by these groups, has failed to stop them from exporting terrorists to neighboring countries. The Egyptian authorities have also been unsuccessful in preventing Palestinian jihadis from entering Sinai, which has become a major base for Muslim terrorists.

The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which was reached after Operations Pillars of Defense three months ago, has left members of various terror groups unemployed.

Now that the jihadis in the Gaza Strip have nothing to do, such as fire rockets at Israel, they have started searching for other places to carry out their terror attacks. They have found no better place than Syria to start sending their men to join some of the radical Islamist organizations fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The U.S. and Western countries would do well to pay serious attention; Syria is not where this trend will stop.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute, under the title, “Palestinians Exporting Terrorists to Syria,” February 27, 2013.

About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.


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