Friday, May 13, 2016

Gaza Salafists look to ISIS for inspiration

ISIS supporters in Gaza
ISIS supporters in Gaza

(AFP) Terrrorists inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group's ideology are seeking to benefit from the desperation of young Palestinians to strengthen their foothold in the Gaza Strip.

But the Salafists in the enclave tread a fine line to avoid conflict with Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group which has ruled the strip for a decade but does not share all of ISIS's world view.  

Leaders of the Salafists, who are adherents of a strict Sunni interpretation of Islam, claim to have 3,000 fighters in Gaza. While the figure is impossible to verify, experts see an increasing use of ISIS-style rhetoric to attract support.

"Some groups use the Islamic State label and claim to have adopted jihadist ideology to attract teenagers who have lost all hope," said Assaad Abu Charakh, a professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. READ MORE