November 6, 2013 GAZA CITY — Hamas, desperate for new allies, has ended its crackdown on Al Qaida-aligned militias financed by Qatar.
Palestinian sources said the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip has released scores of Al Qaida-aligned militia members, known as Salafists.
The sources said the restrictions on the militias were eased amid Hamas’ crisis with neighboring Egypt over the revolt in the Sinai Peninsula.
‘Qatar has promised billions of dollars to Hamas, but the money was held up until the policy against the Salafists changed,’ a source said.
Al Qaida-aligned militias, including Army of Islam, Army of the Nation, Jaljalat and Swords of Righteousness, had long been regarded as a strategic threat by Hamas. In 2009, Hamas killed 22 Al Qaida fighters in a raid of their stronghold in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
Over the last two years, however, the Al Qaida militias were bolstered by tens of millions of dollars in cash and weapons supplied mostly by Qatar. In May 2013, a delegation of leading Sunni clerics from Kuwait and Qatar, including Yusef Qaradawi, arrived in the Gaza Strip and urged the Hamas leadership to release militia fighters.
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The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations. A Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman revealed that a coalition of London-based Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were behind the mass demonstrations staged to protest Israeli actions in the 2008 Gaza war and the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish affiliates were also intimately involved, along with the Turkish government, in the June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. Following a period of seeming ascension related to the period of Egyptian rule by the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization was forced to scramble to try and find other state sponsors after Mohamed Morsi was deposed as President. In September 2013, it appeared that Hamas had succeeded in re-establishing close ties with Iran. In October 2013, Hamas leader political leader Khaled Mashaal (aka Kahled Meshaal) paid what was described as a “surprise visit” to Ankara in order to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.