Gaza: Muslim extremists set shops on fire
New group called 'The Sword of Islam' commits attacks against businesses that 'offend Islam.' Latest victims include CD shop, internet café that 'are meeting places for forbidden relations'
Ali Waked Published: 12.23.06, 22:26
The anarchy in the Gaza Strip, which has focused on the political struggle between Fatah and Hamas up until now, has taken on a new, disturbing form.
The Palestinian Authority said that a new group, which is most likely inspired by al-Qaeda, has begun acting out against 'secular' targets that supposedly offend Islam.
Anonymous persons ignited a CD shop in Khan Younis Saturday night, causing tens of thousands of dollar worth of damage.
Activists of the group, called "The Sword of Islam" went to the trouble of warning the store's owner Nidal Abdin before blowing up his shop.
The activists told him that they intended to blow the store up if he continued to sell CD's and cosmetics that "offend morals and the Muslim religion."
The PA believes that this act is also the doing of the new group that has begun activity in the past few months on the Gaza Strip.
Fear attacks may worsen
A few weeks ago another businesses selling CD's and mobile phones was set on fire in Khan Younis. In another incident that occurred in Gaza City, anonymous persons set fire to an internet café, claiming that it is used as a meeting place for "forbidden and immoral relations."
The Sword of Islam organization published a few announcements in which it declared that its men will continue to harm anyone who causes damage to the Islamic identity and the Islamic tradition of the residents of the Strip. So far, the organization is holding up to its threats.
Sources in the Palestinian Authority fear that these attacks on businesses on religious background will only worsen, following the deteriorating political and security anarchy on the Strip, and the void created by security forces, since part of them are now on strike.
With that, the Palestinian factions have agreed on a document Saturday evening that should bring the anarchy in the Authority to a halt.
The document calls for the expulsion of all forms of weapons and an end to the common carrying of weapons on the streets of Gaza.
It was also agreed that a joint organization be formed which will supervise the implementation of the decisions and deal with any tensions that may arise.