Al-Qaeda in Gaza?
Amid the internecine Palestinian violence now rocking Gaza comes a distrubing report from Israel's YNet Oct. 8 that an entity calling itself the Islamic Swords of Justice, said to be the Palestinian wing of al-Qaeda, shot up and set fire to an Internet cafe in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, causing massive damage. A communique said the attack was "part of a series of actions aimed at fighting corruption and the corrupt. During the holy month of Ramadan, our fighters have started operating on the holy land and in the early morning placed a bomb weighing ten kilograms (22 pounds) next to the coffee shop, ridden with corruption and characteristic of the unethical activities that have increased in recent days. Jihad fighters detonated the bomb as a message to all the corrupt people."
Meanwhile, Palestinian civil servants have threatened to paralyze the West Bank and Gaza Strip by bringing employees of the petroleum authority into their strike and drying up local fuel supplies if the government does not pay them. "In our hands are cards that have not been used yet," said Ahmad Assaf, a spokesman for the Union of Civil Servants. The strikers, many of them supporters of the opposition Fatah movement, said they had stopped work for 36 days but had seen no tangible results. (AP, Oct. 8) In a sadly poetic irony, BBC World Service reported Oct. 7 that snipers had taken position on the roof of the Gaza Conflict Resolution Center