'Islamic Swords of Justice' posts message on al-Qaeda website vowing to avenge deaths of 24 people, including radical leader Abdel-Latif Moussa, in shootout with Hamas Saturday. 'War is on its way,' says group
Al-Qaeda loyalists in Gaza declared war on Hamas Saturday after violent shootouts left 24 people dead, including Jund Ansar Allah leader Abdel-Latif Moussa.
Hamas: Leader of al-Qaeda-inspired group committed suicide / Associated Press
Strip's interior ministry says Abdel-Latif Moussa, leader of group seeking to enforce stricter version of Islamic law, blew himself up in a shootout with Hamas that killed 24 people, injured 150 in Rafah
In a message posted by al-Qaeda's websites the Islamic Swords of Justice, a group affiliated with the Salafi movement, vowed to avenge the deaths. "We tell our people who witnessed this crime that this is not over, and war is on its way," the message said.
The group warned residents of the Gaza Strip to stay away from government ministries and Hamas security offices.
"We call on our people to stay away from mosques attended by leaders of the infidels Ismail Haniyeh and the ministers and legislators of his government, who legislate against the will of Allah," the message added.
Palestinian residents of Gaza were also called upon to "stay away from the area of the legislative council and especially the military courts".
The group also vowed to remain loyal to the leader who would replace Moussa as head of the Islamic emirate he declared Gaza to be before the fighting ensued and he was killed. According to Hamas the hardline leader detonated an explosive device he was wearing during the conflict and blew himself up.
Other hardline groups whose members have been hunted down by Hamas recently have also sworn revenge against the organization. One such group, the 'Army of the Supporters of Allah', has announced that a cell of 30 gunmen would soon avenge the killing of its members by Hamas over the weekend.