This is just one other sign that the al-Qaeda variety of Islam is gaining strength in the Gaza Strip. A security source in the Strip told Ynet that it was this infrastructure, and not Hamas, that President Mahmoud Abbas should be wary of.
Incitement, explosions and vandalizing businesses such as internet cafes and stalls that sell music have become a regular occurrence in Gaza. This is not surprising if one takes a look at an ever-growing group of young Palestinians in the Strip and the changes these youngsters are undergoing.
A Muslim official in the Strip told Ynet that more and more young people were finding ideological alternatives with groups identified with al-Qaeda and its call for a violent struggle against anything that threatens Islam.
The dress code of these youngsters is easily distinguishable. Similar to the Pakistani fashion, they wear a big shirt over baggy pants of the same fabric. The head covering worn by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who led Al-Qaeda in Iraq until his assassination last year, is being worn by an increasing number of young Palestinians in Gaza. The women cover their heads with a veil.
The source told Ynet that following a feeling that Hamas was becoming too institutionalized, many people were looking for less established organizations .
Some were finding their place in organizations with ideologies similar to al-Qaeda such as "Swords of Justice," "Swords of Islam" or "Army of Islamic Mujahidin' – organizations that have been responsible for blowing up internet cafes.
Size doesn't matterThese organizations are still small, but "al-Qaeda never based itself on the number of members, but rather on their ideological and organizational quality," said the source.
Palestinian and Arab media has lately reported that the life of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the lives of other top ranking PA officials were in danger. They reported that Hamas was digging tunnels under routes taken regularly by Abbas, to facilitate an attack against him.
A Palestinian security source, however, said that the danger came from the al-Qaeda infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and not Hamas. Osama Bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri, have been heard on tapes dubbing Mahmoud Abbas a 'collaborator', and an 'American and Israeli puppet.' Security officials in the Strip are concerned that the threat will escalate.
One of the branches of the Popular Resistance Committees has been flagged as a probable candidate to become the al-Qaeda base group. Suicide bombers from Gaza who were recently caught in Sinai, were from this division.