Bin Laden Documents Tie Gaza-Based Terrorist Group to Al- Qaida
by IPT News • Jun 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm
A document seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan by the U.S. Army reveals correspondence between al-Qaida and the Army of Islam, according to a report released by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center earlier this month.
The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the United States Military Academy published and translated 17 documents from among the 6,000 captured on computers and hard drives in bin Laden's compound.
One from 2006 shows that the al-Qaida leadership corresponding with the Army of Islam, then a newly created Gaza Strip-based Salafi-jihad organization. Two of its operatives played a role in the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006, and the group was responsible for the kidnapping of British journalist Alan Johnston.
The Army of Islam carries out attacks against Israel via the Sinai Peninsula and has been linked to the 2011 bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt.
In the letter, the Army of Islam asks an al-Qaida leader close to bin Laden about funding its jihad activities. The respondent notes that it is clear that the Army of Islam is in need of financial assistance and therefore it could an accept financial assistance even from an "infidel" country like Iran. The unidentified respondent wrote:
"If you are currently unable to support yourselves financially by legitimate means…then accepting funds from other organizations-for instance, from several Islamic organizations such as Hamas and the PIJ, or even nationalist movements [referring to Fatah] which cooperate with you in hitting the Jewish enemy – to be used for jihad and against the Jews – is better than abandoning jihad due to financial difficulties."
According to the Meir Amit report, "The Army of Islam has strong military capabilities compared with other Salafi-jihadist networks in the Gaza Strip, and apparently possesses large quantities of weapons."
In May 2011 the U.S. State Department announced the designation of the Army of Islam as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.