Al-Qaida affiliated groups are behind some of the violence on the Israel-Gaza border, the head of Israel's security services, Yuval Diskin, said Tuesday. The statement was part of a briefing for Israel's parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the ideology and activity of Gaza-based groups.
The comments followed a bomb attack along the area's separation fence by Palestinian militants, contradicting Hamas' order for "resistance" groups to discontinue attacks on Israel. Hamas' intentions aren't peaceful, but calculated, Diskin said.
"All the factions in Gaza want an Islamic caliphate," Diskin said. "Hamas wants to achieve that through charity organizations, while other more radical groups want the same goal through violence."
He estimated there are 500 militants who identify with al-Qaida "and some are in touch with al-Qaida's regional command." Hamas officials rejected the claim, saying it was an attempt "to antagonize the West and the world against Hamas and the Palestinian people."
Diskin's briefing also claimed that Israel stopping of 140 Gaza infiltration attacks last year, and cited an increase in Israeli-Arab involvement in terror attacks, such as the recent attempted bombing of a Jerusalem soccer stadium. 46 Israeli Arabs were arrested in relation to terror last year, as opposed to 24 in 2009.
He also expressed frustration with Egypt's efforts to control its border with Gaza. "If the Egyptians wanted to they could end weapons smuggling to Gaza in 48 hours," Diskin said. "They have only 14 kilometers of border with Gaza."