A new jihadist group with historic ties to the Palestinian Fatah movement has announced its formation in the Gaza Strip. Claiming thousands of members, the group advocates Palestinian unity to free their people violently from the "Israeli enemy and occupier."
"We have strong ties with all Palestinian faction[s] especially Hamas and Fatah, since we were from Fatah and executed joint jihad missions with Hamas and other armed factions," said group spokesman Abu Bilal. "We have stood against the Palestinian division from its start and asked for Palestinian unity because united we are stronger.
"Both Hamas and Fatah and other factions are a part of Palestine, the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian process. We should all unite for Palestine," Abu Bilal said. The group claims its origin as part of Shuhada Al-Aqsa, a Fatah-affiliated armed faction, but states that it left because the Fatah-group become involved in "vandalism and personal interest."
The Gaza-based group is also claims that it wants to minimize problems between its hard-line views and the ruling Hamas group, which fought running battles with Salafists allying themselves with al-Qaida. "Hamas will not have a problem with us; we are not here to fight Hamas or spread chaos. Hamas joined us in the past during the joint jihad missions," he said. "They know us well and they know our Islamic Jihad method."
Unusually, the group also pledges to work with Fatah, which contains secularist and Islamist elements. "We don't have a problem with Fatah either. We just wish to see the Palestinian reconciliation active again and advancing soon before September," he added, in reference to the date that the Palestinian Authority will seek recognition from the United Nations.