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No link between Army of Islam, al-Qaida: Hamas
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10:07, July 05, 2007

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A spokesman for Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) rejected on Wednesday that the Army of Islam was linked to al-Qaida group.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in Gaza that "the Army of Islam is a Palestinian armed group involved in confronting previous Israeli ground incursions into the Gaza Strip, therefore I don't believe it is linked to al-Qaida."

"We can't make our judgment on something they (the Army of Islam) didn't do...If the Army of Islam was linked to al-Qaida, what would prevent them from saying that they are affiliated to al- Qaida."

The Army of Islam is a new radical Islamic militant group founded in Gaza shortly before the abduction of the Israeli captive corporal Gilad Shalit in southeast Gaza Strip a year ago.

The group emerged into the public spotlight in 2006 when it claimed responsibility for the abduction of Shalit together with Hamas movement's armed wing al-Qassam Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committees.

The group had also claimed responsibility for kidnapping BBC journalist Alan Johnston in Gaza on March 12. Johnston was freed before dawn on Wednesday and left the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem.

Source: Xinhua

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