Defense Update - News Analysis by David Eshel

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Is al Qaeda joining the Intifada?

While world attention is focused on Sharon’s personal fate, lawlessness and total chaos continue to rage in the Gaza Strip.

Following a series of high-profile kidnappings, events culminated last Wednesday when incited militants rampaged on the Egyptian border at Rafah, killing two Egyptian soldiers and wounding 25 more. The clashes erupted when rioting crowds bulldozed their way over the border wall seizing the international crossing point, which set off a human avalanche into Egyptian controlled territory in Sinai. Watching the scene of utter chaos was a large crowd of Gazans, but Palestinian Authority security official personnel were conspicuous by their absence. In fact, since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, four months ago, militants have rampaged through Gaza City underscoring the growing lawlessness in Palestinian towns representing the most brazen challenge to the authority of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Thus it seems that for all purposes, the Palestine National Authority (PNA) has virtually lost all control over the lawless Gaza Strip, creating ideal conditions for global terrorist organisations, foremost al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah to set up a safe base in the void.

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