It's official: Al-Qaeda has begun operating in the Gaza Strip
A video posted on YouTube this week showed terrorists belonging to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known colloquially by its Arabic acronym, DAESH, announcing plans to wage jihad [holy war] against the "infidels, traitors and Crusaders."
This is the first time that a group linked to Al-Qaeda announces its presence in the Gaza Strip.
The announcement is seen as a challenge to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since July 2007.
Palestinian Authority security officials in Ramallah expressed fear that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group would try to establish terrorist cells also in the West Bank.
The video features 10 heavily-armed masked terrorists declaring allegiance to DAESH, whose men are responsible for most of the atrocities in Syria and Iraq over the past few years.
In the video, a spokesman for the group announces that in addition to Syria and Iraq, DAESH now has "lions and armies in the environs of Jerusalem."
The spokesman says that the group's goal is to restore the dignity of Muslims who have been "humiliated" by their enemies. He urges Muslims to rally behind his group and support its members in their jihad against the enemies of Islam and "Arab tyrants."