Abbas says signs of al Qaeda in Gaza, West Bank
CAIRO, March 2: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in remarks published today there were signs of an al Qaeda presence in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
''We have indications about a presence of al Qaeda in Gaza and the (West) Bank. This is intelligence information. We have not yet reached the point of arrests,'' Abbas said.
''The last security report I received was three days ago,'' he told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper. ''This is the first time that I've spoken about this subject. This is a very serious matter.'' Israeli officials said they were worried that foreign militants and al Qaeda agents entered Gaza from Egypt during a brief period of chaos on the border following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza last year.
The Palestinian Authority said that was untrue.
Islamic militant group Hamas swept Palestinian elections in January. But unlike militant groups such as al Qaeda, Hamas emphasises that its fight is only with Israel.