Scores of Fatah policemen who used to serve in the PA security forces in Gaza and who recently lost their jobs have now joined the al-Qaeda-affiliated Army of Islam, sources in the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said Thursday. The Army of Islam is headed by Abu Muhammad al-Ansari, also known as Mumtaz Dughmush.
A former PA Preventive Security Service officer, Ansari belongs to the Dughmush clan, whose members have kidnapped several foreign nationals, including BBC reporter Alan Johnston, and bombed Internet cafes, hair salons and restaurants.
The Army of Islam participated in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006, along with Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees.
After Hamas took over Gaza, the Army of Islam struck a deal permitting the group to retain its weapons on condition they only be used to attack Israel.
Over the past few months, the Army of Islam has been involved in the smuggling of large amounts of weapons and explosives into Gaza from Sinai, according to PA security officials, who said members of the group had established close ties with al-Qaeda operatives in Egypt and other Arab and Islamic countries.
See also "The Army of the Nation" - Another Al-Qaeda Affiliate in the Gaza Strip - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi