Almotamar.net, Google - A two-day battle between the imam, who wanted to impose Islamic law and Hamas forces left 27 other people dead. The crackdown could allow Hamas to be seen as a bulwark against militancy by the West.
An imam who wanted to impose Islamic law in the Gaza Strip was killed today in an explosion at one of his hideouts, ending a two-day battle between his armed followers and Hamas government forces that left 27 other people dead.
The security crackdown could allow Hamas, which has tried to court favor with the West, to position itself as a moderate Islamic bulwark against militant forces inspired by Al Qaeda.
But the challenge by the imam, Abdel-Latif Moussa, also pointed to splits among Hamas' followers. Residents of the southern city of Rafah, where the clash occurred, said several former Hamas militants were killed while fighting for the imam's group, the Soldiers of the Companions of God.
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Ghussein said the imam had espoused "perverted ideas and considered all Gazans as unbelievers" and had allegedly orchestrated the bombings of Internet cafes and a wedding party.
The spokesman said Hamas appealed to scholars, clerics and parents to "educate the Palestinian people in correct and moderate Islam."
Moussa provoked the clash Friday by announcing a campaign to impose religious law by force of arms. He made the declaration during a midday sermon in Rafah surrounded by black-clad gunmen who then holed up with him in a mosque and fought off Hamas security forces who besieged the building.
The rebels eventually abandoned the mosque through an underground tunnel and continued the fight from nearby homes. After an overnight lull, a Hamas negotiator approached the imam's hideout in an attempt to talk him into surrendering. An explosion rocked the house, killing the imam, his aide and the negotiator, Ghussein said.
Ghussein said the aide, a Syrian national of Palestinian origin, set off the explosion by detonating a suicide belt. There was no confirmation of the account by the imam's surviving supporters.
The national delegation confirmed on Sunday its keenness on the success of the Yemeni consultations in Kuwait under the auspices of the United Nations.
This came during a joint session between the national delegation and Riyadh’s delegation in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
At the session, the UN Secretary-General asserted that the position of the international community is clear, which is that the conflict should stop and Yemen should return to the path of political transition.
Ban Ki-moon expressed his optimism for the recent release of prisoners and detainees, urging the parties to release all prisoners as a goodwill initiative before the Eid al-Fitr.
The Saudi aggression and its mercenaries continued to breach the ceasefire during the past hours in several provinces, a military official said Saturday.
The Saudi warplanes flew on the skies of the Capital, Amran, Sana'a, Mareb, Jawf, Sa'ada, Dhalea and Taiz provinces. At the same time, the Riyadh's hirelings pounded al-Ghail district in Jawf with artillery shells.
The Saudi-led war jets waged on Thursday four raids on scattered areas in al-Qabitah district of Lahj province, killing a citizen from the district, a military official said.
The official pointed out that the aggression’s warplanes and its mercenaries continued to breach the ceasefire during the past 24 hours in a number of provinces in the country.
The hostile war jets waged two raids on Maswara area and Nehm district in Sana’a province, two others on Serwah district of Mareb province and another one on al-Saqiyah area in al-Masloub district in Jawf province, he said.