PA arrests Salafists, ‘not al-Qaeda’ in West bank

PA arrests Salafists, ‘not al-Qaeda’ in West bank
Sun Dec 1, 2013 20:07:20

Palestinian security forces have arrested 20 Salafist extremists in West Bank, a security source said on Sunday, denying any of them had ties to Al-Qaeda.

"In the last few days, around 20 people were arrested in Nablus, Jenin and Qalqilya," the senior Palestinian security source told AFP on condition of anonymity, saying those detained "embrace the Salafi ideology but are not affiliated with Al-Qaeda."

His remarks were made a day after as a Gaza-based group affiliated with Al-Qaeda confirmed it was operating in the West Bank for the first time.
"There are no Al-Qaeda affiliated groups operating in the West Bank but there are a few Salafi Jihadi groups," the source said.

"These men are connected locally through technology, but are unarmed," the source said.

"They are not members of Al-Qaeda and they don't receive any instructions or weapons from it."

Al-Qaeda, which has been gaining more roots using the foreign-backed war in Syria has struggled to build up significant support in the West Bank, analysts say.

The terrorist group has announced plans to establish a state of its own in Syria by overthrowing the government of President Bahsar al-Assad.

Israel, the United States and their regional and Western allies have been open supporters of the war in Syria which started as pro-reform protests in March 2011.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.


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