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Jund Ansar Allah: Operation against us was unwarranted

Aug. 16, 2009 1:32 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2009 4:57 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – A radical armed group at the center of clashes that left 24 Palestinians dead on Friday insisted on Sunday that Hamas' operation was unwarranted.

In a statement, Jund Ansar Allah ("Soldiers for God") called the assault by Hamas' militant wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, "a hasty reaction."

Regarding the declaration its leader made declaring Gaza an "Islamic emirate," Jund Ansar Allah insisted its late leader, Sheikh Abdul-Latif Abu Moussa, had meant no ill will toward the Palestinian people or their government in Gaza.

"The announcement came following an agreement... which was submitted to other groups for approval under a clear understanding that forbade assaults on anyone's rights," the statement said.

The group said its members had done nothing warranting the reaction on the part of Hamas and its security forces, insisting that their actions were not directed toward any one particular religious party or vision.

"Everyone who says, 'there is no god but God' cannot be accused of infidelity," the group added.

The statement went on to say that killing other Palestinians was forbidden. "We belong to the same people, and we fight for the same cause, and it is forbidden to shed blood [amongst ourselves] under any conditions."

Jund Ansar Allah also accused Hamas' security services of obstructing its operations against Israel, providing as an example an attack on the Nahal Oz military base east of Gaza City.

The group also said it had nothing to do with an ambiguous explosion during a Dahlan family wedding, as Hamas had claimed, calling such accusations baseless.

Hamas, according to the statement, has been targeting the group for longer than this week. It said Hamas had carried out "a huge incitement campaign" in Gaza and abroad, through its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Jund Ansar Allah said it was that hostility that ultimately led to the crackdown in Rafah on Friday night, which ultimately resulted in the deaths of 24 Palestinians, including an estimated six non-combatants.

At least 125 Palestinians were injured in the fighting. According to medical sources in Gaza, about 20 Palestinians were seriously wounded and four were still on life support by Sunday morning.

The 24 slain Palestinians included six members of Hamas' forces, 12 Jund Ansar Allah members, and the six non-combatants. At least three young children lost their lives during the battle, presumably among the civilians.

Victims from all sides were buried in Rafah on Saturday afternoon.
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