Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IN PICTURES: "Al-Qa'ida" in Palestine? Black Flags Used by Transnational Jihadi-Takfiri Groups in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The car in the background has (yellow) Israeli license plates.

Photographs showing the black-and-white flags emblazoned with the Muslim testament of faith ("there is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger") in the occupied Palestinian Territories and Jerusalem are circulating among cyber jihadi-takfiri web sites. The messages on some of the banners are not necessarily different from general Muslim views about God and the Prophet Muhammad. The use of this particular style of flag, however, is noteworthy and potentially significant.

Transnational jihadi-takfiri materials have appeared in the Palestinian Territories before.

Currently, there are a number of small jihadi-takfiri groups operating in the Gaza Strip, among them Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of God's Partisans), Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l Jihad fi Bayt al-Maqdis (Group of Absolute Monotheism & Struggle), and Jama'at Ansar al-Sunna fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis (Group of the Prophetic Tradition's Partisans in the Shadow/Bosom of the Holy House/Jerusalem).

There have been signs that these groups, though small, are gaining ground with younger members of established Palestinian religious-nationalist groups such as HAMAS (Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah; "Islamic Resistance Movement") and Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami in Palestine ("Islamic Jihad Movement;" Palestinian Islamic Jihad; PIJ). I have written about this in the past HERE. In several instances, "martyred" Palestinian fighters have been claimed as members by multiple groups, including established religious-nationalist and transnational jihadi-takfiri ones. Most recently, a young member of HAMAS' military wing, the Brigades of the Martyr 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam, Mahmoud al-'Amarin (Ahmarine, Amareen), was claimed as a member by both HAMAS and Jama'at Ansar al-Sunna fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis (Group of the Prophetic Tradition's Partisans in the Shadow/Bosom of Jerusalem) . On Saturday (Sep. 24) he died of wounds suffered in early September in an Israeli military strike.

Mahmoud al-'Amarin in front of a Qassam Brigades' backdrop.

Al-'Amarin, also called by his nom de guerre "Abu Muhammad al-Ansari," in a cyber "martyrdom" poster that uses the black-and-white flag used by transnational jihadi-takfiris worldwide.

I have written a longer article on this topic, which I am currently waiting to hear back about from a publication. If it does not end up being published there, I will post it here.

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