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Hamas arrests Islamists in Gaza over rocket theft

‘Extremists calling themselves Salafis’ nabbed for making off with terrorist’s missiles, plotting terror attacks

File photo of Islamic Jihad members in Gaza preparing to launch rockets (photo credit: CC BY-SA Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, Flickr)
File photo of Islamic Jihad members in Gaza preparing to launch rockets (photo credit: CC BY-SA Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, Flickr)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Thursday said it had arrested six militant extremists suspected of stealing weapons and plotting terrorist attacks.

Gaza’s Interior Ministry said that four men were charged with stealing rockets belonging to Palestinian terrorists and two others with trying to attack targets in Gaza.

The statement described the men as “extremists calling themselves Salafis,” a reference to Muslims following a hard-line version of Islamic law. It didn’t say when the men were arrested.

Shadowy Salafi groups oppose the rule of Islamist militant group Hamas over Gaza, seeing the organization as too moderate.

Inspired by the al-Qaeda terror network, they often claim responsibility for firing rockets at Israel.

The arrests came days after an Israeli airstrike killed a Gaza Salafi who Israel said was responsible for a recent attack on southern Israel.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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