Ali Waked
Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 10, 2010 - 1:00am,7340,L-3847352,00.html

For the first time, Palestinian security forces have arrested six al-Qaeda supporters in the West Bank, a Palestinian security official said Wednesday.

Brigadier General Ibrahim Ramadan said that six people were arrested last week near the town of Jenin in the northern West Bank.

He said they were receiving military training but had not yet selected targets to attack.

"They consider themselves part of al-Qaeda but had no contact with the leaders of al-Qaeda abroad," he said.

"They all had shaved heads and long beards, and they believe that (members) of Fatah, as well as of Hamas, are infidels," he added.

'Group planned to target PA'
General Ramadan has denied the involvement of Israeli security forces in the arrests, which he said followed an investigation into a cache of homemade explosives discovered in the vicinity of Jenin.

Meanwhile, a security official in Jenin told Ynet that the group was detained in the town of Kabatiya, and that its members planned to hit Palestinian Authority targets. Some of the suspects were known as Hamas activists in the past, he said.

In the past, Israel has arrested Palestinians accused of planning attacks on behalf of Osama bin Laden's global terror network.

Despite al-Qaeda's endorsement of the Palestinian cause, the organization never established a significant presence in the Palestinian territories. In August 2009, security forces led by Hamas had carried out a bloody repression against the Jund Allah Ansar, an organization advocating the application of Islamic law in the territory.

More than 20 people were killed and over 120 injured in this operation, which resulted in the death of the group's spiritual leader.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017