Hamas frees Qaeda-tied leader of militant group in Gaza: source (REUTERS) Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Crispian Balmer GAZA 08/03/12 10:51am EDT)
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(Reuters) - Gaza´s Islamist Hamas government has freed a militant
group´s leader who is believed to have ties to al Qaeda and had been
detained for 17 months, a source from a Jihadist Salafi group said on
Hisham Al-Saedni, also known as Abu Al-Waleed Al-Maqdissi, was freed
late on Thursday, the source said. Hamas declined immediate comment.
Saedni, in his late 50s, is believed to head the Jihadist Salafi
group Tawhid and Jihad (One God and Holy War). The group adopts an
Islamist ideology shared by al Qaeda, and sources said that Saedni
himself joined al Qaeda in Iraq at the beginning of the U.S.-led
invasion in 2003.
Hamas had accused Saedni of attempting to disrupt public order in the
Gaza Strip and arrested him on March 4, 2011. Hamas seized the Gaza
Strip from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas´s allies in 2007
following a brief civil war.
Members identifying themselves with Tawhid and Jihad kidnapped and
killed a pro-Palestinian Italian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, last
year, in an apparent attempt to secure the release of Saedni.
A number of Jihadist Salafi groups have surfaced in Gaza in recent
years. Unlike Hamas, they endorse an ideology of global Jihad and
some accuse Hamas of failing to implement Islamic laws in the coastal
enclave. (© Thomson Reuters 2012. 08/03/12)
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