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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 22, 2003

Jihad says it will not target U.S.

This is the response from Islamic Jihad when they learned that their supporters in the Tampa area had been arrested by the FBI. Of interest is how, lacking tenure, the membership in such groups divides and splits and reconsitutes itself over a variety of issues
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The militant Islamic Jihad said Friday that it will not attack American targets to retaliate for the U.S. arrest of four alleged members and the indictment of four others on terrorism-related charges.

Abdallah Shami, the Gaza leader of the Palestinian group, condemned the arrests but said Islamic Jihad will continue to focus on its fight against Israel.

"We are not going to open any new fronts," Shami said.

Earlier Friday, Israeli troops killed two Islamic Jihad members who attacked a Jewish settlement and an army post in Gaza.

In the West Bank, near the town of Tulkarem, Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unidentified Palestinian who they said was running toward an army checkpoint and failed to stop after repeated calls and warning shots, an army spokeswoman said.

A 50-count indictment was unsealed Thursday in Washington against eight alleged members of Islamic Jihad, including computer engineering professor Sami Al-Arian, the alleged U.S. leader of the group who is on paid leave from the University of South Florida.

Four of the eight, including Al-Arian, were arrested in the United States. Four others are abroad, including Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah, who is in Damascus, and Abd Al Aziz Awda, 52, a founder of the group, who lives in the Gaza town of Beit Lahia.

Awda was not available for comment Friday. Shami said Awda left the group a decade ago after falling out with other members and that he has withdrawn from public life. Awda is a member of the Palestine National Council, the Palestinians' parliament-in-exile, and in 1997 voted in favor of revoking sections of the PLO founding charter that call for Israel's destruction.

Another Islamic Jihad leader, Khaled Batsh, said that of the eight men indicted, all except Shallah "either left the movement or the movement froze their membership more than 10 years ago." [more]
And of course all who knew the members of the arrested group are quick to point out what nice people and good American citizens they are. [more]