Gaza blast kills leading militant

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 23:28

Gaza City: A senior Palestinian militant
from a radical Islamist group was killed on Wednesday when his car
exploded outside Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City in an
attack blamed on Israel.

Hundreds of supporters promised revenge at the funeral
of Mohammed Jamil al-Nemnem, 27, a senior commander of the
Army of Islam, a group that espouses an al Qaeda-like
ideology.

A senior member of the group gave a speech praising
Nemnem as its number two after Mumtaz Doghmush, the suspected
mastermind of the 2007 kidnapping of British journalist Alan
Johnston.

Another three people were wounded when the car
exploded, according to Adham Abu Selmiya, the spokesman for
emergency services in the Hamas-run health ministry.

The cause of the explosion, which was heard throughout
Gaza City, was not immediately clear, but the Hamas-run
interior ministry blamed Israel.

Speaking on television, interior minister Ihab
al-Ghussein said "investigations show that the explosion was
caused by missile fire from an Israeli drone".

In a statement, the ministry said the "civilian
vehicle was targeted on Wednesday morning as it passed by the
local security services authority in
central Gaza."

Witnesses at the scene, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said they saw warplanes in the area but no
missiles, and that the explosion appeared to have
been caused by a bomb inside the car.

Israeli officials declined to comment.

The Army of Islam is one of the more radical armed
groups in Gaza and took part in the capture of the Israeli
soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006, along
with Hamas and another small hardline faction, the Popular
Resistance Committees.

Hamas says it severed ties with the Army of Islam
after the group seized Johnston in May 2007. Hamas secured the
BBC reporter`s release nearly four months later after it had
seized control of Gaza.

Hamas has occasionally clashed with the Army of Islam
and other radical groups.

In August 2009, Hamas police stormed a Gaza mosque,
killing a radical sheikh and 23 of his followers after he
declared an Islamic emirate in the impoverished territory and
his followers brandished weapons in public.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 23:28

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