Did Gaza’s “Soldiers of God” call for “Action” against Blair?
Comment at end
16th July, 2008
Was this call to arms from a group calling themselves the “Soldiers of God” the threat which caused Blair to cancel at the last minute his first trip to Gaza as peace envoy?
Group calling itself ‘Soldiers of God’ issues internet statement slamming Hamas’ agreement to host visit be Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair, say it’s ‘inconceivable that group would host one of the pillars of the war against Muslims’
A Palestinian-Islamist group calling itself “Soldiers of God” claimed that “criminals like (Mideast Quartet envoy) Blair are not welcome a Gaza,” the Monitoring Centre of Islamist websites reported Tuesday.
The group’s statement was published on the Islamist website al-Hesbah, known to be used by various radical Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda.
The group’s statement criticized Hamas for having accepted Blair’s visit in Gaza, even though it was eventually cancelled.
“Oh Jund Allah (“Soldiers of God), we want deeds, not words. The enemy of Allah will be at (the northern Gaza Strip town of) Beit Lahiya for three hours tomorrow. We want actions, not words,” it added.
Blair’s visit to the Gaza Strip was cancelled on the eve before he was supposed to arrive in Gaza, due to what his spokesperson called specific threats to his safety: “Unfortunately, we had to cancel the visit because of specific threats, as a matter of security,” spokesperson Ruti Winterstein told AFP.
A source at the Shin Bet told AFP that the Israeli security service advised Blair that fresh intelligence indicated that his convoy was to be targeted by a terror groups once it arrived at Erez crossing.
Hamas, however, has claimed that the Quartet’s representative cancelled his visit due to Israeli pressure, adding in a press release that the group, which ruled the Gaza Strip, had taken “all the necessary security measures for Mr. Blair’s visit.”
Had it materialized, the visit would have been Blair’s first to the Strip since he was appointed a head of the Quartet’s Mideast mission in June of 2007.