A leader of al-Qaida reportedly has slipped into the Gaza Strip from neighboring Egypt.
Citing Palestinian security sources, the daily Ma’ariv reported Wednesday that Khaled Mustafa, an al-Qaida leader wanted in Egypt, used an arms-smuggling tunnel to enter Gaza about six weeks ago. Mustafa is believed to be recruiting Palestinians to attack Israel on behalf of al-Qaida, the Israeli newspaper said.
Hamas, which seized control of Gaza last month, has denied having any links with al-Qaida, though its officials privately admit there may be sleeper cells in the strip with links to Egypt and beyond. While Hamas and al-Qaida share the same terrorist tactics and hatred of Israel, the former favors political accommodation with the West while the latter does not.