Al Qaeda Leader Dies in Battle With Hamas

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2009 9:10 AM CDT
Amember of the militant Islamic group Jund Ansar Allah stands guard while his leader Abdel-Latif Moussa, not pictured, gives a speech during Friday prayers in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Aug. 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/ File)
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(Newser) – Hamas launched a raid on an al-Qaeda splinter group's mosque stronghold today, leaving at least 22 dead, including the group’s leader, and around 120 people injured, Reuters reports. The extremist Jund Ansar Allah, or Warriors of God, had provoked Hamas by declaring the establishment of an Islamic “emirate” in Gaza, first in a sermon Friday and then on their Web site.

The group’s leader, Abdel-Latif Moussa, died in an explosion—a Hamas spokesman says he and an aide blew themselves up after killing a negotiator. Hamas also accused the group of “terrorizing the country and attacking civilians.” The battle was the worst inter-Palestinian conflict in 2 years, with six Hamas policemen, six civilians and three children among the dead.