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'Hamas foiled plot to kill Carter, Blair'

A Gaza based pro al-Qaida group has claimed that it tried to assassinate former US president Jimmy Carter and ex-British Premier Tony Blair as their "hands are stained in Muslim blood", but the plot was foiled by "moderate" Hamas which controls the coastal strip.

world Updated: Sep 08, 2009 18:11 IST

A Gaza based pro al-Qaida group has claimed that it tried to assassinate former US president Jimmy Carter and ex-British Premier Tony Blair as their "hands are stained in Muslim blood", but the plot was foiled by "moderate" Hamas which controls the coastal strip.

Describing the two leaders as "infidels", Mahmoud Taleb, a former commander of Hamas' armed wing Izzadin Kassam who quit the organisation due to its ideological "moderation", has claimed that his followers tried to kill them but were arrested by Hamas forces, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"The hands of Carter and Blair are stained with Muslim blood," Taleb wrote in a recent email message sent to London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper adding, "It was our duty to kill the two".

He also said that his followers considered Osama bin Laden to be the "emir" and "guardian" of all Muslims.

"We don't belong to al-Qaida organisationally, but we follow their ideology," Taleb wrote adding, "We pray to Allah that we will become part of them. They are our brothers and it's our duty to support them."

The al-Qaeda ideology inspired Muslim leader also claimed that Hamas was preventing his followers from launching terrorist attacks on Israel.

"They [Hamas] confiscated much of our weapons and ammunition. Hamas also arrested many of our warriors upon their return from jihad missions," he said vowing to carry out attacks on the organisation he once owed allegiance.

Taleb, who is at the top of a Hamas most wanted list in the Gaza Strip, has been in hiding for more than two years. Several attempts by Hamas to arrest the fundamentalist leader have failed, prompting its security forces to detain many of his friends and relatives.

Hamas's security forces, working to eliminate all possible opposition to the group's rule in the Strip, recently killed Abdel Latif Moussa, founder and head of a similar fundamentalist group called Jund Ansar Allah.

Moussa was killed along with 30 other Palestinians, most of them his supporters, during a standoff in the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas officials believe that Taleb's group, which is called Jaljalat (Thunder), was behind last week's bomb explosions outside two of its security installations in Gaza City, the Post reported.

They said that the attacks were apparently designed to avenge the crackdown on Jund Ansar Allah.