WHAT IS FATAH Al-ISLAM?
- Leena Saidi (ABC News)
Fatah al-Islam, a radical Sunni Islamist group, emerged in late 2006 after it split from Fatah al-Intifada, a pro-Syrian Palestinian faction that had split from Yasser Arafat's organization, Fatah. Lebanese authorities accused the group of bombing two minibuses in a Christian town in February 2006, killing three people. They also hold Fatah al-Islam responsible for at least three bank robberies. Lebanese authorities have accused Fatah al-Islam, which is said to be ideologically inspired by al-Qaeda, of working for Syrian intelligence.
The group's leader, Shaker Abssi, a Palestinian in his early 50s, is said to be linked to the former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and was sentenced to death in absentia by a Jordanian military court in 2004 for his involvement in the murder of American diplomat Laurence Foley. Most members of Fatah al-Islam are Syrians; some are Saudis, Yemenis and Lebanese. Palestinians maybe come at the end of the list, while Lebanese security sources say Moroccans and Algerians are also members.