GAZA -- The Lebanese army's standoff with Islamist militants at a Palestinian camp in the country is calling attention to the increasing radicalization of Palestinians.
Experts say Hamas and other radical groups may be taking control of the Palestinian movement and leading more young people down the path of jihad, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Gazan analyst Taysir Mhaisin told the Times the fragmentation of authority in Gaza between Hamas and rival faction Fatah has led to "an increase of fundamentalism and the birth of groups believing in violence and practicing violence as a model created by bin Ladenism."
Mhaisin also credits Palestinian infighting and "the suffocation of Gaza by the Israelis" with transforming Gaza into a "very fertile ground for fundamentalism and these jihadist ideas."
Bush administration officials said more young people in Gaza as well as the Lebanese refugee camps are turning to jihad because they feel more secular or moderate paths have failed to improve their lives.
"There is a security vacuum that creates space for all kinds of new grouplets and forces," Mouin Rabbani, a Jordan-based analyst of Palestinian politics for the International Crisis Group, said in the Times report.
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.