JAFFA, Israel – A video showing a Gaza militant warning American citizens against visiting the Strip has gone viral on Arab social media.
Abu Jamal, a commander in the Saladin Brigades, a pro-Hamas Islamic militia, released the video in response to its inclusion last week in the US government’s terrorist organizations list, alongside one of its leaders, Fathi Hamad, the former interior minister in the Hamas government.
On Friday, the State Department designated Hamad an “international terrorist,” saying he made use of his ministerial powers to sponsor and coordinate terrorist activities in the Palestinian territories. Hamad was singled out as the founder of Al Aqsa TV, a channel that regularly engaged in recruiting young Palestinian as fighters and suicide bombers for Hamas.
In the video, Abu Jamal told American nationals they were undesirable in the Strip, and called on them to refrain from visiting it, following the U.S. government’s resolution against Hamad.
He added that they should pressure their government to overturn the decision, that “does Israel’s bidding,” “otherwise we would have to expand the conflict beyond the borders of Occupied Palestine.”
Hamas’ Interior Ministry responded to the video by saying it is committed to ensuring the safety of all foreign nationals visiting and living in Gaza.
Iyad Albazm, a spokesperson for the ministry, said: “The threat made by a representative of one of the resistance groups is unacceptable and illegal,” and vowed that steps will be taken against him. “We will not allow anyone to undermine the security and stability of the Gaza Strip, and will not tolerate threats made against foreign residents living in Gaza, regardless of their nationality.”