Hamas fighters and members of the al Qaeda-linked Jund Ansar Allah, or Warriors of God, clashed in the border city of Rafah in southern Gaza, resulting in 13 people killed and 85 wounded. Hamas fighters attacked the Jund Ansar Allah strongholds in Rafah after the latter group's leader declared an Islamic emirate in the city and announced during Friday prayers that the emirate woudl spread to all of Gaza.

Jund Ansar Allah is a relatively small group in Gaza, with only several hundred followers. Some of the group's members are thought to have fought against the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. While it is hard to believe, the Jund Ansar Allah is actually more radical than Hamas.

As Reuters rightly noted, Hamas cracked down on the group because "it marked a clear challenge to Hamas's nationalist brand of Palestinian Islam by groups espousing a pan-Arab militancy aligned with al Qaeda."

Al Qaeda's central leadership, specifically Ayman al Zawahiri, has devoted a good bit of time on its propaganda tape discussing the Palestinian issue and has been attempting to co-opt the cause for year. Harsh words have been exchanged by the two groups, and the recent bout of fighting in Gaza should raise the stakes.

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