Seth J. Frantzman
against the coronavirus is as important as the struggle against Israel, an
online post by the Palestinian Mujahideen Brigades said Wednesday. They are one
of many groups in the Middle East who claim to have swapped their AK-47s for
disinfectant during the global pandemic.
cases of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip this week have worried Hamas leaders.
They are concerned it could spread to the congested cities they govern and
overwhelm their already weakened health sector in the blockaded strip.
security forces gather in a street, during a curfew imposed to prevent the
spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Baghdad, Iraq
credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL MOUSILY)
Mujahideen Brigades banner reflects the groups' position of equivicating
fighting for the sake of jihad and combating the spread of #COVID19. #Gaza
2:43 AM -
Mar 26, 2020
put out videos of its fighters holding hoses rather than rockets and spraying
what they claim is disinfectant on party offices and streets.
Mujahideen Brigades are a small Gaza-based group that has put out several
videos in recent months, according to research by Joe Truzman at the Foundation
for Defense of Democracy’s Long War Journal. Now they are working with Hamas to
stop the virus.
Islamic Jihad, which is supported by Iran, is also joining the battle against
prepared for everything,” it posted, with an image copied from Iran that shows
a man who is half soldier, half doctor. Like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps in Iran, which has taken a lead in fighting a “biological war” against
the virus, Islamic Jihad also want to show it can put up scrubs.
that we are "at war" with #COVID2019 is not a prerogative of Western
politicians. The Islamic Jihad Movement in #Gaza, an organization designated as
terrorists inter alia by the US and the EU, puts it this way: "We are
prepared in every arena." #coronavirus #Jihad
12:18 AM -
Mar 26, 2020
in Lebanon is also sending aid to the front line. It hopes to resist the virus
in Lebanon through more than $1 million in donations and is sending ambulances,
1,500 doctors and more than 3,000 nurses and medical personnel to volunteer and
help against the pandemic.
is helped by its influence over the Health Ministry in Lebanon and uses the
resources of a state within a state. Proficient in stockpiling weapons in
warehouses, precision guidance and tunnelling, the group says it hopes to use
its expertise for a “huge plan” to fight the virus, according to Al-Manar, a
Lebanese satellite television station.
the pro-Iranian proxy group Asaib Ahl al-Haq is also involved in a campaign to
disinfect Baghdad. Previously accused of suppressing protests, it has turned to
suppressing the virus.
Hezbollah, another group in Iraq that is linked to Iran, is not as focused. It
says it is too busy monitoring US troop movements. However, on March 24 an
officer linked to the group said it would assist at five hospitals in Iraq.
Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Hashd al-Shaabi and the Popular Mobilization Units of
which it is part, are also conducting an awareness campaign in Ramadi about the
terrorist groups in the region have also warned about the virus. ISIS advises
its members not to go to Europe. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib province in
northern Syria, a group linked to al-Qaeda in the past, has reportedly detained
a preacher to prevent gatherings that could spread the virus.
groups, including the Taliban, apparently are prepared to listen to advice from
healthcare workers and have expressed concern about prisoners. Hamas is also
worried about its prisoners.
the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen sought to close Sanaa’s airport to UN
travellers due to high rates of infection in Europe.
militant and terrorist groups care about the pandemic. In parts of the Sahel,
terrorist groups linked to Boko Haram and others have carried out increased
attacks. This swath of ungoverned territory stretching from the borders of Chad
to Niger and beyond is a concern because the virus and extremist groups easily
armed groups across the Middle East, many of them unable to test for the virus
and lacking medical support, are picking up the disinfectant alongside the
rifle, preparing for what they know is a looming threat.
the effect of shifting their attention from fighting their various enemies,
such as Iranian proxies aiming rockets at US forces in Iraq or Hamas targeting
Israel. Hamas wants aid from Turkey or Qatar as it worries about the pandemic.
Original Headline: Across Middle East,
militants hang up guns to fight coronavirus
Source: The Jerusalem Post