Leader says Islamic Jihad headquarters still in Syria
Published Saturday 21/07/2012 (updated) 22/07/2012 11:24
Islamic Jihad officials have denied reports that they left Syria.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Islamic Jihad movement has not moved its headquarters from Syria to Iran as reports claimed Saturday, says Sheikh Nafith Azzam, member of the movement’s politburo.
Speaking to Ma’an from Egypt, Azzam said the “reports about Islamic Jihad moving its leadership and headquarters from Damascus to Tehran are not true at all, and our leadership is still in Damascus without any changes at all.”
Asked to comment on the events in Syria, Azzam’s only comment was “we are still present in Syria.”
Earlier Saturday, Egypt’s Middle East newspaper quoted Palestinian sources saying Islamic Jihad’s leadership had left Syria but had not ended its presence in the country or severed relations with the ruling regime.
According to the sources, deputy secretary-general of Islamic Jihad Ziad an-Nakhala moved to Iran weeks ago. He visited Syria only once some 10 days earlier to arrange to transfer the body of one of the movement’s leaders, Salim Hamadah, from Syria to Lebanon to be buried in Sidon.
The sources added that Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general Ramadan Shallah keeps moving back and forth between Syria and Iran, doing most of his work from Iran.
However, the report quoted an Islamic Jihad leader in the Gaza Strip denying that the movement has moved. “Under the current dire conditions, the movement can’t choose but to stay with our Syrian brothers,” he said.