GAZA, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Hamas forces opened fire Friday on a Gaza mosque where the leader of an al-Qaida affiliate had just spoken, setting off fighting that killed at least 16 people.
The fighting, which also injured more than 100 people, erupted after the radical cleric delivered an incendiary anti-Hamas sermon, Haaretz reported. Authorities said among those killed was Jibril al-Shimali, a senior Hamas military leader, Ynetnews.com reported.
Ynetnews reported local Salafi leader Abdul Latif Musa told worshipers Gaza is an Islamic emirate. He faulted Hamas for not being sufficiently strident in pursuing the imposition of Islamic law in the Gaza Strip and said he was casting his support to al-Qaida, the Israeli news Web site said.
"We belong to al-Qaida and our leader is Osama bin Laden," Musa was quoted as saying.
The mortar fire into the mosque set off clashes between hundreds of followers of Jund Ansar Allah, an al-Qaida affiliate, and Hamas.
After the fighting ended, Hamas blew up Musa's house with its occupants inside, sources told Debkafile.
Rafah is in the southern part of Gaza and site of the border crossing into Egypt. Al-Qaida has been attempting to infiltrate southern Gaza with people, weapons and money, Debkafile said, citing counterterrorism sources.