Al Qaeda Seizes Territory from Moderate Syrian Group

Al-Nusra Front fighters in Syria

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Fighters linked to al Qaeda have seized territory from a moderate Syrian rebel group in a three-day campaign that has expanded their control into one of the few areas of northern Syria not held by hardline Islamists.

The Poison Tree

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

Last month, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu made a connection between the Islamic State and Hamas. These terrorist entities, Netanyahu said, have a lot in common. Separated by geography, they nonetheless share ideology and tactics and goals: Islamism, terrorism, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a global caliphate.

And yet, Netanyahu observed, the very nations now campaigning against the Islamic State treated Hamas like a legitimate combatant during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. “They evidently don’t understand,” he said, “that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”

Inside the Ring: Al Qaeda, Islamic State Teaming Up

Islamic State demonstrators chant pro-al Qeada messages in Mosul

U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria have prompted several central al Qaeda groups, including its two most dangerous regional affiliates, to reconsider their opposition to the ultraviolent offshoot organization.