TEL AVIV – A barrage of rockets was fired at Israel over the weekend and another one was launched on Monday in what seems to be a power struggle between Hamas and Gaza-based Salafi jihadists.
Salafi militants allied with the Islamic State fired the rockets from Gaza in protest against Hamas’s clampdown on jihadi groups, the Gazan-based Salafi leader Abu Ayna Al-Ansari told Breitbart Jerusalem.
“As long as Salafist are jailed, we are not bound by Hamas’s agreement with the Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai,” he said.
Ansari said that the rocket attacks also come in retaliation for what he claimed were Israel’s “crimes” against Palestinians, specifically to avenge the death of Jerusalem woman Fadwa Abu Tir “who, Israel claims, tried to carry out a stabbing attack.”
“After Abu Tir was assassinated, our mujahideen announced an imminent response was coming, but Hamas troops in the area delayed it,” he said.
In reality, Fadwa Abu Tir was eliminated in the process of attempting to stab Israel Border Police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City.
“We Salafists never ask for permission, not from Hamas or anybody else, to retaliate for the Jewish crimes against the Palestinian Muslims,” he added. “Nor are we committed to any truce between Hamas and the Jews. Our weapons are always in ready mode to retaliate against the Zionist enemy.”
Support for the Islamic State has reportedly been on the rise in Gaza. In May, Hamas engaged in deadly clashes with ISIS supporters who challenged Hamas rule.
In July, the Information Bureau of the Aleppo Province, affiliated with ISIS, released a video entitled “A message to our folks in Jerusalem,” in which ISIS members originally from Gaza declared war on Israel and Hamas.
However, Hamas and IS supporters recently have been getting along.
Over the weekend, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Morechai, warned in an interview with the Palestinian news media that Hamas and the Islamic State are cooperating, with Hamas fighters engaging in jihad in the Egyptian Sinai and IS sending their wounded to receive medical treatment in Gaza.
Hamas Paying Off Islamic State to Smuggle Weapons into Gaza
Breitbart Jerusalem previously reported that Shadi al-Menai, one of the leaders of Wilayat Sinai, visited Gaza and mediated a deal whereby Hamas would give the Gaza Salafi opposition groups more leeway in exchange for Wilayat Sinai’s help in bypassing the Egyptian army’s restrictions on smuggling rocket parts and weapons into Gaza.
Abu Khaled, head of the media office of the Al Qassam Brigades, told Breitbart Jerusalem that he declined to comment on matters of national security.
This is not the first report of Hamas-IS cooperation in arms smuggling.
A Middle East think tank charged in December that there is information Hamas has been paying off the Islamic State’s Sinai branch to smuggle weapons into Gaza. “Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment,” stated a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.