A senior Islamic State jihadist told Breitbart Jerusalem that there has been an escalation in tensions between Hamas and IS, following a wave of arrests of Salafist militants in Gaza and growing cooperation between Hamas and the Egyptian security services.
Abu Baker Almuhajer, an Islamic State operative active in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, told Breitbart Jerusalem that in the last few days the Wilayat Sinai group, a local offshoot of IS, intercepted a Hamas arms shipment intended to be smuggled into the enclave through underground tunnels leading into Sinai.
According to Almuhajer, the shipment contained explosives, missile components and thousands of cigarette packs. The cigarettes were meant to be sold by Hamas, he said.
The Wilayat Sinai jihadists demand the release of their associates incarcerated by Hamas, Almuhajer says.
Speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, a senior Hamas operative confirmed the report, adding that the Salafist group also demanded 20% of the cost of cigarettes and other products that were supposed to be smuggled into the coastal enclave.
The Hamas official said that on Sunday Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy chief of the Hamas politburo, traveled to Egypt to meet with senior intelligence officials and discuss further rapprochement between the sides after weeks of preliminary contacts.
In recent weeks there has been a detente between Egypt and Hamas that saw the Egyptians begin to repair the Rafah border crossing and allow Gaza businessmen to pass through it. Egypt further intends to set up a trade and commerce zone adjacent to the crossing that would ease the burden of Israel’s blockade of the territory.
Almuhajer said the visit was part of a “trend in Hamas of pledging allegiance to the infidels that control Egypt, and promising them further harmonization in exchange for persecuting the faithful and the Mujahedin.” He added that the number of Islamic State jihadists arrested by Hamas in the last few weeks passed the 500 mark.