Hamas on Wednesday raised its readiness level in the wake of four rockets fired at Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, as well as claims that the Israel Air Force struck a cross-border tunnel between Egypt and Gaza, killing two.
A top Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem that the movement reinforced its deployment along the Egyptian border in a bid to block jihadists from crossing into Gaza to use the territory as a launching pad for attacks against Israel.
Hamas is mostly concerned about the possibility that the perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack on Israel were Palestinian, and that they have been planning to return to Gaza. On Thursday, the Islamic State Sinai Province posted an online statement taking credit for last night’s rocket salvo aimed at the Israeli resort city of Eilat. “A military squad fired a number of Grad rockets at communities of Jewish usurpers in the town of Eilat.”
According to the source, Hamas was quick to report to the Egyptian military for fear the Egyptians would accuse Hamas of masterminding the Sinai rocket attack. Deputy diplomatic leader Mousa Abu Marzouk vowed to his Egyptian interlocutors that Hamas was not involved in the attack and would do its utmost to prevent it from recurring, the source said.
The source added that Hamas fears the rockets were part of a Hamas shipment en route to Gaza that the Islamic State had stopped in retaliation for Hamas’ measures against Islamic jihadists. If the rockets turn out to belong to Hamas, it may sour newly improved relations with Egypt, which could be further exacerbated by the possibility that IS could start using more detained Hamas weapons stockpiles.
Following Hamas’ refusal to allow injured militants into Gaza for medical treatment, as well as widespread arrests of IS sympathizers in the Gaza, Wilayat Sinai, IS’s Egyptian affiliate, has barred weapons shipments from reaching Hamas, according to multiple jihadist sources affiliated with IS ideology.