Hamas forces on Sunday demolished a half-built mosque that belonged to Iran-backed Islamic Jihad activists, claiming it was constructed on Hamas-owned land without the required permits.
Eyewitnesses said that Hamas inspectors turned up at the site and told the builders that the land was sequestered, and started demolishing it soon afterwards.
Mediation efforts between Islamic Jihad and Hamas failed and tensions remained high, leading to a salvo fired at the house of a Islamic Jihad official.
Islamic Jihad spokesmen said that the land was privately owned and donated to their movement for the construction of a mosque, and that it received all the permits that were required.
Hamas’ detractors seized the opportunity to try to embarrass Hamas by questioning the group’s credentials as an Islamic movement.
“What do you think? Will Allah deliver victory when we turn against ourselves?” Fatah’s Facebook page said.
“Allah doesn’t forget the deeds of the villains, it only delays their punishment,” the page further quoted from the Quran.
“Allah is greater than the villains and their helpers,” Um Ihab commented on the post.
Mahmoud Amarneh also quoted from the Quran: “There isn’t a greater villain than the man who prevents Allah’s name from being heard in mosques and demolishes them.”
“Allah please avenge them and their supporters,” Ayman Mousa wrote.
Hamas sought to prevent the mosque from becoming an Islamic Jihad hotspot, where it will be used for collecting donations and mobilizing the people with sermons.
An Imam often rules on personal and family conflicts, gives advice on religious and personal issues, and the power he may accumulate, Hamas feared, would undermine their authority.