Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Egypt, has been using sniper rifles intended to reach Hamas in the Gaza Strip that were captured in Sinai, a senior Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
In light of increasing tensions between Hamas and IS in Sinai due in part to Hamas’ growing ties to the Egyptian government and the arrest of hundreds of IS supporters in Gaza, Wilayat Sinai militants have been targeting and capturing weapons shipments meant for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called “military wing” in Gaza.
IS’s Sinai affiliate recently published a video in which its fighters can be seen killing Egyptian soldiers from long range with advanced sniper rifles. Military analysts said the weapons seen in the video were most likely captured by IS from Shi’ite militias and the Iraqi army during combat in Syria and Iraq.
According to the Hamas source, one type of rifle seen in the video was part of a weapons shipment meant to reach the Gaza Strip that was captured by IS in Sinai.
A number of different types of rifles can be seen in the video, said the source, “but one of them, a Steyr, was part of a shipment to the al-Qassam Brigades that was captured by IS in Sinai. This shipment included hundreds of rockets and parts of rockets.” According to the source, the captured sniper rifle is capable of hitting an enemy from a range of multiple kilometers.
Breitbart Jerusalem reported in February that Hamas believes projectiles fired at Israel by IS militants in Sinai were part of a weapons shipment intended to reach Gaza that was intercepted by IS in Sinai amid tensions between the two groups. After the rocket fire, Hamas raised its military alertness level in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas source told Breitbart Jerusalem that for the time being the group has decided to invest in developing its connections with Egypt and won’t risk renewing cooperation with IS in Sinai, fearing Egyptian retaliation.
The source said that relations between Hamas and Egypt “are the key to stability in the Gaza Strip and to the possibility of beginning a serious process of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip despite the attempts of the Palestinian Authority to destroy these efforts – and we won’t risk our relations with Egypt for the weapons captured by IS in Sinai.”