TEL AVIV, Israel – The Islamic State’s leadership in Syria and Iraq has criticized ties between its affiliate in Sinai and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Salafi jihadist sources in Gaza told Breitbart Jerusalem.
In a letter to Abu Osama al-Masri, the leader of IS in Sinai, the jihadi commanders mentioned the concerns of Gaza Salafists, asking why IS militants in Sinai collaborate with the Hamas government while it cracks down on their brethren.
According to sources, the leadership wrote, “Collaboration with Hamas is unacceptable and contravenes Sharia law, because Hamas’ demeanor is incompatible with the principles of our religion, and cannot be seen as Islamic.”
The sources said that, despite the letter, IS in Sinai may maintain its ties with Hamas.
“The cooperation may well continue, because both sides face a common enemy: Egypt,” they said.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, warned in an interview with the Palestinian news media this past week 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.
Ynetnews reported on Saturday:
Mordechai mentioned in his interview a Salafi militant, Mahmoud Z., who has been coordinating between Hamas and ISIS, as well as a Sinai militant, Ibrahim Abu Qureia, who has received medical treatment in Gaza. COGAT’s comments are likely meant to put a spotlight on the strong connection between ISIS in the Sinai and Hamas in Gaza, while the Hamas leadership is trying to mend strained ties with Egypt.
Meanwhile, Israeli security officials revealed that Hamas has allowed Salafist leaders to leave Gaza for Sinai to participate in fighting against the Egyptian army. The officials said that Mohammed Sami Gint, a Hamas militant from the Shati Refugee Camp, and Mahmoud Nimr Abdel Latif Zagrah, traveled to Sinai to fight with ISIS.
The Israeli security officials also claimed that Hamas continues to assist ISIS in treating its wounded in Gaza hospitals. Ibrahim Abu Al-Qureia, an ISIS militant, recently received treatment at a Gaza hospital with the help of Mahmoud Tawfiq Satiri, a Hamas militant.
Mordechai also revealed that Israel has information Hamas has been exploiting the Erez Border Crossing between Israel and Gaza for terrorist purposes.
Hamas Paying Off Islamic State to Smuggle Weapons into Gaza
Hamas-IS ties reportedly go even further.
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 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 indicating that 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.