TEL AVIV – The Army of Islam, a Gaza-based Salafi organization that was involved in the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, is attempting to become the Islamic State’s sole representative in Gaza and the West Bank, according to militant Salafi sources in Gaza close to the organization.
The sources said the Army of Islam is ready to establish IS training bases, recruit activists, and found a Sharia council as well as other bodies in accordance with IS hierarchy.
More than a month ago, the Army of Islam pledged allegiance to IS and its leader, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured), but has yet to receive the privileged status of the official IS representative in the Palestinian territories.
The Army of Islam recently renewed its pledge of allegiance to al-Baghdadi in a video that attacked Hamas for its “failure” to apply Sharia law, as well as Hamas’ supposed connection to the “anti-Islamic” West and Iran, which “massacres Sunni Muslims.”
The video, the Salafi sources told Breitbart Jerusalem, is part of the Army of Islam’s campaign to gain the support of the IS leadership, which will bring the organization resources and prestige. You can see the video below:
For his part, Mumtaz Dughmosh, the commander of the Army of Islam, recently finished memorizing the Quran in its entirety, the sources said. He has now moved on to memorizing other scriptures, mainly the Hadiths – collections of reports that claim to quote the prophet Muhammad verbatim. Some of Dughmosh’s teachers are Salafists who came to the Gaza Strip from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, sources claimed.
Salafi organizations in Gaza and the ruling faction Hamas have been increasingly at odds.
In May, Hamas engaged in deadly clashes with IS supporters who challenged Hamas rule.
In July, the Information Bureau of the Aleppo Province, affiliated with IS, released a video entitled “A message to our folks in Jerusalem,” in which IS members originally from Gaza declared war on Israel and Hamas.
In the video, IS member Abu Azzam Al-Ghazzawim, who is originally from Gaza, delivered a strongly-worded warning to what he called the “tyrants of Hamas”:
“You are nothing in our reckoning. You, Fatah, and all the secularists, we count you as nothing. Allah willing, we shall uproot the state of the Jews. You are nothing but froth that will be gone as we move in. Allah willing, Gaza will be governed by Sharia despite you.”
Abu Qatadah al-Filistini, an ISIS member who leads a faction in Aleppo, Syria, made an appearance in the video and called on all “monotheists in Gaza to join the convoy of the Mujahidin and join the State of the Caliphate.”
Abu Qatadah accused Hamas of “sliding gradually into apostasy, a slide that started with the demolition of the Ibn Taymiyah Mosque.
“It is a movement that does not seek to govern according to Shariah but seeks to appease Iran and America, the heads of apostasy.”