EXCLUSIVE: Hamas Cracks Down On Gaza Salafists As Talks With Cairo Loom

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Hamas has stepped up measures against Islamic State loyalists in the Gaza Strip, an official in the movement told Breitbart Jerusalem.

Several Salafi Sharia experts and theologians have been busy recruiting young Gazans to attack Egyptian soldiers along the Strip’s border with Sinai, he said.

Following the arrest of a Salafi cell, the members told their interrogators that they had been told by clerics that the soldiers had disavowed Islam by agreeing to serve in an army that carries out an anti-Islamic policy.

The official said that Hamas troops are focusing their efforts on locating three of these clerics, who went underground following the arrest of the cell members. They are wanted on charges of incitement to terror after providing the detainees with religious justification for the attacks.

The source said that Hamas forces raided tower no. 132 in Alzahrahh in the central Gaza Strip, near the Nusseirat refugee camp, in search of a Salafi cleric named Abu Anass, who is suspected of being an associate of the wanted clerics.

A Salafi source confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that several days ago a Salafi activist was arrested there, but said he claimed the arrested individual was an elderly man suffering from diabetes and practically blind “who has no connection to the ring Hamas are after.”

Over the past few days, Hamas officials said that Egypt is considering a new Gaza policy. Hamas’ Khalil Elhayeh said that his movement is working to ensure the success of this policy, adding that Hamas welcomes any measure that could mitigate Gaza’s plight.

Over the coming days, a delegation of Gaza businessmen is expected to travel to Cairo to draft a policy on cross-border business transactions and exports together with Egyptian officials.

Hamas’ breakthrough vis-à-vis the Egyptian government is the result, among other things, of the crackdown on Salafism in Gaza and a certain degree of rapprochement with Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, a close associate of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Sisi and opponent of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the official said.