Hamas security forces have uncovered a number of explosive devices that were planted at the Ansar complex, the major Hamas “military” and security base in the center of Gaza city, a local security source told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Until Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip, the Ansar center served as the largest security base of the Palestinian Authority. In addition to bases for most of the Palestinian security forces, there is also a prison facility in the compound. The site has been controlled by Hamas since the group took over the Strip.
The placement of the explosives at the site, said the source, came as a surprise to the heads of Hamas’ security services as the compound is tightly guarded due to the many security prisoners held inside, which include some suspected of cooperating with Israel and jihadist supporters of the Islamic State.
The Hamas source said that the engineer unit of the compound’s security guards successfully dismantled the explosives, which were likely meant to destroy the center’s walls ahead of a possible raid to release those imprisoned.
The source noted that security camera footage of the site did not help in identifying any suspects who could be seen placing the explosives. The source added that suspicions are currently focused on jihadist organizations associated with the Islamic State, dozens of whose members have been imprisoned in the compound after being accused of firing rockets at Israel or trying to infiltrate Sinai to join IS fighters there.
The source also noted that the investigation is focusing on the possibility that the jihadists suspected of planting the explosives had help from Hamas security personnel, including employees of the Ansar center, due to ideological support for the jihadists and IS.
Meanwhile, Hamas has continued to arrest hundreds of jihadists and holds them in its prison facilities. An extensive wave of arrests against the jihadists began last month after the death of a Hamas security officer in an suicide blast as he tried to stop two jihadists from infiltrating Sinai.
The discovery of the explosives at Ansar also comes as Hamas makes efforts to talk to senior clerics and influencers from among the jihadists, including those imprisoned in the group’s facilities.
Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Hamas established a special committee comprised of the heads of its military wing and its senior clerics in an attempt to negotiate with the influential clerics among the jihadists in order to reach a solution to the crisis between the two sides.