TEL AVIV — Five Hamas members have joined the ranks of the Islamic State in Sinai over the past few days, a security source in the Gaza Strip told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the source, the five were members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military branch. All of them succeeded in crossing the border earlier this week through tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip and Sinai, where they joined up with Welayat Sinai, the Islamic State organization’s Egyptian branch.
The five came from different areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the source, with two coming from the center of Gaza, and they were in possession of three Kalashnikov rifles.
The source added that Hamas security personnel saw the five as they tried to flee and even fired on them, “but the five managed to reach the tunnel with the help of two smugglers and slip away toward the territory that leads to Sinai.”
According to the source, the investigation to find the smugglers is moving forward together with an investigation of the men’s family members in order to discover whether any of them were aware of their relatives’ plan to join IS.
This is the first such incident since a delegation of Hamas officials visited Egypt two weeks ago. The officials, led by Gaza political chief Yehya Senwar, reportedly met with Egyptian officials responsible for the Palestinian issue. During these meetings, it was agreed that Hamas would strengthen its presence on the border between Sinai and the Gaza Strip and prevent the infiltration of jihadists from the Strip into Sinai and visa versa.
Regarding a previous incident, an Egyptian jihadist active in the Gaza Strip told Breitbart Jerusalem that because of the announcement of Hamas’ new charter, which minimized its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, three Hamas members used the tunnels to infiltrate and join IS in Sinai in protest.