TEL AVIV — The defection of members of Hamas’ military wing to Wilyat Sinai, the Islamic State branch in Egypt, is continuing with six new individuals having crossed into Sinai, according to a senior jihadist in Gaza tied to IS ideology.
The source noted that the six successfully infiltrated Sinai in two groups through the tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt and that two of them were members of Hamas’ naval commando unit. Two of the defectors are residents of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and four others are from the center of the Strip. The six managed to get around all the checkpoints that Hamas has erected in the south of Gaza.
A senior jihadist claimed that dozens more are expected to defect from Hamas’ ranks. “Our true mujahedeen brothers in the ranks of Hamas understand that in the shadow of the current policies of the movement, it doesn’t represent Islam, it doesn’t sanctify jihad and it wants to conform to the secular and democratic political movements in the region,” said the jihadist. “We are seeing an endless stream of Hamas members who want to join the ranks of the Islamic State and we consider every one of them brothers and afterwards we consider the ways to bring them to the territory of the Islamic State in Sinai and to other places.”
The source also claimed that events at the Temple Mount have revealed Hamas in its “nakedness.”
“Al-Aqsa is on fire, the Jews are preventing the entrance of worshipers, humiliating the believers, hitting the protesters, both men and women, and the Hamas movement prohibits the firing of rockets into Israel with all its strength and stops those who try to get close to the fence to throw a rock at the Jews,” he said. “Hamas members understand that their movement has become the Jews’ border guard.”
Despite the jihadists claims, Israel has not been preventing worship at the site. Muslim leaders instigated violent riots claiming that Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the Mount were part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship on the site. Israel’s new security measures were put into place in direct response to the Palestinian terrorist attack at the Mount three weeks ago in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site. The standoff ended last Thursday when Israel agreed to remove all newly installed security measures.
The Palestinian charge that Israel is hampering Muslim access to the Temple Mount is contradicted by facts on the ground. Israel allows the Jordanian-controlled Waqf to serve as custodians of the Mount and grants Muslim worshipers access to the site 24 hours per day, seven days a week with the exception of rare instances of security threats.
Jewish and Christian visitors, however, are restricted by the Waqf from visiting the Mount except on small tours for about two hours per day. The Waqf does not allow non-Muslims to pray on the Mount or bring holy objects to the site; whereas Muslim prayer is unrestricted. Waqf representatives closely monitor non-Muslim visitors to the site and are known to boot those engaging in prayer.