TEL AVIV — The incident in which a Hamas terrorist commander was killed Wednesday night in the border area between Egypt and Gaza was not a planned strike against Hamas members, a senior Palestinian jihadist in Gaza associated with Islamic State ideology claimed to Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to Abou Baker al-Maqdesi, two jihadists advanced toward the Gaza-Egypt border intending to infiltrate Sinai and join Wilyat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State.
“Two of our brothers encountered a Hamas roadblock and were asked to identify themselves,” said al-Maqdesi. “It isn’t clear what happened there, but probably in fear of being arrested by Hamas, one of our two brothers ignited an explosive device in his possession, leading to the death of the Hamas member.”
Hamas security officer Nidal al-Jaafari was killed in the incident, according to a Hamas police spokesman, after Hamas security forces stopped two suspects approaching the border. The spokesman confirmed that one of them blew himself up during a security check.
The spokesman said that the incident was a suicide terror attack, an unsurprising comment given the tense relations between Hamas and IS-supporting jihadists over the last year, tensions that led to the arrest of hundreds of jihadists by Hamas security forces.
Hamas’ military wing eulogized the deceased guard in a statement, saying that he was a “fighter” with the organization from the “Guards of the Gaps” unit and was killed by “an extremist who blew himself up among our security force.”
Hamas’ Interior Ministry said that the jihadist who blew himself up was Mustafa Kulab, a 21-year-old resident of the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah who was a jihadist and supporter of IS. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, who harshly condemned the incident, stressed the movement’s obligation to continue fighting against IS and protect the border area between Gaza and Sinai.
“We will act with determination against all law breakers who adopt an ideology foreign to the values of our people,” said Barhoum.
In a conversation with Breitbart Jerusalem, al-Maqdesi said that the two jihadists planned to join IS forces in Sinai. According to al-Maqdesi, the second man was wounded as a result of the explosion. “As far as we’re aware, the other brother is still in very serious condition as a result of the detonation of the explosive that was in his possession,” said al-Maqdesi.
The jihadist said that Hamas security forces have arrested dozens of other jihadists as part of investigations into the incident. The family of the Palestinian who blew himself up condemned the attack, describing it as “an ugly attack that does not coincide with our beliefs and our religion.”
The family said they were innocent of any connection to the incident and that they don’t plan on organizing a funeral or burial for the deceased. “We express our condolences to the Palestinian people, to the government, the security forces and the al-Jaafarawi family (the family of the Hamas member who was killed in the explosion) and we call on all sides to fight extremism and deal severely with anyone who considers harming the security and stability of our home front.”