TEL AVIV — Special intelligence forces of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, have foiled an attempt by six Hamas militants to join Wilyat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State, a Hamas security source told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the source, two of those arrested are members of the al-Qassam Brigades’ unit of elite fighters and another is a naval commando. Two others are regular Hamas members and the last of the six was serving in the Hamas security services in the city of Rafah.
The group of six were arrested together, said the source, as they planned to infiltrate Sinai through tunnels in Rafah. They were arrested with Kalashnikov rifles belonging to Hamas in their possession, which they intended to take with them to Sinai. All six were transferred to a prison facility run by the al-Qassam Brigades’ special intelligence and, after initial questioning, are due to be transferred to a prison facility run by Hamas’ Interior Ministry.
The security source in Hamas said that the organization was surprised by group’s plan, which comes after an incident last week in which a Hamas security officer was killed while detaining two jihadists who were trying to infiltrate Sinai.
Earlier this week, a Gazan jihadist told Breitbart Jerusalem that Hamas arrested over 170 jihadists in the wake of the incident.
Dozens of Gazan jihadists, many of them Hamas members, have succeeded in crossing the border in recent months through the tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip with Sinai and joining the ranks of IS, which is fighting in Sinai against the Egyptian army.
Abou Baker al-Maqdesi, a senior jihadist who fought in the ranks of IS in Iraq and Syria, told Breitbart Jerusalem that members of Hamas’ military wing and Palestinian organizations active in the Gaza Strip are considered recruitment targets for IS in Sinai thanks to their training and the growing need for them due to increasing Egyptian strikes against the organization.