TEL AVIV — Jihadist organizations affiliated with the Islamic State are refusing to give the Hamas terrorist group a rest in the Gaza Strip. An informed Hamas source in the enclave told Breitbart Jerusalem that Hamas security forces arrested six Gaza jihadists in the last two days.
The six were arrested in possession of explosive belts and all are supporters of the Islamic State. They were detained during Hamas raids on two homes on Tuesday, one in Khan Younis and the other in Rafah. The operation was led by members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing.
The source noted that some of those arrested were planning a large attack against Hamas members in the border area and others were planning to use the attack to cross into Sinai and join Wilyat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of IS. According to the source, some of those arrested admitted that they were planning on crossing into Sinai and coordinated their journey with one of the operators of the tunnels on the Gaza-Egyptian border. Three of those questioned said they were supposed to go through the same tunnel together.
Hamas police spokesman Iyad al-Bazam refused to confirm the report when asked by Breitbart Jerusalem. However, Abou Baker al-Maqdesi, a senior jihadist active in the Gaza Strip who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq before being wounded in battle in Iraq, confirmed the arrests to Breitbart Jerusalem.
He noted that the six were arrested during a raid that, he claimed, was particularly brutal. He added that Hamas is targeting the jihadists in order to improve its relations with Egypt and “please Egyptian intelligence and Jewish intelligence.”
The organization also claimed responsibility for an attack early in the week that killed 18 Egyptian soldiers and policemen, saying, “The agreements between Hamas, which has abandoned Islam, and the infidel Egyptian intelligence is meant to tighten the siege against the soldiers of the caliphate.” It promised that “these agreements will be to no avail.”
Although IS and Hamas are both terrorist groups, IS accuses Hamas of selling out by also becoming a political party and running in elections. It further disapproves of Hamas because of the relationship between Gaza’s Islamist rulers and Egypt, which IS considers an apostate country.