TEL AVIV — Two former Hamas members who entered Sinai to fight in the ranks of the Islamic State have been killed during clashes with the Egyptian army, a senior jihadist has told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the jihadist, Abu Baker al-Maqdisi, the two were killed in recent battles that also took the lives of six Egyptian soldiers.
According to Maqdisi, one of the former Hamas members was Loay Herzallah from the Shati refugee camp in western Gaza city. He was 31-years-old and joined the ranks of Wilyat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of IS, during Ramadan in June.
Maqdesi also said that Herzallah’s family member, Ismail, was killed two years ago during an airstrike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition against IS in Syria’s Raqqa which, until recently, served as IS’ de-facto capital.
Ismail was also a former member of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing, before joining IS by traveling to Syria through Egypt.
The second former Hamas member killed in fighting with the Egyptian army was Mahmoud al-Tahwari, a resident of Rafah in the south of Gaza, Maqdisi said. He was 21-years-old and also a member of Hamas’ Brigade terrorist wing before joining IS in Sinai some 7 months ago by leaving Gaza through the
Maqdisi said that Tahwari’s brother Khaled is also a fighter with IS in Syria and is believed to still be alive and fighting for the organization. Khaled was also once a member of Hamas’ “military” branch, as well.
Over the last two years, dozens of Hamas former Hamas fighters have joined the ranks of IS in Sinai and fought against the Egyptian army there. The organization is actively looking to recruit Hamas Salafist fighters, as well as fighters from other Palestinian organizations, under the assumption that they are well trained and experienced due to their conflicts with Israel and can immediately be deployed in the field against the Egyptian army.
Over the past few months, four former Hamas members have reportedly died while fighting in Sinai.