TEL AVIV — Hamas security forces, together with Egyptian border troops, managed to prevent the infiltration of several Salafist jihadists from Gaza into Sinai early Tuesday morning, Abou Baker al-Maqdesi, a Gaza-based jihadist affiliated with Islamic State ideology, told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Maqdesi stated the jihadists had planned on joining the ranks of Wilyat Sinai, the Islamic State’s branch in Egypt, which is engaged in an ongoing fight with the Egyptian army in Sinai.
According to al-Maqdesi, Egyptian soldiers fired at two of the Salafists as they neared the border area from the direction of the Gaza Strip and tried to cross the border to Sinai.
He said that after the two were wounded, they were arrested by Hamas security forces. A third conspirator who led the two to the border area was later captured as well. Hamas also arrested two smugglers who had a hand in guiding the jihadists to the border fence, he stated.
The incident is the first since the mosque attack in northern Sinai killed hundreds of Sufi worshippers last Friday. Hamas and Egypt redoubled their forces in the border area in the wake of the attack with the assumption that the Egyptian military’s campaign against IS would force the organization to increase recruitment of jihadist elements in the Gaza Strip. IS has yet to officially claim responsibility for the attack.
IS’s Sinai branch may not have claimed responsibility, but the organization has more than hinted that it was behind the massacre over the last few days.
The organization released a statement taking responsibility for a recent incident in which its fighters fired on Egyptian soldiers near the border between Egypt and Gaza and said that they also detonated two explosive devices near a bulldozer and an Egyptian military vehicle, destroying both machines and wounding several of the soldiers.
Speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, al-Maqdesi refused to say if there was any connection to this claim of responsibility and the mosque attack. However, Saudi media outlet Al Arabiya released the identity of an Egyptian IS member who warned in an interview with the organization’s news service several months ago that Sufi Muslims would face a fate similar to that which occurred on Friday.
Abu Mosaab al-Masri spoke to IS newspaper Al Nabaa last December. He warned of the fate of the people of the Al Rawdah mosque, which was targeted in the attack, as well as the the Al Arab mosque in the city of Ismailia and the Saoud mosque in the Sharqia region.
According to the organization’s investigation, the man who reportedly issued the Fatwa permitting the murder of the worshippers of the Al Rawdah mosque is Mohammad Majdi Al Dalil from the Kafr Sheikh area, which was once under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.