TEL AVIV — In an attempt to sway the opinions of young Islamists in the Gaza Strip, Hamas published a video that claims the Islamic State is cooperating with Israel to keep Gaza under siege.
The propaganda video used a clip recently released by IS in Sinai showing the execution of a Palestinian suspected of smuggling weapons to Hamas as proof that IS members themselves are taking action against Hamas and the people of Gaza.
“IS members admit that they are attacking humanitarian shipments that are supposed to reach the Gaza Strip through Sinai,” a Hamas narrator says in the video without mentioning weapons shipments or the fact that the IS clip blamed the executed Palestinian of smuggling weapons to Hamas rather than humanitarian aid and equipment.
In a section labeled “IS’s New Mission,” the video shows “interviews” with two jihadists who served with IS in Sinai. They are heard admitting that their job was to patrol the smuggling tunnels in the border area between Gaza and Sinai.
They added that they were ordered to destroy anything that was meant to reach Gaza.
“We destroyed anything that was meant to reach the Muslims in the Gaza Strip,” says one of the jihadists. “Whether it was for all the people, something special for Hamas or forbidden materials.”
The forbidden materials mentioned by the jihadist would have been mostly cigarettes.
The other jihadist interviewed for Hamas’ video said his job, on the orders of IS, was to steal weapons belonging to Hamas members in the Gaza Strip while they were asleep or praying.
For Hamas, the testimonies of the two jihadists are evidence that IS is cooperating with Israel in the war against Hamas and the residents of the Gaza Strip.
It is possible that Hamas’ video is a direct response to a video released by IS accusing Hamas of cooperating with Israel and the Egyptian army. That video caused controversy in Gaza as it showed a jihadist and former Hamas member – the son of a Hamas official – executing another Palestinian for cooperating with Hamas.
Meanwhile, a Hamas security source has told Breitbart Jerusalem that IS in Sinai continues to increase its efforts to recruit young jihadists in the Gaza Strip. The source noted that due to the increased presence of Hamas security forces along the border with Egypt, IS has turned to fishermen who are allowed to work in the area and offered them money to smuggle jihadists into Sinai.
According to the source, Hamas security forces managed to foil these plans and 12 jihadists have been arrested in the last two months after they tried to reach Sinai by sea.
The source noted that IS in Sinai continues to suffer from a lack of manpower due to the increased efforts of the Egyptian army and its joint operations with Hamas security forces in the border area between the Gaza Strip and Sinai.
The source also said that a series of actions taken by Hamas against IS both within the Gaza Strip and in the border area has led the organization to increase its efforts to attack Hamas leaders, which in turn has led Hamas’ security forces to increase security around its officials.
Ismail Haniyeh, the terrorist group’s so-called politburo leader, has benefited from extra security in recent weeks due to warnings that jihadist members or supporters of IS planned to attack him. The number of guards surrounding Haniyeh increased and three vehicles were added to the convoy that usually accompanies him from place to place, the source said.
The source noted that increased security around Hamas officials is the result of intelligence and statements from IS jihadists who were recently arrested in Gaza.