TEL AVIV — Hamas has angered the family of a senior Palestinian jihadist after the group told them they would not be allowed to erect a mourning tent on behalf of their relative to receive condolences as is customary in Palestinian society.
Last week, the family was informed by Islamic State members in Syria that Muhammad Jibril, one of the most senior Palestinian jihadists fighting in the ranks of IS, was killed in a Russian air strike in Syria. Jibril, who was known as Abu Abdullah al-Gazawi within IS, was said to have been killed in a Russian strike near the Syrian city of Dir Azzuer, near the border between Syria and Iraq.
The family received the official announcement on Monday that his body had in fact been seen and Hamas’ security forces became aware that they had begun erecting a mourning tent to receive condolences. The authorities rushed to the family home to inform them that they were forbidden from erecting the tent.
“Hamas members have reached a new low by keeping Muslims from the commandment of comforting mourners,” according to Abu Baker al-Maqdesi, a senior Palestinian jihadist who fought in the ranks of IS in Syria and Iraq, and returned to Gaza after being wounded. “Hamas’ people, who have abandoned Islam, are mistaken if they think that they can fight young Muslims who want to join the ranks of the army of the Caliphate in this way.”
Jibril was previously a senior field operative in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassem Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing. He was sent on a special operational mission to Turkey in 2010 and traveled to Syria upon the breakout of the civil war there, joining the Jund al-Aqsa group, a jihadist militia that merged with IS last year.
According to al-Maqdesi, Jibril was one of some 100 Palestinians, mostly from Gaza, who fought in the ranks of this militia. Two years ago, as battles intensified between Jund al-Aqsa and other Syrian opposition militias, Jibril reportedly joined the ranks of IS along with 17 other Palestinians from Gaza prior to the merger with IS.
Al-Maqdesi said that Jibril was considered one of the most prominent jihadist figures in Syria, especially among the armed opposition organizations fighting against the Syrian regime. Jibril was said to have led a number of operations against the Syrian army and avoided multiple strikes carried out by the Russian air force and the American army.