Both Israeli and Egyptian authorities believe that Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, is working with an Islamic State-affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula to facilitate terror attacks in the region.
Israeli intelligence sources and Egyptian government sources are maintaining that both entities believe the Sinai Province (of the Islamic State, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis) is acting as a storage unit for Hamas weaponry, Haaretz reported on Thursday. In exchange for providing weapons storage, the Gazan rulers are allowing the ISIS-affiliated jihadis to receive treatment at Gaza hospitals.
The alliance between the two terror entities has created a rift between Hamas’s political and military leadership, according to the report.
Sources told Haaretz that the ties between Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai) and Hamas’ military wing are the main reason for Egypt’s anger at Hamas. This latest attack could further deteriorate relations between Hamas leaders in Gaza and the Egyptian government, which blames Hamas for assisting ISIS, the sources said.
The Sinai Province carried out a series of devastating attacks against Egyptian military units in the Sinai on Wednesday, killing dozens of soldiers. Egypt responded by taking out over 100 militants through F-16 air strikes and special forces raids, the Egyptian Army said. Egypt has pledged not to top fighting the jihadi insurgency until the Sinai is completely free of any “terrorist concentrations.”
Egyptian authorities believe that the Muslim Brotherhood has had a hand in coordinating the Sinai attacks. The Brotherhood, which is viciously opposed to the current President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el Sisi, has demonstrated connections to both Hamas and the Sinai Province.
Islamist terrorism experts and the Muslim Brotherhood dissident group, Brotherhood Without Violence, have described the Sinai Province–when it was formerly known as Ansar Bayt Al Maqdis–as the “military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood” in the Sinai Peninsula.