Islamic State regional power is growing and reportedly has reached the Gaza Strip. Even Hamas, which is no better, seems to be feeling the heat.
The Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), which is used by Salafist-Jihadi networks in the Gaza Strip, recently published posters in memory of four of its operatives, residents of the Gaza Strip, who were killed in Iraq while fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror organization, according to the Intelligence and Terror Information Center (ITIC), an Israeli-based research group with close ties to the Israel Defense Forces.
ITIC further reports that there are expressions of support for ISIS in the Gaza Strip by Salafist-Jihadi elements inspired by the terror organization’s achievements in Syria and Iraq.
These expressions of support became evident during a pro-ISIS rally held in Rafah as well as by the distribution of a video on YouTube supporting the notorious terror organization.
A recent survey shows that among the Arabs of the Middle East, Palestinians are the greatest supporters of Islamic State terror. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of Palestinians demonstrate a positive view of ISIS, according to the poll findings.
ITIC reports that several dozen Palestinian terrorists have joined ISIS in Syria, some of whom probably operate within a separate unit named after Sheikh Abu Nour al-Maqdisi, a Salafist-Jihadi leader from the Gaza Strip who was killed in 2009 by Hamas following his announcement of the establishment of an Islamic emirate in “Palestine.”
ISIS – A Threat to Hamas
ITIC points out that Hamas – an equally vile terror organization – perceives ISIS activity in Gaza as a potential threat and as a practical and ideological challenge to its rule in the Gaza Strip.
The media center estimates that at this stage, ISIS infrastructure in the Strip is not yet strong enough to threaten Hamas’ regime in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas possesses the means to suppress any operational or ideological activity that deviates from the stern rules its had set for the residents of Gaza.
Recent expressions of support for ISIS in the Gaza Strip have been dealt with aggressively by Hamas up until now, even though it generally avoids outright confrontation with ISIS.
In the meantime, ISIS has taken responsibility for the bombing of the French Cultural Center in Gaza City on December 12. The exterior wall of the center was damaged. Preliminary findings indicate that an improvised explosive device (IED) was activated remotely by cellphone. Two policemen were slightly injured.
The Hamas Interior Ministry announced that it had mounted an investigation to determine the circumstances of the explosion.
Two months ago, a similar explosion occurred at the same cultural center. In recent years, there have been several cases of harassment of Western institutions and individuals in the Gaza Strip by Salafist-Jihadi elements, presenting a further challenge to Hamas’s control, ITIC explains.
By: United with Israel Staff
(With files from ITIC)
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