As some Hamas figures split off to join ISIS in Sinai, group begins widespread crackdown on Salfists and ISIS in Gaza
From tonight’s briefing via Mideastwire.com:
On March 22, the Saudi-owned, London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily newspaper carried the following report: “As yet another clue to the Hamas movement’s new plans in the Gaza territory following the meetings between the movement’s leaders and the leaders of the Egyptian intelligence services, the movement has launched a massive campaign against extremist Salafists and arrested a number of those.
“Palestinian sources told Asharq al-Awsat that the internal security services affiliated to Hamas have launched a campaign targeting Salafist officials and activists in Gaza only two days following the conclusion of the meetings between the movement’s delegation and the leaders of the Egyptian intelligence services in Cairo. The internal security services arrested an unidentified number of Salafists including one of the group’s theorists, Wael Hassanein, in addition to others.
“The arrests also included, for the first time ever, members from a group known as Liwa al-Tawheed, which is led by former officials from the Al-Nasser brigades knowing that these brigades are close to Hamas. A Salafist official said that Hamas has launched a new war against them including arrests and summoning dozens of members.
“The investigations with the Salafists focused on their relationship with any organizations in Sinai, their funding sources, weapons and activities. According to the Salafist sources, Hamas confiscated pieces of equipment and weapons from the Salafists. Abou Bassir al-Maqdessi, a Salafist leader, told Asharq al-Awsat: “A large number of individuals who are now held in the Hamas prisons have been arrested in favor of some Egyptian agendas.” He added: “This is not the first time where Hamas implements the agendas of the Egyptian intelligence services. It has already done so in the previous years during the era of Mohammad Morsi. Today, this is being repeated with Es-Sissi. They went all the way to pledging to control the borders in Egypt’s favor. However, this will not harm us at all. We know where they’re going.”
“The relationship between Hamas and the Salafists and has been tense for long years and has seen several phases of high and low tide as well as blood spill over the differences on the “establishment of a princedom” in Gaza and ISIL’s intervention in Al-Yarmouk Camp. Then, the past phase saw a state of cautious calm thanks to the interference of some external parties to reconcile the Salafists with Hamas. However, it seems that the agreement with Egypt has once again disrupted the situation.
“Al-Maqdessi said: “We, the Jihadist Salafist groups, are not affected by those parties who oppose or disappoint us. The day will come when the situation will change and we will be the force that will impose its Islamic choice by implementing the Sharia and fighting the infidels and the apostates…””