Islamic State threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza
Shin Bet chief says Hamas losing its ability to govern in Gaza, facing funding challenges, a stagnant effort to rebuild after war, and increasing resistance by ISIS aligned groups from within the territory; ‘We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah,’ ISIS militants tell Hamas in new video.
Islamic State insurgents threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organization that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.
The video statement, issued from an Islamic State stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas, which has been cracking down on jihadis in Gaza who oppose its truces with Israel and reconciliation with the US-backed rival Palestinian faction Fatah.
“Eight years they control the territory, and have yet to enforce one Islamic teaching,” the ISIS speaker said in the video.
“We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes,” said a masked Islamic State member in the message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas”.
“The rule of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza,” he said, referring to Islamic State advances in Syria, including in a Damascus district founded by Palestinian refugees.
Islamic State has also taken over swathes of Iraq and has claimed attacks in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.
“There is cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis,” Katz told a Tel Aviv conference organized by the Israel Defense journal.
“At the same time, within Gaza, ISIS (Islamic State) has been flouting Hamas. But they have common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad.”
Hamas ability to govern Gaza is eroding
Meanwhile, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that Hamas is losing control over the Gaza Strip and its ability to govern there is eroding.