Islamic State insurgents have threatened to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organisation 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.
“We will uproot the state of the Jews [Israel] and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be overrun 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 swaths of Iraq and has claimed attacks in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.
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