Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, has launched a widespread crackdown on pro-Islamic State groups in Gaza. The crackdown includes the deployment of masked gunmen into Salafi extremist strongholds and the establishment of checkpoints.
The current tensions between the two terrorist groups began on May 3, when Hamas destroyed a mosque belonging to a group known as the “Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem.” The group responded to the move by issuing a statement in which it threatened to kill Hamas members unless Hamas releases several men, including a local Salafi sheikh, who were detained by Hamas.
In a statement, the Salafi group said Hamas had demolished the mosque “in a manner that even the Jewish and American occupation has not done,” the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm reported.
The Salafi group added that “in the light of Hamas’s new behavior, we renew our loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi [leader of the Islamic state] and call on him to strengthen his influence and to launch a campaign in Palestine and to unite in the fight against the Jews and their accomplices.”
Ironically, the pro-Islamic State Salafi groups consider Hamas, which fought a 50-day war against Israel last summer, as being too soft on Israel and for failing to impose stricter Islamic laws in Gaza.