Hamas in Gaza must be seen as being part of the greater phenomenon of the militarization of Islamist terror groups that stretches from Iraq in the East to the heart of Africa in the West, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told a delegation from the House Armed Services Committee in Jerusalem on Friday.
"All of these Islamists act against the 'heretics' in the countries where they are present: against the Christians, the Yazidi minority, moderate Muslims, the Kurds, and of course the Jews and the Jewish state," Steinitz said.
The minister called for global cooperation to defeat Islamist terror.
"The US and the Western democracies, together with Israel and the moderate Arab regimes must create a broad coalition to destroy Hamas in Gaza, The Islamic State in Iraq, al-Nusra, Boko Haram and others who operate in the Middle East and around the world.
Steinitz thanked the eight-person US delegation for their consistent and unequivocal support of Israel during Operation Protective Edge.
The intelligence minister echoed the same ideas that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voiced when he met with the delegation including its chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-California) on Thursday.
The prime minister told the bipartisan delegation that Israel and the US are faced with common enemies, “radical Islamic terrorists who have absolutely no inhibitions on executing people, terrorizing people and targeting innocent civilians.”
Just as Islamic State conducts “mass executions,” so too does Hamas in Gaza, Netanyahu said. In addition, he said, “We’ve just had a branch of al-Qaida right on the Golan Heights
kidnap dozens of UN peacekeepers. These are common enemies of Israel, the United States and all the civilized countries.”
McKeon thanked Netanyahu for “standing up to these enemies of mankind, people that have no value of human life, that want to rule the world however they can do it.”
He said Israel set an example for the world of “how you’ve been able to defend your people with the least possible loss of human life."
“When ISIS [Islamic State] goes in, kills people indiscriminately, lines them up, just kills them cold-blooded, and you go out of your way to avoid death but still to protect your people,” the congressman said.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.