Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades, who were killed when a tunnel collapsed close to the Gaza Strip's eastern border with Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Islamic State operative snuck into the Gaza Strip through Hamas’ system of underground tunnels connecting the Palestinian-ruled area with the Sinai Peninsula, Israel said on Friday.
In an interview with the Saudi news site Elaph, the coordinator for government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said that the ISIS operative was due to undergo military training in Gaza.
Mordechai told Elaph
that the ISIS gunman was admitted into the Gaza Strip in coordination with a senior Hamas official in Rafah, Said Abdel al-A’al.
The general said that this development is indicative of greater cooperation between the Palestinian Islamist group and the Sinai branch of the jihadist organization that has managed to capture wide swaths of Syria and Iraq in the last five years.
Mordechai said that Hamas has extended medical assistance to ISIS fighters who have recently been wounded in clashes with Egyptian security forces. In return, ISIS has given Hamas cash and weapons.
The Saudi report alleges that ISIS and Hamas have been coordinating steps with full knowledge of the political and military leadership in the Gaza Strip.Elaph
reported recently that jihadists wounded in the Sinai have been rushed to hospitals in Gaza for treatment.
Mordechai’s remarks became public against the backdrop of a rift in relations between Hamas and Iran. The Palestinian organization has also warmed relations with the Egyptian government as well as other Sunni states in the region, including Saudi Arabia.