Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Sunday threatened to hunt down and punish those responsible for a series of bombings that destroyed the vehicles of some of the groups’ military commanders.
The predawn explosions, which took place in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, destroyed at least six vehicles. No one was hurt.
The two group’s armed wings, Izzadin Kassam (Hamas) and Al-Quds Battalions (Islamic Jihad) denounced the perpetrators as “suspicious and hired tools,” adding that the explosions were designed to serve Israel’s interests and goals. The two groups stopped short of accusing Israel of being behind the attacks, however.
Although no group claimed responsibility for the bombings, eye-witnesses reported seeing graffiti by Islamic State taking credit for the attacks. Islamic State has recently issued several threats against Hamas.
(ISIS Graffiti seen at explosion site in Gaza, July 19, 2015)
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Hamas’s Interior Ministry did not blame any party for the explosions, with a spokesman for the ministry describing the attackers as “unidentified saboteur elements,” adding that those responsible would not evade punishment.
Hamas had previously accused its rivals in Fatah of being behind a series of explosions that rocked various parts of the Gaza Strip in recent months.
Sunday’s explosions, which took place in a Hamas stronghold supposed to be under strict security measures, were seen as a severe blow to Hamas’s security forces. Hamas security officers quickly cordoned off the blast area and prevented journalists from approaching the destroyed vehicles.
A senior Hamas official in Gaza said he did not rule out the possibility that Fatah members were behind the explosions. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the investigations show that Fatah was behind these attacks,” the official said. “Fatah wants to show the world that Hamas is not in control of the situation in the Gaza Strip. This has been their goal in the past few years.”