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)
In what appears to be a first indication of the renewed security cooperation between Hamas and Egypt's intelligence, Hamas' military wing has recently conducted a secret operation in Sinai to eliminate its presence in the Peninsula, in accordance with Egypt's demands.
According to Palestinian reports, a special unit of the Kassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, headed secretly to Sinai on Friday, in order to kidnap and return to Gaza one of its members who operated there, refusing to obey his commanders who demanded that he return to the Strip.
The six-man force reportedly infiltrated north Sinai through Hamas' tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt. The secret mission, carefully planned by senior Kassam Brigades’ commanders, allegedly demonstrates that Hamas is making great efforts to abide by its understandings with Egypt.
In a recent round of meetings with Egyptian authorities, Hamas accepted Egypt's demand not to operate in Sinai and not to interfere in Egypt's internal issues.
The rebellious member, Ghassan Arjani, was previously responsible for Hamas’ joint operations with ISIS fighters in the peninsula.
Information released recently by MEMRI (the Middle East Research Institute) suggests that Hamas had been collaborating with ISIS elements in Sinai
, producing explosive devices for them, while ISIS fighters smuggled weapons into Gaza for Hamas.
Hamas' covert operation succeeded, with Arjani reportedly returning to Gaza Friday night through a tunnel, thus avoiding a possible arrest by Egypt's security forces that would have seriously embarrassed the Palestinian terror organization.