Hamas arrested several Salafi "elements" in the Gaza Strip under suspicion of operating for Israeli intelligence, Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar (The News) reported early Wednesday morning.
According to a "security source" cited by Al-Akhbar, Hamas' security services uncovered a "dangerous plan" of Israeli intelligence "working under the cover of ISIS-affiliated cells," aimed at "directing security strikes to government and military infrastructure."
The Salafi cells allegedly planned to carry out suicide bombings in the Gaza Strip targeting "strategic systems in the resistance." Hamas reportedly entered a "second-degree emergency" after the interrogations of those arrested allegedly concluded the plan to carry out the strikes would "be implemented soon."
The strikes, according to the source cited by Al-Akhbar, were to be carried out by operatives on motorcycles, similar to previous ISIS attacks against Hamas infrastructure in the strip. Last August, Hamas arrested an ISIS cell for directing a series of suicide bombings against Gazan police.
The IDF denied having had any involvement in the Gazan attacks, according to Walla, as the Hamas-controlled Gazan Ministry of Interior claimed the bombings took place shortly after a Hamas skirmish with IDF troops.
In October, Hamas blamed Israel for "getting to youth with extremist Salafi thoughts," contacting and directing them to carry out suicide attacks against Hamas targets in August, according to Al-Akhbar.
The Gazan Ministry of Interior reportedly issued a statement over the weekend, saying Hamas forces "discovered suspicious movements of a number of people," beginning "extensive investigations" leading to their arrests over the following days.
The suspects, the Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet reported, were "in the process of carrying out other sabotage actions against the resistance with direct follow-up from the intelligence of the occupation."
On Monday, Arab media reported Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called on Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to "unite ranks" in efforts to thwart Israel's expected annexation of areas in the West Bank.