IDF: Hamas in joint training exercises with Daesh


Israel has accused Hamas of allowing Daesh fighters to enter the Gaza Strip for joint training.

The accusation was made last week by Major-General Yoav Mordehai, the Israeli government’s coordinator for Palestinian affairs in the West Bank and Gaza, in an interview he gave to a Saudi website. According to General Mordehai, the Daesh members were allowed in through tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border and brought with them wounded comrades for medical treatment.

Hamas, which has been trying to mend its ties with the Egyptian government, has denied the accusations and maintains that it is operating “only inside occupied Palestine”. However, Israeli intelligence claims to have evidence of widespread logistical cooperation between Hamas and Willayat Sinai, the Daesh-affiliate fighting against Egyptian troops in Sinai, which was formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Makdas.

Hamas is anxious to hide any connection with Daesh as it needs the goodwill of the Egyptians to open the Rafah border-crossing. But while its political wing have been conducting talks in Cairo, in the hopes of appeasing President Abdel Fattah a-Sisi, its military wing has continued to cooperate with Daesh.

Both Hamas in Gaza and Daesh in Sinai rely on arms being smuggled from Libya by Bedouin tribes. They have little choice but to share these smuggling routes.

At the same time, within Gaza, Hamas police are trying to stamp down on Salafist groups, which share a radical jihadist ideology with Daesh, and are trying to challenge Hamas rule. “Hamas is playing a double-game” said an Israeli intelligence officer. “While showing how they operate against Daesh inside Gaza, outside, in Sinai they are working closely together”.

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