Is Hamas Working with Islamic State in Sinai?

(Al-Monitor) Shlomi Eldar - While Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk claimed that Hamas had no interest in cooperating with the terrorists in Sinai, in recent weeks a number of people who were hurt in altercations with Egyptian security forces in Sinai have been brought to al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in Gaza. Local residents saw how wounded people were brought in Hamas military vehicles and treated by a select medical staff. A senior security figure in the Palestinian Authority told Al-Monitor that the cooperation of members of Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades with many armed groups in Sinai is well-known. For years Hamas has carried out extensive smuggling operations with anyone who could help it in Sinai. The al-Qassam Brigades received aid from IS affiliates such as Wilayat Sinai and Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis in smuggling arms, ammunition and raw materials such as fuel and building materials into Gaza. In exchange, Hamas provided them with a significant percentage of the arms smuggled from Sudan and Libya. Thus a reciprocal relationship was created that no one among the political leadership of Hamas will be able to uproot. With the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt in July 2013 and the ascension of Gen. Sisi, the Egyptian military sealed the smuggling tunnels with Egypt and created a buffer zone. Since then, the Egyptian military has been perceived by the armed groups in Sinai and Gaza, including Hamas, as an enemy, and their goal has become to strike it and weaken its power in Sinai.

2015-07-08 00:00:00

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