Hamas v. ISIS: An Islamist Civil War Simmers in Gaza

(Le Nouvel Observateur-France-Worldcrunch) Celine Lussato - On the concrete walls of a building in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City, the graffiti features messages glorifying ISIS (Islamic State) and condemning the Hamas internal security forces. Younes Hanar, 27, once a fighter in Hamas' Al-Qassam brigades, was killed there on June 2, accused of having joined the forces of ISIS. Here and there, one can see the handprints of Hanar's relatives, dipped in his blood. Hamas does not trifle with those suspected of associating with ISIS, especially when they come from its own ranks. Hamas has been hunting down Salafist jihadists without mercy for the past few months across Gaza. In the family apartment, where his wife Alaa offers us a tour, the black flag of ISIS is everywhere: painted on one of the walls, on a sticker on a bedroom door, even a magnet on the fridge. When Hamas rose to power in Gaza, buoyed by its religious discourse, it claimed to defend individual rights and justice in the face of the corrupt Palestinian leaders of Fatah. Today, it is the the ISIS jihadists who accuse Hamas of corruption and taking a moderate stance towards Israel. Journalist Hasan Jaber noted, "There are strong sympathies for the jihadist movement within the party in power itself. Is Younes Hanar's very own mother not herself a Hamas militant? They raised a lion cub in their house. But he grew up and he won't hesitate to devour them if he has a chance."

2015-09-29 00:00:00

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