Hamas: ISIS has no foothold in the Gaza Strip, only exists …

Posted By on May 16, 2015

Islamic State sympathizers in the Gaza Strip are making their presence felt on social media, but the enclave's Hamas rulers said on Thursday the group has no real foothold in the Palestinian territory.

Statements signed "Supporters of the Islamic State" have appeared recently on Twitter and several websites, accusing the Islamist group Hamas of arresting dozens of jihadists and threatening attacks in Gaza unless they are released.

Hamas said it had detained what it described as "lawbreakers" after an explosion earlier this month near a Hamas security headquarters and another blast outside the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

A senior security official loyal to Hamas described the explosions, for which no group has claimed responsibility, as no more than "noise bombs", saying Islamic State existed "only on the Internet" in Gaza.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said "there is nothing called the Islamic State in the Gaza Strip", adding that the group only had "some supporters" in the territory.

"We do not fight people because of what they think, but at the same time, we do not allow any violations of security, whether by groups or individuals," Abu Zuhri said.

Last week, A jihadist group with Islamic State ties claimed responsibility for a mortar attack at a Hamas base in the Gaza Strip.

The group, which calls itself "Supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Jerusalem," said in an online statement that the rockets it fired were aimed at a base occupied by Hamass armed wing, Izzadin Kassam

Gaza-based political analyst Hani Habib said some activists identifying with ultra-conservative Salafi Islam were using social media to try to draw the attention of Islamic State and seek its recognition.

"They were inspired by the presence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and moreover in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula," said Habib, dismissing any notion that Salafis in Gaza had formally joined Islamic State.

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Hamas: ISIS has no foothold in the Gaza Strip, only exists ...

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