TEL AVIV – They say politics makes strange bedfellows. Apparently so does fighting Islamic State ideologues.
Using Egypt as a middleman of sorts, Hamas has been passing to Israel information on rival Salafist jihadists in the Gaza Strip hoping the Jewish state will target those militants, an Egyptian security source told WND.
The information is also utilized by Egypt in its fight against allied Salafist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, which neighbors Gaza, the source said.
The source said Hamas is fully aware that the information it provides to Egypt on Gazan Salafist rivals will be shared with the Jewish state.
The source said the intelligence sharing development does not mark any change in Hamas’ attitude toward Israel.
Nor does the development represent any rapprochement between Israel and Hamas, the source added.
The source further stated the information from Hamas only flows one way and that Israel does not in turn share any intelligence via Egypt with Hamas.
Asked to comment on the Egyptian security source’s claims, Mushir al Masri, a spokesman for Hamas, told WND “This is a sick joke.”
“Israel is our enemy,” al-Masri continued. “Our conversations with Egypt has nothing to do with Israel.”
Hamas in recent weeks has been facing perhaps the biggest challenge to its rule in the form of rival Salafist groups allied with ISIS ideology. Those groups have accused Hamas of “selling out” their Islamic faith and have been openly challenging Hamas, including with firefight clashes and attempted bombings.
On Tuesday, Salafists in Gaza under the banner of the Omar Brigades claimed responsibility for a rocket launched from Gaza toward southern Israel, at least the fifth such rocket fired from Gaza in recent weeks.
The rocket fire violates a truce between Israel and Hamas. The Salafists seemingly want to draw Israeli retaliation targeting the Hamas infrastructure. Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for rockets fired by Gazan groups.
Hamas has arrested dozens of ISIS-allied gunmen and imams and a Salafist mosque was destroyed.
Earlier this month, a ISIS-tied jihadist, 27-year-old Younis Hunnar, was killed during a raid by Hamas security forces on his Gaza City home.