First Hamas-ISIS firefight in Gaza. “Islamic State of Jerusalem” supporters sighted on Israeli border
ISIS supporters were shot dead in Gaza Tuesday, June 2, in their first firefight with Hamas forces come to arrest them The Islamists had planted a bomb trap in their hideout. The showdown occurred 48 hours after the Ansar al Dawa al-Islamia, renamed “Supporters of the Islamic State of Jerusalem,” gave Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to end its crackdown on the group and release dozens of Islamists held for a series of attacks. debkafile: ISIS fighters were spotted for the first time this week on the Gazan-Israeli border. They have threatened to target Eilat Port.
debkafile first reported Monday, June 1, on the appearance of ISIS on the Israeli border with details.
Followers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were spotted for the first time in the Gaza Strip this week, debkafile’s military sources report. Their arrival on Israel's border was confirmed as a division-strength IDF force launched its large-scale “Turning Point 2015” exercise for repelling Islamist cross-border incursions. The Islamist group which has established a substantial anti-Hamas presence in the Gaza Strip is Ansar al Dawa al-Islamia, renamed “Supporters of the Islamic State of Jerusalem.”
Israeli, Egyptian and Hamas’ military sources are all concerned to make light of this development. When asked, they say that the group’s nature and scope have not yet been evaluated. Western and Middle East governments took the same tack two years ago, when ISIS first embarked on its calamitous course in Syria.
debkafile’s military sources point to eight signs of the ISIS presence in the Gaza Strip:
1. In the last 48 hours, Hamas security authorities have suddenly set up scores of roadblocks across the Strip, including Gaza City.
2. They acted after senior Hamas security officer Sabah Siam was murdered Saturday, May 30, by a gang of five gunmen sporting ISIS insignia.
Hamas tried pretending that the officer died in a bomb planted in his vehicle by a local rival faction. But the attack was too public to be concealed. The ISIS gunmen burst into a shop owned by the officer’s family in the center of Gaza City while he was visiting. They cut him down in front of his relatives and dozens of passersby, none of whom made any move to stop them as they made off in two vehicles.
The terrorists later issued a communiqué saying: “Sabah Siam was liquidated because he was a partner in a war declared against religion and against Muslims working for the heretical government in the Gaza Strip.”
In a declaration of war, ISIS warned the Palestinian Hamas to “end its war against religion in Gaza or face the consequences.”
3. Israeli and Egyptian security services, most likely in conjunction with Hamas, set up a tight ring of bodyguards to protect German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier against possible assassins when he visited Gaza Monday, June 1. He insisted on going through with his visit in the face of the internecine Islamist fighting which had erupted in the Palestinian-ruled territory.
4. On the day of the visit, Ansar al Dawa al-Islamia posted a social media notice calling on Gazans to discontinue their cooperation with the “heretical Hamas regime.”
5. The same group also claimed responsibility for a string of bombings outside Hamas headquarters and offices in Gaza during the month of May.
6. On May 8, the ISIS Sinai branch Ansar Bait Maqdis shelled the Hamas facility in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.
7. On May 28, ISIS-Sinai threatened to “target Eilat Port in the coming days,” as a joint project with the ISIS wing in the Gaza Strip, which would also attack Hamas’s military arm, Ezz e-din Al-Qassam, and take control of the Gaza Strip.
8. debkafile’s counter-terror sources report that Ansar al Dawa is preparing to declare the Gaza Strip a province of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.