Hamas arrests more jihadists and deploys forces in effort to stop rockets
Hamas forces arrested two members of the Popular Resistance Committees' Al Nasser Salah al Deen Brigades from their apartment in Khan Yunis, according to a statement released today by the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), a jihadist media unit. The arrests are part of an "extensive campaign" by Hamas to arrest Salafi jihadist fighters in the Gaza Strip, the statement alleged.
Today's arrests come just a few days after the ITMC released a statement saying that Egyptian intelligence officers have been interrogating Salafi jihadists detained by Hamas. The officers, according to the ITMC, are interested in learning about the structure of Salafi jihadist groups in the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.
Earlier today, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out an airstrike in the Gaza Strip that targeted and killed a member of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC). According to the IDF, the terrorist, Hithem Ziad Ibrahim Masshal, "acted in different Jihad Salafi terror organizations and over the past few years has been a key terror figure, specializing in weapons and working with all of the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip."
While a Hamas spokesman condemned the strike on Masshal as "dangerous and unjustified," a Facebook page for supporters of Salafi jihadists in Gaza released a statement that called on Hamas to release imprisoned Salafi jihadists. In a separate statement, the group said Masshal had previously been held in one of Hamas' prisons in the Gaza Strip and that it appeared he had been offered "on a golden platter" to Israel by Hamas.
The group, which has organized at least two public protests against Hamas in April, also said that it holds Hamas responsible "for the fate of our Mujahideen prisoners inside and outside their prisons."
Meanwhile, Ashraq al Awsat reports that Hamas is increasing its efforts to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. Members of Hamas' al Qassam Brigades have been "deployed in the border areas of the Gaza Strip replacing policemen with the aim of preventing the firing of rockets from Gaza," the report stated. In addition, al Qassam Brigades members have reportedly "set up fixed and mobile roadblocks" to search cars and find those firing the rockets.
Over the past couple of weeks, Salafi jihadists, primarily the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, have fired a number of rockets from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula toward Israel. According to Ashraq al Awsat, Israel recently sent messages to Egyptian mediators, calling on Hamas to make greater efforts in stopping the rocket fire from Gaza.