Top Salafi-Jihadist leader in Gaza complained of mistreatment by Hamas prior to death

On Oct. 13, the Israeli Air Force killed Abu al Walid al Maqdisi, the former emir of the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ashraf al Sabah, the former emir of Ansar al Sunnah, in an airstrike. The two men were reportedly leaders of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), which is a consolidation of Salafi-Jihadist groups in Gaza.

Since their deaths, a number of statements and eulogies have been released by jihadist groups and media outlets such as the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, Global Islamic Media Front, Jaish al Ummah, Masada al Mujahideen, Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Ansar Jerusalem, among others.

On Nov. 1, the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center released a 15-minute-long video, titled “The Testimony of the Martyr Sheikh Abu al-Bara’a (Ashraf Sabah) about the Torture of the Mujahideen in the Internal Security Prisons of the Hamas Government.” The video was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Prior to founding Ansar al Sunnah, al Sabah was a member of Hamas. The decision to create Ansar al Sunnah reportedly occurred when al Sabah had concluded that Hamas had “deviated from the path [of jihad],” according to a statement released by Ansar Jerusalem. Al Sabah was said to be “a target for Hamas security just as he was a target for the Jews.”

During the video, al Sabah discusses how Hamas mistreated and abused him and fellow Salafi-Jihadists. He begins by saying that the treatment was something he had “never expected.” “We heard a lot about prisons in Egypt, Jordan and America, but we didn’t expect such conditions to also be in the internal security prison,” al Sabah says.

Al Sabah later alleges that Hamas members tortured him and often pulled on his beard. “They tied my hands from under my legs and pulled me from my beard as if they have a problem with the beard. If they see someone with a beard they humiliate and insult him,” al Sabah says. According to al Sabah, the Hamas guards also spit “in the faces of the brothers and at their beards until spit starts dripping from their beards like water.”

After describing the treatment in the prisons, al Sabah calls on Hamas “not to torment the mujahideen, but to be a front of resistance, as their leaders claim.”

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