Popular Resistance Committees calls on Hamas to stop arrests of ‘mujahideen’

PRC Hamas Gaza July 22.jpg In a statement released to jihadist forums today, the Popular Resistance Committees’ al Nasser Salah al Deen Brigades called on Hamas to stop its arrests of “mujahideen” in the Gaza Strip. Arresting the “mujahideen” does not serve the resistance against Israel, the statement said.

According to the statement, on July 20 members of Hamas’ al Qassam Brigades attacked a member of the al Nasser Salah al Deen Brigades, breaking a number of his bones. Although the member of the al Nasser Salah al Deen Brigades had identified himself and was not firing rockets toward Israel, he was still attacked, the statement said.

Since May, Hamas has increased its efforts to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. This has led to a number of complaints by Salafi jihadists who have accused Hamas of giving up the resistance.

The statement, which noted that Hamas and the PRC have previously coordinated operations, warned that continued attacks would not be accepted and that the PRC is prepared to defend its members.

Today’s statement from the al Nasser Salah al Deen Brigades comes approximately two weeks after the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), a jihadist media unit tied to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), released a statement charging that torture by Hamas forces had caused Sheikh Hussein al Jo’ayteni, a Salafi cleric, to sustain a broken pelvis and other injuries.

Al Jo’ayteni was reportedly arrested by Hamas forces near Gaza City on June 11. On June 15, the ITMC released a statement that accused Hamas of torturing al Jo’ayteni. According to the ITMC, Hamas is torturing al Jo’ayteni “day and night” in order to obtain information from him regarding Salafist groups in the Gaza Strip.

In recent months, Hamas and Salafi jihadists in the Gaza Strip, in particular the MSC, have been at odds with one another. While members of the MSC have been predominately targeted, members of the al Nasser Salah al Deen Brigades have also been arrested.

For example, in late April, Hamas forces reportedly arrested two members of the Brigades in Khan Yunis. Similarly, in March, Hamas members purportedly raided the home of a “mujahid” in the Brigades.

Hamas operations against Salafi jihadists in Gaza have caused ire among jihadists elsewhere in the Middle East. On May 20, a video featuring Abu Talha al Libi, the sharia official of the Muhajireen Brigade in the Levant, was released by the ITMC. In the video, titled “Fear Allah, O Hamas,” al Libi slammed Hamas’ campaign against Salafi jihadists in the Gaza Strip. According to al Libi, Hamas’ current actions are “not the way” of Hamas founders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Aziz al Rantisi, both of whom were killed by Israel in 2004.

A month later, the ITMC released a video of purported Salafi jihadists in Syria slamming Hamas’ actions against Salafi jihadists in the Gaza Strip. Salafi jihadists “are prevented [by Hamas] from [carrying out] jihad,” an unidentified speaker charged.

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