Elite Hamas Fighters Defecting to ISIS

The Fellowship  |  February 7, 2017

TOPSHOT - A Palestinian man helps a boy set fire to an Israeli flag during a graduation ceremony for Hamas security forces in Gaza City on January 22, 2017. / AFP / MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

While Hamas continues to threaten Israeli both from the West Bank and its base in Gaza, and while the Islamic State (ISIS) does the same from Sinai and elsewhere in the Middle East, the two terrorist groups are, alarmingly, collaborating, as well. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reports that Hamas terrorists have been defecting to ISIS, and that the two organizations are also cooperating on smuggling and other activities:

A member of Hamas’s naval commando unit defected from the Gaza-based terror organization nearly a year ago to join the Sinai Province — the Islamic State group’s branch in the Sinai Peninsula, Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel…

In recent years Hamas has lost dozens of members of its military wing — the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades — to IS’s Sinai Province, including a number of its fighters from the elite Nukhba unit. Many of these operatives left for Sinai with their families and relatives and now serve as the Sinai Province’s main points of contact with Hamas. These defectors include a number of Hamas’s experts on operating anti-tank missiles and assembling roadside bombs, who have provided substantial assistance to IS in its war against the Egyptian army.

Abed al-Hila al-Qishta, a former senior member of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades before joining IS, was killed in December in an airstrike carried out against IS targets in Sinai, while Abu Malek Abu Shwiesh, who was a top assistant to the commander of Hamas’s military wing in the Rafah area, also reportedly defected to the Sinai Province.

Despite the apparent trend of Hamas operatives leaving the group in favor of IS, the terror organization continues to cooperate with the Sinai Province, in particular in relation to smuggling from Sinai into Gaza. The leadership of Hamas’s military wing in the Rafah area is responsible for coordinating cooperation between Hamas and the Sinai Province in a number of areas, including on weapons smuggling and bringing injured IS operatives into Gaza for medical care…

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