Eliminated Gaza Terrorists 'Belonged to ISIS'
The two Gazan terrorists eliminated in an Israeli Air Force (IAF) precision strike on Friday were members of a jihadi terrorist cell linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, according to senior Salafi sources inside Gaza.
The IDF said the two terrorists, Osama Hasoumi and Mohammed Fatsih, were targeted due to their role in recent rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. The airstrike was recorded by security cameras on the street they were passing through in Gaza's Shati refugee camp, and uploaded to Youtube Saturday.
At their funeral, the slain terrorists' coffins were draped in ISIS flags, and mourners carried ISIS banners emblazoned with Islamist slogans.
In the last few years several terror cells linked to or inspired by Al Qaeda have been established in the Gaza Strip and neighboring Sinai Peninsula, drawing recruits from existing Salafi-Islamist groups as well as disenfranchised Hamas members. More recently, since ISIS broke away from Al Qaeda to pursue its own Islamic state project in Syria and Iraq, some Salafi factions in Gaza and Sinai have aligned themselves with that group.
If it is true that ISIS-linked terror cells have been responsible for recent rocket fire against Israel, they are likely to be from those preexisting jihadi groups. Nevertheless, the revelations appear to further illustrate how ISIS is challenging Al Qaeda's domination of global jihadi circles outside of Syria and Iraq.
Many Gaza-based Islamists have already left the Hamas-run territory to fight for ISIS in Syria, though precise numbers are hard to come by.
The revelations of a possible ISIS link to escalated rocket fire in the south comes as Hamas's deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk admitted that his group is turning a blind eye to rocket attacks on Israel, despite the ceasefire in place between Hamas and Israel.
Abu Marzouk announced that the terrorists launching rockets, which on Saturday night scored a direct hit on a factory in Sderot and burned it down, are not being stopped or arrested by Hamas - despite the Islamist group's obligation to do so under the terms of the ceasefire agreement.