Gaza: Hamas-ISIS ties tighten
Israel's intelligence community has found that the Hamas terrorist organization and Islamic State (ISIS) intensified their mutual cooperation in the year 2015 - so reports Middle East Newsline (MENL).
According to the Israeli intelligence sources, the two terrorist movements share intelligence, weapons shipments, logistics and medical services.
For instance, ISIS frequently works with Bedouin smugglers to facilitate shipments of missiles and weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza via Egypt's Sinai Desert. ISIS then takes 10-20% of the weapons ordered by Hamas.
However, when the Egyptian offensive against the smuggling tunnel network hampers their joint efforts, ISIS sends raw materials, enabling Hamas and Islamic Jihad to manufacture their own weapons. In addition, Hamas and ISIS have also agreed to use Gaza as a logistics hub for the Islamic war in Sinai, and injured ISIS guerrillas have been sent to Gaza for medical treatment.
"They have the same interests," a source told MENL: "ISIL [another name for ISIS – ed.] fights Egypt, and Hamas fights Israel."
Hamas is able to pay for the smuggling despite its budgetary difficulties. Hamas sources have been complaining of late that Iran has not provided them with financial help since 2009. The British-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat puts the lie to this claim, explaining that it is nothing more than "part of a campaign by Hamas directed at the capitals of Gulf countries to change their positions and fund them."
The financial distress in which Hamas finds itself is only due "to the Egyptian army destroying hundreds of tunnels that were a huge source of finance for many years," the newspaper says.
Meanwhile, while Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to put on a "moderate" face for the international community, reports of reconciliation initiatives between Fatah and ISIS-allied Hamas repeatedly crop up.
In addition, it is often overlooked that the two-state solution strongly urged by the U.S. and others features Israel, on the one hand, and Fatah and ISIS-supported Hamas on the other.
Ironically, however, as the Palestinian Ma'an news service reports, "The Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding of long-overdue elections. Both movements have frequently blamed each other over these failures."