ISIS threatens to topple Hamas ‘tyrants’ in Gaza

The video statement, issued from an ISIS stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas

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Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organization that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.

“We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes,” said a masked ISIS member in the message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas,” according to Reuters news agency.

“The rule of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza,” he said, referring to ISIS’s advances in Syria, including in a Damascus district founded by Palestinian refugees.

The terror group has also taken over swathes of Iraq and has claimed attacks in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.

The video statement, issued from an ISIS stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas, which has been cracking down on militants in Gaza who oppose its truces with Israel and reconciliation with the U.S.-backed rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

Hamas is an Islamist movement that shares the jihadis’ hostility to Israel but not their quest for a global religious war, defining itself more within the framework of Palestinian nationalism.

Deemed a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union, and viewed by neighboring Arab power Egypt as a regional security threat, Hamas’s struggle against ISIS-linked militants has not won sympathy abroad.

On Tuesday, Israel’s intelligence minister, Israel Katz, accused Hamas of partnering with ISIS affiliates in the Egyptian Sinai - a charge long denied by the Palestinian group.

“There is cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis,” Katz told a Tel Aviv conference organized by the Israel Defense journal.

“At the same time, within Gaza, ISIS has been flouting Hamas. But they have common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad.”

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