Daesh-bags in Gaza: Bombings target Hamas in ‘professional’ attacks amid ‘fake’ ISIS-linked war
A series of six car bombings in Gaza City targeted significant members of Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad early Sunday morning. Regional media reports do not have confirmation of any kills the attacks and a varied number wounded.
The attacks targeted the Iz A-din Al-Qassam Brigade and the Al Quds Brigade. No organization has yet taken responsibility for the attacks and Haaretz pointed to analysis suggesting the attackers are highly skilled.
Hamas did not point fingers at any group or organization but noted that this deed only serves Israel and the occupation. While the Interior Ministry spokesman said that criminal elements were behind the deed, Gaza sources told Haaretz that the operation was done very professionally, targeting field-level commanders. This suggests to Hamas the possibility that Israel, through its agents, was behind the incident, the sources said.
Haaretz also suggested the possibility that ISIS-linked militants carried out the bombings because Hamas did not release all of the prisoners as demanded by a rival jihadi group locked in an ongoing battle within Gaza. The group identifies as “Supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Jerusalem”, but they are mainly garden variety Salafi-jihadists who support the extreme ideology advertised by established Islamic State groups.
Sunday’s attack comes during increased tension after Hamas destroyed a mosque frequented by the claimed Islamic State supporters in early May. The group responded with a bombing attack on a Hamas base. The same period also coincided with the demands for Hamas to release the prisoners.
The problem these developments pose is that the Western media narrative is slowly changing to suggest the Islamic State has a new wing in the region, but who’s agenda will they execute as they are seeking ‘official’ Islamic State support?
The ISIS links are a new twist between factions already at war with Israel and Egypt before ISIS generated enough clout to become worthy of seeking an alliance.
Islamic State sympathizers in the Gaza Strip are making their presence felt on social media, but the enclave’s Hamas rulers said on Thursday the group has no real foothold in the Palestinian territory.
Gaza-based political analyst Hani Habib said some activists identifying with ultra-conservative Salafi Islam were using social media to try to draw the attention of Islamic State and seek its recognition.
“They were inspired by the presence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and moreover in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula,” said Habib, dismissing any notion that Salafis in Gaza had formally joined Islamic State.
Salafi groups began to surface in Gaza in 2006 and have had a tense relationship with Hamas, which seized the territory from forces loyal to the Western-backed Fatah group in 2007.
A senior Israeli security official said it was hard to assess whether there was a serious Islamic State presence in Gaza.
“There are lots of these hardline, ‘right-of-Hamas’ Islamist groups operating in Gaza. That’s been the case for years. So if one decides to change its name to something ISIS-related, that’s not in itself so significant,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“The fact is that Hamas is trying to curb them, and mainly because they are a threat to its rule.”
ISIS is a brand, the new Al Qaeda for extending the war on terror for geopolitical influence. The targets have always been Syria for the west and Gaza for Israel. This will be misrepresnted and used to strike the targets in response. This is how the false narrative of the war on terror evolves to achieve the current group of goals to split up Syria and further break down Palestine. ISIS is the evolution of Al Qaeda propaganda because the perceived failure of Al Qaeda to bring change has sent many dissidents in search of a more extreme brand of jihadism which can achieve success in forcing a change in the western power balance.
This protracted battle in Palestine is part of a larger, more fluid conflict characterized by alliances and a lack of options for many different groups. Even the CIA-friendly New York Times had to provide balanced assessments from Gaza noting that the links to ISIS are weak by comparison. In the same article, the collaboration with jihadi groups in across the Gaza-Egypt border in Northern Sinai pre-dated the Islamic State phenomena. The report also points to the inspiring effect that ISIS propaganda has had on the Gaza rivals.
The four attacks in May — among at least a dozen this year, documented by a local human rights group — were aimed not at infidels, collaborators or criminals but at the ruling Islamist group, Hamas. The suspected perpetrators were Hamas’s emerging rivals: extremist Islamist groups that see Hamas as insufficiently pious, and that vow loyalty to the Islamic State.
While the extremists are unlikely to challenge Hamas’s firm grip on the Gaza Strip in the foreseeable future, they complicate matters by occasionally shooting rockets into Israel that could touch off a wider conflagration, if the rockets kill or maim Israeli citizens.
They could also seek to join forces with the far more dangerous, deadly branch of the Islamic State in neighboring Egypt’s Sinai Desert, possibly derailing the slowly improving relations between Hamas and Egyptian authorities that have recently led to the Egypt-Gaza border crossing’s being opened for brief moments for the first time in years.
“We will stay like a thorn in the throat of Hamas, and a thorn in the throat of Israel,” said Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, the spokesman for the groups supporting the Islamic State, using a nom de guerre for security reasons.
Gaza has always had pockets of Islamists considered extreme even by the deeply conservative version of Islam practiced in much of the coastal enclave. Those extremists — known regionally as salafi-jihadis — have sparred with Hamas in the past, most notably in 2009 when a militant preacher declared an Islamic state from his mosque. More than 20 people were killed in the ensuing confrontation.
But as Islamic State militants consolidate control of areas they have conquered in Iraq and Syria, and conduct terrifying militant attacks elsewhere, they have energized Gaza’s new extremists, who are trying, in fitful starts, to harass and harm their Hamas rulers.
While it is hard to gauge their numbers, the latest round of clashes is a sign of the extremists’ growing potency. Nathan Thrall, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, estimates that their ranks have swelled from several hundred a few years ago to a few thousand today among Gaza’s 1.8 million residents.
Mr. Ansari, the spokesman, said the militants had formed a decision-making council for their group, Supporters of the Islamic State, and created a militant wing, the Battalion of Sheikh Omar Hadid.
Hamas officials have also harassed employees of international news outlets for reporting on the extremists. Their fear is that their rivals — Israel and the Palestinian Authority — will use the news accounts to lump them together with the salafi-jihadis, justifying attacks against Hamas or the Gaza Strip.
The new extremists do not have official connections to ISIS, but stay in contact with its leadership through a Gaza resident who joined the group, Rasem Abu Jazar. ISIS sends money to the Gaza families of men fighting for the group, and to fund the journey for other fighters to leave the territory.
Mr. Ansari said the Gaza extremists did not have formal connections to ISIS in Sinai, although they would “welcome them.”
Given the questionable origins of ISIS that have been linked to western intelligence agencies and US government policies, what does Israel gain from allowing these raggedy Gaza brigades to form in opposition to Hamas?
The truth is the Israeli government is content to allow the frustrated opposition to seek Islamic State approval while fighting Hamas for control of Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel is allowing actual ISIS groups to pull willing Gazans out to fight in Syria and Iraq. This is the same regime that controls almost everything in and out of Gaza, including stopping international humanitarian aid shipments. The ‘presence’ of ISIS in Palestine is very beneficial to the Israeli government because it provides a manageable threat which can be used to justify squeezing Palestine further.
This line of strategy is already unfolding in Egypt where many in government are blaming Hamas for allowing ISIS to reach new members in Gaza and enabling attacks targeting Egypt, specifically the death of 31 soldiers in a January 2015 suicide bombing near the Gaza border.
In subsequent days, Egyptian officials pointed an accusing finger at the Hamas rulers of Gaza, asserting there is “no doubt that elements belonging to Palestinian factions were directly involved in the attack.” Cairo is now set to build a new barrier separating the Strip from northern Sinai.
In a number of Arabic media outlets, unnamed Egyptian government sources openly accused Hamas members of aiding the assault, assisting with planning, funding and weapons supply.
Are the Egyptian claims credible? Are there links between Hamas or smaller jihadist movements in the Gaza Strip and the insurgents in northern Sinai? And no less importantly, is the armed campaign in northern Sinai linked to Islamic State? First, it is important to understand that jihadist activity in northern Sinai is not a new development. Long before the military coup of July 3, 2013, and indeed before the downfall of president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, this area had become a lawless zone in which jihadists and Beduin smugglers of people and goods carried out their activities.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis emerged from this already existing jihadist milieu in the period following Mubarak’s ouster.
At this time, Egyptian security measures in the area sharply declined.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has not confined its activities to the Sinai area; rather, it has directly engaged in attacks on Israeli targets. Recently, the group beheaded four Sinai locals who it accused of being “spies for the Mossad,” also carrying out two rocket attacks on Eilat this past January.
The claim of links between Hamas and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has been raised in the past. In September, Egyptian security forces claimed to have found uniforms and weaponry identifiable as belonging to Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam brigades.
It is worth remembering that the current Egyptian government has, since its inception, sought to link salafi jihadist terrorism with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as part of its strategy of marginalizing and criminalizing the Brotherhood.
The current statements seeking to link Hamas directly to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis may form part of this larger strategy.
For its part, Hamas indignantly denies any link to this week’s bombing.
But what can be said with greater confidence is there is, without doubt, a burgeoning and violent salafi jihadist subculture which encompasses northern Sinai and southern Gaza – with various organizations possessing members and infrastructure on both sides of the border.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis itself and Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen both have members in Sinai and Gaza. Working tunnels smuggling goods and weapons exist between Gaza and northern Sinai, despite Egyptian attempts to destroy them.
It is also a fact that Hamas is aware of these tunnels and makes no attempt to act against them, benefiting economically from their presence.
From this standpoint, Hamas authorities in Gaza are guilty by omission of failing to act against the infrastructure supplying and supporting salafi guerrillas in northern Sinai, whether or not the less verifiable claims of direct Hamas links with them have a basis.
The incidents will likely be used as justification to commence more war in Gaza, but it also serves to legitimize the Islamic State propaganda for media exaggeration.
A viable ISIS partner within Gaza would enhance the fear effect of the propaganda’s western reach if it could be described as eclipsing the ideology of Hamas among Gazans. Israel has even done this before, faking the presence of Al-Qaeda right after the September 11th attacks.
This is one reason Israel has not made much attempt at fighting this opposition and has helped ISIS with strategic airstrikes on numerous occasions in cooperation with Turkey. The Turkish government has also used the situation to target their opposition, the independent Kurds who have been fighting Islamic State.
Why is this shift in propanganda and the intensity of violence increasing so much recently? The strategy has been failing from a public relations perspective as the Islamic State propaganda has been losing effect in the Middle East and Europe. The effect has been cumulative as the illusion of the Islamic State being an organic terror organization has almost completely fallen apart outside of American media.
American media has also been eager to mock the ‘conspiracy theory’ that ISIS has been crafted by American and Israeli intelligence, something the New York Times felt compelled to address in August 2014. In an article titled “Borne by Facebook, Conspiracy Theory That U.S. Created ISIS Spreads Across Middle East,” poorly-worded theories and claims were put on display as a way of discrediting the evidence.
By September 2014, that position was already becoming less viable and the New York Times published another article titled “Suspicions Run Deep in Iraq That C.I.A. and the Islamic State Are United” in which they reported on widespread opinion that the United States has been aiding ISIS for a long time. The report was ironically 2 days after the egregious ‘mistake’ of a weapons airdrop seized by ISIS originally meant for Iraqi troops fighting the Islamic State. That incident was one among many in a trend of ISIS receiving aid “accidentally” from western sources.
Then February 2015, retired US Army General Wesley Clark announced on CNN that ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies as he went on to explain the western collaboration and manipulation of the group as a way “to fight to the death against Hezbollah” and other extremists without getting US troops killed. This is something Clark spoke to in August 2014, noting the Saudis and Qatar had financed ISIS, even writing a CNN opinion piece. The Financial Times of London similarly reported that at least $3 billion had been transferred from Qatar (at the time of the May 2013 article) to Syrian opposition which later became part of the ISIS core.
By March, the conspiracy became real for US military assets in Iraq as Washington Post reported the US forces “find themselves on the same side as an array of armed groups that not only consider the United States an enemy but also accuse it of actively supporting Islamic State militants”, referring to the US partnership against ISIS with local militias and Iranian forces.
BAGHDAD — As American forces open another front of battle in Iraq, they find themselves on the same side as an array of armed groups that not only consider the United States an enemy but also accuse it of actively supporting Islamic State militants.
Since the U.S.-led coalition planes launched their first airstrikes in the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit on Wednesday night, threats and accusations from Shiite militias who were leading the battle there have grown. Several of the Iranian-backed groups accused coalition aircraft of bombing a headquarters for pro-government fighters in the city on Friday, promising retribution.
The claim was the latest in a long string of accusations leveled at the United States since its first airstrikes against the Islamic State in August. Rumors of coalition planes dropping weapons supplies to Islamic State militants and attacking pro-government fighters are now widely held beliefs in a country where conspiracy theories are rife.
But that enmity for the United States circulates beyond the militias that once fought U.S. soldiers, surfacing also in parliamentary debates and Iraqi media reports and even at the highest ranks of the national armed forces that the United States is aiding.
“Everybody knows that the Americans are dropping supplies to Daesh,” said Brig. Gen. Abed al-Maliki, a senior Iraqi army commander based in the city of Samarra, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, using another term for the Islamic State.
What’s more, he said, during some of the fiercest fighting around Samarra last year, U.S. Special Operations forces dropped behind enemy lines to assist Islamic State militants.
“They came in with parachutes, and they were helping to bomb the city,” he said.
U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State, he contended, are probably just a cover for efforts to support the group.
“It’s just a show,” he said, sitting in the city’s army command headquarters. “If the Americans want to finish something, they will finish it. If they wanted to liberate Iraq, they could.”
When such accusations appear in the Iraqi media, they are normally accompanied by an image from an Islamic State video from Kobane in Syria last year, showing the militants displaying a load of weapons accidently dropped from a U.S. plane — an incident the United States acknowledged.
The propaganda narrative making ISIS the world’s most pressing security concern has been unraveling consistently as new evidence comes to light that the US and Israel curious links to the Islamic State.
In May, a leaked Pentagon report confirmed that the US allowed ISIS to grow as a “tool” to overthrow Syria’s President Assad.
The US has made a habit of risking dozens of civilian deaths to kill one person with a drone strike, so why is ISIS allowed have to victory parades and traffic oil?
Other notable claims have been corroborated such as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being a known asset who was trained by US and Israeli intelligence according to a document released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Israel has also provided direct aid to groups like Jahbat al-Nusra at the time they were still friendly with ISIS at the time, but also the Takfiri groups including transferring supplies across the disputed border in Golan Heights as confirmed by information in local United Nations reports. Haaretz acknowledges it’s not just medical treatment for the wounded and similar claims are being made in Lebanon where they have aided Takfiri groups.
The Takfiri militants are a seasoned group of Islamic State fighters and have been known to cross the Turkey-Syria border with the government’s help, including even the sale of black market oil. American reporter Serena Shim was investigating these links and claimed to have video evidence of Takfiri militants using World Food Program vehicles as cover. Shim reported the claims on live television for Press TV and that the Turkish government ordered intelligence officers to investigate her reporting on suspicions that she was a spy. Two days later, Shim was killed in a suspicious car crash near the Turkey border after returning from Syria’s Kobani. The same region was just hit today with a bombing killing at least 25 people as it is still critical to ISIS.
In order to move to the next phase, the violence and strategic placement of Islamic State assets must be set up to justify the accelerated response. Consider the string of increasingly high profile attacks like the lone wolf attacks in Tunisia killing UK citizens and the threat of ISIS in America seen most recently with the killing of 5 unarmed US Marines. These attacks are excellent for fear propaganda purposes but it also reinforces the mental threat to Americans.
Not that those deaths don’t matter but contrast the severity with Friday’s truck bomb attack at a busy market in the Diyala province of Iraq which killed more than 125 and wounded nearly 200 innocent civilians. A video recorded by an eyewitness captures the chaos and despair the United States and Israel have allowed to terrorize the region.
ISIS should stand for Israel Supported Independent Salafists…
Expect the war to intensify as Russia pushes for its alternative gas pipeline to Europe, Israel and the West are pushing the rival pipeline through Syria.
Is The US Going To War With Syria Over A Natural Gas Pipeline?
Specifically, the issue at hand is the green part of the proposed pipeline: as explained above, it simply can’t happen as long as Russia is alligned with Assad.
The West’s pipeline has to supply Europe with gas otherwise Russia will get it and your American freedom will suffer more, bcoz Putin.