Ma’ariv: Hamas vows crackdown as Salafist activities escalate

PNN/Gaza/

Salafist group Sheikh Omar Hadid fired a rocket last night from the Gaza Strip which landed in Ashkelon, southern Israel, saying that this action showed their commitment to armed resistance.

The group confirmed in a statement distributed in Gaza that the operation was in retaliation for the assassination of Izz al-Din by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in “cold blood”.

The group also confirmed that it will continue its operations in reprisal for Hamas’ crackdown on Salafist groups, saying that the arrests and disarmament carried out by Hamas would not deter its supporters from continuing their fight against Israel.

Sources in the Gaza Strip reported that the Salafist groups saw that the Hamas announcement of Egypt’s cooperation sought to eliminate the groups, noting that the groups would nonetheless continue in their objectives.

Ma’ariv newspaper cited an Israeli security source as saying that Israel welcomes the Egyptian rapprochement with Hamas, noting that the military leaders in Israel see in this convergence a useful tool for the elimination of the Salafist groups, which have garnered a lot of underground support in Gaza due to Egypt’s recent military campaigns in the Sinai.

The newspaper also quoted the Israeli Head of Planning Division General Nimrod Shafer as saying that any rapprochement and alliance between Hamas and Egypt will lead to the weakening of the Salafist groups operating in the Gaza Strip.

Shafer said that Israel does not oppose the Egyptian rapprochement with Hamas, which is showing great willingness to cooperate in order to cope with the Salafist groups in conjunction with the Egyptian army. He noted that Hamas had sent many messages which confirmed that it was making every effort to prevent the firing of rockets at Israel, and that it did not want military escalation.