Hamas Warns Israel: ISIS Trying to Spark Fighting Between Us

Hamas Struggling With Efforts by ISIS Faction to Establish Itself in Gaza

According to officials familiar with the situation, Hamas sent a secret message to Israel by way of Egypt earlier this week, assuring them they were doing everything they can to stop rocket fire across the border from Gaza, and warning that an ISIS-affiliated militant faction is trying to spark a new war to undermine Hamas’ hold on the strip.

Israel’s military appeared to concur with the assessment, with sources saying that the Hamas killing of an ISIS-linked Salafist militant had fueled fighting within the strip, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon conceded that the rockets were not fired by Hamas.

The problem is that Israel is going to blame Hamas even if they know Hamas not only didn’t do it, but has been trying to stop the fire. Ya’alon also confirmed that, saying they’d view Hamas as the “responsible party” even if the rocket fire was launched explicitly to undermine Hamas.

Which is exactly what the militants are counting on. Hamas has struggled with this for years, with several escalations, some leading to outright wars, sparked by different rivals trying to harm Hamas with a new war. With Israel’s new government stacked with hawks, anything that might lead to a new war will likely work.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.