Hamas launched crackdown on radical Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip by arresting a Salafist leader injured in an Israeli airstrike in June, Palestinian Maan News reported on Friday.
Gaza Strip security forces arrested Sheikh Abu Suhaib Rashwan after he left the hospital where he had been recovering from wounds sustained in an Israeli airstrike on June 20, Salafist group spokesperson Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir was quoted by Maan saying.
Rashwan is allegedly a member of the terrorist organization known as Tawhid wal Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in 2011.
Several members of Salafist organizations that identify with al-Qaeda have reportedly been summoned for interrogation since the August 5 terrorist attack on the Israel-Gaza-Egypt border in which 16 members of the Egyptian security forces were killed before the terrorists smashed across the border into Israel and were killed by the IDF. Hamas previously raided a Salafist mosque in 2009, killing 28 people, after a Salafist imam declared an Islamic emirate in Gaza.
It was not clear whether the Egyptian government pressured Hamas leaders to begin cracking down on radical jihadist groups operating in the Gaza Strip. Hamas’s Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh on Monday promised newly-instated Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah ell-Sissi that he would coordinate security issues with Cairo and work to protect their mutual border.
Since the attack, Egypt has launched a military campaign to root out radical Islamist terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian press previously reported officials in Cairo saying that terrorists from the Gaza-based Army of Islam were suspected to have participated in the cross-border attack.