Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Friday dismissed Israeli accusations that the group was assisting Islamic State-affiliated terrorists in the Sinai and called the accusations “Israeli propaganda.”
“Israel’s statements on helping Daesh [the Arabic acronym for Islamic State] are silly accusations. The Gaza security forces control the borders to prevent passage to and from Gaza,” he said.
On Thursday, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, told the Arabic-language news network al-Jazeera that along with military support, Hamas has also been providing medical support to injured IS operatives.
Mordechai claimed a high-ranking officer in Hamas’s military wing, named as Wa’al Faraj, has been smuggling injured Islamic State fighters into the Gaza Strip for medical treatment.
Another top Hamas commander involved in training fighters, Abdullah Kishta, had been lending his expertise to Islamic State jihadists in Sinai, Mordechai said, adding that the IDF has “proof” of these direct ties.
His interview with the Qatari-funded Arabic news network came a day after a massive terror attack in which Islamic State fighters carried out a wave of suicide bombings and assaults on security installations in northwestern Sinai.
Security officials said dozens of Egyptian troops were killed, along with nearly 100 insurgents from Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai), formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis before it pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The IDF on Thursday beefed up its presence along the border with the Sinai Peninsula following the attacks, as officials cautioned that the IS-affiliated group could attempt to overrun the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army deployed additional troops and was monitoring the fighting across the border using UAVs, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.
On Friday afternoon, a rocket landed in southern Israel. Security forces assessed that the projectile was likely fired from the Sinai Peninsula.