The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip admitted for treatment Sinai jihadists aligned with the Islamic State, who were wounded while clashing with the Egyptian military, Israel’s Channel 2 reported late Wednesday evening.
According to the report, the injured fighters were being treated in the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the largest medical facility in the coastal enclave. Shifa is also the site where Hamas leaders holed up during Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas last summer.
The report did not specify how many jihadists were being treated.
Hamas was making significant efforts to hide the patients’ identity in order to avoid being seen as affiliated with the radical Sunni organization, the report said. The Gaza terror group has in the past rejected comparisons to Islamic State.
Earlier this week, Gaza’s Hamas-run security services arrested a radical Salafist sheikh, accusing him of membership in the Islamic State.
The Islamic State in Syria overran the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus last week, and an unverified image circulating on social media purported to show the head of a known Hamas operative impaled on a fence. IS displays the heads of decapitated fallen opponents in public places as a warning against anyone considering rebelling against their strict, uncompromising interpretation of Islam.
Hamas has condemned the attack on the refugee camp.
In February, Hamas in Gaza was designated a terror group by the Egyptian government. The Gaza terror group is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, bitter foes of the Egypt’s secularist President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Sissi launched a months-long campaign against jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, many of whom have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
The Egyptian military is also soon to enter the third phase of building a barrier between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, an endeavor involving the destruction of tunnels between the two territories and the relocation of residents living near the Gaza-Egypt border.