Near-simultaneous attacks Sunday destroyed the cars of five members of the armed wings of Islamic Jihad and Hamas, faced with the growing challenge of radical Salafists in the Gaza Strip.
These attacks have not been claimed yet, but groups claiming to support the organization jihadist Islamic State (EI) have already said to be responsible for several recent attacks against Hamas.
The police of the Islamist movement in power in the Palestinian enclave said in the evening have arrested suspects. It gave no details on these “suspects”, but promised that “saboteurs” could not “escape punishment.”
These attacks are unpublished at different levels. This is the first time that the Islamic Jihad, second force in Gaza and Hamas ally, is well targeted.
It is also the first time a coordinated attack –the five bombs exploded in the space of fifteen minutes in the same neighborhood of Sheikh Radouane– aims as many members of Islamic movements in Gaza.
Witnesses said bombs had been placed under three cars belonging to members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and two members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.
Several attacks have targeted members, sometimes high-ranking Hamas, and several of its buildings. The most spectacular was held in early May when a Salafist group called the “Partisans of the Islamic State in Jerusalem” claimed responsibility for mortar attacks against a base of al-Qassam.
Each time, the modus operandi suggests that these threats and warnings, explosions still occur at night or at a time when no passer is nearby.
Sunday morning explosion totally destroyed the vehicles whose carcasses were lying charred, outside the homes of their owners, but no casualties. Only “property damage” are regrettable, assured Hamas police indicating evening questioning suspects arrested.
In June, after several attacks against its forces and foreign interests, Hamas arrested dozens of people in Salafist circles.
A figure Salafi was killed in a shootout with police and arrests had provoked a volley of threatening releases from the Salafist movement.
Hamas had already cracked down hard in 2009 radical Salafist movements up to destroy one of their mosques.
After Sunday’s attack, the Hamas police, which ensures monitoring Salafist groups in Gaza, promised firmness. It could lead to more arrests.
For experts, Hamas, with nearly 30 000 men in arms, control the situation.
But in Gaza, there are concerns that are explosive cocktail of poverty and galloping unemployment, a reconstruction that is still pending one year after the last war, the EI of the attacks in the neighboring Egyptian Sinai, factionalism and confinement due to the Israeli siege and closure of the border with Egypt.
So far, no group in Gaza has obtained the dubbing of IE. But the lure of the extremist organization that multiplies the abuses in Syria and Iraq, and now has a branch in the Sinai is increasingly felt among young people in a small territory crammed 1.8 million people, experts say.
And much of Gazans are disappointed with the Palestinian traditional parties.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main forces in the Gaza Strip, regularly denounce the jihadist movements, including the IE.
“Hamas does not want Gaza to become Syria or Iraq, because that would make a gift to the Israeli occupation,” yet asserted recently a part of the Islamist movement told AFP.
In a joint statement, al-Qassam Brigades and al-Quds Sunday denounced “an attempt to attack the resistance by exploding the vehicles of his fighters.”
The violence, ensured the two movements that led there is a war against Israel in Gaza, “only serve the occupier and its objectives” and place their authors “in the camp of traitors,” without pointing finger a particular organization.
For Hamas like Islamic Jihad, acts of IE, “sully the image of Islam” and will “against his principles.”
As many positions that have provoked the ire of Gazans who joined the jihadist organization.
Recently, young Gazans became commanders in the EI issued a video shot in northern Syria where they called to take on Hamas in Gaza, promising to fight them.