Gaza, Occupied Territories (TFC) – As if Gaza didn’t have enough problems with the Israeli occupation, the blockade, unemployment rates of over 40%, airstrikes, and general disorder; now the citizens of Gaza need to worry about getting caught in a crossfire between Hamas and the Islamic state.
A few days ago, supporters of the Islamic State bombed a store owned by a senior Hamas commander. The attack was successful and the blast killed him. Tuesday morning, Hamas responded by reportedly attempting to arrest Younis Sa’id al-Hanr. The 27-year-old was linked to the Islamic State’s forces in Gaza. Hamas forces state that they tried to arrest al-Hanr, but his brother indicates they stormed his house and killed him. A small weapons cache was found in al-Hanr’s possession.
Given the close proximity between this action and the assassination of the Hamas commander, it is probable that this was a retaliatory strike. Islamic State forces are likely to respond with an attack of their own.
The first Hamas casualty was Saber Siam. The group “Supporters of the Islamic State in Beit al-Maqdis” claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group said it killed him for “participating in the heretical war against the Mujahidin” and for supporting the liberal government in Palestine.
While the US media does a wonderful job of painting Hamas as an extreme fundamentalist organization, the reality is that it is extremely liberal and provides a greater degree of civil liberties than most Islamist organizations. For example, homosexual activity has been legal everywhere in Palestine except for Gaza since the 1950s. That’s right, while segregation still existed in the United States, Palestine had already allowed for homosexual activity. Several states in the United States still refuse to repeal their bans on sodomy.
Due to the potential for massive escalation in violence, The Fifth Column will provide continuing coverage of any new developments in the occupied territories.