Gaza, Occupied Territories (TFC) – Two rockets were fired into Israeli territory. As is typical, there were no injuries from the rockets. The source of the rockets is not entirely known. Immediate speculation places the blame on Islamic State forces attempting to draw strikes against Hamas as part of their campaign in Gaza. The IDF willingly cooperated with the plan and attacked.
A low-intensity war has been transpiring between “Supporters of the Islamic State in Beit al-Maqdis” and Hamas-affiliated brigades. The Islamic State forces bombed a shop owned by a senior Hamas commander, killing him. Hamas responded by cracking down on Islamic State supporters, killing one of their operatives, and seizing his weapons cache. The Islamic State forces responded by demanding an end to the crackdown within 48 hours.
The immediate speculation is that the Islamic State forces launched the rockets to provoke Israel into eliminating their opposition. The more interesting part to the puzzle is that Hamas was expected to claim responsibility for the rocket attack even though it was not responsible. The worry was that the more radical elements of the Hamas-affiliate brigades might defect to a more hardline Islamic State force if Hamas was seen as weak.
However, Hamas openly stated that it was the Salafist “Supporters of the Islamic State in Beit al-Maqdis” that were behind the attack. Hamas evacuated its headquarters prior to the strikes. As with most IDF attacks, it is expected that most, if not all, of the casualties are civilians. With competing militant groups now at war in Gaza, the likelihood of Israel being attacked as provocation increases hourly. The likelihood of Gazan civilians suffering under the boot of Israel because of the war increases even more quickly. The fighting between the Islamic State and Hamas has forced people to question the motives of IS fighters who are so close to Israel but have not effectively attacked the country that is supposed to be their greatest enemy.
Many Palestinians are suggesting that Israel is backing the Islamic State push.