Isis Vows to Overthrow Hamas 'Tyrants' in Gaza

ISIS Hamas Threaten Video Topple
In the message, delivered from Syria, the group threaten to topple the Islamist group and install the rule of sharia in the coastal enclave. Twitter

Isis militants have released a video statement threatening to overthrow Hamas from their control of the Gaza Strip, calling the Islamist group's leadership "tyrants."

The radical Islamist terror group, which has captured large areas across Syria and Iraq, boasts affiliates in a number of countries, including Libya and Egypt, and is now hoping to turn Gaza into another pocket of Islamist extremism.

While Hamas has faced a security challenge from Gaza-based Salafists, who support Isis, the video is the first instance in which the terror group has issued a threat to the Hamas leadership in Gaza from its caliphate in Syria.

Isis-supporting Salafists have claimed responsibility for a number of rockets fired into Israel from the coastal enclave this month as tensions continue to rise with Hamas. The Israeli military says Hamas is responsible for any rocket attacks as it controls the territory.

Last month, Hamas security forces killed an Isis supporter in Gaza, the first death since the Islamist party launched a crackdown on the Salafists aligned to the so-called Islamic State. In another incident last month, a group who named itself "Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem" fired mortars at a Hamas training base in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

In the video, an Isis militant berates the "tyrants of Hamas for their lack of religious fervour. "Eight years they control the territory, and have yet to enforce one Islamic teaching," he says.

"We will uproot the state of the Jews and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes," another masked militant adds.

"The rule of sharia [Islamic law] will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza," he says, in reference to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital, Damascus, where the groups made inroads earlier this year.

Hamas ISIS Gaza
Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, take part in a military parade marking the 27th anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City December 14, 2014. Reuters / Mohammed Salem

A Gaza-based journalist, speaking on condition of anonymity, believes that the video is a propaganda ploy to inspire more young Gazans to support the group and take arms against Hamas but doubts the link between the Salafists within the coastal enclave and those in Syria.

"This media came out from Syria and I doubt the connection between the Gaza Salafis and the Syrian fighters," the journalist says. "However, the risk of this is that it might motivate some other younger people to go for it."

While Isis continues to threaten Hamas from both in and outside the Gaza Strip, Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz has accused Hamas, who fought a seven-week conflict with Israel last summer, of cooperating with Isis's Egyptian affiliate Sinai Peninsula on the transport of weapons and attacks against Egyptian security forces.

"There is cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis," Katz told a Tel Aviv conference on Tuesday.

"At the same time, within Gaza, Isis has been flouting Hamas. But they have common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad," he added.

Hamas itself is designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. The Islamist faction has controlled Gaza since 2007 after defeating Fatah in a rare election and fending off a coup by the rival party, of which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now leader.