Israel, Egypt and the Hamas terror group have formed an “unlikely alliance” against the Islamic State terror group, the Washington Post said in a report Sunday. All three are threatened by the increasing strength of the Islamist terror group in Sinai, according to the report, and Hamas, fearful for its future, has joined Israel and Egypt – both generally considered enemies of the terror group – to fight IS.
According to IS, Hamas is not “Islamist enough,” and the group has sworn to topple Hamas. In a recent message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas,” IS said that it would “uproot the state of the Jews [Israel] and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be overrun by our creeping multitudes. The rule of sharia [Islamic law] will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you.”
In recent days, Hamas has posted hundreds of its people along the Sinai border in order to prevent IS terrorists from entering Gaza. Israel itself recently completed a new security installation on the Egyptian border aimed specifically at keeping the Islamists out of Israel. And Egypt has increased its patrols in Sinai, a largely lawless enclave where IS has several redoubts.
IS has attacked Egyptian soldiers in Sinai on numerous occasions. Commenting on the Washington Post report, Mohannad Sabry, an Egyptian journalist and author of a book on the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai, said that Islamists were “genius strategists” who “know what they are doing exactly” and “have a great deal of freedom of mobility.”
Of top concern to Israel – and the U.S. – is the possibility that IS terrorists will attack American troops who have been stationed in Sinai since the implementation of the 1970 Camp David Accords. There are about 700 U.S. soldiers in Sinai. Four American soldiers were wounded in a roadside bombing last year, in an attack that officials believe was orchestrated by IS.