Gaza Jihadist Supporters Rally Against France, Praise Islamic State

GAZA (Reuters) -

Hamas security forces allowed a rare rally on Monday by rival jihadist Salafi members in the Gaza Strip in support of Islamic State and the deadly attacks by three Islamist terrorists in France.

Many of the demonstrators wore uniforms similar to those of Islamic State fighters and identified themselves as supporters of various jihadist Salafi factions.

Gaza’s Salafis are proponents of global “holy” war endorsed by Islamic State and al-Qaida. Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, says it does not operate abroad, and it has shown little tolerance for Salafi movements in the Gaza Strip, occasionally fighting gun battles with their members.

Dozens of Hamas police were deployed at the rally and outside the gates of the French cultural center, where the demonstrators gathered after burning French flags.

Toward the end of the rally, scuffles broke out between demonstrators and police, who fired into the air to disperse the protest.