Usually the perpetrator of terrorist attacks, Hamas was apparently the victim of one overnight Tuesday, when three Hamas police officers were killed in a series of explosions in Gaza City.
Reports Wednesday said that Hamas had embarked on a major roundup of Salafists who identify with Islamic State. Hamas on Wednesday declared a “state of emergency” throughout Gaza over the incidents.
Those Salafists have a stronghold in Sinai, and may have slipped into Gaza in the area of Khan Yunis. Al-Jazeera reported that the attacks were carried out by two suicide bombers, but that has not been confirmed. Hamas’s Interior Ministry said that it was following several “promising leads” in the case.
The three officers were killed when bombs exploded at Hamas police checkpoints in southern and western Gaza. Several other people were injured in the explosions, one of them seriously. The explosions that were heard Tuesday night were at first attributed to an Israeli strike, but the IDF said that it had not conducted any operations in that area.
Witnesses at both explosion sites said that they had seen individuals ride by on motorcycles, which exploded near the police checkpoints. Gaza media reports also said that after initially blaming Israel for the explosions, Hamas now holds the Salafist groups responsible.
Hamas chief terrorist Ismail Haniyeh said that “there is nothing to fear from these explosions. Hamas has overcome more serious issues. We express our condolences to the families of the officers. Whoever is behind these explosions will be caught. Things are under control, and we are positive we will find those responsible for this.”