Hamas said Thursday it had arrested a gang that set off three bombs early Wednesday that killed three Hamas police officers. The gang included 10 members, and is suspected of being affiliated with Islamic State. Hamas said they would be tried for treason, the penalty for which in Gaza is death by hanging.
Usually the perpetrator of terrorist attacks, Hamas was the victim of one overnight Tuesday, when three Hamas police officers were killed in a series of explosions in Gaza City. Hamas on Wednesday embarked on a major roundup of Salafists who identify with Islamic State and 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 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.