First Published: 2013-04-04


Salafists denounce Hamas: From resistance to crackdown on resistance


Sources close to Salafist group say Hamas which rules Gaza has arrested two Islamists in connection with rocket attacks on Israel.


Middle East Online

Crackdown on Salafists has become regular in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Palestinian Territories) - The Palestinian movement Hamas which rules Gaza has arrested two Islamists in connection with rocket attacks on Israel, sources close to a Salafist group said Thursday.

The Hamas interior ministry, however, denied any arrests had been made for "resistance against the occupation."

Hamas's "internal security apparatus in the last two days arrested two mujahedeen. One was released after several hours. The other is still detained," a Salafist source said on condition of anonymity.

The source said it was part of a "campaign to pursue Salafists after the targeting of Israel with rockets."

A Gaza-based Salafist group claimed firing rockets at Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday that landed in open fields, causing no damage or casualties. In response, Israel carried out two air strikes, also without causing harm.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council said the rocket attacks were a response to the death of a Palestinian who died of cancer while serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison.

Interior ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan denied there had been any "arrests for resistance to the enemy (Israel)," saying such action would "not help national consensus (unity)."

The Islamist movement Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, has regularly cracked down on Salafists in the territory, notably in 2009.

"Our security apparatus is part of the resistance and does not arrest anyone who resists the occupation. On the contrary, we encourage resistance," Shahwan said.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council, meanwhile, urged "the rational-minded in Hamas to pressure its security to release Salafists" in a statement on Thursday.

In response to the rocket attacks Israel has tightened a maritime restriction barring Gaza fishermen from operating more than three nautical miles off the Mediterranean coast.

The already stringent limits were tightened from six miles on March 21 after Salafist militants fired two rockets at southern Israel as US President Barack Obama was visiting the country.

Israel also closed down Kerem Shalom, Gaza's only goods crossing, and imposed tight restrictions on travel into and out of the territory via the northern Erez terminal which was limited to medical emergencies only.

A week later, the restrictions on the two crossings were lifted and Kerem Shalom and Erez began operating as normal.

But the fishing limitations were left in place, Palestinian officials said, with the Israeli army confirming it was a political decision taken after an uptick in rocket fire this week.

"It was decided after continuous firing of rockets today to keep the fishing zone limited to three miles until there is a political decision (to lift it)," a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

"This is a political issue and we're waiting for the politicians' decision to be made."

Last week, two Israeli rights groups Gisha and B'Tselem, demanded that Israel lift the fishing restrictions, saying the measure amounted to "collective punishment."


Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Iraqis flock to flea market for relics of bygone era

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control

Egypt tries to contain Sudan but challenges, suspicions remain

US defence secretary presses Oman on Iran weapons smuggling

Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels

Hamas shutters mobile firm after Gaza attack on PM

Israel punishes family members of West Bank attacker

Syria opposition says UN 'failed to prevent' Assad 'crimes'

UK tries to soothe Egyptian anger over mob attack death

Hundreds of thousands flee in dual Syria assaults

Turkish Cypriots vow to stand firm in gas dispute

Intensifying assaults in Syria spark dual evacuations

Tearful reunions, uncertain fates for Syrians fleeing Ghouta