On February 8, an Israeli general told a Saudi-owned news agency that Hamas is permitting ISIS fighters from Sinai to be treated in Gaza Strip hospitals in exchange for weapons and money.
According to Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the head of Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories unit, the ISIS fighters enter the Gaza Strip through tunnels from Egypt and get medical care at Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis. According to the Elaph news site, Hamas is given money and weapons, things that it has been in need of since Egypt started to crack down on the tunnels that Hamas had been using for its very successful commercial trade, from ISIS in exchange for ISIS fighters receiving medical care.
Despite the fact that Israeli officials have pointed out the growing relationship between terror groups in the Gaza Strip and terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula, the majority has been hesitant about the exact nature of this relationship.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Health Ministry denied the allegation, saying that Mordechai’s claim was “completely baseless”.
“Palestinian government hospitals only receive the sick and wounded residents of the Gaza Strip,” Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the ministry, said.
Despite the relatively small number of ISIS members in Sinai, which is only about 500 fighters overall, ISIS has put up a good fight against Egyptian forces with its regular shootings and car bomb attacks on military bases and police stations.
According to military sources, while Israel has not taken a role in the fight, the IDF has given intelligence to Egyptian forces.
Meanwhile, Egypt has helped out Israel in the fight against Hamas by flooding Hamas’s tunnels that it used for both military and commercial purposes. On February 6, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke to say that this was done at Israel’s behest.
Egypt, however, has denied this. According to the London-based news site al-Araby al-Jadeed, a senior official in the Egyptian foreign ministry called the Israeli ambassador in Cairo, Haim Koren, to voice his complaints about Steinitz remark.
On February 8, a Palestinian man died when a tunnel collapsed on him in the latest in a series of deadly Gaza tunnel collapses. According to local reports, the 24-year-old man was repairing the tunnel, which had been damaged by the Egyptian military.