Daesh efforts to gain a foothold in the Gaza Strip raise the prospect of small Daesh cells targeting the Hamas-ruled enclave with bombings and assassinations, according to a report by the private intelligence firm Soufan Group on Wednesday.
Even while Daesh is in eclipse in Syria and Iraq, it is thriving in a self-declared province in the nearby Sinai Peninsula, the report said.
“[Daesh] proximity to Gaza all but ensures the terrorist group will continue its struggle to gain power among the Palestinians; building small cells, conducting attacks and assassinations, gaining control of small areas and consolidating when possible,” the report added.
Daesh effectively declared war on Hamas with the January 3 release of a video showing the execution of a man accused of being a Hamas collaborator, the report said.
Daesh is attempting to feed off of the suffering and anger among many Palestinians by portraying the movement as a puppet of the United States and Israel, with Hamas talking just enough peace to mollify its critics in the West, and just enough violence to mollify internal supporters, according to the report.
Sinai’s indigenous militants pledged their allegiance to Daesh back in 2014. The Wilayat Sinai, the Daesh branch in Sinai, has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the area.