While enforcing truces with Israel, Hamas has often signaled to Sinai groups that they are free to attack Israel from Gaza.
According to Israeli intelligence evaluations, Hamas cooperated during the recent Gaza conflict with global jihadi elements that used the Sinai Peninsula to fire rockets on Eilat.
On July 15, terrorists in Sinai fired two rockets at the Red Sea resort city, lightly wounding four residents and destroying a number of vehicles. This cooperation between Hamas and terrorists in the Sinai was viewed by Egypt as a violation of its sovereignty.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge, Israel bombed global jihadi cells that planned to leave Gaza with weapons and head into the Sinai to carry out attacks on Egyptian military targets and fire rockets at Israel.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the chief al-Qaida-linked group in the Sinai, maintains strong links with the Gaza Strip, partnering with groups such as the Popular Resistance Committees.
In the past, this allowed Gaza terrorist organizations – including Hamas – to “subcontract” attacks on Israel away from the Strip in order to protect the Hamas regime from Israeli retaliation.
There are hundreds of Salafi jihadis based in Gaza, many of whom move to and from the Sinai, smuggling weapons and plotting attacks. As a result, some in the defense establishment view Gaza and Sinai as interlinked sectors, saying the danger of these networks merging with the extensive jihadi networks in Syria is substantial.
While enforcing truces with Israel, Hamas has often signaled to the Sinai groups that they are free to attack Israel as they please – just away from the Gaza Strip.
Source: Jerusalem Post, Sept. 17, 2014