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Wed 1 Jul 2015 12:53 PM

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ISIL threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza

ISIL has also taken over swathes of Iraq and has claimed attacks in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen

ISIL threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza
Members of Ezzedine al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. (Gettty Images)

ISIL insurgents
threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East
fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organisation that rules the Palestinian
territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.

The video
statement, issued from an ISIL stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge
to Hamas, which has been cracking down on jihadis in Gaza who oppose its truces
with Israel and reconciliation with the U.S.-backed rival Palestinian faction
Fatah.

"We will
uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the
secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping
multitudes," said a masked ISIL member in the message addressed to the
"tyrants of Hamas".

"The rule
of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear
that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp,
will happen in Gaza," he said, referring to ISIL advances in Syria,
including in a Damascus district founded by Palestinian refugees.

ISIL has also
taken over swathes of Iraq and has claimed attacks in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and
Yemen.

Hamas is an
Islamist movement that shares the jihadis' hostility to Israel but not their
quest for a global religious war, defining itself more within the framework of
Palestinian nationalism.

Deemed a
terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union, and viewed
by neighbouring Arab power Egypt as a regional security threat, Hamas's struggle
against ISIL-linked jihadis has not won sympathy abroad.

Israel's
intelligence minister, Israel Katz, accused Hamas on Tuesday of partnering with
ISIL affiliates in the Egyptian Sinai - a charge long denied by the Palestinian
group.

"There is
cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist
attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis," Katz told a Tel Aviv
conference organised by the Israel Defense journal.

"At the
same time, within Gaza, ISIS (ISIL) has been flouting Hamas. But they have
common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad."

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