Mourners in Gaza were seen carrying black flags of the bloody Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group at a funeral on Sunday for one of two terrorists Israel targeted in an airstrike on Friday, Israel’s Ma’ariv daily reported.
Analysts said this was the first such open sign of local support for the group (also known as the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”), which is engaged in fierce battles for control of Iraq, and in Syria, in order to create a unified Islamic caliphate.
Israeli and other western intelligence services have warned that the group’s influence is spreading and may have set down roots in the coastal enclave.
The Israeli Air Force struck Osama Hassumi, 29, and Mohammad Fatzih, 24, with a direct missile, as they traveled in a vehicle along the Gazan shore.
“Militants, like Hassumi and Fatzih, attacking Israel from Gaza, are not safe, do not have immunity, and will not be free to plan, plot and operate,” IDF Spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said on Friday.
“We will continue to strike the instigators and agitators with patience, determination and precision. Gaza rocket terrorism does not pay,” he said.
Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said in Friday that the IDF would foil “rocket fire on Israel or attempted attacks on our civilians or troops. We will hunt down those who carry out or plan [these attacks], like we did today.”
While it is unclear if either of the two were, in fact, directly backed by ISIS, the IDF said the two were behind volleys of rockets fired into Israel over the last two weeks, and belonged to the “Salah e-Din Brigades” of the Popular Front.
Meanwhile, Hamas, which controls the strip, “categorically denied Egyptian security claims that ISIS terrorists infiltrated Sinai through Gaza tunnels,” according to the al-Kassam website.
On Saturday, Iyad Bazam, a spokesman for the terror group, called the claims, “blatant lies,” and said they were “part of the ongoing Egyptian smear campaign against the Gaza Strip.”
On Saturday night, six rockets fired from Gaza struck Israel, with two hitting a populated building.
“Over the course of the weekend 12 rockets hit Israel and over the past two weeks 25 rockets hit Israel. Approximately 50 rockets were launched at Israel over the past two weeks,” the IDF said in a statement.
“In response to the rocket attacks that hit Israel earlier this evening and in order to prevent further attacks on Israeli civilians, an IAF aircraft targeted three terror activity sites and three concealed rocket launchers in the southern Gaza Strip, a weapon manufacturing site in the northern Gaza Strip and a terror activity site and weapon manufacturing site in the central Gaza Strip,” the statement read.
Watch the video below believed to show the Israel Air Force targeting the terror operatives: