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December 23, 2014 1:53 pm

Over 100 Gazans Used Smuggling Tunnels to Reach Sinai, Join Islamic State

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Stephen Sotloff with ISIS captor. Photo: screengrab

Steven Sotloff was abducted and executed by Islamic State. Photo: screengrab.

At least 100 Palestinians from Gaza have recently joined up with Islamic State terrorists fighting in Syria and Iraq, Israel’s NRG News said Tuesday, quoting a senior Salafi leader.

Abu Anas al-Maqdisi told the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper that more than a thousand Palestinians were ready to go to war under banners of the Islamic State (IS), adding that the problem they face is getting out of Gaza to reach Syria and Iraq.

“The exit from Gaza has to be coordinated between the various Islamic groups – making it a difficult thing,” said al-Maqdisi.

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“According to our information, most of the Palestinians were killed in battle,” the Salafi commander said. Some young Palestinians who took part in battle were able to return to Gaza through smuggling tunnels that still exist between lawless Egyptian-ruled Sinai and the Hamas-run coastal enclave, he said.

According to the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, 24 percent of Palestinian Arabs thought positively about ISIS, significantly higher than Syrian refugees and Tunisians who tied for second place with 13%.

The result tallies with other surveys showing the Palestinian population in both the West Bank, and Gaza Strip as being ” consistently more sympathetic to Al Qaeda, to the Taliban, and to suicide bombing  than any other groups in the Middle East,” according to investigative blogger, Elder of Ziyon.

Meanwhile, there are about 40 Arab Israelis who are known by Israeli security services to have signed up with the IS.

Israeli security officials view the prospect of Israeli Arabs heading for Syria as a very dangerous phenomenon, since the Syrian arena is full of hostile, global jihad groups.

IS is offering Israeli Arabs an all-expenses-paid visit to a resort in Turkey, including airfare and hotel, in order to entice them to join the organization, and travel on to Syria.

These Arab Israelis undergo military training and are exposed to extreme jihadist ideology. Officials also fear they are exploited to obtain information on potential Israeli targets.

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