On the Road to Anarchy: Does Shooting Death of Salafist Show Gaza Leadership Crisis is Growing?
The Palestinian Authority condemned on Wednesday Hamas’ killing of a Salafist with ties to the Islamic State in the Gaza Strip, saying such actions could lead to anarchy.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that Younis Said Al-Honnor, 27, was killed in a shootout with Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip.
In response, the PA issued its condemnation, saying that, “Hamas must respect the law and the rights of the citizens. It is forbidden for Hamas to act as it wishes and to execute people without trial. This situation could undermine security and lead to anarchy.”
The PA also demanded that the government set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Honnor, and to have those responsible stand trial.
Hamas’ Interior Ministry Spokesman, Iyad Al-Bazam, responded that Honnor had been killed after he opened fire on Hamas security forces who had come to arrest him in his home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. Honnor threatened to blow himself up along with his family members inside their house, said Bazam.
Hamas claimed that, upon entering his house, they found explosive belts, rockets, and other ammunition, and the group published a photograph of the weapons seized.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, dozens of Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated calling for vengeance over Honnor’s death and for the establishment of an Islamic state in Gaza.
According to Israel’s NRG news website, the developments show the extent of the growing opposition Hamas is facing domestically from Salafist groups linked to the Islamic State.
On Tuesday night, a Salafist group calling itself “The Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigades, Bait Al-Maqdis” posted a video to Twitter in which it claimed responsibility for firing a Grad rocket at Ashdod last week. The video also attacked Hamas and its security forces for their crackdown on Salafists in Gaza.
The video gave Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to accede to their demands: allowing them the freedom of association with Salafist groups, ceasing confiscations of weapons held by the group, and returning the weapons that Hamas had already confiscated. In any case, such actions “will not deter us from our path,” the video said.
The group also attacked Hamas for attempting to arrive at an understanding with Israel to maintain calm.