Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement
Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movementReuters File

Just two days after the Islamic State (Isis) supporters claimed responsibility for blowing up the car of a Hamas Intelligence officer, the Palestinian security forces on Tuesday gunned down a senior Salafist leader.

A local Salafist leader, who tried to carry out a suicide attack against the Hamas personnel, was gunned down, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

When security personnel went to the home of the 27-year old Salafist leader, Yussef al Hatar, in the northern Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood of Gaza to arrest him on charges of unspecified "illegal activities", he tried to run away. Hatar also attempted to blow himself, but he was shot dead by the security forces, reported The Times of Israel.

The police recovered a number of weapons, including "explosive belts, explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades," the Palestinian Interior Ministry under Hamas said.

The conflict between Hamas and the Salafist Isis supporters inside Gaza has been on a spiral. Hamas has been cracking down on the Isis supporters since April, after Isis beheaded several Palestinian Hamas operatives inside the Syrian refugee camp.

The Isis militants inside Gaza recently claimed responsibility for a rocket fired at Israel last week, The Jewish Press reported. The rocket landed near Gan Yavne in southern Israel, Israeli military officials said, and since then Hamas has arrested dozens of the Salafist leaders. The arrests were soon followed by numerous attacks on Hamas targets. The Isis supporters on Sunday blew up the car of a senior Hamas officer, Saber Siam.

Isis, in statement following the assassination of the Hamas leader, said that Siam was killed because he was "a partner in a declared war against religion and against Muslims, working for the heretical government in Gaza."

Another cause of rift between Hamas and the Isis supporters in Gaza is the demolistion of the a makeshift mosque belonging to Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdis, an Egyptian Islamist group that has pledged its allegiance to Isis.

The Foreign Policy in a report in May, noted that the Palestinians, who for years have portrayed Israel as its enemy, may soon be "caught between a power struggle between competing militant factions" Hamas and the Salafist Isis supporters.

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