Hamas arrests suspected militant leader in Gaza

A member of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas inspects the scene of an attack by a suicide bomber near the strip’s lone crossing with Egypt, on August 23, 2017.

:: Hamas police detained a suspected militant leader in Gaza on Saturday, a security source said, the latest in a series of arrests of those accused of ISIS group ideology.

“This morning, security forces arrested Nour Issa, 27, who is a leader of the deviant thought movement and is from Bureij Camp in central Gaza, along with others,” the source said, using a phrase Hamas officials routinely use to refer to militants, including ISIS.

The internal security service confirmed on its Facebook page that it had made a number of arrests.

“One of the leaders of the deviant thought has been arrested along with others,” it said, without giving a name.

Hardline challenge

The Islamist Hamas movement has run Gaza for a decade but it has been challenged by small hardline factions, some of them inspired by ISIS, who advocate a stricter, Salafist interpretation of the faith.

Some have carried out sporadic rocket attacks into Israel in defiance of an informal truce agreed by Hamas.

In August, a suicide bomber allegedly linked to ISIS killed a Hamas guard in southern Gaza along the border with Egypt, in a rare attack against the group.

Hamas has arrested a number of Salafist and ISIS-linked figures.

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