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Islamic State in Sinai poses threat to Hamas

Despite Hamas denials, Islamic State cells exist in the Gaza Strip, and its declaration of a state in the Sinai may accelerate its expansion as Hamas’ grip on Gaza loosens.
Hamas militants march during a rally in memory of people who were killed during a seven-week Israeli offensive, in Gaza City September 26, 2014. An open-ended ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza militants, mediated by Egypt, took effect on August 26 after the seven-week conflict. It called for an indefinite halt to hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza's blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt, and a widening of the territory's fishing zone in the Mediterranean. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - T
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Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, like many people around the world, have viewed the Nov. 15 video from the Islamic State (IS), announcing the new name of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis: Wilayat Sinai, meaning State of Sinai. According to the video, the group is on the outskirts of Gaza, which shares a 13-kilometer (8-mile) border with Egypt, above the ground and in the tunnels, prompting concern that the news could boost IS' presence in the Strip.

Abu Khattab, a leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Gaza, pledged allegiance to IS on Nov. 3, in response to a decision by the group’s Shura Council. He threatened IS’ opponents and called for attacks on anyone who works against it.

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