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Islamic State rejected Gaza jihadists' offer of allegiance

A prominent pro-Islamic State Salafist leader in Gaza says the militant group refused pledges of allegiance from jihadists in Gaza because of disagreements and divisiveness among them.
Palestinian Salafists shout slogans during a rally in protest of what they say are recent massacres committed against Syrian and Egyptian people and against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX12TCB

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — On Feb. 2, 2014, the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem in Gaza issued a statement announcing that it was “committed to helping ISIS and bolstering its ranks.” Nine days later, another Salafist jihadist group posted a video announcing its support for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, now the Islamic State (IS). By the end of 2014, things appeared to have moved beyond mere support, as Al-Monitor met with Gazans who claimed to be affiliated with IS, although, according to the spiritual leader of pro-IS youth in Gaza, IS had rejected their pledge of allegiance.

Abu al-Walid, 63, a leading IS sympathizer in Gaza, told Al-Monitor during a meeting at his home in southern Gaza, “Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has not accepted the allegiance of any Salafist individuals or groups in the Gaza Strip.” Abu al-Walid, considered the “spiritual father” of young IS sympathizers in Gaza, further stated, “Since we are dispersed and divided as jihadist groups, Baghdadi did not accept our allegiance although we reiterated it.”

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