Groups affiliated with the ISIS terrorist group and others operating in Egypt’s Sinai may have been behind the failed assassination attempt against Gaza security forces chief Tawfiq Abou Naim, Israeli security circles said.
Sources from the Palestinian Hamas group echoed these claims, saying that the extremists were likely responsible for the failed assassination.
Abou Naim was slightly injured when a small explosive went off in his vehicle as he was leaving a Gaza mosque where he attended Friday prayer.
Israeli daily Yedioth Adronoth reported the Hamas sources as saying that the agencies leading the investigation predict that a group linked to ISIS may have been behind the plot against Abou Naim.
The Palestinian official has led a crackdown against the extremists, explained the Israeli sources, which is why he may have been a target for ISIS. Dozens of radicals have been arrested at Abou Naim’s orders. He was also responsible for setting up a buffer zone with Egypt to prevent the infiltration of extremists into Sinai.
The Israeli sources highlighted the arrest of Nour Issa, a leader of one of the pro-ISIS groups in Gaza, and a number of other such leaders as a reason for the attack against Abou Naim.
Hamas’ investigations have not only focused on a possible ISIS link, but they are also considering Israeli operatives and sides seeking to obstruct the Palestinian reconciliation.
The Interior Ministry in Gaza warned the media, social media activists in particular, against posting rumors linked to the failed assassination, urging them to only rely on official statements.
Hamas has yet to release any information about its investigation and it has refused to confirm or deny the arrest of two people who were spotted at the scene of the attack.
The movement’s leaders, including its politburo chief Ismail Haniya, had accused Israel of standing behind the assassination, saying that it alone benefits from it because Abou Naim was responsible for the arrest of dozens of collaborators.