Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization is tightening its security around the group’s political bureau leader, Ismail Haniyeh, as well as around other senior leaders and visiting Arab officials due to concerns an ISIS-linked Palestinian Authority terror cell may try to assassinate key Arab leaders in the enclave.
Gaza sources told the Arabic-language edition of Asharq Al-Awsat this weekend that the group fears assassination attempts similar to that carried out during the visit to Gaza of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA Intelligence Director Majid Faraj, as well as against Hamas security head Tawfiq Abu Na’im, earlier this year.
According to the report, that attack was carried out by an armed Palestinian Authority group that had links with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.
The terror cell that carried out the attack was headed by Anas Abu Khoussa, according to Gaza’s Interior Ministry, which told the news outlet he had “advanced knowledge in the manufacture of IEDs although he did not belong to Palestinian organizations” and had no prior arrest record.
Abu Khoussa was killed along with an accomplice in a shootout with Hamas security personnel, according to the report. Three other cell members are still at large, with Hamas afraid they will try to carry out similar assassination operations, including an attack on an Egyptian security delegation, and others against Arab and international figures.
“Unknown parties” allegedly intend to carry out assassination attempts against “non-Palestinian, Arab and international figures,” according to sources quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat, which cited warnings of a possible shooting attack on the convoy of Qatari Ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi during his recent visit to Gaza.