Itongadol.- Members of the armed wing of Hamas are actively aiding the Sinai Province, the Islamic State-affiliated group that carried out Wednesday\’s massive terror attack against multiple Egyptian army positions in north Sinai, a senior Israeli military official said Thursday.
The Coordinator of Government Activities for the Territories, Maj.- Gen Yoav Mordechai, told Al Jazeera in an interview on Thursday that Israel has clear information pointing to the fact that Hamas is supporting the Sinai Province.
Mordechai said that in recent terror attacks, Hamas has provided aid in the form of weapons and logistics to the ISIS branch in Sinai.
"We have examples of Hamas commanders actively taking part in this assistance," Mordechai told Al Jazeera. "Wael Faraj, a battalion commander in Hamas\’s armed wing smuggled wounded [fighters] from Sinai to the Gaza Strip," he claimed.
Mordechai gave a further example of the Hamas coordination with Sinai Province, saying that "Abdullah Kitshi is a senior training officer in Hamas\’s armed wing and he has trained members of the Sinai Province group. Hamas\’s armed wing has ties to ISIS. Ties in the fields of logistics and weapons. I am convinced of this and I have proof," he claimed.
Mordechai\’s comments came after what appeared to be a period of rapprochement between Hamas and Egypt which saw the opening of the Rafah crossing to Palestinians in recent weeks.
It was not immediately clear in the aftermath of Wednesday\’s attacks if Egypt shares Israel\’s assessment that Hamas is aiding those who carried out the most deadly attack in Sinai in years.
A day after the attack, Israel continued to closely monitor events to its south.
The IDF lowered its level of preparedness which had been heightened on Wednesday in the immediate aftermath of the attacks amid fears that the terrorists could spread their attack in the direction of Israel. It also opened the Nitsana and Kerem Shalom border crossings which it had closed on Wednesday.
Israel has also allowed Egypt to pour more more forces into the peninsula, in order to continue its fight against terror in Sinai. According to the peace agreement between the two countries, Israel and Egypt must give each other permission to increase forces in proximity to the border.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Sinai attack during an event at the national cyber park in Beersheba on Thursday, saying that Israel now faces the threat of Islamic State on both its northern and southern borders.
While listing ISIS as one of the region\’s main threats, he said that the radical group\’s activities are "nothing compared to the capabilities being built by the Iranian regime."
Netanyahu said that the international community should not try to strengthen either Iran or Islamic State against the other.
"We have to weaken both of them and prevent attacks and armament of them both," the premier said. "I say to you, stand in opposition to these dark forces which suppress human rights, murder people and hang them in town squares."