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Hamas, ISIS continue close cooperation across Gaza-Sinai border

Posted by Tip Staff - December 19, 2016

The Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas is allowing injured Islamic State militants into the Gaza Strip to be treated and the transfer of weapons into Sinai to be used by ISIS’ branch based on the desert peninsula, Avi Issacharoff of The Times of Israel reported Sunday. Issacharoff wrote that “one of the main smuggling tunnels [connecting Gaza and Sinai] is operating under the protection of Hamas and belongs to a smuggler who works with [Hamas].” The weapons are mostly anti-tank missiles and roadside improvised explosive devices: “The roadside bombs are a major challenge to the Egyptian Army; every week they inflict heavy casualties.” Issacharoff continued, “Explosives experts from [Hamas]…have arrived in the Sinai to assist with the assembly of the devices.” He noted that a former Hamas operative, Abed al-Hila Qishta, had his death announced by ISIS’ Sinai branch several days ago – he trained ISIS fighters in the use of anti-tank weapons and, despite severing relations from Hamas and joining the Popular Resistance Committees (another terrorist organization), he “has remained in close contact with [Hamas’] commanders in the Gaza Strip.”
ISIS and Hamas have a history of collaborating across the Gaza-Sinai border. Issacharoffreported in August that their “cooperation has seen injured IS fighters routinely brought into the Strip for treatment, alongside ongoing weapons smuggling over the border.” Furthermore, he continued, “Egyptian sources say they were likely smuggled into Gaza via tunnels...that facilitate the connection between the two Islamist terror groups.”
Hamas provides “tens of thousands” of dollars per month to ISIS in Sinai—money deliberately earmarked for securing weapons shipments. Hamas trains ISIS fighters in planting deadly IEDs and firing lethal anti-tank missiles, and has smuggled weaponry across the border into Sinai. Top level officials from both organizations cross borders to coordinate their activities. Hamas terrorists have joined ISIS in Sinai and at least one senior Hamas official has been killed fighting alongside ISIS. In another dispatch in July, Issacharoff classified the relationship between Hamas and ISIS’s Sinai Province as one of “close cooperation.” Hamas has also launched drones to spy on Egyptian troop movements in Sinai along the Gaza border, part of an effort to “keep smuggling routes open between Sinai and Gaza. These routes are vital to Hamas on one side of the border, and Islamic State on the other.”
The mutual defense concerns shared by Israel and Egypt have led to “unprecedented” intelligence and security cooperation between the two countries.

The Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah and Shiite militias fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been accused of committing massacres as civilians and rebel fighters were being evacuated from eastern Aleppo, Voice of American reported Friday.
According to leaders of the Syrian opposition, Shiite militiamen commanded by Iran stopped a convoy carrying some 800 refugees from Aleppo and forcibly disarmed rebel fighters, in violation of the ceasefire agreement. They proceeded to seize a group of civil defense workers overseeing the evacuation, killing three of them.
“Militias forced everyone to get off the buses, confiscated all individual weapons, forced men to get undressed to their underwear, killed three men and injured 7 others, then forced the convoy to go back to the besieged area of Aleppo city, and some buses are still missing,” said Ahmad Abo Al-Nour, a witness to the killings.
In another incident, observed by a witness who wished to remain anonymous, members of Hezbollah stopped a convoy consisting of 20 buses. Hezbollah fighters and tanks surrounded the vehicles, firing wildly and expelling the Red Cross and Red Crescent workers who were overseeing the evacuation. They forced all the men to get off the buses, confiscating their weapons and mobile phones.
A rebel fighter who was accompanied by his pregnant wife and tried to resist was killed along with four others. Hezbollah then reportedly commandeered a number of the civil defense vehicles and ambulances, forcing the rest of the convoy back into the besieged section of Aleppo.
While Russia, an ally of Iran and Assad, has claimed that all rebels and civilians who wanted to leave Aleppo have done so, Syrian opposition leaders and the Turkish government say that thousands more are still stranded in the city.
The reports of Iran-backed militias carrying out killings in the aftermath of the fighting echo similar reports regarding Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

In light of the devastation unleashed on the Syrian city of Aleppo, Israelis are opening their hearts and pocketbooks by donating funds in huge numbers, according to a Christian Science Monitor article published Sunday.
One example includes an Israeli crowdfunding initiative called “The Syrians on the Fences” which was started on Thursday. By Sunday morning, it had raised 436,000 shekels—or $113,000. “The goal is to eventually raise 600,000 shekels, which will be used to buy formula, blankets, and medicine for Syrian kids, and transmit it across the Israeli-Syrian border,” writes the article’s author, Naomi Darom, an Israeli citizen. Darom donated to the White Helmets aid organization after being reminded of Holocaust imagery. The White Helmets are a group of dedicated first responders in areas of Syria controlled by the rebels.
The article also included input from Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Syria researcher at the Israeli think tank Forum for Regional Thinking, who says in the past week she has been flooded by requests from Israelis asking what they could do to help.  A post she published on a news site listing charities helping Syrians was shared thousands of times and became the most-read article on the site.

DayTwo, the world’s first provider of health improvement and disease prevention solutions based on gut microbiome research, is collaborating with the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to bring its first product, DayTwo Personalized Nutrition Solution, to early adopters in the United States. Based on groundbreaking research from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, showing that different people respond differently to the same food, DayTwo provides actionable health solutions for improving health and preventing disease by balancing blood-sugar levels in a personally tailored way. As high blood sugar is linked to energy dips, excessive hunger, weight gain and increased risk for diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension, balancing blood-sugar levels presents a significant health benefit. The research generated an algorithm for predicting individualized blood glucose response to different foods based on gut microbiome information and other personal parameters. This algorithm was further developed by DayTwo and the Weizmann Institute, and predicts blood-sugar response to thousands of different foods and meals. (via Israel21c)

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