08/17/2017, 19.33
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Suicide bomber kills Hamas militant in Rafah

He was stopped a few hundred metres from the border with Egypt. The blast killed one and wounded four, one seriously. According to the Interior Ministry in Gaza, an Islamic State militant is responsible. Salafi threats rise in the Strip.

Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A suicide bomber blew himself up at 1 am Thursday a few hundreds of metres from the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. A member of Hamas and other people were wounded, one critically.

The attacker was a member of a group affiliated with the Islamic State group, this according to Gaza authorities.

"Early this morning security forces stopped two people approaching the southern border [with Egypt]," said an interior ministry spokesman in the Hamas-run territory.

One of the two set off the bomb, killing 28-year-old Nidal Jafaari. Eyewitnesses said hundreds of security forces were deployed along the border after the explosion.

This is the first time a Palestinian suicide bomber attacks a Hamas militant.

Hamas blamed "fundamentalist jihadists" for the attack, but further details on their backgrounds and motivations were still being investigated.

The Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip has often been criticised by more radical Salafi groups. In recent months, dozens of arrests have triggered the wrath of fundamentalists, who vowed violent reprisals.

It is impossible to know the number of Salafi militants in the Strip. Salafi leaders claim thousands, but for Hamas there are just a few dozens.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza’s only opening not controlled from Israel. Often closed, Egypt reopened it on Monday to allow pilgrims to go to Makkah and for humanitarian reasons.

Recently, Gaza has stepped up border security measures to improve its relations with Cairo, which had in the past accused Hamas of silent support for Islamic militants in northern Sinai.

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