Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, on Sunday denied reports of the presence of a branch of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Gaza.
His denial comes despite threats by a Salafist group in Gaza that is affiliated with ISIS to kill Hamas members “one by one” in retaliation for the arrests of its members.
Last Friday, those threats appeared to be edging to fruition, after an ISIS-affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula claimed it launched two "bombs" at Hamas posts in Gaza.
Speaking with the Palestine newspaper on Sunday, al-Haya claimed that the Hamas-controlled authorities in Gaza will not allow any entity to harm the security of the region and that anyone who violates the law will be severely punished.
"Hamas is not deterred by threats of any kind by ISIS or Israel," said al-Haya, who accused the Fatah organization and the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, of deliberately inflating reports of ISIS presence in Gaza.
Al-Haya also spoke of the reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah which have continuously faltered, saying the efforts are frozen due to the deep disagreements between the side.