Hamas and Islamic Jihad Clash
By Matthew Levitt
According to press reports, the day after a Hamas militant was killed by a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hamas responded by killing two militants (one from Islamic Jihad and another from Fatah) and wounding three Islamic Jihad militants.
Tellingly, friction between the two Islamist terrorist groups is not over the wisdom or legitimacy of attacking Israel or undermining the government of Mahmoud Abbas - on those issues they are in complete agreement. Rather, the clash is over edicts - issued by the rogue Hamas government still governing Gaza in the wake of the Hamas coup there - that weapons are not to be carried or fired in public. Clashes began after Islamic Jihad members fired weapons in the air at a wedding earlier this week.
Traditionally, the relationship between Hamas and Islamic Jihad has vacillated between tense rivalry and close cooperation. One periods of tension occurred in 1994 and 1995 when, even as they continued to conduct joint operations, the groups engaged in a mild but public competition over Islamic Jihad leaders' shortlived decision to establish a dawa social welfare network of their own to compete with that of Hamas. More recently, a significant clash between the two groups erupted in late 2004 - early 2005, when Hamas charged Islamic Jihad of upstaging it on the stage of what it called "media jihad."
For a full discussion of the history of cooperation and conflict between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in general, and of the clash over "media jihad" in particular, see Hamas and Islamic Jihad Clash over 'Media Jihad'
August 2, 2007 10:50 AM Link