Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Zack Gold writes for Sada Journal on Hamas’s foreign relationships with other organizations in the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula:

The rise of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq further complicates the seemingly contradictory relationships among Hamas and Salafi-jihadi groups in the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. While the historically tense and often openly antagonistic relationship between Hamas and Gaza-based Salafi-jihadi groups is well known, several Israeli news articles over the past month have claimed that Hamas is in fact working with IS-linked factions in Sinai to bring weapons into Gaza and carry out attacks against Egyptian security forces. These reports are largely an over-simplification of the situation, which is contextualized by the political and economic realities in the strip.

After Hamas took over the strip in 2007, Gaza faced international isolation and dire restrictions on the inflow and outflow of goods and people. Gaza’s relationship with neighboring Egyptian Sinai deepened as the latter became its only access to the outside world. The informal tunnel economy soon became essential to keep the strip and its economy afloat, while providing the Hamas government “tax” revenue and the group’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, a channel for both arms and cash.

Read the full article here.

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