A strange series of blasts at Gaza police checkpoints that rocked Gaza City Tuesday evening has resulted in a rare admission by the Hamas-run Palestinian territory's health ministry that a prior statement blaming Israel for the new attacks was inaccurate. It now says Islamic State cells active in the strip are responsible.
On Wednesday morning Hamas declared a 'state of emergency' amid a crackdown on both Islamic State supporters and renegade Salafist organizations after at least three Gazan police officers were reported killed in twin suicide explosions on separate checkpoints after motorcycles detonated at the sites. A handful of others were wounded in the attacks from the rival Islamist outlawed group.
Currently "mass arrests" are underway according to local reports, yet Hamas officials are calling for calm while describing the attacks as an isolated incident.
An Interior Ministry spokesman described that, “Mobilization of all police and security forces has been declared to follow-up on security developments in the aftermath of the two explosions.”
This comes at a moment of continued heightened tensions between Hamas and Israel after last May hundreds of rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel, with corresponding IDF retaliatory strikes, and as deadly incidents involving Palestinian clashes with Israeli security forces along the border increased.
Starting in 2018 the Islamic State's so-called "Sinai branch" declared war on Hamas, describing the Palestinian militant organization as "apostates".
And now with a state of emergency declared, we could be witnessing the start of a low-grade civil war in Gaza as Hamas roots out more rival extremist elements.