Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, like many people around the world, have viewed the Nov. 15 video from the Islamic State (IS), announcing the new name of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis: Wilayat Sinai, meaning State of Sinai. According to the video, the group is on the outskirts of Gaza, which shares a 13-kilometer (8-mile) border with Egypt, above the ground and in the tunnels, prompting concern that the news could boost IS’ presence in the Strip.
Abu Khattab, a leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Gaza, pledged allegiance to IS on Nov. 3, in response to a decision by the group’s Shura Council. He threatened IS’ opponents and called for attacks on anyone who works against it.
Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas leader and undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry in Gaza, denied the existence of IS cells in the Gaza Strip in a conversation with Al-Monitor, saying, “There are no militants affiliated with the group in the Strip. Any accusations of this sort are lies, as we do not have any extremist members.” […]