Members of the Islamic State are reported to have received medical treatment from Hamas hospitals in Gaza in exchange for money, weapons, and other goods.
The ISIS militants enter the Gaza strip from the Sinai peninsula in Egypt via tunnels that Hamas' military wing also uses to transport weapons and explosives, Yoav Mordechai, a Major-General in the Israel Defense Force, told online Arabic newspaper Elaph on Feb. 8, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"We have received authenticated reports that ISIS members in Sinai entered the Gaza Strip through tunnels in order to receive treatment at Hamas hospitals," Mordechai told Elaph.
Mordechai said that Hamas is treating the militants in order to make up for financial losses that they suffered because of Egypt destroying its tunnels between Sinai and Gaza. Officials under Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi believe that ISIS is receiving assistance from Hamas in Gaza, and have been flooding the tunnels as a measure against the group. In November 2015, Egypt claimed to have destroyed 31 of the tunnels, reports the Daily Caller.
The Hamas tunnels have also led to fears of an attack on Israeli civilians. On Jan. 31, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that if Israel was attacked via tunnels from Gaza, the country would act strongly against Hamas.
Netanyahu said at a conference of ambassadors in Israel that if attacked, the country would respond with greater force than was used during "Operation Protective Edge," a 2014 military response to Gazan rocket attacks on Israel. 2,100 Palestinians are believed to have been killed in the conflict, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and seven Israeli civilians.
Egypt is reportedly aware of the medical treatments ISIS operatives are receiving from Hamas, and is taking the situation seriously, the Jerusalem Post reports. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Feb. 6 that Egypt had flooded many of the Hamas tunnels because of requests from Israel, with the help of photographs taken by drones that show the tunnel entrances.