Fear grows that ISIS has infiltrated Palestinian society and will continue its reign of terror targeting Christians.
Palestinian Christians gathered in Jerusalem Wednesday for a vigil to protest the murder of 21 Copts by ISIS. The Palestinian Authority vehemently denies that there are any ISIS militants in Judea and Samaria, despite the recent arrests of an ISIS cell in Hebron by Israeli authorities.
Some 200 Christians of various denominations marched with candles through East Jerusalem carrying four cardboard coffins and banners with pictures of the deceased and stills from the beheading video. The marchers called on the international community to act to stop ISIS. “Christianity originated in the Middle East, but now there’s no more place for us — we’ve been fleeing for years,” Joseph George, 25, told Maan News. “If the US could destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime in a week, why can’t they do it to a small group?” he asked.
Palestinian Authority Denies ISIS Presence
The Palestinian Authority on Monday claimed that there was no ISIS presence in Judea and Samaria. “We are obviously adamant not to have ISIS or umbrellas for them,” said Adnan Dameiri, spokesman for the PA’s security services. He indicated that the security services had interrogated several individuals suspected of having ties to ISIS, but that all suspects had been found innocent.
Dameiri blamed Israel and Hamas for the creation of ISIS, saying, “Those who have been trying to create the ISIS phenomenon are Israel and Hamas given that the Muslim Brotherhood movement is the incubator which created al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Nusra Front and other Jihadist and Takfiri organizations.” He added, “The people’s awareness was the immunity and antibiotic against deferring to religious extremism, ISIS and infighting.”
For its part, Hamas condemned the beheading of the Coptic Christians, which it termed an “ugly crime” and a “shameful approach to the distortion of the image of Islam [which] violat[es] its principles.”
Israel Indicts Palestinian ISIS Cell
Nonetheless, Israel believes that ISIS has begun to make inroads into Palestinian society. In November, the Shin Bet arrested three men in their early 20s who had established an ISIS cell in Hebron. They had planned a failed bombing attack against the IDF, and were planning to kill an Israeli soldier and steal his gear in order to carry out a shooting attack. According to the indictment of the Judea Military Court, the cell intended to fight both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
By: Atara Beck, World Israel News