March 1, 2019
Hamas arrested Hisham Salam, the leader of the Iran-sponsored al-Sabrin organization in Gaza.
Local reports revealed that Hamas gunmen had raided Salem’s residence, arresting him. The campaign which took in Iran’s top colluder in Gaza also targeted four of his personal aides and senior al-Sabrin officials.
In the arrest raid, digital devices, computers, mobile phones and documents were seized. Salam’s detention comes as a major blow Iran, especially that the latter had invested greatly in gaining foothold and securing influence in the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip.
Salam’s arrest came in the context of Hamas’ plans to end al-Sabrin’s activity in the Strip, insider sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The decision to rout al-Sabirn was not being made public by Hamas, according to sources, was due to the Palestinian’s group desire to maintain constraint and avoid escalating tensions with the Tehran cleric-led regime.
Sources revealed that a plan has been laid out to incrementally disband and eventually terminate al-Sabirn’s presence, with the first phase being arresting bigshot officials in the Iran-backed group. It also includes blocking channels providing al-Sabrin members with funds and arms.
Salam, is considered one of Iran’s most prominent propagandists in Gaza.
According to the sources, Salam and others are currently being probed by Hamas interrogators.
Investigations are said to be most focused on communications, relations, weapons and financing methods
Three years ago, Hamas launched a clandestine campaign against al-Sabrin movement as the public’s rejection for the group grew stronger. Hamas-al-Sabrin tensions peaked after Salam was targeted for assassination post public rage growing against his spreading of Shiism.
According to sources, speaking under the conditions of anonymity, Salam attempted fleeing Gaza but failed. He, however, managed to his wife and 7 of his children to settle in Tehran. Despite the dire accusations and Palestinian contempt for al-Sabrin movement, Hamas did not resort to banning the group.
Nevertheless, the group is completely banned from the West Bank with Palestinian Authority actively working to keep the group outside its territory.