From Voice of al-Aqsa (Arabic):
“The Hamas movement condemned on Thursday the incident of the attack on tourists in the Bardo museum in Tunis that killed more than 20 people and wounded around 50 of the innocent, describing it as a ‘criminal’ deed.
The movement said in a summary statement: ‘This criminal deed against civilians is a crime against human values, against glorious Tunisia in its people and leadership who have outlined a shining example of democratic operation, peaceful alternation of power and through Tunisia they have crossed towards the land of security.'”
What does this all mean? Foremost, it reflects how rivals of the Islamic State [IS] (notably al-Qa’ida affiliates and Hamas) are trying to position themselves as more ‘moderate’ than the savagery of IS in a bid to be a viable alternative to IS. Compare with al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula’s condemnation of the massive IS-claimed suicide bombings in Sanaa that perhaps killed more than 100 Shi’a Houthis, on the grounds of following Ayman al-Zawahiri’s guidelines for restraint to prevent shedding the blood of innocent Muslims. Now contrast with IS statements distributed on the ground in Yemen prior to the officially claimed Sanaa attacks, promising in bloodthirsty language attacks on Houthis. In the end, this kind of appeal to savagery and willingness to take action could be what draws jihadis away from al-Qa’ida to IS, particularly if such deeds strike terror into the enemy and destabilise its power base. The same applies for Hamas and the problem of defections within its ranks to Salafis, particularly of pro-IS orientation: Hamas is simply seen as too restrained in willing to fight Israel and other non-Islamic forces.