Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sabrin Shi’ite Movement on the Verge of Collapse | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hosts Hamas Prime Minister of Gaza Ismail Haniyeh in Tehran, February 12, 2012 (photo credit: AP)

Gaza – Seems like the Shi’ite movement al-Sabrin is on the verge of collapse, as it is facing unexpected choices.

Sabrin was formed in Gaza five years ago by Islamic Jihad Movement high-ranking defectors and received unlimited support from Iran.

The movement was under a lot of pressure from officials in Hamas as well as popular demands within the Palestinian Sunni society that rejects any outsider to its traditions and customs.

Despite Iranian money spent to attract young men and win the sympathy of the public, the movement was treated with a “cold shoulder” from the community in Gaza.

One of the main reasons that affected the movement was the Salafist Jihadist movements, some of which had pledged allegiance to ISIS, that imposed a threat to Sabrin. The movement’s leaderships were targeted several times.

Earlier in October 2015, Secretary General of Sabrin Movement Hisham Salem was stabbed by a member of Salafist Jihadist Groups during a televised interview in Shujaiyya neighborhood. The stabbing incident happened during the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

In February 2016, a group of men, believed to belong to Jihadist groups, bombed Salem’s house in Beit Lahiya, Gaza. No injuries were reported.

Sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that at the end of Ramadan month, Salem sent his wife and seven of his children to Tehran to settle there.

Due to the Egyptian procedures on Rafah Border Crossing, in addition to certain circumstances at the Sabrin movement, Salem was not able to join his family.

Reports say that he is trying to find a solution regarding the movement before leaving Gaza.

It seems that Salem thought hard and long about this decision, but his fear for his life and lives of close ones made him take such a tough decision.

Reports added that Salem is considering running the movement from Tehran if he manages to join his family there, or ending the dispute with Islamic Jihad Movement and reuniting the members again.

During the coming days, it is said that leaders of Jihad movement are planning to meet its Secretary General Ramadan Shalah outside of Palestine to discuss several issued including that of Sabrin Movement.

According to the sources, Salem leaving Gaza will affect the movement and will possibly lead to its dissociation.

Sources also added that Salem has been receiving death threats which led to limited public appearances.