The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, has accused Israel of "responsibility" for the attack on the Egypt-Gaza border on Sunday that killed 16 Egyptian border guards and injured seven more.
"Israel is responsible, one way or another, for this attack to embarrass Egypt's leadership and create new problems at the border, in order to ruin efforts to end the [Israeli] siege of the Gaza Strip," Haniya told the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television channel on Monday.
"We call on Egypt to discuss all issues related to the mutual interests of Egypt and Palestinians," he added.
Egypt said 35 gunmen in Bedouin clothing on Sunday opened fire on the guards before crossing into Israel in an armoured vehicle. Israel said five gunmen were killed on its side of the frontier.
MENA, the official news agency in Egypt, reported that the gunmen were "jihadists" who "infiltrated from Gaza through tunnels in collaboration with jihadist elements" inside Egypt.
"No Palestinian wants to kill anybody in Egypt. Any attack against Egypt's security is also against the security of Palestinians," Haniya said in a statement issued after an emergency meeting of the Hamas government at the wake of the deadly attack.
In a related development, Haniya advocated the establishment of a joint Egyptian-Palestinian defence committee to permanently ensure the maintenance of "absolute security" between both parties.
"Egypt's security equals Palestine's security; both issues are inseparable", he said.
Haniya called on the Palestinian people to mobilise and join the Ramadan evening prayers in front of the Egyptian embassy in Gaza Strip as a sign of solidarity with the Egyptian nation.