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No Hamas training camps in Sinai: Al-Zahar

Mahmoud Al-Zahar says that relations between Egypt's government and Hamas are good

Ahram Online, Thursday 14 Mar 2013
Mahmoud El Zahar
Mahmoud El Zahar, senior Hamas leader (Photo: reuters)
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Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a Gaza-based senior Hamas leader, said on Thursday that "relations between Hamas and Egypt are better than ever before."

Referring to news reports about the presence of Palestinian training camps in Sinai, Al-Zahar commented: "The security apparatus in Egypt understands that there was no any truth about the 7,000 Hamas followers who entered Egypt."

There have been reports in both the Egyptian and the Israeli media over the past few weeks that three training camps are operating in northern Sinai, associated with Al-Qaeda linked Egyptian group Ansar Al-Jihad, as well as other Islamist groups, Jund Muhammad, Jund Al-Islam, Tawhid and the Gaza-based Al- Jihad.

"If this was true, the security bodies would have called and asked for information about them, but this did not happen," Al-Zahar told Egyptian state news agency MENA.

He said that there were no Palestinians sent to trial from Gaza in light of these accusations.

Al-Zahar said he was surprised by accusations against Hamas in the Egyptian media, which he said were obtained from anonymous sources and were unfounded.

He also said that he expects "the campaigns against Hamas" to continue until the Egyptian parliamentary elections take place, and that they will increase in severity during the elections.

Polls were originally scheduled to start in April, but were suspended by an Egyptian court ruling.

The Palestinian leader told MENA that President Morsi's government does not prioritise supporting Hamas over Egyptian national interests, and those who believed so were mistaken.

Al-Zahar also spoke about media reports of diesel fuel smuggling from Egypt to Gaza.

"There is a huge crisis in terms of the shortage of necessities in Gaza...and if we take Egypt's share of diesel fuel, people in Gaza would have shown it. But we have a bigger crisis regarding the attempt to bring about an estrangement between the Egyptian and Palestinian people," he said.

This week, Egypt has been hit by a severe diesel fuel shortage crisis, causing widespread strikes.

The Palestinian leader also commented on the arrest of seven Palestinians at Cairo Airport on Wednesday, on arrival from Iran.

"It's not logical [to arrest them], since whoever lands at an airport must have passed through legal procedures," he said.

Al-Zahar also expressed his hope that Egypt will recover from its current crisis and regain its leadership role in the Arab world.Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a Gaza-based senior Hamas leader, said on Thursday that "relations between Hamas and Egypt are better than ever before."

Referring to news reports about the presence of Palestinian training camps in Sinai, Al-Zahar commented: "The security apparatus in Egypt understands that there was no any truth about the 7,000 Hamas followers who entered Egypt."

There have been reports in both the Egyptian and the Israeli media over the past few weeks that three training camps are operating in northern Sinai, associated with Al-Qaeda linked Egyptian group Ansar Al-Jihad, as well as other Islamist groups, Jund Muhammad, Jund Al-Islam, Tawhid and the Gaza-based Al- Jihad.

"If this was true, the security bodies would have called and asked for information about them, but this did not happen," Al-Zahar told Egyptian state news agency MENA.

He said that there were no Palestinians sent to trial from Gaza in light of these accusations.

Al-Zahar said he was surprised by accusations against Hamas in the Egyptian media, which he said were obtained from anonymous sources and were unfounded.
He also said that he expects "the campaigns against Hamas" to continue until the Egyptian parliamentary elections take place, and that they will increase in severity during the elections.

Polls were originally scheduled to start in April, but were suspended by an Egyptian court ruling.

The Palestinian leader told MENA that President Morsi's government does not prioritise supporting Hamas over Egyptian national interests, and those who believed so were mistaken.

Al-Zahar also spoke about media reports of diesel fuel smuggling from Egypt to Gaza.

"There is a huge crisis in terms of the shortage of necessities in Gaza...and if we take Egypt's share of diesel fuel, people in Gaza would have shown it. But we have a bigger crisis regarding the attempt to bring about an estrangement between the Egyptian and Palestinian people," he said.

This week, Egypt has been hit by a severe diesel fuel shortage crisis, causing widespread strikes.

The Palestinian leader also commented on the arrest of seven Palestinians at Cairo Airport on Wednesday, on arrival from Iran.

"It's not logical [to arrest them], since whoever lands at an airport must have passed through legal procedures," he said.

Al-Zahar also expressed his hope that Egypt will recover from its current crisis and regain its leadership role in the Arab world.

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