Egypt negotiates with Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Rafah crossing: Sources

Ahmed Eleiba , Wednesday 4 Mar 2015

Sources say Jihad has shown more flexibility in dealing with Cairo than Hamas

Ramdan Shalah
Ramdan Shalah Secretary General to the Islamic Jihad in Palestine (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has offered Egypt an initiative on administering the Rafah-Gaza border, sources told Ahram Online

PIJ secretary-general Ramadan Shallah visited Cairo on Sunday to discuss the situation at the Rafah-Gaza border with Egyptian officials, as Egypt reportedly demanded all Hamas staff stop all contacts with the Egyptian side.

Egypt has increasingly expressed its distaste for Hamas rule in Gaza stressing it will only deal with the Palestinian Authority on this issue, sources said.

An Egyptian intelligence source said that Cairo has been dealing for a while with the PIJ.

The source added that Jihad, the second largest Islamist organisation in the Israeli-besieged Strip, has shown more “flexibility” in dealing with Egypt than Hamas.

Egypt has accused Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, of involvement in terrorist activities in the Sinai Peninsula. 

However, Hamas leaders have distanced themselves from violence in Egypt and say they have no armed presence in areas outside Palestinian land.

In October, Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing following a major deadly attack by Islamist militants on an Egyptian army checkpoint which left more than 30 dead.

Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack.

Since then, Cairo has opened the Rafah crossing on rare occasions, allowing only hundreds of Palestinians to leave or enter the Strip.

The relationship between Hamas and the Egyptian government has grown tense since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas' sister organisation.

On Saturday, a Cairo court ruled Hamas a terrorist organisation, a month after the group's military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, was also designated a terror group by the same court.

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