Security upped at Gaza-Egypt borders to protect both territories: Hamas

Ahram Online , Friday 1 May 2015

The relationship between Egypt and Hamas has soured since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013

Gaza's Rafah border with Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Hamas are taking extra security measures to protect the Gaza-Egypt border to prevent anyone from harming the security of both territories, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday.

"The security measures taken come out of our commitment and understanding that our struggle isn't with our Arab and Muslim brothers but with the Israeli occupation," Haniyeh stated during a Friday sermon at a mosque in Rafah.

Haniyeh added that Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, are also playing a logistical role to protect the borders, German news agency DPA reported.

He reaffirmed that his group Hamas doesn't interfere in Egypt's domestic affairs. "We stand at an equal distance from all sides of the Egyptian people."

"We didn't tamper with Egypt's security and we don't play any security or military role in Egypt's Sinai," he added.

Two Cairo court verdicts in January and February declared Al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas terrorist organisations respectively.

Shortly after, Egypt's government challenged the verdict against Hamas, and the lawyer who filed the case withdrew it. However, the verdict against Al-Qassam remains in place.

The court reasoning in both verdicts stated that Hamas and Al-Qassam Brigades "support and finance terrorist attacks in Egypt.”

Following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the relationship between Egypt and Hamas soured.

Hamas are a sister organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which ex Islamist president Mohamed Morsi Morsi hails. The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian government in November 2013. 

Furthermore, Egypt accused Hamas of meddling with its internal affairs and supporting Islamist insurgents in Sinai, which Hamas strongly denies.

The Egyptian government has been battling a decade-long militant insurgency in Sinai that spiked since the ouster of Morsi in July 2013.

Hundreds of army and police personnel have died in Egypt's battle against militants, predominantly in the Sinai Peninsula, with hundreds of militants also reportedly killed. In recent months the violence has increased in Cairo and other cities, with both security personnel and economic installations being targeted.

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