No action towards Egypt army's destruction of tunnels: Hamas

MENA, Friday 13 Sep 2013

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya says group will not 'interfere in Arab countries' affairs,' despite attacks on Gaza smuggling tunnels in Egypt

Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said that his group will only use weapons against its "Israeli enemy," amid intensive efforts by the Egyptian army to destroy tunnels linking Egypt's eastern border with the Gaza Strip.

During Friday's prayers sermon at the Belal Ben Rabeh Mosque, south of Gaza Strip, Haniya said that Palestinian authorities are closely monitoring the destruction of the tunnels, and shall take steps to ease pressure of the besieged Gaza strip and its residents.

"Our weapons will be directed against no one except for the Israeli enemy located on the Palestinian territory... We won't distract our resistance despite injustice befallen us," he said, easing tension created by earlier sermons.

"The government and the resistance [of Hamas] do not interfere in any of the Arab countries' affairs... they consider these countries our allies and supporters of the Palestinian cause."

The Egyptian army said it has destroyed dozens of tunnels in Sinai recently, which are considered an economic lifeline for the Gaza enclave because it is partially blockaded by Israel.

Gaza preachers, in fiery sermons, had previously accused Egypt's army chief, General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, of waging war against Islam. Egyptian army officials have said Hamas is interfering in Egyptian affairs and suggested that Palestinians were helping Islamist militants in Sinai, which borders Gaza and Israel.

Hamas, an ideological offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, denies such allegations. The group's religious affairs minister Ismail Rudwan said recently preachers were instructed not to "speak about Egypt's internal affairs" and only "focus on Palestinian national issues."

The group is also accused by the Egyptian prosecution of being involved in the jailbreaks that were witnessed during the 2011 uprising, including the one that saw deposed president Mohamed Morsi escape from Wadi El-Natrun prison.

However, Hamas has repeatedly rebuffed those claims, which it described as "untrue and pointless." 

Morsi was ousted by the armed forces on 3 July following mass nationwide protests against him and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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