We have no choice but keep good relations with Egypt: Hamas leader

Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Mar 2014

Leading Hamas member Moussa Abu Marzouk says their men were fired at from the Egyptian side but refrained from fighting back

Hamas' deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (Photo: AP)

A leading member of Hamas, which rules the neighbouring Gaza Strip, said his group will not foster animosity with Egypt despite the latter’s official ban on their activities, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Citing evidence of good will, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk said Hamas has not mobilised any fighters against Egypt. He added that the group’s security men stationed on the volatile Egypt-Gaza border had received fire from the Egyptian side without returning it and eventually pulled back.

"We are keen on Egypt's security because we love Egypt. It's where we have brothers and neighbours. Palestinians cannot do without it, even if they dispensed with us," Abu Marzouk wrote on Facebook.

Hundreds of Hamas members have protested against the Egyptian army over the past two weeks, demanding that Egypt’s authorities open the Rafah border crossing, the only land passage into Gaza that is not controlled by Israel.

"We know that we have shared destinies. There's no crossing other than Egypt's…we have no choice but to keep good relations with Egypt," Abu Marzouk added. "No other country could fill its place."

Relations between Egypt's interim authorities have been tense with Hamas since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and the surge in militant attacks that ensued in the Sinai Peninsula, Nile Delta cities and, more recently, the capital Cairo. Authorities blame the attacks on Islamist militants, whom they claim have received support and training from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian affiliate Hamas.

The rulers of the Gaza Strip, however, have frequently denied the accusations.

In the latest move against the group, a Cairo court has banned all Hamas activities in Egypt pending a court verdict in Morsi's espionage case, as the ousted president is being tried for allegedly conspiring with Hamas to plot against the nation.

The court has also banned all "organisations or groups branching from, financed, or supported by Hamas.

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