Friday, December 27, 2013

Egyptian Army Will Never Harm Gazans, Says Hamas Leader

Egyptian army will never harm Gazans: Hamas leader

Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Dec 2013

Hamas leader based in Cairo says that Egyptian military will not intervene in Gaza Strip

Moussa Abu-Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, said the Egyptian military "will never harm" Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

"Egypt's army knows every individual in Gaza; I don't think they will antagonise those people at any moment," Abu-Marzouk said during an interview with Al-Ahram's Arabic website on Thursday, in response to a question about calls for the military to intervene in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The Egypt-based Islamist leader denied he had been requested to leave the country or had faced security harassment since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Hamas, Egypt and the Brotherhood

The relationship between Egypt and Hamas has become tense following the ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since Morsi's ouster, the Islamist president has been charged with a number of crimes, including involvement with Hamas at the time of the Egyptian revolution.

Morsi, members of Hamas, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement are accused of storming prisons and the attempted murder of police officers on 28 January 2011.

Since Morsi's ouster, the Egyptian armed forces have launched a large-scale operation against militant groups who had stepped up their attacks against security forces in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

Cairo has repeatedly accused Hamas of interfering in its internal affairs to support Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood and launching joint attacks with hard-line Islamists in Sinai, a position that was repeatedly denied by Hamas leaders.

Egypt, however, has warned of a military response if Hamas or any other Palestinian group tries to violate Egyptian security, Reuters reported in September.

In the post-Morsi period, Egyptian authorities have only intermittently opened the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip. The Rafah crossing is the only official gateway for the 1.7 million Gazans who live in the enclave, which is being blockaded by Israel.

Egypt has allowed only authorised travellers such as foreign nationals, visa holders, and patients seeking medical treatment, to cross.

Bassein Naim, advisor to Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh, revealed communication between the Islamist government and Egypt's interim cabinet mainly through the General Intelligence Apparatus, MENA reported in November.

Fatah advises Hamas

The Palestinian Fatah movement has called on Hamas to disengage from the Muslim Brotherhood to protect the Palestinian people from "atrocities," Egypt's state-run news agency MENA reported Thursday.

A senior Fatah official called on Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, to prioritise the interests of the Palestinians over other "partisan interests and foreign connections."

On Wednesday, the Egyptian cabinet declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist group.

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