Wednesday, August 08, 2012

After Sinai Attack, Egypt-Hamas Honeymoon Over Before It Begins

Khaled Abu Toamen writes that this week's Sinai terror attack has been a political and economic disaster for Hamas:
For Hamas, the timing of Sunday night’s terror attack in Sinai could not have been worse. The attack, which resulted in the killing of 16 Egyptian border guards while they were enjoying the fast-breaking meal of Ramadan, took place just when it seemed that Hamas and Egypt were about to embark on a honeymoon.

...Just last week, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy received Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in his palace in Cairo, and agreed with him on a series of measures to ease restrictions imposed on residents of the Gaza Strip.
Indeed, Egypt and Hamas had come to terms on a number of points, including:
  • Haniyeh and Morsi came to an agreement where the Rafah border crossing would be opened for 12 hours each day, allowing more Palestinians to leave and enter Gaza.

  • Egypt would stop deporting Palestinians who arrive at the Cairo International Airport without an entry visa. They would instead get 72-hour visas to give them time to sort out their travel documents.
Things were looking good for Hamas, creating concern in the Palestinian Authority that removing the Egyptian blockade would increase Hamas’s control while making them more popular in Gaza.

But, instead, the Egyptian military, which does not trust the terrorist group, along with many Egyptians who also do not approve of the improved ties with Hamas, have found support for their concerns.

In addition to political problems, Egypt has forced Hamas government to close all underground tunnels, hurting Gaza's already week economy.

It's obvious that for all the bluster about blaming Israel's Mossad, Egypt's military holds terrorists in Gaza responsible for the Sinai attack:
In a military audio statement aired on state television Monday afternoon, the armed forces presented their account of the deadly attack on the Egyptian-Israel border Sunday.
"A terrorist group of 35 people attacked a border guard south of Rafah Sunday evening at 7pm, right around Ramadan Iftar time, where 16 of our soldiers were martyred and 7 injured; three of them severely injured. The terrorist group then took over an army Armed Personnel Carrier and used it to penetrate the Egypt-Israel border where Israeli forces destroyed it."

The statement continues by pointing the finger at Palestinians in Gaza: "Coinciding with the attack, elements from the Gaza Strip carried out a mortar shell attack on the Karam Abu-Salem border crossing."

Similarly, an anonymous Egyptian security official was quoted by Egypt's state-run news agency, MENA, as saying that Islamist elements who infiltrated Egypt from the Gaza Strip through tunnels are behind the attacks, along with other Islamists situated in the areas of Al-Halal Mountain and Al-Mahdia in eastern Sinai.
The timing of the Sinai terrorist attack with the mortar fire, along with the use of the Gazan tunnels to infiltrate Egypt, obviously does not put Hamas in a good light.

Tough break for Hamas.
The heart bleeds.

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