Israeli sources who spoke to The Tower today described a “Cold War” being fought in the media between Egyptian authorities and Hamas, as Hamas announced that it was suing an Egyptian news outlet [Arabic] over a report linking the group to a Sinai Peninsula attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.Read the whole thing.
Hamas spokesman Abu Ubayda said at a Gaza City news conference today that his group was taking Egyptian magazine Al-Ahram to court over a story published this week that linked three members of the Iran-backed terror group — Ayman Nufal, Raed al-Atar, and Mohammed Abu Shamala — to the August 2012 attack. Nufal had once been jailed in Egypt and was one of hundreds of prisoners who broke free in January 2011 amid the chaos of the country’s Arab Spring. Atar, a ground commander in the Gaza Strip, was involved in the 2005 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Abu Shamala is a top figure in Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Al-Ahram had earlier expressed confidence in the accuracy of its report, noting that the information came from inside Hamas and was verified by Egyptian sources.
This is not exactly the first time of reported tensions between Egypt and Hamas, but there is a new level of antagonism evident, if Egypt is accusing Hamas of participating in the terrorist attack last August that rocked Egypt. Apparently, the accusation is in retaliation for sharp Hamas criticism of Egypt -- and that criticism was payback for Egypt flooding tunnels running between Gaza and the Sinai.
While Hamas has apparently been improving its level of recognition, with visits from leaders from Qatar and Malasia -- along with support from Iran, Egyptian support for Hamas has to be seen as key. After all, Hamas roots are from the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt is an obvious ally in the region.
One reason for Egypt keeping Hamas on a leash was because of Morsi's need to put Egypt's house in order. With the current level of protests in Egypt and the deteriorating economic situation, it is not hard to see why the Muslim Brotherhood would feel an increased need to keep Hamas in line.
And the longer the better.
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