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Egypt Hamas On Collision Course: Update

April 17, 2008
IICC
The Egypt-Hamas media mud-slinging intensifies: Egyptian establishment daily Al-Ahram accuses Hamas of coordinating with the Muslim Brotherhood to use force to breach the Palestinian-Egyptian border, killing Egyptian soldiers
 


 

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1. The Hamas government has recently conducted an extensive media campaign regarding the lack of fuel in the Gaza Strip and the worsening of humanitarian conditions. It has also threatened Israel and Egypt , warning that the Gaza Strip was ready to “erupt” and would do so if the blockade were not lifted.

2. The Egyptian regime responded to the threats with strong attacks in its own media against Hamas. One response was the April 15 front-page article in the establishment daily newspaper Al-Ahram by Tariq Hassan, in which he accused Hamas of planning to use force to breach the Egyptian-Palestinian border and to attack Egyptian soldiers.

3. The column was based on “reliable Palestinian sources” in the Gaza Strip, and reported that Hamas had formulated an operative plan composed of the following stages:

i) The first stage would include blowing up Egyptian posts with mortar shells and deploying Hamas operatives along the Palestinian-Egyptian border;

ii) The second stage would include firing machine guns at Egyptian soldiers;

iii) During the third stage Hamas would outflank some Egyptian posts by sending its operatives in through tunnels, and would use tunnels packed with explosives to blow up others. At the same time, Hamas would encourage Gaza Strip residents to break through the border and enter Egyptian territory.

4. According to the article, on April 12 Hamas issued a fatwa authorizing the killing of Egyptian soldiers. 1 It also claimed that Hamas had placed hidden explosives along the Palestinian-Egyptian border which would be used to breach the border. The explosives would be detonated with the approval of some of Hamas's allies in the region (a hint at Iran and Syria ). Hamas, said the article, was in contact with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt , which had taken upon itself to conduct a political and media campaign to prevent the Egyptian regime from stopping the Hamas attack on Egyptian forces. 2

Hamas's Responses

5. The article in Al-Ahram provoked furious responses from Hamas:

i) Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied the information in the article and called it a lie. He said that “the continued publishing of these lies…is part of an attempt to influence Egyptian public opinion and to it from supporting the Palestinian people, and to incite Egyptian soldiers to kill Palestinians.”

ii) On April 16 the Hamas publication Filisteen printed an article by Mustafa al-Sawaf called “Shame on you, Al-Ahram.” The article claimed that there was no truth at all in what Al-Ahram had printed, accused Tariq Hassan of working for Muhammad Dahlan, and claimed that Al-Ahram published propaganda against Hamas and the Palestinian people in general.

iii) On April 15 a surfer on the Hamas forum called Al-Ahram “Al-Ahram Aharonot” (a combination of Al-Ahram and Yediot Aharonot, a popular Israeli daily newspaper) to indicate that it collaborated with Israel . Other surfers claimed at the article was a lie and that printing it cast doubts on the paper's reliability.
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1 The fatwa in question was issued by sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Qlab a preacher in a Khan Yunis mosque, which permits the killing of Egyptian soldiers if they attack Palestinians (Al-Masri al-Youm, April 15). His Eminence Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi expressed his objection to the fatwa (Al-Masri al-Youm, April 16).

2 Osama Saraya , Al-Ahram's editor in chief, noted that the information about the Hamas plan to breach the border and the movement's collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood had come from involved sources in the Gaza Strip and Egypt (Al-Arabiya TV, April 15).

SOURCE: IICC

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center opened in 2001. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich .

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center focuses on issues concerning intelligence and terrorism. Via its website and e-mail bulletins it reports on:

  • The Palestinian Authority and its policies regarding terrorism and terrorist organizations.
  • Palestinian terrorist organizations and their activity during the lull in the fighting.
  • Anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli incitement and hate propaganda.
  • Terrorism-sponsoring countries (especially Syria and Iran ).
  • Hezbollah .
  • The global financing of terrorism .
  • Links between Palestinian-Middle Eastern terrorism and global Jihad.
  • Suicide-bombing terrorism and its source in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • The involvement of women and children in Palestinian terrorism.
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