Hamas denies revolution chats with Brotherhood

Hamas denies revolution chats with Brotherhood

Egyptian media reports on ostensible transcripts of conversations in which Palestinian Islamists advised anti-Mubarak forces

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq (YouTube image grab)
Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq (YouTube image grab)

A Hamas official has denied Egyptian media reports claiming that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood coordinated its operations with Hamas during the first days of the popular uprising in January 2011.

Independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Friday that five telephone conversations were recorded between Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official Khairat Shater, a presidential candidate and deputy head of the organization, and Hamas officials during the early days of the revolution.

According to the report, the telephone conversations included tactical coordination between Hamas and its ideological equivalent in Egypt, with Hamas warning the Muslim Brotherhood against committing “mistakes.” Transcripts of the conversations were given to Shater by General Khaled Tharwat, former head of the State Security Investigation Service (SSI), a branch of Egypt’s ministry of the interior.

But Hamas official Moussa Abu-Marzouk denied that any phone conversations took place between Hamas and Brotherhood officials during the early days of the Egyptian revolution.

“These reports are untrue,” Abu-Marzouk told the website of establishment Egyptian daily Al-Ahram on Friday. “If reports about phone  conversations between Brotherhood and Hamas leaders during the revolution were true, why won’t they publish the names? Why was the publication [based on] insinuations?”

Abu-Marzouk added that the publication was merely part of the “political struggle” currently taking place in Egypt.

Reports of coordination between political Islamists in Cairo and Gaza serve as another red flag for opponents of President Mohammed Morsi’s regime. Last month, Hamas was accused of smuggling fabric used for Egyptian army uniforms into the Gaza Strip in order to pose as Egyptian soldiers, and of planning attacks against sensitive installations in Egypt.

On Sunday, a number of Egyptian lawyers appealed to the attorney general to investigate the allegations published in Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Sources in the state security apparatus told the daily that they would “officially and routinely” monitor and record the telephone conversations of Muslim Brotherhood officials, after having received official permission from the Egyptian chief prosecutor.

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