Egypt’s state-run newspaper al-Ahram on Saturday accused Gaza Strip rulers Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of conspiring to overthrow the Egyptian regime within the next few years.
The newspaper quoted “informed sources” who accused Hamas’s military wing of coordinating plans with the Brotherhood to hit Egyptian military targets and vital installations and distribute footage of the attacks in order to lower national morale. They claimed that the two groups planned to spread rumors of an Islamic State presence in Egypt in order to sow panic among the population.
Hamas and the Brotherhood thus hoped to spread fear and disappointment with the Egyptian armed forces, the sources alleged, while also working behind the scenes, using agents in the government to disrupt internal services and erode trust in the regime.
The final part of the plan, the sources said, was to convince the international community through subterfuge and fabricated crises that the current government was an obstacle to stability in the region.
All these actions purportedly sought to divide and weaken the resolve of the citizenry, setting the stage for the collapse of the Abdel Fattah el-Sissi leadership within 3-5 years.
Relations between Cairo and Hamas have been on a downward spiral since the group’s Muslim Brotherhood allies were forcibly deposed by army chief — now president — el-Sissi in 2013. But they reached a new low last month when Egyptian courts deemed Hamas’s armed wing a terror organization, a stand Cairo had never taken before.
On February 6 hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated outside Egypt’s diplomatic mission in Gaza City to protest the ruling.
Protesters waved green Hamas flags and chanted in support of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades: “Qassam are the pride of the nation, not terrorists!”
Egypt has accused Hamas of supporting jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders the Gaza Strip, after the killing of scores of security forces in a wave of attacks.
Hamas has denied the allegations.
In early January, Egypt began work on doubling the width of a buffer zone along the border with Gaza to prevent militants infiltrating from the enclave. The buffer zone was created following a suicide bombing on October 24 last year that killed 30 Egyptian soldiers and wounded many others.
AFP contributed to this report.