Hamas demands clarification from Egypt on Gaza threats

Officials voice unprecedented ultimatum to Cairo to stop ‘media incitement’ following report military has plans to strike terror targets in Strip

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

Members of Hamas's Al-Qassam Brigades parade in Rafah, 2008 (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Members of Hamas's Al-Qassam Brigades parade in Rafah, 2008 (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas demanded clarifications from the Egyptian government following reports on Thursday that Egypt was planning to strike Gaza as part of its ongoing anti-terror campaign in the Sinai Peninsula.

Reports earlier Thursday said Egypt has drafted plans for attacking targets in the Gaza Strip, to be implemented in case an escalation in violence against Egyptian troops in Sinai occurs.

“As these media outlets repeat the claim of threats against the [Gaza] Strip, we demand an official position from the Egyptian government regarding these statements, which threaten the national security and stability of the Palestinian people,” Hamas government spokesman Ihab Al-Ghosein wrote on his Facebook page. 

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, has long accused Egyptian media of partaking in a campaign of incitement against it, aided by Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement following the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi, an ally of Hamas, in July. This is the first time, however, that a Hamas official requested clarifications from the new Egyptian government on such statements.

“If an official denial emerges, we demand an end to the immoral statements by some Egyptian media. But if this language of incitement continues, it will be a clear indication of the true intentions against our brave people.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy tacitly threatened Hamas in an interview with London-based daily Al-Hayat on September 24, saying Egypt would respond “forcefully” if it felt that “Hamas or other elements are trying to harm Egypt’s national security.”

Hamas’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad called Fahmy’s statements “a dangerous escalation increasing animosity.”

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