Monday, October 1, 2007

At Rafah: Hamas- Al-Quaeda trade

According to Palestinian news service Ma'an reported the following incident Sunday.

"A secret deal was struck between Hamas and the Egyptian intelligence to allow 85 people stranded for 4 months on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing to enter the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources told Ma'an on Monday.

The majority of those who crossed the border under the deal were Hamas political and military leaders, according to the sources.

Under the deal an Al-Qaeda leader hiding in Gaza, who was accused of being involved in attacks on tourists in the southern Egyptian city of Assiut, was handed over to the Egyptians."

This is a
significant incident that communicates in action rather than merely in word the clear distinction that exist between Hamas and Al-Quaeda. The exchange also points to the careful relationship Egypt's governing regime is walking in regards their relationship with Hamas. Although their security representatives left the Gaza Strip in mid-June, dialogue remains ongoing.

A Haaretz Report added these details,

"Egypt's Interior Ministry confirmed that they had agreed with Hamas to transport the people across the border. It gave no explanation.

Israel, which opposed the return of some of the Palestinians, said it was unaware of an Egypt-Hamas agreement. Egypt told Israel that about 28 Palestinians, including senior Hamas figures, broke through the Egypt-Gaza fence, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman said.

But the crossing appeared to be organized with Egyptian cooperation, witnesses said.
The Palestinians were transported to the Egyptian side of the border in Egyptian buses, allowed across by Hamas security and then met at a Hamas security in included a prominent Hamas lawmaker, Mushir al-Masri, and Hamas loyalists sent for training in Muslim countries before the militant Islamic group's Gaza takeover, witnesses said.

They did not speak to journalists at the scene.
During the crossing, Hamas security officials tried to keep the operation a secret, confiscating film from photographers and cameramen alerted to the scene."

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