Arab media this weekend, especially in Egypt, claim Hamas was involved in the recent attack in the Sinai Peninsula that led to the deaths of more than 30 Egyptian soldiers.
On Friday, October 24, a group of armed men launched a complex assault on a checkpoint in Sinai, which involved a car bomb possibly detonated by a suicide attacker, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs placed to target rescuers. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah a-Sisi blamed a “foreign-funded operation” for the deadly attacks that killed at least 33 soldiers and declared a state of emergency.
Following the attack, an Egyptian government source told the Egyptian website Veto” (Arabic link):
“The information available, the method of implementation of the incident and the weapons used suggest that members of Hamas supported the execution of the crime against the Egyptian army – by planning, supplying weapons or funding.”
Nabil Naim, an Egyptian researcher in the affairs of the Islamic groups, said (Arabic link) that Hamas and the Jihadist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis are probably both responsible for the attack. Egyptian military official also said (Arabic link) that Hamas gives “patronage” to terrorism in Sinai.
A security source told the A-Shuruq (Arabic link) newspaper that the Egyptians are almost sure that the terrorists entered Sinai from the Gaza Strip and there is a possibility that they got help from Hamas members using the tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border.
Some military experts even called on a-Sisi to intervene militarily (Arabic link) in the Gaza Strip and hit Hamas to deter terrorism in Sinai. Arab media outlets also reported that the Egyptian administration will establish a security zone along its border with Gaza.
A militant insurgency by jihadist groups in the peninsula has become more active since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Hundreds of police and soldiers, as well as militants, have been killed, according to Al-Ahram.
[Photo: Joh Catron / flickr]