JAFFA, Israel – Hamas has recently beefed up security along the Gaza-Egypt border, the London-based Asharq al Awsat newspaper reported.
The move comes in the wake of a meeting between Hamas decision makers and Egyptian military intelligence officials marking the end of a two-year rift during which Cairo accused Hamas of meddling in its domestic affairs.
Hamas sees the reinforcement of its troops in the area, where Egyptian forces and Islamic State loyalists clash on a daily basis, as a confidence-building measure.
Gaza officials issued clear instructions to Hamas units about the need to quell any attempted provocation, fearing it may be exploited by Egypt to pressure the terrorist group, the paper reported.
Among other things, the troops were instructed to prevent “tunnel developers” from approaching the border area, where until now they engaged freely in reconstructing the cross-border tunnel network destroyed by the Egyptian army.
In addition, the paper reported that six Hamas commanders crossed into Egypt and enlisted in Wilayat Sinai, the local affiliate of IS.
The paper said that the recent security measures are part of the movement’s attempts to distance itself from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which included the removal of billboards bearing the portraits of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the founder of the Brotherhood, Hassan al-Bana, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported exclusively earlier this month.
The paper also said that jihadi circles in Gaza fear Hamas will further tighten its grip on them to please Egypt.