JAFFA, Israel – Egypt has given Hamas a list of its members accused of collaborating with jihadi groups on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border, Cairo’s Misr Journal newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The list contained the names of Hamas activists who allegedly trained Egyptian jihadi fighters in the manufacture of explosives. Among the operatives mentioned was Kamal Abu Sheleh, a Hamas intelligence officer.
According to the paper, Egypt demanded the extradition of Issam Abu Rakbeh, commander of Hamas’ “death squad,” who was accused of training the assassins of Egyptian Attorney General Hisham Barakat. As part of the operation to kill Barakat, an operations room was set up in Gaza, Egypt charged.
The plot was “carried out on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood in close coordination with Hamas,” Egypt’s interior minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, stated on Sunday.
The Egyptian government also demanded that Hussein Abu Dayer and Abdelaziz Alkhaldi, the alleged Hamas tunnel commanders who smuggled Barakat’s assassins into Egypt, be handed over to them.
Egypt gave Hamas details of two camps in the border town of Rafah where the militants are said to have received training, according to the newspaper.
For the first time in years, a delegation of Hamas officials visited Cairo for meetings with intelligence officers in a bid to restore bilateral relations marred by Hamas’ alleged involvement in Barakat’s assassination and against the backdrop of an intense military campaign against Hamas’ cross-border tunnels.
Hamas, for their part, accuse Egypt of suffocating Gaza, while the Egyptian authorities say that they target the supply route Hamas provides for the Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate and other jihadi groups in the border region.
This past weekend, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, warned in an interview with the Palestinian news media that Hamas and the Islamic State are cooperating, with Hamas fighters engaging in jihad in the Egyptian Sinai and IS sending their wounded to receive medical treatment in Gaza.
The Hamas-IS ties reportedly go even further.
Breitbart Jerusalem previously reported that Shadi al-Menai, one of the leaders of Wilayat Sinai, visited Gaza and mediated a deal whereby Hamas would give the Gaza Salafi opposition groups more leeway in exchange for Wilayat Sinai’s help in bypassing the Egyptian army’s restrictions on smuggling rocket parts and weapons into Gaza.
Abu Khaled, head of the media office of the Al Qassam Brigades, told Breitbart Jerusalem that he declined to comment on matters of national security.
This is not the first report of Hamas-IS cooperation in arms smuggling.
A Middle East think tank charged in December that there is information Hamas has been paying off the Islamic State’s Sinai branch to smuggle weapons into Gaza. “Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment,” stated a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.