Hamas to Increase Deployment Along Egypt-Gaza Border

REUTERS/Nir Elias/Files
REUTERS/Nir Elias/Files

A delegation of Hamas leaders currently visiting Egypt reached a new understanding with Egyptian officials regarding security arrangements along the border between Sinai and the Gaza Strip, a knowledgeable source within Hamas told Breitbart Jerusalem.

The delegation, led by Hamas Gaza political chief Yehya Senwar, has been in Egypt since last week.

According to the source, one of the main understandings reached is that Hamas’ security forces will be deployed over the length of the Gaza side of the Egypt border and not only at specific problem spots, as has been the case until now.

The renewed deployment is expected to take effect at the beginning of July, the source said. The source noted that the delegation, which is expected to return to the Gaza Strip today or tomorrow, had a successful visit that did not deal solely with security arrangements.

Al Jazeera separately reported generally that the Hamas delegation agreed with Egypt to tighten security along the Egypt-Gaza border.

Another issue discussed in the meeting, according to the source speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, was that of Gaza-based Islamic State and Hamas members wanted by Egyptian authorities for their involvement in terrorist activities against the Egyptian army in the Sinai.

“The heads of the delegation told Egypt that investigations of involvement in terror are ongoing against certain individuals … and regarding a number of individuals, our brothers in the delegation said there was proof of their involvement in terrorist activities against the Egyptian army.”

The source noted the leaders of Hamas said that in any case it would be difficult for them to extradite to Egypt those who don’t hold Egyptian citizenship.

He added, “The Egyptians said they expect all (smuggling) traffic from the Strip to Egypt to cease completely and that Hamas must take all steps necessary to prevent jihadists from leaving the Strip for Sinai and that they must arrest and extradite to Egypt all those from among the jihadists who try to do the opposite and make their way from Sinai to the Gaza Strip while fleeing from the Egyptian army.”

The Egyptians, for their part, said they promised to consider opening the Rafah border crossing more frequently and for longer hours, the only way for Gaza’s residents to reach the outside world. However, the source said the Egyptians stressed that the easing of restrictions would depend on the security situation in Sinai.

The Egyptians also promised to mediate with the Israelis to prevent any possibility of escalation in the Strip, but demanded that Hamas prevent provocation against Israel by Gazan organizations.

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