Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum has released a special statement denying the claims of government officials in Libya that local authorities arrested a Hamas cell involved in weapons smuggling and terrorist plots.
Al Sadiq al-Sour, a spokesman for Libya’s attorney general, was quoted by local media saying in a special press conference that a cell of four Hamas members had been arrested under suspicion of weapons smuggling and leaking information regarding Libyan national security.
The attorney general said that the four had been in the city of Benghazi before moving to the capital of Tripoli where they were arrested.
According to reports, Sour also claimed that the Hamas cell was involved in plots to commit local attacks and others against Algeria.
The Hamas spokesperson rejected the claims as lacking any foundation.
“I’m not surprised at the reference to Hamas in connection to Libya’s internal struggles. This isn’t the first time it’s been done,” said Barhoum.
According to the Hamas spokesman, the organization was being pulled into the scandal with the purpose of “harming the movement and its reliability and causing the nations of the region who support the resistance to put doubt in it and the depth of the Palestinian issue.”
“The consistent policy of Hamas is not to interfere in the internal matters of any country, Arab or otherwise,” said Barhom. “The compass of our resistance is turned to Palestine and our fight is with the Zionist enemy inside Palestine.”
Barhoum also demanded Libya “stop these lies and not bring Hamas and its name into internal issues or disputes in any one of the countries.”
The claims of Libya’s attorney general that weapons from Libya were smuggled to Hamas through Egypt could cloud relations between Egypt and Hamas even as the two sides are acting to realize a series of security understandings meant to weaken jihadist supporters of the Islamic State active in the Sinai Peninsula.
In exchange, Egypt mediated between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for a reconciliation that will ensure Hamas a central role in the Palestinian arena. Egypt also mediated between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner exchange deal.