Hamas: Egypt trying to restore rule over Gaza

24 July 2013 Last updated at 09:29 GMT

Egypt crisis: Soldier killed in Mansoura bomb blast

Egyptian police officers confronting a crowd in MansouraEgyptian police stand guard in Mansoura after an attack on the city’s security office

One soldier has died and another is in a critical condition following a bomb blast in the Egyptian city of Mansoura.

Health officials said 29 people were hurt. A timed bomb hidden under a truck detonated near the security directorate in the Nile Delta city, north of Cairo.

Overnight in the capital, unidentified gunmen shot dead two supporters of the deposed President, Mohammed Morsi.

About 100 people have died in clashes between backers and opponents of Mr Morsi since he was ousted from office.

A spokesman for the health ministry in Mansoura said gunshots were exchanged between police and unknown assailants at the time the bomb went off.

Fears over violence

On Saturday night three women were killed in the same city, after clashes broke out during a march to support Mohamed Morsi.

The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Cairo says the latest violence is a worrying sign that Egypt’s political crisis is intensifying.

The killing of two pro-Morsi demonstrators in Cairo follows a familiar pattern, with both sides in the dispute having been attacked in this way, our correspondent adds.

Supporters of the ousted president have been attending regular rallies near Cairo University in the capital, as well as demonstrations elsewhere in Egypt.

Mr Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location without charge since army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi announced his removal on 3 July.

The army declared it had suspended the constitution, and organised a new temporary administration led by an interim President, Adly Mansour, the head of the Constitutional Court. A technocrat cabinet was later unveiled.

On Monday Mr Mansour made a televised appeal for an end to the violence. He called for a “new page in the book of the history of the nation, without rancour, hatred and confrontation".

Continue reading the main story

Egypt’s political roadmap

  • Ten legal and constitutional experts to draft changes to the constitution
  • Panel of 50 people from across Egyptian society to debate amendments
  • Final draft put to referendum within four months
  • Parliamentary elections early 2014, followed by presidential elections

Mr Morsi’s family says they have had no contact with him since his detention.

On Monday, his daughter Shaimaa confirmed they were taking legal measures against the army.

The Gulf state of Qatar – which has been supportive of the ousted president’s Muslim Brotherhood movement – has become the latest country to call for Mr Morsi’s release. A foreign ministry source told the Qatar News Agency that a political solution in Egypt could not be achieved as long as the former leader continued to be detained.

The United States has also urged Egypt’s interim authorities to set him free. They say he is being held for his own protection.

Hamas: Egypt trying to restore rule over Gaza

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
07/23/2013 22:27
 

Hamas officials blame Fatah for “smear" campaign in Egypt press, decry Egyptian helicopter flights over Gaza Strip.

An Egyptian military helicopter flying over Alexandria [file].

An Egyptian military helicopter flying over Alexandria [file]. Photo: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Hamas is concerned that Egypt may be trying to restore its sovereignty over the Gaza Strip, Mousa Abu Marzook, a senior Hamas official, said Monday.

Abu Marzook wrote on his Facebook page that by sending helicopters to fly over the Gaza Strip, “Egypt is signaling that it trying to restore its sovereignty over the area, which it lost after the 1967 aggression.”

Over the past few days, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip reported that Egyptian military helicopters flew over certain parts of the Gaza Strip as part of a massive security crackdown on terror groups in Sinai.

Palestinians said that this was the first time since 1967 that Egyptian military helicopters had flown over the Gaza Strip, which until then was under Egyptian control.

Abu Marzook reiterated that Hamas was not meddling in any way in Egypt’s internal affairs.

Hamas’s armed wing does not operate outside the Palestinian territories, he added in response to reports in a number of Egyptian media outlets claiming that Hamas militiamen were behind terror attacks on Egyptian troops and civilians.

“Our resistance is only directed against [Israeli] occupation,” Abu Marzook said. “For the one-thousandth time we state that these are lies and fabrications.”

Mahmoud Zahar, another top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, held Fatah responsible for the anti-Hamas campaign waged by the Egyptian media.

Zahar too said that his movement does not interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs.

Zahar said that Fatah representatives have been feeding the Egyptian media with “lies” in order to drive a wedge between Egypt and Hamas.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned the “smear” campaign waged by some Egyptian newspapers and TV stations against Palestinians in general and his movement in particular.

“The Palestinians have no security or political role in the Egyptian arena,” Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza City.

“Our goal is to liberate Palestine and expel the occupier. We don’t interfere in the affairs of others and we want Egypt to continue supporting our cause.”

Haniyeh said that his government has asked the Egyptian authorities to stop the attacks on Palestinians in the Egyptian media, adding that this campaign was harmful to both sides.

Ahmed Assaf, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, insisted that Hamas was meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs.

He pointed out that Hamas-affiliated TV stations have been broadcasting live coverage of demonstrations in Egypt in favor of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Assaf called on Hamas to stop meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt of other Arab countries, saying this was causing grave damage to Palestinians.

Fatah has come out in support of the military coup that toppled Morsi, while Hamas continues to support the ousted president.

Hamas officials, meanwhile, accused the Egyptian authorities of tightening the siege on the Gaza Strip by destroying smuggling tunnels and closing the Rafah border crossing.

Last week, the Egyptians also banned Palestinian fishermen from entering three areas close to Sinai.

“Even [former Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak did not starve the Gaza Strip,” said a Hamas official. “By destroying the tunnels without providing an alternative, the Egyptians are punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip and deepening the humanitarian and economic crisis.”

Ahmed Yusef, a top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, expressed hope that his movement would “understand the lessons of the events in Egypt and see the impending danger.”

Yusef said that Hamas should seek reconciliation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah “even if that means making concessions.”

He added: “What is happening in Egypt should sound an alarm bell for all. We need to draw the conclusions quickly, end divisions and achieve national unity.”

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