Egypt asks Gaza for Sinai suspects information
Published Saturday, August 11, 2012
Egypt has asked Gaza's Hamas rulers for information on three members of an Islamist group suspected of involvement in a deadly attack on a military outpost, a senior security official said on Saturday.
He said Egyptian authorities had received a list of nine suspects from Israel, and asked the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to provide information on three of the men.
They are believed to be affiliated with the Army of Islam, a small radical Islamist group which Egypt has blamed for several attacks in past years.
The Hamas-led government in Gaza has improved relations with Cairo since President Mohammed Mursi came to power in June.
The killings had threatened that pact, and the Muslim Brotherhood from which Mursi came had suggested Israel planned the attack to disrupt unity.
The Egyptian military has been bolstering its presence in the Sinai with tanks and helicopters after Sunday's unprecedented ambush on a border guard outpost near the borders of Gaza and Israel.
It said the attack took place under the cover of mortar fire from Gaza, but witnesses told AFP they heard only rifle fire.
The attackers commandeered a military vehicle into Israel but were allegedly killed in an Israeli helicopter strike.
However the military's version of events has been disputed, with two former Egyptian MPs on Saturday saying they thought the killings were the work of "Israeli terrorists."
Mohammad Al-Omda and Hussein Salem, told the press on Saturday, at the Supreme Court headquarters, that they had presented the Attorney General with a proclamation “accusing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and minister of defense Ehud Barak of plotting the terrorist incident."
Also on Saturday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stressed that it had not yet been proven that any Gaza-based Palestinians were involved.
(Al-Akhbar, AFP, UPI)