News / Middle East

Cairo Accuses Gaza's Hamas of Training Egyptian Militants

An Egyptian soldier stands guard on the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip, Sept. 8, 2013.
An Egyptian soldier stands guard on the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip, Sept. 8, 2013.
Reuters
Egyptian state television on Thursday accused Palestinian Hamas of training Egyptian Islamists in how to carry out bombings, piling yet more pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood, ally of Hamas.

In neighboring Gaza, the ruling Hamas Islamists strongly denied the allegations.

Egypt has faced turmoil since the army forced the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July. A week ago the interior minister survived an assassination attempt in Cairo, amid fears the country could face an Islamist insurgency.

The allegations that Hamas has been training Egyptian militants could lead the military-backed authorities to escalate their crackdown on the Brotherhood.

“Security authorities have learned that the military wing of the Hamas movement trained several people to undertake car bombing operations and trained various others to make explosives,” said a presenter on state television.

“The military wing of the Hamas movement provided various Salafi jihadists and also other religious currents with 400 landmines. The security apparatus documented this and they will be arrested.”

Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, said of the report: “This is completely incorrect”.

It was an “attempt to demonize Hamas,” he added.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been on the defensive since Morsi was ousted from the presidency following mass protests. He had alienated millions of Egyptians by giving himself sweeping powers and mismanaging the economy.

The army-backed government in Egypt has tightened control of crossings from the Sinai peninsula into Gaza, which Egypt ruled from 1948 to 1967, and continued assaults on militants in Sinai.

Egypt's closure of cross-border smuggling tunnels used to move weapons and goods into the Gaza Strip has dealt a major blow to the Palestinian group.

Hamas has recently tried to lower tension with Egypt, ordering Muslim preachers to mute their criticism of Cairo.

Gaza preachers, in fiery sermons, have accused Egypt's army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, of waging war on Islam. Egyptian army officials have accused Hamas of interfering in Egyptian affairs and suggested Palestinians were helping Islamist militants in Sinai, which borders Gaza and Israel.

At Gaza street rallies, Hamas fighters have flashed a four-finger salute - a show of support for Morsi.

His ousting was seen as a setback for Hamas, and came as the group's ties with traditional allies Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party have also suffered over its siding with rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

State of emergency

The Sinai-based group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing aimed at Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim. It promised more attacks in revenge for the crackdown on Egypt's Islamists, raising fears that militant violence in Sinai could spread across the country.

Aside from unrest in the Sinai, Egypt's government says the Brotherhood itself also poses a security threat, accusing it of carrying out terrorist acts.

Security forces killed hundreds of members during a raid on pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo on Aug. 14 and then arrested top Brotherhood leaders accused of inciting violence.

There are no signs that the pressure on Islamists will ease.

Egypt extended a state of emergency for two months on Thursday as authorities expressed growing concern over militant violence. It also has an overnight curfew in place.

The government originally announced a one-month state of emergency on Aug. 14 and Thursday's announcement extended the order, which covers the whole country, to mid-November.

The Muslim Brotherhood has accused the government of rehabilitating the older order that served under autocratic president Hosni Mubarak for 30 years and catering to military officials.

An Egyptian court on Thursday acquitted all 14 defendants, including policemen, accused of killing 17 protesters during the bloodiest day of a revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak over two years ago, judicial sources said.

The deaths in Suez City triggered violence across Egypt on what was later called “The Friday of Rage” - Jan. 28, 2011 - that fueled an 18-day uprising against Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years.

The case is the latest in a series in which Mubarak-era officials were either acquitted or given light sentences, raising frustrations among opponents of the government and the old regime.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid