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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid