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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid