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Hamas rebuffs rumors of severed ties with Egypt

May 17, 2010 3:59 P.M. (Updated: May 18, 2010 2:30 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – Hamas continued to deny reports that Egypt has frozen all contact with the Islamist movement on Monday, a party spokesman said.

Sami Abu Zuhri told Ma'an that the issue was "mere media speculation," but added that relations between Gaza and Cairo are tense following an escalation in security measures by Egyptian forces along the Gaza border.

The Hamas official accused Egyptian security of killing "at least" five Gaza residents in smuggling tunnels, as well as fishermen, adding "dozens were also detained and tortured."

Concerning progress on a Hamas-Fatah unity deal, Abu Zuhri said no new suggestion have emerged save for "modest communication" between certain Fatah and Hamas leaders.

Abu Zuhri’s comments came in response to media reports that Egypt has severed all diplomatic ties with Hamas leaders in the occupied Palestinian territories and abroad, alleging that Cairo has refused to grant Hamas leaders entry visas into Egypt.

On Sunday, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar further denied reports that all ties with Cairo were cut by Egypt, telling the Chinese news agency Xinhua that "There is no alienation between us and the Egyptians -- on the contrary, we are in ongoing contact with the Egyptian administration."

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