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Hamas military wing denies report linking leaders to Egypt attack

March 14, 2013 6:19 A.M. (Updated: March 15, 2013 7:10 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Hamas’ military wing says it will sue the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine over a report Thursday accusing Hamas leaders of killing Egyptian soldiers in the northern Sinai.

“We will file legal proceedings against the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram over his false claims,” al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubayda told a news conference in Gaza City Thursday.

“Those writers should have prioritized siding with the Palestinian people.”

Abu Ubayda added that the resistance maintained strong relations with both the Egyptian leadership and the people after the revolution. “The Egyptian people know quite well who the al-Qassam Brigades and Gaza resistance are. The people supported resistance and some did not like that.”

Asked about Israeli forces’ ongoing breaches of the ceasefire in Gaza, Abu Ubayda said: “That does not serve Israel’s interests as the Gaza resistance will not tolerate that too long.”

The news conference came after Egypt’s attorney general received a notification from a lawyer urging the AG to take into account reports on satellite TV stations and Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine related to an August attack against an Egyptian military base near the border with Gaza in Rafah killing 16 soldiers.

The lawyer, Samir Sabri, wrote that about 32 “terrorists” were involved in the attack, the majority of whom were affiliated to fundamentalist Takfir groups accusing Egypt's army, police and rulers of apostasy. Egyptian security services, according to the notification, have revealed the names of the suspects.

Three are affiliated to Hamas and one was identified by his lawyer as Ayman Nofal, a leader within the al-Qassam Brigades. Nofal managed to escape from al-Marj prison two years ago where he was detained on charges of incitement and illegally breaking through the Egyptian border in 2008.

Another suspect, according to the notification, is Muhammad Ibrahim Salah Abu Shamala (Abu Khalil), aged 39. He is a top Hamas leader. The third is Raed al-Attar “who masterminded the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.”

The lawyer highlighted that Egypt’s presidency received a report with details about the investigation. “However the details were kept secret and the presidency did not make them public, nor did he try to reveal who was behind the murder of those martyrs whose funeral Dr Mursi did not bother himself to attend.”

Earlier, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar denied that any of the three Hamas leaders was involved in the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah. Zahhar described the magazine as a “collaborator with Israel.” He added that the three in question never left the Gaza Strip, and that they were wanted by Israel.

Cairo had previously indicated that some of the gunmen who killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the Gaza border fence in August had crossed into Egypt via tunnels below the border.

Recent efforts to close the tunnels have angered Hamas officials who were expecting better ties with Cairo following the election last year of President Mohamed Mursi, a fellow Islamist.
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