Egyptians on edge in Sinai over possible Hamas attacks

Officials: Top Hamas security official Mahmoud Dababash arrested in Cairo airport with fake documents as Cairo fears rocket attacks on Israel.

September 19, 2010 17:18
1 minute read.
Hamas press conference in Gaza City.

Hamas press conference 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Egyptian security forces were on high alert in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday because of information about possible Palestinian rocket attacks from Egypt toward Israel.

Egyptian security forces were investigating reports of plans to smuggle rockets from Gaza into Egypt and then launch them back toward Israel, said officials. So far, no rockets have turned up.

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The officials said hundreds of police and private agents had been deployed along the border, at entry points to the Sinai and at checkpoints.

Also Sunday, Mahmoud Dababash, a top Hamas security official in the Gaza Strip, was arrested in Cairo's airport for using falsified travel documents, according to Egyptian officials.

Dababash relatives related that he was returning to Gaza after traveling to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage.

According to Hamas's news media, Dababash, also known as Abu Radwan, is responsible for the general security of the terror group, intelligence operations and weapon and equipment smuggling into Gaza.

Hamas threatened that Dababash's arrest will lead to a deterioration in relations with Egypt and called for his release, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

"We will operate in a manner which will force the Egyptian leadership to release Abu Radwan," Hamas said in a statement.

Dababash's name was on a wanted list for using falsified travel documents to enter and leave the country, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

He was also questioned about an illegal shipment of radio transmitters interdicted by police in Sinai apparently destined for Gaza, they added.

Egypt has arrested a string of Hamas figures since one of its soldiers was killed in a border shooting early this year, including the son of a Hamas cabinet minister last month. Egypt believes a Hamas sniper was responsible for the shooting.

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