Hamas press conference 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Mahmoud Dababash, a top Hamas security official in the Gaza Strip, was arrested in Cairo's airport for using falsified travel documents, Egyptian officials said Sunday.
Dababash relatives said he was returning to Gaza after traveling to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage.
Analysis: Peace talks highlight internal tensions in Hamas
Irish parliamentarian: Include Hamas in peace talks
Analysis: Hamas stuck between peace talks and the IDF
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.
Egyptian security forces are on high alert in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Gaza and Israel because of information about possible Palestinian rocket attack from Egypt toward Israel.
They are 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.
The officials say hundreds of police and private agents been deployed
along the border, at entry points to Sinai and along checkpoints.
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.