Egyptian security forces rejected a Muslim Brotherhood request to establish a Hamas office in Cairo after it had left its Damascus headquarters, according to Egyptian security sources quoted by Iraqi paper Azzaman on Tuesday.

The security sources were quoted as saying that they put national security considerations first, especially now when Egypt is facing unrest and the new office could lead to further disturbances.

The paper also quotes an anonymous security source who said there are three training camps for al-Qaida-linked groups in the northern Sinai.

These camps, which in total hold up to 1,500 people, would form a base from which the groups could transform Sinai into a war zone in the case of a clash with the Egyptian army.

According to the same source, the camps are run by the al-Qaida-linked Egyptian Ansar al- Jihad, the Gaza-based Jaljalat, Jund Muhammad, Jund al-Islam, Tawhid and the Gaza-based al- Jihad. The activity in the camps has increased due to the lawless state of Sinai, with the groups conducting weapons training during daytime that involves anti-aircraft weapons, tanks and armor piercing weapons.

Earlier this month the Egyptian Al-Ahram daily reported that Egyptian Salafist leaders were planning to visit their compatriots in Gaza. No date has been set yet for the visit according to the report.

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