(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas has created the proper environment for the emergence of new terror groups
in the Gaza Strip, Muhammad Dahlan, a former Palestinian security commander,
Dahlan, who founded and headed the Palestinian Authority’s
Preventive Security Force in Gaza between 1994 and 2000, also accused Hamas of
harboring the terrorist groups and using their members to kill Fatah activists
in the Strip.
Dahlan’s allegations came after Sunday night’s attack in
Sinai in which unidentified gunmen killed 16 Egyptian border guards
and Fatah officials have seized the opportunity
to hold their rivals in Hamas
responsible for the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by Muslim
fundamentalists from Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has strongly denied
any connection to the attack, insisting that the terrorists did not come from
the Gaza Strip.
Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah last year following a
dispute with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his sons, also criticized Egyptian
President Mohamed Morsy for hosting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
presidential palace in Cairo last week.
Dahlan said that Haniyeh was
being ungrateful to the Egyptians who honored him by treating him as a head of
“Instead of expressing their gratitude, Hamas and Haniyeh are
working to damage Egyptian interests in Sinai,” Dahlan said in an interview with
an Egyptian TV station.
Dahlan said that the tunnels under the border
between the Gaza Strip and Egypt were a source of income for Hamas leaders who
have no interest in closing them down.
The Palestinian residents of the
Gaza Strip do not benefit from the tunnels, Dahlan added. He called on the
Egyptians to hold Hamas and its leaders, and not the entire Palestinian people,
fully responsible for harboring terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and
threatening Egypt’s national security.
Dahlan said that the Gaza Strip
was not under siege and its residents were not lacking anything. “Hamas is
laying siege to the Gaza Strip,” he charged.
Dahlan said that a pro-Hamas
Sudanese minister who visited Gaza recently told him that he wished that Sudan
had as much basic goods as the Strip.
Also on Thursday, Hamas claimed
that the Egyptian authorities have determined that the terrorists who killed the
16 border guards did not come from the Gaza Strip.
Salah Bardaweel, a
senior Hamas official, said the Egyptian security forces’ investigation has also
shown that the terrorists were not Palestinians and were not affiliated with
Bardaweel claimed that supporters of ousted Egyptian president
Hosni Mubarak have been trying to implicate Hamas and the Gaza Strip to
embarrass Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Hamas official said that
his government would be prepared to shut down all the tunnels if the Egyptians
agree to permanently open the Rafah border crossing between Sinai and the
southern Gaza Strip.
Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government,
also appealed on Thursday to Cairo to keep the Rafah terminal open. He suggested
that the border crossing be turned into a trade terminal so that it could
replace the tunnels.
A-Nunu said that the Sinai terrorist attack was
designed to sabotage relations between Egypt and the Palestinians.