'Egypt to Hamas: Hand over 3 in connection to Sinai attack'

As Hamas continues to deny Gazan involvement, Cairo says one attacker identified as Gaza-based "Army of Islam" member, 'Asharq Al-Awsat' reports; Egypt arrests six "terrorists" in Sinai, moves to destroy smuggling tunnels.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 10, 2012 11:10
1 minute read.
Army of Islam terrorists in Gaza [file photo]

Army of Islam terrorists in Gaza 370 (R). (photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)

 
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Egypt has demanded from Hamas that it hand over three leaders of the Salafi terrorist group Army of Islam in relation to the attack in Sinai earlier this week that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead, London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported Friday.

The demand came after one of the attackers' bodies was identified as a member of the Gaza-based group, according to the report. One of the men Egypt is demanding is of Yemeni origin, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

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Later Friday, an Egyptian military source said that the armed forces had arrested six "terrorists" in the Sinai region.

Meanwhile, Hamas continued its vehement denials of any involvement in the attacks. Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Razi Hamed asserted that the group has never allowed radical groups to move between Gaza and Sinai, condemning the "brutal crime."

Hamed called for patience while Egyptian security agencies investigate the attack, saying that accusations against Hamas the Palestinians are being made without any evidence, speaking with Al Jazeera English.

Pointing to the cooperation between Hamas and Egypt, he asserted that even if any Palestinians were involved in the attack, it "doesn't mean that Gaza or Hamas supports this criminal action."

Following the attack, Egypt sealed its border with the Gaza Strip and has been working to destroy the smuggling tunnels between Sinai's Rafah and Gaza.

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On Thursday, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh called on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy "to open the Rafah crossing, to regain a lifeline for Gaza."

The Egyptian military, with the aid of combat aircraft, has reportedly killed some 60 terrorists in its Sinai counter-terrorism offensive since the attack Sunday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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