'Ma'an': Hamas extradites al Qaida man

Egypt reportedly allows 85 Palestinians to return to Gaza as reward for transferring fugitive.

October 1, 2007 07:15
'Ma'an': Hamas extradites al Qaida man

Rafah guard 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

Hamas transferred a fugitive al Qaida member to Egypt on Sunday, in return for Egypt's opening the Rafah Crossing to dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, Israel Radio quoted Palestinian news agency Ma'an as reporting on Monday. On Sunday, Israel was taken by surprise when Egypt abruptly allowed 85 Palestinians, most of them Hamas members, who had been stranded in Egypt since the Islamist group seized control of the Gaza Strip in mid-June to return home. The unexpected move contradicted agreements Israel had with Egypt regarding the Rafah Crossing. The Palestinians refused to enter Gaza through any of the crossings controlled by Israel. Sources in the defense establishment estimated that many of the group had undergone training in Iran and Syria. The EU observer mission that oversees crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip was not alerted to the Rafah Crossing's opening and none of the observers were in position when the Palestinians returned to Gaza. There was still no information on whether the returning Palestinians smuggled any arms or money into the Gaza Strip.

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