World Bulletin/News Desk
A high-ranking Hamas official on Monday warned against what he described as "Israeli attempts" to spoil relations between the Gaza-based Palestinian group and Cairo, saying that Egyptians needed to understand that the Hamas-run coastal enclave constituted Egypt's "first line of defense."
"Israel is trying to send the message that it is united with Egypt against Gaza and Hamas," Gamal al-Taweel told Anadolu Agency via phone. "But we don't think this will go down well in Egypt, which has always supported the Palestinian cause."
Al-Taweel said Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, has only one enemy, "which is known to be the [Israeli] occupation."
On Sunday, Major General Sami Turgeman, chief of the Israeli Army's Southern Command, said the Israeli army was in constant coordination with Egyptian authorities and closely monitoring militant activity in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
Yet he went on to express concern that "exaggerated" Egyptian pressure on Hamas in Gaza would backfire.
Egypt has launched an extensive crackdown on the smuggling tunnels linking Sinai to Gaza as Sinai-based militant groups upped the tempo of attacks on Egyptian police and army personnel across the peninsula.
In early July, Egypt's new military-backed rulers tightened restrictions at the Rafah crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border after toppling elected president Mohamed Morsi and cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood group which propelled him to power last year.
Morsi's July 3 ouster led to a deterioration of relations between Cairo and Hamas, which is an ideological offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
The crackdown on the smuggling tunnels has served to ratchet up pressure on the Gaza Strip's roughly 1.7 million inhabitants. The tunnels have long served as a lifeline for the Palestinian territory, which has suffered from a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.
Egyptian officials allege that the tunnels are used to smuggle weapons into Egypt.
The 14 suspects, who risk lengthy jail terms, include pro-Russian opposition leaders Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic as well as two Russian nationals who will be tried in absentia.
South African Muslim leaders and civil rights groups condemn closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque
56-year-old Turkish national arrested over suspected financing of terror group
At the end of a 10-day mission to Mozambique, IMF officials expressed dissatisfaction with continuing uncertainty about debts built up by state-owned companies from loans by foreign banks including Credit Suisse.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague on Tuesday ordered Moscow to pay damages over the incident, which saw 30 activists and journalists detained in an armed raid by Russian security officials after a protest against oil drilling.
Michel Barnier said after talks with his counterpart David Davis that the two sides were still at odds over Britain's divorce bill and over the rights of European citizens living in Britain.
Mustafa Akinci uses anniversary of 1974 Turkish intervention to lay blame for talks failure at Greek Cypriot door
The lower house of parliament, which is controlled by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in power, voted 235 to 192 -- with 23 abstentions -- in favour of the law giving the justice minister power to select candidates for the court.
Kremlin spokesman says there was no undisclosed second meeting between Russian, American heads in Hamburg
The two sides remain far apart on the exit bill that the EU says Britain must pay and on whether or not the bloc's top court will keep jurisdiction over European citizens living in Britain, sources close to the talks said.
UN peacekeeping force in DRC says reduction is part of new military strategy
Turkish diplomatic sources say UK set to lift prohibition on carrying large electronic devices on flights
Paul Manafort, Trump Jr. to testify in session addressing a US law overseeing foreign agents; Kushner to testify separately
Ibrahimjon Asparov accused of supplying weapons, ammunition to main suspect in deadly Reina nightclub attack New Year’s Eve