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 government has blocked aid groups from using the Nile River to deliver vital food to South Sudan
Canada's economy is on the line with Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for an early election
Chancellor Angela Merkel believes she should continue serving on her current post
Latest waves of migrants to Europe have made people worry over endless flows of 'guests'
Because of its good economic health, Germany has become the leading destination in Europe for migrants
Hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered in Ankara's Bilkent Plaza
Senior UN agency official Vincent Cochetel has termed the situation for migrants on Greek islands as 'embarrassing'
Research shows the number of millionaires in Africa has more than doubled since 2000
UN Security Council gives ‘unique support’ to Cypriot leaders, says envoy
A charity fashion bazaar sets the change in stereotype of Russia's Muslim population. Moscow has Russia's largest Muslim population of 1.5 mn Muslims, making it Europe's largest Muslim city.
Clinton's call to end the US embargo on Cuba makes her fall in line with US President Barack Obama.
Àmama Mbabazi was sacked from his prime ministerial post last year in an evolving power struggle and has been one of the country's most popular and skilled politicians.
Clashes come against backdrop of Palestinian baby’s murder near Nablus
A source close to the European Commission has said that the Southern Gas Corridor could provide a diverse market for Azeribaijan's gas market.
Political functions and watchdog role of EU’s executive arm needs rebalancing, Berlin argues
A British inquiry has been told by Alexander Litvinenko's widow that Russian President Putin had persoally ordered the death of her husband