World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said the country would "strike hard" against any attempt to undermine its national security, but stressed that any such action would take place "on Egyptian soil."
The assertion came after the Gaza-based Hamas government expressed its "surprise" over statements attributed to Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy regarding the possible use of force against Hamas in the event that the latter threatened Egypt's security.
London-based daily Al-Hayat quoted Fahmy as saying that "Egypt's response will be devastating if we feel that Hamas or other parties are trying to harm Egyptian national security."
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel-Ati said that Egypt would not attack any party, unless that party had first carried out hostile acts on on Egypt's territory.
"Fahmy's remarks did not carry any military threats against any party, but he did say that any attempt to shake the country's national security would be met with a harsh response on Egyptian soil," he said.
"Egypt will not attack first, as some have understood," the spokesperson added. "But if any party -- foreign or domestic -- takes any action on Egyptian territory that undermines national security, Egypt will have the right to firmly deal with these acts on its soil."
"This is a message to all parties," Abdel-Ati said, "not just a particular party."
Relations between Egypt and Hamas have deteriorated since elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's July 3 ouster by the powerful military establishment.
An Egyptian army spokesperson has alleged that weapons found recently in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula bore the name of Hamas' military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
Ahmed Mohamed Ali, however, stopped short of accusing Hamas of bringing the weapons into the restive peninsula.
He called on the Hamas government in Gaza to "exert greater effort to secure its border with Egypt."
Last Mod: 26 Eylül 2013, 09:14