Egypt prevents Hamas official with cash from entering Gaza

The money was needed to pay salaries at a time when Western sanctions made bank transfers difficult.

Egypt prevents Hamas official with cash from entering Gaza
Egyptian authorities prevented senior Hamas member Ayman Taha from returning to the Gaza Strip on Thursday because he had more than $11 million in cash in his bags, police sources said.

Taha was part of a Hamas delegation which has been in Cairo this week for talks with Egyptian intelligence on a long-lerm truce between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in Gaza.

Hamas officials will return to Cairo on Saturday to resume the talks, the Egyptian state agency MENA said.

The police sources at the Rafah border crossing into Gaza said the border authorities were contacting the Egyptian finance ministry to ask for instructions on Taha's money.

They said the money comprised $9 million in U.S. dollars and 2 million euros ($2.56 million).

The five other members of the Hamas delegation, including Jamal Abu Hashim and Salah el-Bardawil, were allowed to cross.

The money was needed to pay salaries at a time when Western sanctions made bank transfers difficult.

The sanctions are still in place, and Israel also recently prevented the Western-backed Palestinian Authority from transferring cash to the Gaza Strip to pay its staff there, according to Western and Palestinian officials.

Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time and Egypt still insists on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing in a move condemned by Muslims around the world in protests, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives.

Egyptian Finance Ministry officials were not immediately available to comment.

Reuters
Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2009, 08:46
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