Thursday, April 26, 2007

Egypt Warns Hamas; Stop Rocket Attacks

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The InsideE

gypt is finally putting pressure on Hamas to reign in the militants and stop the firing of rockets into Israel:

Egypt has threatened to cut off its relations with Hamas unless the movement halts its rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinian Authority officials said Wednesday.

The officials said Egyptian Intelligence Chief Gen. Omar Suleiman sent a "tough" message to Hamas leaders, warning them against the continued rocket attacks. The message was delivered to PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas by Burhan Hammad, a senior Egyptian intelligence officer based in the Gaza Strip, the officials added.

They said that Suleiman also warned that Egypt would not side with the Palestinians if Israel launched a military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"We hope that the Hamas leaders will listen carefully to what the Egyptians are telling them," said one official here. "Hamas must return to the period of calm so as not to give Israel an excuse to invade the Gaza Strip."

Apparently the government has its hands full at home too, thwarting a recent suicide plot targeting Israeli's in the Sinai Peninsula:
One Palestinian suspect was arrested and another ran away when security forces confronted them 1.5 kilometres from Sinai's border with the Gaza
Strip, the ministry said.

Abdel Shafie Jabr Maraheel, who is suspected of smuggling explosives into Sinai, was seriously wounded when he threw a homemade explosive at the police, the ministry added.

None of the policemen was injured, but the second suspect managed to escape.

Security sources said Maraheel was suspected of having entered Egypt illegally via a smuggling tunnel on the border with the Gaza Strip. They could give no information on what he may have been planning.

Bombers have hit Red Sea resort areas in the Sinai Peninsula three times since 2004, killing well over 100 people in attacks Egypt blames on a group of Islamists from the Sinai Bedouin community with militant views.

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