Egypt thinks Hamas involved in Sinai attacks that killed Egyption soldiers
Times of Israel:
Dashing Hamas hopes of a détente with the Egyptian regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt closed its borders to a high-ranking Hamas delegation to talks with Israel on Sunday, accusing Palestinians of involvement in a deadly terror attack in Sinai Friday. The Hamas delegation had been set to resume indirect talks between the Palestinians and Israel over a long-term Gaza ceasefire on Monday, but those talks were canceled.Hamas leadership had been trying to placate the Egyptians, but the Egyptians believe there is a connection between the attacks and Gaza. Hamas is something of a master of looking the other way as terrorist attack their adversaries. It is what they do with Israel all the time. For some reason the US state Department under Obama is not particularly concerned about this perfidity.
Sissi said on Saturday that “foreign hands” were behind a suicide car bombing that killed over 30 soldiers at a checkpoint near the northern Sinai town of el-Arish, declaring a three-month state of emergency in the peninsula. But Egypt’s deputy interior minister, Samih Bashadi, was more specific on Sunday, accusing “Palestinian operatives” of involvement in the attack.
Security in the Sinai can only be achieved through the establishment of a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Sinai, Bashadi told Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. He said Egypt would target terror bases in northern Sinai using Apache attack helicopters.
Egyptian civil society, as reflected in mainstream media, seemed ready on Sunday for harsher measures against residents of northern Sinai.
Dalia Ziada, executive director of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Developmental Studies, a Cairo-based research center, told Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that Sinai should be declared “an anti-terror zone.”
“The military should intervene immediately by removing peaceful civilians from Sinai, and pursue the terrorists until they’re eradicated,” Ziada said. “On the legal level, the trials of terrorists must be concluded quickly, especially given that all the accused are in fact terrorists.”