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Egypt blame Hamas, Palestinians for violence in Sinai

Special to WorldTribune.com

CAIRO — Egypt has cracked down on the Palestinian presence in the
Sinai Peninsula.

Security sources said Egyptian security forces have been raiding
Palestinian strongholds in eastern Sinai. They said the forces were also
intercepting Palestinian infiltrators from the neighboring Gaza Strip.

Egyptian Army soldiers patrol in an armored vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in in Sheikh Zuweyid, northern Sinai on May 21.  /AP

Egyptian Army soldiers patrol in an armored vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in Sheikh Zuweyid, northern Sinai on May 21. /AP

“We believe that Hamas is linked to the violence in Sinai,” a source said.

On June 7, Egyptian police raided a suspected Palestinian insurgency stronghold in the northern Sinai provincial capital of El Arish. The sources said a Palestinian, identified as a resident of the Gaza Strip, was shot and injured.

The Palestinian was in an abandoned building with five other infiltrators from the Gaza Strip. The sources said the building contained illegal drugs.

On the following day, Egyptian authorities detained a Palestinian who came into Sinai through one of the smuggling tunnels from the Gaza Strip. The sources said Egyptian police have been deploying officers near the estimated 1,200 tunnels that span Sinai and Gaza.

On June 9, unidentified gunmen shot an Egyptian security officer in El
Arish. The sources said the gunmen ambushed Hashem Abu Shakra, a senior
counter-insurgency officer from the National Security Apparatus, and stole
his vehicle.

The crackdown came amid rising Egyptian anger toward the Hamas regime
in the Gaza Strip.

An Egyptian court in Ismailia has been hearing testimony that Hamas worked with the ruling Muslim Brotherhood to break into prisons
and free Islamist inmates in 2011. One of those released was identified as
Mohammed Morsi, who in June 2012 became Egypt’s first Islamist president.

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