In nod to Egypt, Hamas bolsters border security

Special to WorldTribune.com

Hamas has beefed up security at its border with Egypt in what is seen as an attempt to ease tensions with Cairo.

“National security forces started today to increase the number of its troops and double the security bases along all the southern border with Egypt to be able to control the border better,” Hamas spokesman Iyad al-Bazm told AFP on April 14.

Hamas security forces patrol an area along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on April 14. /AFP/Said Khatib
Hamas security forces patrol an area along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on April 14. /AFP/Said Khatib

Al-Bazm said Hamas immediately established three new bases at the Gaza-Sinai border. Hamas security forces were seen setting up about 10 temporary buildings along the border and bulldozers were clearing land near the frontier in preparation for more temporary structures.

“This is a message that we are concerned with border security and stability,” Bazm said, adding nobody would be allowed “to touch the security of Egypt.”

Relations between Egypt and Hamas, which were strong under Mohammed Morsi, had deteriorated recently as Egypt accused Hamas of aiding the affiliate of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Sinai.

Egypt has largely kept its border with Gaza closed since Morsi’s ouster in 2013. Last year, the Rafah border crossing was open for just 21 days.

A Hamas delegation led by political bureau member Mousa Abu Marzook held talks in Egypt last month aimed at improving relations.

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