Egypt to Hamas: Hand over terror suspects before talks on improving relations

by WorldTribune Staff, January 19, 2017

Egypt is demanding that Hamas turn 20 terror suspects before entering into talks on improving relations between the two sides.

Egyptian soldiers inspect a Hamas smuggling tunnel near the Rafah border. / AFP

Egypt provided a list of 20 suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-affiliated (ISIL) terrorists it wants Hamas to hand over. Cairo has rejected Hamas’s offer to hand over only two or three suspects, demanding that all of them be handed over to Egyptian authorities for questioning before the talks can proceed.

In addition, Egypt is insisting Hamas agree to tighten control of the Sinai-Gaza border, particularly the network of tunnels Hamas has dug under the border.

Egypt has accused Hamas of allowing the gangs that operate the tunnels to work with ISIL in North Sinai. Cairo says ISIL uses the tunnels to smuggle jihadists into Gaza, and weapons from Gaza to ISIL fighters in Sinai.

It is unclear whether Egypt has coordinated its position with Qatar, Hamas’s main supporter in the Arab world.

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