An Egyptian military tank is deployed in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish on July 16, 2013 (Photo: AFP/GETTY)
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A senior Egyptian military leader is accusing the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas of participating in attacks against its soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula, while military sources tell an Egyptian paper that Sinai-based terror groups are getting funding from Libya and individuals in the United States.
Since Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power last month, Egyptian security forces have been engaged in a concerted effort to combat terror groups in the Sinai, including closing up smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza which is ruled by Hamas.
While the ideologically-aligned Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas maintained good relations, ties between the Palestinian group and the interim Egyptian leadership are being characterized as being at an “unprecedented low.”
Major General Ahmad Wasfi, a commander in Egypt’s Second Army, says that Hamas is helping global jihadists conduct operations in the Sinai and that 600 Hamas operatives have surreptitiously entered the peninsula from Gaza via smuggling tunnels since Morsi’s ouster.
The Israeli news site Maariv reports [Hebrew link] that the military commander announced that four Islamist militants who were captured revealed information during their interrogation connecting Hamas operatives to the aiding of terror groups in the Sinai, including planning and executing attacks against Egyptian soldiers.
Al-Ahram on Sunday quoted unnamed Egyptian military sources saying that arms used by jihadi fighters in the Sinai “come from Libya and Hamas in the Gaza Strip” and that some captured terrorists were trained by Palestinian operatives in the Sinai. UPI translated the Arabic language report.
UPI further reported that al-Ahram spoke to unnamed sources who allege that Sinai-based terror groups are also receiving funds from “people in the United States.” TheBlaze cannot verify that claim.
"We are moving steadily to eradicate terrorism from its roots," the major-general told al-Ahram.
According to UPI, more than 30 Egyptian civilians and soldiers have been killed in the Sinai since Morsi was ousted from power on July 3, including a Christian cleric.
Hamas is denying the accusations that it’s cooperating with Sinai-based jihadis. Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted by Maariv as saying, “Egypt is trying to deflect its own internal problems at us.”
Egyptian security sources confirmed that the military is in the midst of "Operation Revenge" to eliminate terrorism in Sinai, reports Maariv.
The Egyptian army began a major campaign in the Sinai last month to crack down on terror groups. Last Wednesday, an unnamed Egyptian military spokesman told Ahram Online that some 124 terrorists had been killed or injured since the army began its campaign.
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