By Jim Kouri
Leaders of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas based in the Gaza Strip urged the Egyptian government on Sunday to unseal the only border crossing location for Gaza to allow its people to travel back and forth from the Palestinian territory, a member of the Israel National Police told the Public Safety Examiner on Sunday.
Hamas’ Interior Minister released a press notice stating that the Egyptian authorities must allow the travelers in both directions to go through the Rafah crossing. Hamas claims there is no longer any reason for Palestinians to be denied access to Sinai, the Israeli police source said.
The Minister complained that continued blockade by the Egyptian military is affecting thousands of people who need to travel in Sinai or through Sinai for medical, educational or business reasons.
Rafah is the only crossing for individuals to enter or leave Gaza, said the Israeli source.
The sealing of the Sinai-Gaza border came about as a result of 16 Egyptian police officers being killed and seven more wounded during an attack by masked gunmen last Sunday in North Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip, according to an Examiner news story.
The attackers then tried attempted to illegally enter Israel, and the Israeli army called in air force to strike the militants’ armored vehicles that they had seized from the ambushed Egyptian officers.
Some Israeli intelligence officials believe a few members of Hamas in Gaza assisted the terrorists from Sinai in attacking Israel, but Hamas and other armed factions, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in the Gaza denied the allegations.
Even one week after the violent incident, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack although Israeli’s suspect it may have been members of the Salafists who are extremists from Egypt, according to the Examiner.
In an effort to please the Egyptian government officials in Cairo, Hamas members shut down smuggling tunnels beneath Gaza’s southern border with Egypt after the attack, according to the Israeli police source.
Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 and quickly began building a tunnel system allegedly to bring food, petrol and building materials to bypass the Israeli sanctions against the Palestinian terrorist group.
Egypt’s newly elected President — Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Mursi — on Saturday dismissed his nation’s two top generals and rescinded a military order that had restricted the leader’s powers, in a move that revealed his true authority over that Arab nation and its military forces.