Egypt: Hamas Likely Knew About Kerem Shalom Attack
Senior Egyptian officials expressed skepticism Sunday about Hamas claims that the Islamist group would shut down the tunnels connecting Gaza and Sinai if Egypt permanently reopens the Rafah crossing to people and goods.
Cairo ordered the tunnels closed after militants overtook an Egyptian border post in Sinai on August 5, killing 16 Egyptian soldiers and stealing two armored personnel carriers. One of the APCs exploded in the Kerem Shalom border terminal linking Egypt, Gaza and Israel; the other drove two kilometers into Israeli territory before it was hit in an Israel Air Force strike.
The Egyptian officials on Sunday confirmed earlier reports that some of the militants had entered Egypt through tunnels connecting it to the Gaza Strip, and that the Gaza militants, who appear to have been planning to carry out a large-scale terror attack in Israel, were in touch with operatives in Egyptian Rafah.
“We have to resolve the tunnels issue once and for all,” one of the Egytian sources said.
The officials said Hamas is in full control of the tunnels, so their assessment is that the movement knew about the attack in advance. However, they said they have not confirmed the identities of all the militants involved in the attack and the matter is still under investigation.