Hamas’ de-facto Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, accused Israel on Monday of “responsibility” for the attack on Sunday that killed 16 Egyptian border guards.
“Israel is responsible, one way or another, for this attack to embarrass Egypt's leadership and create new problems at the border, in order to ruin efforts to end the [Israeli] siege of the Gaza Strip,” Haniyeh claimed during in an interviews with the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television.
“We call on Egypt to discuss all issues related to the mutual interests of Egypt and Palestinians,” he added.
Sunday’s terror attack began when terrorists attacked two Egyptian army posts in the Egyptian part of Rafiah with anti-tank rockets and gunfire. The terrorists then tried to infiltrate into Israel using two stolen Egyptian military vehicles, but were foiled by the IDF.
MENA, the official news agency in Egypt, reported that the terrorists were “jihadists” who “infiltrated from Gaza through tunnels in collaboration with jihadist elements” inside Egypt.
Haniyeh quickly denied that any terrorists from Gaza were involved in the attack, but Hamas also said it could not eliminate the possibility that terrorists from within Gaza had crossed into the Sinai and joined other jihadists.
“No Palestinian wants to kill anybody in Egypt. Any attack against Egypt's security is also against the security of Palestinians,” he said in a statement quoted by the website of the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper.
Earlier on Monday, the Muslim Brotherhood also claimed that Israel was behind the terror attack.
The Islamist movement said in a statement that the attack “could be attributed to the Mossad, which has been seeking to abort the Egyptian revolution, especially as it had several days ago instructed Israeli citizens who were in Sinai to leave immediately.”
The statement also said that the incident “aims to add problems at the border to those already plaguing the country internally following the collapse of a corrupt system, and attempts to claim the failure of the new Egyptian government that was formed only three days ago.”
An IDF investigation of the terror attack indicates that the terrorists were able to blow open a fence on the Gaza border by blowing up 500 kilograms of explosives, that were stored inside a truck.
The operation, top IDF officials said, presents a “worrying picture of the intentions of terrorist groups to attack Israel.”
A previously unknown group, the Shura Mujahadeen Council, took responsibility for the attack. The group posted a Facebook message praising the attack, and saying that “there is no place in the Arab and Muslim world for liberal and secular democratic values,” and that they were “dedicated to the struggle against Zionism.”