As tight allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has been watching the situation in Egypt with grave concern. And with the deposing of Mohammed Morsi from the presidency of Egypt, Gaza Arabs are very concerned that the Hamas government in Gaza could be negatively affected by the anti-Islamist atmosphere in the Levant.
A poll by the PA's Ma'an news service Monday found that 73.4% of Gaza Arabs polled believe that the events in Egypt will negatively affect the Hamas government. Only 22.9% say that there will be no effect. Among the effects that some Gazans fear is an increase in secular political activity, as well as bolder efforts by Fatah-oriented Gazans to organize politically.
In a statement, Hamas condemned the “massacre” Egyptian Army units are said to be committing against Islamists. Early Monday, at least 40 people were killed in clashes outside a military building in Cairo, where supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi were holding a sit-in against, Egyptian officials said. Those killed were all Morsi supporters, among them many members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Later Monday, reports from Egypt said that the army had ordered the closure of Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, claiming that soldiers had been fired upon from there.
But Hamas dare not intervene to help their comrades in Egypt, at least openly. With the deposing by the Egyptian army of Mohammed Morsi and the arrests of top Muslim Brotherhood leaders, many of the Brotherhood have been clearing out of large cities and taking refuge in remote areas, like Sinai. Over the weekend, angry riots broke out in El Arish between pro- and anti-Morsi groups, and on Saturday night the Egyptian army announced that it was moving troops and tanks into Sinai in order to rout out Brotherhood and pro-Morsi groups.
With that, there were reports Monday that dozens of Hamas terrorists had made it over the border into Sinai and taken up arms to fight Egyptian Army troops. Several of them are said to have participated in a Brotherhood attack on an Egyptian Army post in El-Arish, in which several Egyptian soldiers were killed. Egypt, meanwhile has closed up most of the smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza. Reports said that since the weekend, over 50 of the tunnels have been sealed.