Seizure of Hamas Operatives Possibly Carried Out With US-Israel Cooperation
Pro-Hamas websites on Wednesday published correspondence between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, detailing the seizure of four Hamas operatives in the Sinai, indicating it was carried out withIsrael-U.S. cooperation and support, NRG reported.
The letter, sent on August 15 and addressed to the Egyptian Armed Forces, is headed: “The Coordination With Egyptian Intelligence, in Order to Arrest a Cell of the Izzeldine Al-Qassam Brigades.” It is signed by Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Service and a close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Faraj opens the letter by thanking officials in Cairo over the close military and intelligence coordination between Egypt and the P.A., and warns about the movement of Hamas operatives in the Sinai.
“Our sources report on the readiness of the four-member squad, belonging to the Izzeldine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. The cell intends to leave Gaza to Turkey, and from there to Iran, in order to undergo naval commando training. The cell members were given official permission from Turkey, because they are coming to the country for the purpose of studies and to receive medical assistance,” wrote Faraj.
He continued, “According to information provided by the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo, Egyptian authorities [unsuspectingly] gave permission to the squad members to leave the Gaza Strip and head towards the international airport and from there to fly to Turkey.”
Faraj then said that, “In conjunction with international players, including the United States and Israel, Egyptian forces were alerted to prevent the travel of the cell and to arrest its members on their way to the airport.”
He went on to reveal, “As part of the security cooperation with our friends, necessary cooperative efforts were carried out to track the Hamas members and Salafist cells operating in Sinai and Gaza, and we coordinated with all of the parties [including] the United States, Britain, Egypt and Israel.”
Finally, he stressed the importance of capturing this cell by any means possible, in order to obtain information about Hamas’s tunnel-construction and naval commando capabilities, and its operations in Turkey and Sinai.
Reports indicate that the four operatives were traveling on a bus from the border at the Rafah crossing to the airport in Cairo when they were stopped, pulled off the bus and put into an Egyptian intelligence car.
Hamas immediately condemned the seizure of the cell and demanded clarification from Egypt.