Hamas denies involvement in Rafah massacre

A Hamas leader has denied the reports on the involvement of elements belonging to the group in the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah last year.

An investigative report published in Al-Ahram magazine accused figures associated with Hamas of the killing of 16 border guards in Rafah July 2012, in what was a massive attack on Egypt's Armed Forces. President Mohamed Morsy used the crisis to sideline the old leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who he sent to retirement, replacing them with a second rank of officers.

Mohamed Nazzal, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, said in an interview with Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr on Friday evening that Hamas is on good terms with the Muslim Brotherhood. As such, he said, Hamas has as no interest in destabilizing Egypt under the rule of President Morsy.

Hamas has no interest in conflicting with any regime governing Egypt whether Nasserist, Islamist, or even the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, said.

Responding to media claims of Hamas involvement in what Nazzal described as “a heinous crime against innocent Egyptian soldiers,” he said it is the Egyptian army, intelligence or national security agencies that identity those responsible for the killing of Egyptian soldiers in Rafah.

He accused al-Ahram al-Arabi of seeking to take the place of official and security authorities, when it published names of the leaders of Qassam Brigades and claimed they are involved in the Rafah massacre.

The magazine has told a “big lie”, he said, adding that Hamas was considering suing the publication.

There is no proof of Hamas involvement, he said, suggesting that some political currents make accusations against the movement for the sake of political gain.

State-run Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine publishes in its Saturday edition, as announced, a report revealing the names of three Hamas leaders accused of committing the massacre of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Rafah, last Ramadan.

The magazine said that its editor-in-chief Ashraf Badr has confirmed the information acquired by the magazine with officials at the Egyptian Intelligence and National Security.

The names listed in the magazine, include Ayman Nofal, a leading member of Qassam Brigades who escaped Marg prison in Egypt during the 25 January revolution; a leading Hamas figure Mohamed Ibrahim Abu Shamala, also known as Abu Khalil; and Raed Al-Attar, who planned and carried out the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Nazzal described these men as “heroes of the Qassam Brigades,” saying that, “they have dedicated their lives to fight against the Zionist enemy, and have nothing to do with the killing of the Egyptian army soldiers.”

That there are some in Egypt who are trying to turn the tide of hatred from Israel to Palestinians, Nazzal said. He noted that Hamas has been accused of involvement in almost every incident from the church bombing in Alexandria on the eve of the revolution to the Port Said football massacre last year.

The Egyptian army is entitled to demolish the tunnels in Rafah, and Hamas is not to intervene, since that this is a matter of Egyptian sovereignty, he said. With regard to the negative impact of the demolition of the tunnels, he suggested that alternatives could be found through negotiation with the Egyptian authorities.

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