Hamas leader: Closing Rafah crossing is collective punishment

Egypt’s closing of the Rafah border crossing is a collective punishment for all Palestinians and was not the right decision, Hamas political bureau deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouq said Monday.

In a brief statement on the Sinai attack, which took place yesterday and led to the death of 16 Egyptian officers, Abu Marzouq said it would be better to implement more legal procedures at the border crossing.

Marzouq emphasized the need for Egypt to exert sovereignty and control over the entire Sinai Peninsula. He advised Egypt not to adhere to unfair agreements, referring to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel stipulating that Sinai remain a demilitarized zone.

Marzouq said Israeli planes bombed the assailants after they opened fire on Egyptian soldiers.

Previously, leaked Israeli reports had warned of the lack of security in Sinai and an imminent attack on the Egyptian border, while Israel prevented its tourists from visiting Sinai. Marzouq described these as being “all clear signals of Israeli prior knowledge of the attack and its connection to the attackers,” while adding that Hamas was still awaiting results from the investigation.

“The security of Sinai is the security of Palestine, and is the security of the Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “It is not accepted or logical that something from the Gaza Strip harms the security of Egypt and Sinai. Cooperation in this regards is most important.”

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