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Gaza government insists it respects Egyptian sovereignty

February 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm

The Palestinian government in Gaza has condemned what it calls Egypt’s unfounded accusations that residents of Gaza have been involved in trying to destabilise security in the Sinai Peninsula.

Spokesman Ihab Al-Ghussein told a press conference that Palestinians in Gaza welcomed the January 25th Revolution in Egypt and enjoyed a historical relationship with the Egyptian people.

“All of the factions in Gaza recognise Egypt’s sovereignty and have confirmed to us that they have played no role in acts which aim to destabilise Sinai,” he said. “They are not interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs.”

According to the Egyptian army, however, an explosive device found under an army watchtower was primed to be detonated from Gaza. Four hand grenades, he claimed, were found in Sinai; all have the badge of the Hamas military wing stamped on them.

Al-Ghussein said that the Egyptian intelligence services have been in touch with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who denied any connections between Palestinians in Gaza and that device. According to the spokesman, Mr Haniyeh confirmed to the Egyptians that all of the factions in Gaza follow the government’s policy of no interference in the affairs of sovereign states. The hand grenades, he added, were stolen by people believed to be affiliated to Fatah and smuggled to Egypt. The Interior Ministry, said Al-Ghussein, has a document which proves that the explosives were sent to Egypt for use in a campaign to discredit Hamas and the people of Gaza.

At the end of the press conference, Al-Ghussein called upon the Egyptian authorities to put an end to the media war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. He also called for the Rafah Border Crossing to be reopened for travellers and essential goods so that the tunnels don’t need to be used for basic necessities.