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Israel’s finance minister blames Egypt for 7 October attack

February 13, 2024 at 11:22 am

Israeli Minister of finance and leader of National Zionism, Bezalel Smotrich, speaks to the press during a party meeting in Jerusalem on February 5, 2024 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has held Egypt responsible for Hamas’ 7 October attack on towns and villages in the Gaza envelope.

Speaking to his right-wing Religious Zionist Party, Smotrich said Egypt “bore considerable responsibility for what happened on 7 October” because Hamas’s ammunition supplies largely pass through the north African state.

He also urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to send an Israeli security delegation to Egypt to attend a meeting on the war.

“The head of the Mossad should be sent to eliminate Hamas leaders around the world, instead of sending him to Qatar, and the head of the Shin Bet should be sent to Rafah to destroy and kill all Hamas terrorists instead of sending him to talk to the enemy,” he added.

“Our response to Hamas and its imaginary demands will be in Rafah with Air Force planes, tanks, infantry and paratroopers,” he said.

“American pressure or fear of harming civilians should not deter us from occupying Rafah and destroying Hamas,” he added.

Smotrich has previously said Egypt must allow Gazans to pass through the Rafah Crossing so that they can immigrate to other countries.

READ: Egypt slams remarks by Israeli official holding it responsible for 7 October Hamas attack

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid slammed Smotrich’s statements yesterday and described them as “totally unacceptable [and] irresponsible”.

He added that the remarks “only reveal a hunger for killing and destruction, and sabotage of any attempt to contain the crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

Israeli public broadcaster KAN said Israel intends to send a delegation to Cairo today to attend a meeting scheduled to be attended by Egyptian Intelligence Director Abbas Kamel, US CIA Director William Burns, and Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to discuss a possible prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since 7 October, killing at least 28,340 Palestinians and injuring 67,984 others.

The Israeli onslaught has left 85 per ent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.