Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh stated on Friday that his government will provide for its people following an intensified crackdown on the smuggling tunnels by Egyptian security forces.
Haniyeh said that in response to the crackdown on the tunnels, the Hamas government would take steps to “ease the burden of citizens and support them in the face of the crisis,” according to the Hamas website.
A military source confirmed to Daily News Egypt that approximately 150 tunnels connecting Egypt and Gaza have been destroyed since Mohamed Morsi was deposed on 3 July. Towards the end of July United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said some reports suggested that the Egyptian Army’s crackdown led to 80% of the tunnels being out of operation.
His comments came during Friday prayers in the Gazan portion of the town of Rafah, during which Haniyeh stressed that Hamas is not involved in the affairs of other Arab countries taking into consideration the interest these countries have in the Palestinian issue.
The Prime Minister also stressed, “We [the Hamas government in Gaza] will not draw our weapons against anyone, except the Zionist enemy,” in reference to Israel.
Haniyeh’s statement comes just days after Fatah accused a Hamas political bureau leader living in Cairo of incitement against Egyptians. The two Palestinian factions have been engaged in a war of words since Morsi’s ouster, with both sides firing accusations at the other.
The illegal smuggling tunnels are a vital lifeline for citizens of the Gaza Strip who have lived under a land, air and sea blockade since 2007. The tunnels provide a passage for many products that would otherwise not make it through the border including, food, medicine, fuel and building materials.