CAIRO: The People’s Assembly’s religious committee Wednesday called for a strong stand in the face of the alleged “Hezbollah cell, the official MENA news agency reported.
The committee, in a statement, said Egypt can very well defend its sovereignty and people against those who claim they are patriotic and take the Palestinian cause as a pretext for their actions, which don’t necessarily benefit the Palestinian people.
It also praised efforts by Egyptian security that led to the fall of the alleged “Hezbollah cell.
On the other hand, Hezbollah’s deputy chief said on Wednesday that Egyptian accusations against the Lebanese group were baseless and part of a political ploy to discredit the movement.
“It has become clear to everyone that these accusations are fabricated… and that they are worthless, Sheikh Naim Qassem told AFP in an exclusive interview.
“The Egyptian regime wants revenge and is seeking to sully Hezbollah’s image, he added. “This whole thing is politically motivated and will result in a backlash against the Egyptian regime.
Cairo last week announced it had arrested a Hezbollah cell on charges of plotting attacks in the country and has accused Iran of using the Shia group to gain a foothold in Egypt.
Qassem confirmed that one of the men arrested was a Hezbollah operative but stressed that his mission was solely to provide assistance to Palestinian insurgents in Gaza.
“We have one enemy called Israel and as far as we are concerned Egypt is not an enemy, he said. “Egypt’s accusations are in revenge for our position on Gaza and our demand that the Rafah border crossing be opened.
Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, is a vocal supporter of Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, and has lashed out at Egypt for closing its border crossing with the Palestinian enclave.
On Wednesday, Iran dismissed on Egyptian accusations against Hezbollah as an “old trick aimed at influencing the Lebanese election this year, new agencies reported.
“Labels against … Hezbollah and (its chief) Hassan Nasrallah are an old and frayed trick and will not achieve anything, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
Mottaki also accused Iran’s arch-foe Israel and “hands from outside the region of seeking to “create problems in Lebanon’s parliamentary election to be held in June.
“The Zionist regime will not succeed in this political plot, he said.
Egypt and Iran broke off diplomatic relations a year after Islamist revolutionaries overthrew the pro-Western shah of Iran in 1979. -Agencies