CAIRO: After repeated denials, Egypt has stated that rocket attacks launched on Jordan and Israel did come from Sinai, and were carried out by members of Hamas.
The official MENA news agency quoted a security official as saying, “The preliminary information that the security has received indicates that Palestinian factions from the Gaza Strip are behind that operation.”
Hamas refuted the Egyptian claim, brandishing it a “lie” and demanding an investigation by Egyptian authorities into this accusation that justified Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters, “Egyptian statements are conflicting. We doubt the credibility of these statements and believe they are unprofessional and politically motivated.”
Security forces along the Suez Canal have also been placed on high alert since clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers on their border Tuesday that left 3 Lebanese dead.
Barricades have been manned at bridges and crossings along the canal and security patrols have increased after rocket attacks on Aqaba and Eilat Monday that both Jordan and Israel have claimed were launched from Sinai.
Security forces had conducted a sweep of the area on Tuesday after the rocket attacks, which saw one person killed in Aqaba, and Jordanian claims that they originated from Sinai.
After the sweep, South Sinai governor Abdel-Fadeel Shousha said, “The borders between Egypt, Jordan and Israel consist of mountainous terrain and so it is inconceivable that rockets could be fired from there.”
However, while officials on Tuesday insisted on refuting that Sinai was the origin of attacks after the sweep, on Wednesday the line had changed to it being the work of Palestinian militants on Egyptian soil.
A similar attack on Eilat and Aqaba had occurred in April, but those behind it were never caught or identified. The attacks do indicate the lack of authority Egypt is permitted over its border under the peace treaty with Israel, a Bedouin activist said.
North Sinai Tagammu party member Khalil Jabr Sawarkeh told Daily News Egypt Tuesday before the Egyptian admittance, “This goes to show that because we don’t have full authority on our own borders under the (1979) peace treaty (with Israel), and not enough of a presence on it, we are at risk of something like this happening.”
He also said Tuesday’s sweep “wasn’t carried out with much precision, as it is a mountainous area and very difficult to scan properly without the aid of high tech equipment.”