Following accusations of torture and killing of Gazan fisherman by Egypt, Hamas reports explosive planted near embassy, which has not been operational since 2007
Ali Waked Published: 05.13.10, 00:19 / Israel News
Tensions between Hamas and Egypt step up a notch. After the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip accused Egypt of killing a Palestinian fisherman and torturing Palestinian detainees, a spokesman from the interior ministry in the Gaza Strip reported that Hamas security forces defused an explosive device planted near the Egyptian embassy in Gaza City, which has not been active since Hamas took over the coastal enclave in 2007.
No injuries were reported in the incident.
However, it does market a new high point in the tensions between the Hamas government and its neighbor to the southwest. The source of the tension is Egypt's refusal to open Rafah Crossing and its construction of a steel fence along its border with the Strip. In addition, Egypt has upped its efforts to destroy smuggling tunnels dug by Hamas along the border.
Among other things, Hamas has accused Egypt of releasing poisonous gas into the tunnels, resulting in the death of four Palestinians in one of the tunnels.
All of this comes on the backdrop of continued Egyptian failures to mediate reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah, which rules in the West Bank.
The ruling Hamas party in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday accused Egypt of torturing Palestinian detainees on its territory, further fueling tensions between the Islamist movement and Cairo.
"The Egyptian security services are currently holding 30 members from different Palestinian factions, including 11 from Hamas," Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the movement, told AFP and called on Egypt to release them immediately.
"Their condition is abysmal. They are subjected to horrific methods of torture. They are electrocuted, hung from their limbs for long periods of time, and beaten," he said.
In another incident, Hamas said a Palestinian fisherman has died after his boat collided with an Egyptian navy vessel on Wednesday.
A Gaza interior ministry statement said the Egyptian ship rammed a Gaza fishing boat, flipping it over. The ministry alleges that Egyptian sailors then beat the five fishermen with clubs and pipes.
A Gaza hospital official confirmed that one man died of a head wound. It was unclear if the injury was from the collision or the alleged beating.
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