Hamas Provided ISIS With Weapons to Carry Out Sinai Attacks, Israeli General Says

Netanyahu offers condolences over the attacks: 'Our hearts are with the Egyptian people.'

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Egyptian APCs patrol on the Egyptian side of the border, as seen from the Gaza Strip, July 2, 2015.
Egyptian APCs patrol on the Egyptian side of the border, as seen from the Gaza Strip, July 2, 2015.Credit: AP

Hamas helped the ISIS-affiliated group in Sinai to carry out the latest attacks against Egyptian troops and supplied them with weapons and other support, an Israeli general told Al-Jazeera on Thursday. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered condolences over the attacks that claimed the lives of dozens of people.

People carry the coffin of 1st Lt. Mohammed Ashraf, killed in Wednesday's attack by Islamic militants in the Sinai, during the funeral procession in Ashmoun, Egypt, July 2, 2015.Credit: AP

Israel has "clear information that Hamas is supporting the Wilayat Sinai, which belongs to Daesh," Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, claimed, referring to the Islamic State group in one of its acronyms.

He added that Hamas provided the Islamist group weapons and logistical support, and even smuggled wounded militants for treatment in the Gaza Strip. "I am confident in this [information] and I have proof," he said.

IDF closes border road

Israel has heightened the alert level near the Egyptian border on Wednesday following the attacks in Sinai.

The IDF announced on Thursday evening that the southern Route 12, near the Israel-Egypt border, will be closed for vehicles starting 5 A.M. Friday due to the security situation in Egypt.

The decision was made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon with the recommendation of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. The closing of the road was defined by the military as temporary.

One of the attacks was carried out only four kilometers from the border with Israel, an officer in the IDF Southern Command said on Thursday. In response, the Israeli military has intensified its intelligence gathering efforts in the area.

Netanyahu offers condolences to Egyptians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday warned of the growing threat to the region from Islamic State militants and expressed condolences to Egypt over the deadly ISIS-linked attacks in Sinai the day before.

Netanyahu said that "we see in front of our eyes ISIS acting with extraordinary cruelty both in our northern border and at our southern border."

He added: "Our hearts are with the Egyptian people, we send our condolences to the Egyptian government and the families of those who were killed in battle with the cruel terror.

The Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and Egypt reopened on Thursday after it was closed for 24 hours due to the battles raging in Sinai. However, the Nitzana crossing remained closed.

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