Amid Tensions With Egypt, Hamas Delegation Going to Cairo

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Site of a bombing that killed Egypt’s top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, June 29, 2015.Credit: AP

A delegation from Hamas will be going to Cairo from Gaza shortly for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials against the backdrop of allegations that implicate the movement in the assassination of Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in a car bombing in Cairo last June.

News of the planned visit by the delegation was reported in Gaza on Thursday.

This week, suspects in the Barakat assassination case are said to have admitted that they were trained for six weeks by Hamas members in Gaza.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt at Rafah had collapsed due to operations that the Egyptians have been carrying out in recent months to flood the area and put a stop to the smuggling.  

The tunnel had been under the control of several families identified with Hamas and was used primarily to smuggle goods and people. Israel and Egypt have both imposed major limitations on traffic through the border crossings in and out of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Relations between Hamas and Egyptian authorities have taken a substantial turn for the worse since Egypt's current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, took power in June 2014. But Hamas has recently reported on contacts it has been conducting with the Egyptians to repair ties with Cairo and to carry out plans for the reconstruction of the strip. Those plans were agreed upon in Egypt after the war that Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip fought with Israel in July and August of 2014.

Egypt has been in no hurry for the implementation of the resolutions adopted by a conference of countries that had agreed to contribute to the reconstruction effort. Since the 2014 war, Egypt has destroyed Hamas tunnels under the border and has created a buffer zone there that is more than a kilometer wide.

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