The Hamas spokesman in Gaza denied on Tuesday any formal connection between his organization and the Muslim Brotherhood anywhere in the Arab world, including the original group in Egypt.
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“Hamas’ decisions are made by the political bureau of the organization from the Palestinian perspective, without any link to another country or organization,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, in an interview with the Saudi television network Al-Arabiya. Abu Zuhri said that while, from an ideological perspective, Hamas has things in common with the Muslim Brotherhood, it operates solely on behalf of the Palestinian people.
The Hamas security apparatus has arrested dozens of fundamentalist Salafi Muslims over the past few days, including senior members of Salafi groups that had abandoned Hamas, according to reports in Gaza on Tuesday. The arrests began after meetings that a Hamas delegation held with senior Egyptian intelligence officials last week, sources said.
Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, said on Tuesday that the struggle against, and resistance to, Israel “Is our path, it’s the legacy that we inherited from Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. We will continue along the path of resistance in all its aspects, including the armed struggle.” Haniyeh was speaking at an event marking the twelfth anniversary of the assassination of Yassin, Hamas’ founder.
Haniyeh said that Hamas’ weapons were directed solely at Israel and not at any other country, and that Hamas did not intervene in the domestic affairs of other Arab countries in any way.
The statements by Abu Zuhri and Haniyeh come as Hamas is attempting to turn over a new leaf in its relations with Cairo.