Egypt’s intel chief decided Hamas takeover served Cairo’s interests

Geostrategy-Direct, , June 27, 2007

LONDON – Egypt has cooperated with Hamas in allowing shipments of weapons, munitions and explosives that facilitated the Islamic takeover of the Gaza Strip last week, Western intelligence sources said.

Egypt concluded that a Hamas takeover would halt or reduce insurgency infiltration in the Sinai Peninsula.

“The Egyptians were in the picture as early as several weeks ago,” an intelligence source said. Hamas leader Khaled “Masha ‘al discussed the Fatah strategic threat and said Hamas would stop [Fatah security chief Mohammed] Dahlan at any cost.”

In a recent telephone conversation with Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman, Masha’al said Dahlan and his allies were working with Al Qaida-aligned groups to undermine Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The source quoted Masha ‘al as saying that Fatah was allowing Al Qaida to infiltrate the Sinai Peninsula to facilitate attacks on the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

“Masha’al’s bottom line was that Hamas was going to launch an offensive,” the source said. “In the end, Suleiman became convinced that this would serve Egyptian interests.”

By June 15, Hamas gained control of the entire Gaza Strip, including the borders with Egypt and Israel. Over the past three days, the source said, Hamas has received an unprecedented amount of weapons smuggled from Sinai, including enhanced Katyusha rockets, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

“Hamas got rid of Fatah and Egypt is now allowing the transfer of all the weapons Hamas wants,” an Israeli military source said.

Hamas has also acquired thousands of semi-automatic rifles and hundreds of rocket-propelled grenade launchers, mortars and other weapons from arsenals of the Presidential Guard and Preventive Security Apparatus. The weapons were seized in cooperation with Hamas agents who infiltrated the two Palestinian Authority agencies loyal to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Following the Hamas takeover, Egypt has withdrawn its security presence from the Gaza Strip. Still, Suleiman maintains nearly daily contact with Hamas leaders on security and intelligence issues.

Dahlan had angered Egypt by promoting Al Qaida elements in the Gaza Strip. Dahlan gave former aide Mumtaz Dughmosh nearly $1 million to fight Hamas and attack Egypt’s representative office as well as Internet cafes, and cellular phone and video stores as part of an Al Qaida-inspired campaign against Western influence.

“Dughmosh established the ‘Army of Islam’ as a cover by Dahlan to attract Al Qaida elements, blow up rival businesses and destabilize the Gaza Strip,” another Western intelligence source said. “Dughmosh also used his people to attack Egyptian security officers in Gaza in an attempt to stage a provocation.” On July 11, Masha’al ordered the Hamas offensive against Fatah. The order was prompted by a Fatah attack on the home of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, the political leader of Hamas.

Within days, most of the Fatah military leadership was either killed, captured or fled the Gaza Strip. On June 18, Hamas granted an amnesty to NSF commander Brig. Gen. Jamal Qaid, PG commander Mesbah Buhaisi and his deputy Hamouda Al Sheik, Fatah commanders Tawfiq Abu Khousa and Majed Abu Shamaleh.

Other Fatah commanders granted amnesty were identified as Abed Elal Al Ghoul, Ali Ahmed Ali, Khaldun Hijo, Durgham Saber and Mohammed Jadallah Buhaisi. Hamas’s military wing, the Izzedin Kassam Brigades, said several Fatah leaders have been placed on trial.

“The brigades stressed that what happened was not against Fatah rather against the traitors in these services especially who belong to Dahlan branch,” Hamas said in a statement on June 18. “We appreciate the position of many members of the security services who have surrendered themselves and handed over their weapons.”

June 25, 2007 | Comments Off on Egypt’s intel chief decided Hamas takeover served Cairo’s interests

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