Hamas leaders accused in attack killing 16 Egyptian soldiers
Published Thursday 14/03/2013 (updated) 17/03/2013 17:30
CAIRO (Ma’an) – Egypt’s attorney general has received a notification from an Egyptian lawyer urging the AG to take into account reports on satellite TV stations and Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine related to an August attack against an Egyptian military base near the border with Gaza in Rafah killing 16 soldiers.
The lawyer, Samir Sabri, wrote in his notification that about 32 “terrorists” were involved in the attack, the majority of whom were affiliated to fundamentalist Takfir groups accusing Egyptian army, police and rulers of apostasy. Egyptian security services, according to the notification, have revealed the names of the suspects.
Three are affiliated to Hamas and one was identified by his lawyer as Ayman Nofal, a leader within Hamas’ military wing the al-Qassam Brigades. Nofal managed to escape from al-Marj prison two years ago where he was detained on charges of incitement and illegally breaking Egypt's border in 2008.
Another suspect, according to the notification, was Muhammad Ibrahim Salah Abu Shamala (Abu Khalil), aged 39. He is a top Hamas leader. The third suspect was Raed al-Attar “who masterminded the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.”
The lawyer highlighted that Egypt’s presidency received a report with all the details about investigation. “However the details were kept secret and the presidency did not make them public, nor did he try to reveal who was behind the murder of those martyrs whose funeral Dr Mursi did not bother himself to attend.”
Commenting on the case, namely the report in Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar denied that any of the three Hamas leaders was involved in the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah.
He described the magazine as a “collaborator with Israel.” He added that the three leaders in question never left the Gaza Strip, and that they were wanted by Israeli forces.
Cairo had previously indicated that some of the gunmen who killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the Gaza border fence in August had crossed into Egypt via the tunnels under the border.
Recent efforts to close the tunnels have angered Hamas officials who were expecting better ties with Cairo following the election last year of President Mohamed Mursi, a fellow Islamist.