Egypt has warned Hamas’ Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal, that it will break all ties with Hamas until the snipers who shot dead an Egyptian soldier on the Gaza-Sinai border on Jan. 6 are tried and executed.
Their names are known to Cairo. The Egyptian ultimatum was relayed through Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which are trying to patch up the quarrel between Cairo and Hamas.
Meshal offered to come to Cairo and apologize formally for the Egyptian soldier’s death. He was brusquely snubbed: The Hamas leader had better not land in Cairo because he would not be let off the plane, he was told: “We have given Hamas-Gaza the names of the men who shot the Egyptian soldier and now Hamas must hang them.” Until then, the Hamas leader has no business in Egypt.
Saudi security officers who interceded with Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman were told that the Palestinian group’s leaders had become too uppity and begun addressing Egypt as their equal. President Hosni Mubarak decided they needed cutting down to size and taught to respect the region’s real boss.
Military sources report that Egypt has tightened its siege of the Gaza Strip, regardless of the torrential rains and flashfloods which swept Egypt and Israel this week. Some 12 Egyptians and tourists died and more are missing, while two Israelis were swept to their death by the raging waters which devastated roads and infrastructure in Sinai and the Negev.
Nonetheless, dozens more military roadblocks went up on all the Sinai road links to Gaza’s smuggling tunnels at a distance of 60-80 km and Egyptian surveillance helicopters began passes, day and night, over the Bedouin smuggling routes. DEBKA
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