Egypt ties three Hamas commanders to Aug. 5 Sinai attack

Special to WorldTribune.com

RAMALLAH — Egypt has demanded the extradition of three senior Hamas
commanders from the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian daily Al Quds reported that Cairo has relayed a request
for the transfer of three senior officials from the Hamas regime in the Gaza

Egyptian tanks arrive in the Sinai city of Rafah on Aug. 9. /Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Al Quds, quoting a senior security official, said Egypt has
determined that the officials were involved in the Aug. 5 attack on the
Egyptian Army in the Sinai Peninsula in which 16 soldiers were killed.

The Hamas commanders were identified as Ayman Nofal, Raad Atar and Mohammed Abu Shamala. All three were said to have been senior officials in Hamas’ Izzedin Kassam military wing and allegedly helped the Islamic militias in Sinai.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is said to have agreed to transfer Abu Shamala, Atar and Nofal to Egypt. But the three Hamas officials were refusing to be taken to Egypt.

Nofal, commander of Hamas’s military in the central Gaza Strip, was
arrested in Sinai in 2008 on charges of planning attacks in Sinai. He escaped an Egyptian prison in 2011 during the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak and returned to Gaza.

Abu Shamala was identified as a Hamas commander responsible for southern
Gaza. Atar was said to have been responsible for Hamas rocket attacks from
Sinai toward Israel.

Hamas has acknowledged that Egypt was discussing the Aug. 5 attack and
possible participation of militias from the Gaza Strip. Egyptian sources
said mortars were fired toward Egyptian Army positions during the attack in
Sinai. They said the Al Qaida-aligned Jaljalat group was believed to have
been directly involved in the attack.

“So far, the continuous contacts with the Egyptian government did not
direct any accusations or seek to determine the names of the suspects in the
killing of the Egyptian soldiers,” Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil said on
Aug. 9. “There are no clues regarding the link between those involved in
this crime and the Gaza Strip.”

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