debkafile Exclusive: Sudden Egyptian decision to lift anti-Hamas blockade of Gaza, day after condemning Hamas Gaza takeover as illegal coup
President Hosni Mubarak’s astonishing U-turn renders pretty pointless the conference he convened in Sharm al Sheikh Monday, June 25, to discuss the Hamas takeover crisis. Only Saturday, he denounced Hamas for staging an illegal coup. Sunday, June 24, our exclusive intelligence sources report an official VIP convoy headed by Hamas’ interior minister Siad Sayam – who is believed to have masterminded the Hamas coup in Gaza – was allowed to drive out of Gaza with 15 senior Hamas commanders who led the military action against Fatah last week. Their cars bore official Palestinian government plates. Egyptian security units escorted the convoy from Rafah to Cairo international airport, where the Hamas delegation emplaned for Damascus.
Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman then held a long telephone conversation with Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, who later made a speech declaring “resistance” (codeword for terror) was the only way forward for the Palestinian people.
debkafile‘s military sources describe Cairo’s action as a slap in the face for the three leaders he invited to the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. He called the get-together in the first place to discuss ways of isolating Hamas into submission.
His reversal was also a message for Israel’s new defense minister Ehud Barak, who attended his first cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday. By helping the Hamas minister in charge of defense take off for military consultations with Syrian leaders, the Mubarak government was informing Israel that it would line up with Hamas against any Israeli military action ordered by Barak against the Islamist rulers of Gaza. Since the Hamas takeover, Qassam missiles and mortar attacks against Israel are a daily occurrence. One of the new defense minister’s tasks is to devise means of halting the attacks.