Gaza Strip will never be part of Egypt, says Mubarak – in another barbed comment against Israel
debkafile: Cairo and Jerusalem have each said the other is responsible for the chaotic Palestinian influx from Gaza to Egyptian Sinai and the rising terrorist threat to both in consequence.
In an interview with the Italian La Repubblica, the Egyptian president said Israel’s dream of “throwing the Strip” at Egypt was only a dream.
Despite official Israel denials, the defense ministry’s political adviser Amos Gilead did visit Cairo last week to complain about Egypt’s failure to curb the exit of three-quarters of a million Palestinians from Gaza into Sinai through the unsecured Rafah terminal. Our military sources report that Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman counter-charged that Israel shared responsibility for this development in view of its refusal to amend the 1982 peace treaty’s demilitarization clause for Sinai and permit the deployment of Egyptian troop reinforcements.
The Israeli and Egyptian official agreed that defense minister Ehud Barak would visit Cairo soon to sort out the situation. He would arrive after the Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas for the Palestinian Authority and Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal and Mahmoud A-Zahar end their talks in Egypt Wednesday, Jan. 30, on the Gaza-Sinai border chaos.
Official claims to the media notwithstanding, Palestinian traffic between Gaza and Sinai continued uncontrolled Wednesday for the seventh day. debkafile‘s military sources assess the report in the semi-official Al-Ahram that Egyptian security forces had apprehended five Palestinians armed with bomb belts near the Taba crossing as a red herring.
Several hundred armed Palestinians are now at large near the Egyptian-Israeli border of Sinai, some with bomb vests. Neither Egyptian security nor Israeli intelligence can claim knowledge of their movements or hideouts.