Middle East: Hamas planned to abduct Egyptian soldiers

Cairo, 6 Feb.(AKI) - The Islamist Hamas movement planned the abduction of Egyptian soldiers patrolling the Rafah border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, sources close to the Egyptian government have told the Arab website, Elaph.

According to the site, the abductions were to be carried out by members of Hamas' military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades with the intention of exchanging them for Hamas operatives arrested in Egypt.

The arrests were made following the Rafah border crisis on January 23 when Palestinian militants broke through the border wall between Gaza and Egypt after Israel strengthened its blockade of the territory.

When the border was breached, thousands of Palestinians streamed across to Egypt in search of food, medicine and other essential supplies.

A number of Palestinians were arrested after being found in possession of explosives and firearms.

Meanwhile, Hamas' armed wing has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Israel on Monday that killed an Israeli woman and wounded six others.

It had been widely reported that the two suicide bombers came from the Gaza Strip. But according to the Palestinian news agency Maan, al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubeidah said Hamas' delayed declaring responsibility for the attack for security reasons and to confuse the Israeli investigation into the attack.

In the West Bank cities of Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and Qalqilia, 11 Palestinian men were arrested by Israeli forces claiming they were 'wanted'.


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