An Egyptian general is blaming Hamas and outsiders for funding 'global' jihadi groups in the Sinai Peninsula, including those that carried out Sunday's terror attack against an Egyptian army base, reported Arabic press agency al-Sharq al-Awsat.
Terrorists ambushed and killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, then tried to drive hijacked military vehicles into Israel to continue the attack. Israeli military forces intercepted them, killing several terrorists.
General Gamal Mazloum's comments, picked up by the Times of Israel, squarely contradict attempts by Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to blame Israel for the attack. They also demonstrate an Egyptian awareness of Hamas' long-term plans to break up Israel-Egypt security cooperation and build support for Gaza-based terrorist group.
"There are elements that presently want to stir unrest between Egypt and Israel, and strengthen the theory that the security [situation] between Egypt and Israel is shaky and impossible," Mazloum said. He blamed radical Islamist elements in both Sinai and Gaza for the attack, adding that the groups received "material support from abroad and from Hamas."
"It's necessary that there is caution in opening borders with the Palestinian side. And there should not be such an open border to the degree that they are exporting to us extremist terrorist organizations that carry out operations like these," the general said.
Mazloum criticized the "negligence and omission" that Egyptian forces for failing to heed warnings of a possible attack and properly prepare their forces. He called for a military review and potential revisions to the Israeli-Egyptian peace accord to allow for greater Egyptian deployments along the shared border.
Ynetnews, based on Egyptian media, reports that the Egypt's army has surrounded the Gaza city of Rafah. "If we will be forced to strike Gaza, as Israel has, we will do it – if it is proven that those who committed the attack came from Gaza," an Egyptian military analyst reportedly said.