Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- The families of Palestinian and Egyptian detainees criticized Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s recent speech which he delivered concerning the party’s network that was recently uncovered in Egypt.
Meanwhile, Nasrallah’s speech provoked controversy among Egyptian politicians who are opposed to the Egyptian government. In statements to Asharq Al-Awsat, most of these opponents attacked Nasrallah. However, Muhammad Mahdi Akif, the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supported Nasrallah’s stand on the latest Israeli war on Gaza, declined comment on Nasrallah’s speech and contended himself with saying that “Nasrallah’s speech was 100 percent correct.”
The Egyptian government commented indirectly on the issue of Hezbollah’s network that was uncovered in Egypt and on Hezbollah Secretary General Nasrallah’s acknowledgment that the key defendant in the case belongs to his party and that those who collaborated with him were 10 persons. Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif stressed that Egypt’s security is a red line that cannot be crossed.
Asharq Al-Awsat contacted a number of the families of the Palestinian and Egyptian defendants in the case of Hezbollah’s organization in Egypt. Commenting on their accused relatives, these families said that they did not know the nature of the accusations leveled at the defendants, and that Nasrallah’s speech on the issue was not in the interest of their sons whom they said had nothing to do with Hezbollah.
The mother of Ihab Abdul-Hadi al-Qalyubi, one of the defendants in the case, said that her son, an Egyptian national born in 1979, was a construction worker in Al-Arish. She said he was performing the evening prayers when a State Security vehicle arrived. An officer entered their house and seized the hard drive of her son’s computer. She added: “Nasrallah’s speech must have meant other people, not our sons, who have nothing to do with the case. But following Nasrallah’s speech, our sons may suffer a great deal.” Defense attorneys, including Muntasir al-Zayyat and Abdul-Munim Abdul-Maqusd, said that the Higher State Security Prosecution Office has given approval for attending the interrogations which started Saturday evening.
Dr Rifat al-Said, head of the leftist opposition [National Progressive] Grouping Party, launched a scathing attack on Nasrallah. In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: Nasrallah cannot do in Syria, Lebanon, or in any other country what he said he did to assist the Palestinians.”
George Ishaq, assistant general coordinator of the Egyptian Movement for Change, Kifayah, rejected Nasrallah’s speech. In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: “We have previously responded to Nasrallah’s speech that he made during the latest Israeli war on Gaza. We then said that we did not need anyone to preach us on our national role; if he wants to support the Palestinians, let him support them in another way, not through Egypt.”
For his part, Wahid al-Uqsuri, head of the opposition Egypt’s Arab Socialist Party, which advocates Nasserite orientations, called for greater coordination between Hezbollah and the Egyptian authorities. He however added: “If the accusations of Hezbollah were true, the issue would have overstepped the bounds of assistance to the Palestinians to border on spying.”
In the meantime, the Egyptian authorities have launched a large-scale combing operation in northern Sinai, particularly in the towns of Al-Arish, al-Sheikh Zuwayd, and Rafah, which has resulted in the arrest of dozens of people.