CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Palestinian extremists who Egypt alleges helped militants carry out terror attacks on Sinai tourist resorts are not connected to the Palestinian groups Hamas or Islamic Jihad, the foreign minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian government said Wednesday.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry announced the accusations a day earlier, directly linking Palestinian and Egyptian militants for the first time in the Sinai bombings. It did not accuse Hamas or Jihad in the attacks, but the announcement could cause embarassment to Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip where the ministry said some of the Egyptian militants were trained.
“The (ministry) statement gave several indications, but what is certain here is that the (Palestinian) fundamentalist parties which it referred to are not Hamas, nor in my opinion Islamic Jihad,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar told reporters after meeting with Arab League Chief Amr Moussa in Cairo.
“There are very few and handful groups who have this (extremist) thought. They are just individuals with certain thoughts who are involved in this case,” Zahar said. The ministry said that several Egyptians involved in the attacks met extremists in Gaza and received money and weapons training. The Egyptians belonged to a militant group said to have carried out three attacks since October 2004 against four separate tourist resorts that killed around 120 people.