Report on 2012 Rafah outpost attack due in April

Egyptian authorities are expected to reveal next month the results of their investigation into the August 2012 terror attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. Sources told Al Masry Al Youm that “secret investigations conducted by the Armed Forces and police, in cooperation with Bedouins, have revealed new evidence incriminating those involved.”

This latest development is interestingly timed, as last week Egyptian media outlets claimed that a number of Hamas members were involved in the August attack. Other recent reports in the Egyptian media have claimed that as many as “40 Palestinian jihadists” were involved in the attack.

Days after the attack, reports suggested that three Hamas figures were on a list of persons wanted for extradition by Egypt for providing “indirect support to radical groups in [the] Sinai.” Additionally, within days of the attack, sources in Egypt charged that Hamas was either behind the attack or knew that it was likely coming.

According to one survivor of the assault, the attackers spoke with a Palestinian accent. Numerous press reports have indicated that Egyptian authorities believe that the attackers entered the Sinai through the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

While Hamas has denied ties to the complex attack, Egyptian authorities are investigating whether there is a Hamas connection. Authorities in Egypt are also said to be investigating whether the Palestinian terror group is tied to the recent seizure of military uniform fabrics in a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The current unrest in Egypt and continued allegations in the Egyptian media against Hamas have recently led to the Muslim Brotherhood to advise Hamas against holding elections for its political bureau in Cairo, according to Al Ahram.

On March 20, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood disclosed that the group will soon send a delegation to the Gaza Strip in order “to appease Hamas leaders.” The previous day, a Hamas delegation, which included Politburo Chief Khaled Meshal, concluded a visit to Egypt.

Over the past week, authorities in Egypt have increased security measures in the Sinai and have continued to destroy smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. On Feb. 18, Essam Haddad, national security adviser to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, said Egypt was targeting the tunnels because “[w]e don’t want to see these tunnels used for illegal ways of smuggling either people or weapons that can really harm Egyptian security.”

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