Egyptian media outlets are reporting that a number of Hamas members were involved in the August 2012 attack on an Egyptian military base that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. The three Hamas members linked to the attack are Ayman Nofal, Mohamed Ibrahim Salah Abu Shamala, and Raed al Attar.
Raed al Attar is the commander of Hamas forces in Rafah. In August 2010, he was linked to rocket attacks from the Sinai.
Mohamed Ibrahim Salah Abu Shamala is a commander of Hamas forces in the southern Gaza Strip. His home was reportedly struck by the Israeli Air Force during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.
Ayman Nofal is a commander in Hamas’ military wing. He was arrested in 2008 by Egyptian authorities, but escaped from prison in February 2011, and subsequently returned to Gaza, where he received “a hero’s welcome.”
Days after the August attack, reports suggested that the 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 said 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.
Ashraf Badr, editor-in-chief of Al Ahram Al Arabi, which plans to run its report on Hamas’ involvement on March 16, said he corroborated the information with security sources and a figure within Hamas. Badr also threatened to submit documents to support his paper’s claims to the International Court of Justice if Egyptian authorities did not act.
A spokesman for Hamas’ military wing vowed to sue Badr for his paper’s claims. In addition, Hamas’ Mahmoud al Zahar slammed the allegations, as he said that Al Ahram Al Arabi was “collaborating with Israel” by making such claims.
Despite Hamas’ denial, an Egyptian lawyer has already filed a complaint with Egypt’s prosecutor general that accuses Hamas of carrying out the attack, according to Al Masry Al Youm.
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