A reconciliation attempt between Hamas and Egypt has failed miserably, according to media reports in Egypt on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, a high-level Hamas delegation headed by senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar came to Cairo to advance reconciliation talks with Egypt.
But Hamas has reportedly refused all of Egypt's requests, local media said. Egyptian journalist Ashraf Abu Al-Houl said that "Hamas refused to admit its involvement in any terrorist attacks in Sinai, and refuses to admit its mistakes with regards to smuggling weapons and clashes with the Egyptian army."
According to Al-Houl, the Egyptian authorities presented the Hamas delegation with evidence of its involvement in Sinai terrorism and requested that the two sides carry out a joint investigation, but the organization's representatives were not interested in cooperation.
Al-Houl further said that after the meeting "Egypt sees only the Palestinian Authority as the body with which it can have discussions on strategic issues such as the opening of the Rafah crossing and the construction of a seaport in the Gaza Strip."
Tensions have mounted between Egypt and Hamas in recent years, as Cairo has accused Hamas of being involved in the terrorist attacks in the Sinai, most of which have been carried out by the “Sinai Province”, which is the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Egypt.
The latest example of this came last week,when Egypt accused Hamas of involvement, along with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, in last year's killing of the country's top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat.
Barakat was killed in June of 2015 when his car was targeted by a bomb in the capital Cairo.
Egypt began creating a wide buffer zone along the Gaza border in late 2014 in a bid to destroy the hundreds of smuggling tunnels Cairo says are used by Palestinian Arabs to deliver weapons to jihadists who are battling Egyptian forces in the Sinai peninsula.
The decision on the buffer zone was made following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province.
Egyptian sources revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels. Hamas denied the charge.