A Hamas delegation arrived in Egypt on Sunday carrying the organization’s approval of the demands presented by Egyptian intelligence during meetings earlier this month, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.
Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar said that the organization will positively respond to Egyptian requests, but did not clarify the nature of the demands.
Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas would pledge not to interfere in Egyptian affairs, and will supervise and control the borders with Gaza, while fighting all extremists in Gaza and stopping them from infiltrating Egypt through the Sinai Peninsula.
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 the tension came when earlier this month Egypt accused Hamas of involvement, along with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, in last year's killing of the country's top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, an allegation which Hamas denied.
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.
Recently, however, a delegation from Hamas visited Egypt in an attempt to reconcile with Cairo. Following that meeting, reports said that reconciliation efforts had failed, but Hamas rejected those comments and said it had “opened a new page” with Egypt.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat, al-Zahar made clear on Sunday that Hamas will save no effort in stopping arms trafficking through Sinai and will see through it that no organization links to the Muslim Brotherhood exist.
Egypt in return will grant Hamas several requests, the primary one being the opening of the Rafah border crossing. However, according to the newspaper, Egypt refused to open Rafah without Palestinian official authorities monitoring the border crossing.