Hamas denies media reports of plans to breach Egypt's borders

(dpa) - Egypt's official newspaper reported Tuesday a detailed plan by the Palestinian Hamas movement to blow up the concrete wall along the border at Rafah and to kill Egyptian security forces.

The Islamic movement denied the reports.

The Egyptian al-Ahram newspaper reported Tuesday that, according to unnamed Palestinian sources, Hamas has prepared a plan to breach the border with Egypt and to attack Egyptian security force members, after a Fatwa authorizing the killing of border troops was issued.

Hamas planned to attack the border fortifications by blowing up the tunnels beneath, sources told al-Ahram in a telephone interview.

As part of the preparations, Hamas has planted explosives along four kilometres of the border, between the western area of Tal Zarab to the eastern Brazil and Salam areas, the reports said.

Sources told al-Ahram that Hamas would implement the plan as soon as the movement's allied countries approve.

According to the newspaper, Hamas has also contacted the banned Muslim Brotherhood group in Egypt to launch media and political campaigns that call for organizing protests and gatherings to pressure the Egyptian government not to prevent Hamas from crossing the border.

However, Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Islamic movement which controls the Gaza Strip, "firmly" denied the reports.

He also stressed that Hamas didn't "think about molesting the Egyptian soldiers."

"At the same time, we also consider the report as a call for the Egyptian soldiers to kill the Palestinian people without any mercy," he said.

Hamas' plans to attack the border were in parallel to religious, political and media incitement against Egypt, the report said.

Hamas took over Gaza Strip last June after routing the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in fierce battles in the coastal territory. Since then, Israel has gradually increased economic sanctions on Gaza.

Egypt boosted its security presence on the border after Hamas blew up the borders in January and allowed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to freely cross into Sinai to shop for food and other goods unavailable in Gaza due to the Israeli sanctions. The MDC accuses Mugabe of withholding the results to manipulate the outcome and said it opposes a runoff but Tsvangirai has indicated at least twice in recent days he would partake in a second round if Zimbabwe's neighbours could ensure it was free and fair.

On Sunday, an emergency meeting of Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ended with a call for the ZEC to release the results "expeditiously."

Despite the court setback Monday, lawyers for the MDC were scheduled to go back to the High Court Tuesday afternoon to protest ZEC's plans for a partial recount.

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