has dug tunnels under the Gaza Strip in order to kidnap senior Hamas leaders," Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam told the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat.
In an interview published Thursday, Siam claimed that the Shin Bet has been acting through local agents across the Strip to purchase apartments that could be used as bases of operations for such kidnappings.
According to the Hamas
official, the security forces in Gaza recently arrested two Palestinians, a father and son, who are suspected of collaborating with the Shin Bet. The two were arrested after they bought an apartment in Gaza City located close to the house of Hamas military wing commander Raed al-Atar's sister.
Turning his attention to Hamas' ties with the international community, Siam told the paper that the movement has seen an ongoing improvement in its relations with European countries.
Referring to Egypt's recent warning to Hamas not to attempt and breach the Egypt-Gaza
border again, Siam said: "We feel that the Egyptian regime treats us as if we were a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood rather than a national liberation Palestinian movement."
Siam also expressed his bewilderment at the criticism leveled by Egypt at the good ties Hamas maintains with Iran. "Why is there so much sensitivity surrounding our relations with Iran, which is a Muslim state, while there is no sensitivity about the alliance of other elements with Israel and the US?"
He added that Hamas' ties with Iran were identical to its ties with any other country that supported the resistance movement.